Sleep and energy product trends

Published on: 
Nutritional Outlook, Volume 22, Issue 2

Trends and product updates for these two complementary categories of better sleep and greater energy.

It’s not surprising that in modern culture’s frequently interrupted, digitally focused, multitasking way of life, two of the most common personal-wellness complaints are sleep deprivation and low energy. The two go hand in hand, of course.

As market researcher SPINS noted in its “Top 10 Trend Predictions for 2019” report: “From daily caffeine consumption to excessive screen time and prolonged exposure to blue light waves that suppress the release of the important sleep hormone melatonin, it comes as no surprise that many consumers have difficulty sleeping,” with the unfortunate side effect of low daytime energy levels. “A growing number of consumers have already begun to establish new habits...and to seek out new products to help them relax, unwind, and get a good night’s rest,” the report continues. This year, the firm expects this particular health focus will become even more prominent than it already is, “answered by innovative ingredient combinations and new delivery methods coming to market.”

To combat low daytime energy, “consumers are looking for solutions that go beyond the instant-energy solutions of the past, and turning toward foods and supplements that help to increase focus and optimize body energy,” says Heidi Rosenberg of BrandHive, an advertising and public-relations agency that specializes in branding for dietary supplements, functional foods, and healthy beverages. She cites adaptogens as one solution.

On the other hand, energy drinks remain popular, particularly those with label claims of low or no sugar and featuring coffee and other trending flavors. Ahead are some trends and product updates for these two complementary categories of better sleep and greater energy.



Spray Yourself to Sleep

“Sleep supplements are already moving beyond the traditional forms of pills and herbal tinctures,” SPINS reports. Some creative new delivery formats have recently hit the market, including Garden of Life’s mykind Organics Sleep Well R&R spray, which consumers spray directly into their mouths. The product incorporates the amino acid L-theanine and such herbs perceived to increase sleepiness as lemon balm, hibiscus, and chamomile.



Not Quite a Food; Not Just a Supplement

SPINS notes several sleep products that straddle the categories of supplements and functional foods and beverages. Dream Dust by Moon Juice is one. The product is a blend of jujube fruit, chamomile, and adaptogenic herbs formulated to be stirred into a warm beverage, such as dairy or nut milk. Its understated marketing includes the promotion of a “recipe” for a Dream Dust–based nighttime tonic.

Another product that seems to defy fitting neatly into a single category is Brahmi Ghee from Pure Indian Foods. A blend of cultured, grass-fed, organic ghee (clarified butter) and organic Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri), this “herbal ghee” is not intended for cooking but for blending into warm water and drinking one to two times per day. The product’s Bacopa monnieri ingredient is said to enhance both memory and sleep.



A Patch for Sleep

Transdermal delivery of sleep-promoting ingredients is yet another trend spotted recently by SPINS. The topical patch from Patch MD, for instance, delivers melatonin, magnesium, valerian, hops, and 5-HTP to reduce jet lag and facilitate sleep.

Two body lotions, Osimagnesium’s Good Night Body Lotion with melatonin and magnesium and Organica’s Dream Lotion with essential oils, are also marketed as transdermal sleep aids.



Adaptogens for Energy?

An adaptogen, a term coined more than 70 years ago, is “a substance that theoretically ‘adapts’ to what your body needs and helps protect against various stressors,” according to a recent story in The New York Times (June 2018) on adaptogens’ growing popularity. BrandHive’s Rosenberg cites them as an energy trend, explaining that these plants “are gaining recognition for providing energy when it is needed.” Adaptogens are typically herbs, many used in Ayurvedic, Chinese, and Nordic traditional medicine, with the purported benefits of adrenal-gland support, stress reduction, and regulated hormone response. Among the better known adaptogenic herbs are ashwagandha, Rhodiola rosea (also known as arctic root or golden root), and schisandra.



Adaptogenic Products

Moon Juice’s Brain Dust and Power Dust claim to harness the power of adaptogenic herbs, including ashwagandha, rhodiola, and cordyceps. The products are intended to be mixed into smoothies, coffee, matcha, and other beverages and, like Dream Dust, seem to straddle the line between supplement and functional food.

Also straddling this line is Four Sigmatic’s innovative blend of instant coffee and adaptogenic herbs (holy basil, ashwagandha, Siberian ginseng), which is mixed with hot water for a morning beverage. The brand also sells mushroom-coffee pods, a cordyceps elixir, and a mushroom lemonade.