The large food companies have set their sights on a new gap in the market: ‘snacks to sleep’.
Pepsi and Nestlé are among the food manufacturing giants that have entered the space in recent years, launching foods and beverages packed with vitamins and minerals linked to improving sleep.
Cereal brand Post became the latest company to join the craze last week, launching its Sweet Dreams cereal which it claims is “part of a healthy sleep routine.”
While the cereal contains zinc, folate, and B vitamins that have been shown to promote good sleep, it also comes with 13 grams of added sugar—the opposite of what many sleep experts would want you to eat before bed.
About a third of American adults don’t get seven hours of sleep each night, studies show, leading to a booming market for sleep supplements.
Cereal brand Post has launched two cereals intended to be consumed as a sleep aid just before bed. However, they do come with a high sugar content, which experts warn could disrupt sleep.
“More than ever, consumers are looking to adopt acts of self-care, particularly when it comes to bedtime routines, and we believe a relaxing bedtime routine is key to a good night’s sleep,” he said. Logan Sohn, Post’s senior brand manager in a statement.
“We’re thrilled to now help fans establish healthy nighttime habits by providing them with a nutrient-dense bedtime snack made to support a sleep routine they’ve only dreamed of up until now.”
Post is one of America’s leading cereal brands and also makes breakfast favorites like Fruity Pebbles, Honey Bunches of Oats, and Golden Crisp.
Sweet Dreams comes in two flavors, Blueberry Midnight and Honey Moonglow.
Both include lavender, chamomile, and what Post describes as “selected vitamins and minerals to support natural melatonin production.”
Its nutrition label boasts rich amounts of daily vitamins and minerals, with a single one-cup serving of each containing 50 percent of a person’s recommended intake of vitamin A.
The two headliners on the ingredient panel, zinc and folic acid, are known as excellent sleep aids.
Zinc helps convert tryptophan, an amino acid the body naturally produces, into melatonin, the hormone responsible for regulating sleep in the body.
Folic acid helps stimulate the production of serotonin, which is responsible for regulating many bodily processes, including the sleep-wake cycle.
But, what may turn some away from late-night indulgence is the high carbohydrate content.
One cup of blueberries contains 46 g of total carbohydrates, including 13 g of added sugars. The honey flavor has 12g of added sugar with 43g of total carbs.
This represents just under 20 percent of a person’s recommended daily carbohydrate intake and more than a quarter of a person’s allowed amount of added sugars.
Excess sugar at any time of the day can seriously affect the quality of a person’s sleep.
TO Saudi Arabian research team found last year that college students who consumed the most added sugars were up to 50 percent more likely to report poor sleep quality than their peers.
Sugar before bed can be an additional problem, and nutritionists warn that it provides an energy spike that prevents the body from reaching the relaxed state it needs to fall asleep.
Since a person does not actively burn it while sleeping, the body will store sugar as fat.
However, Dr. Michael Ormsbee, a sleep expert at Florida State University in Talhahassee, told DailyMail.com that food can help you sleep if eaten in the right amount.
He notes that the 3 g of fiber and 5 g of protein in each serving could help promote quality sleep. Both are complex carbohydrates, which release tryptophan and help sleep.
“However, the amount of food consumed is likely to change things from ‘beneficial’ to ‘troublesome,'” he continued.
“I’m not surprised that specific bedtime ‘foods’ are now being marketed given the vast increase in sleep physiology and general awareness of the importance of sleep to many areas of our lives.”
High-carb diets have also been linked to preventing a person from achieving deep sleep, which means they feel less rested when they wake up in the morning.
Post isn’t the only major food brand to dabble in sleep aids.
With sales of melatonin supplements skyrocketing in recent years as many Americans seek to sleep better, food companies have seen opportunities for profit.
Swiss food giant Nestlé launched Goodnight chocolates in 2019. The candies were packed with 70mg of magnesium.
It is unclear how successful the product was. Nestlé told DailyMail.com that the product has been discontinued.
Pepsi launched Driftwell, an ‘enhanced water drink’ that could help someone sleep, in 2020
Nestlé launched Goodnight chocolate products in 2019, hoping to capitalize on the sleep market. The product is now discontinued, the company told DailyMail.com
Nightfood is a brand that exclusively sells food products intended to help a person fall asleep more easily.
Pepsi, best known for its iconic soda brand, launched Driftwell in 2020, a canned drink meant to help you sleep.
The ‘enhanced water drink’ came in two flavors, Strawberry Lemon Balm and Blackberry Lavender.
A pack of ten cans is $29.98, with each can priced at around $3 each. However, it’s also unclear if Pepsi still sells the product.
It is not available from online retailers like Amazon and Walmart listed on their official site. His dedicated Instagram page hasn’t made a post in a full calendar year.
Pepsi Co did not immediately respond to a DailyMail.com request for comment.
Nightfood Inc, based in Tarrytown, New York, is a food brand dedicated to sleep aids, offering night bars and ice cream.