Can relaxation, a good night's sleep or happiness come from a lightly carbonated, berry-flavored beverage?
Amid booming sales of energy drinks spiked with caffeine and other stimulating ingredients, some people are heading to the soda aisle for drinks that promise the opposite effect. With names like Neuro Bliss, Marley's Mellow Mood (as in Bob), and Just Chill, the products aren't marketed as medicine, but as a way to relax without turning to more traditional, if sometimes imperfect, measures like taking prescription drugs or having a few beers.
Consumers are warming up to drinks that could fill the chasm between taking medication for anxiety or sleep problems and doing nothing, says Paul Nadel, president of Neuro Drinks, a Santa Monica, Calif.-based company that sells a line of six drinks including Neuro Bliss, Neuro Sleep and Neuro Sonic, an energy drink. He says the "overmedicated culture we live in" has primed consumers for the concept of a relaxation drink.
Small studies show that some of the ingredients in relaxation drinks, like melatonin, valerian root and L-theanine, appear to help fight sleeplessness or to create a sensation of relaxation in isolated situations. Still, clinicians recommend turning to drugs or supplements as a last resort for sleep and anxiety problems after trying daily exercise, a consistent wake-up time, turning off electronics and darkening rooms in the evening, therapy or other measures.