Can't Sleep? Try This Berry Good Juice

There's energy drinks to keep us up.  What about a carbonated, berry-flavored beverage to help us relax, and sleep?

We all know about Ambien and lavender tea and the herbal tea I once took to try to get to sleep -- and it got my heart racing so hard I thought I was having a heart attack.  (Can't think of the name -- maybe I'm blanking out of fear!).

Anyway, The Wall Street Journal reports today, "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."

Sarah Nassauer interviewed Paul Nadel, president of Neuro Drinks, a Santa Monica, Calif.-based company that sells a line of just such drinks, who told her consumers are "warming up to drinks that could fill the chasm between taking medication for anxiety or sleep problems and doing nothing," she writes. He says the "overmedicated culture we live in" has primed consumers for the concept of a relaxation drink, she adds.

Nassauer notes that 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."  Ah!  Valerian.  That's what it was!

Nassauer says that most doctors recommend turning to sleep aids only when nothing else -- daily exercise, a consistent wake-up time, no electronics or lights in the bedroom, or therapy -- has worked.  I remember during a recent blackout that lasted four days, with nothing but darkness all around -- no flashing clock numbers on the cable box, or streetlights -- having the best sleep of my life.

But Nassauer warns that these drinks have not really been studied so it's anyone's guess if they're safe, or habit-forming, or will turn you into a rabbit (just kidding).

She writes that more consumers say "they want a drink that feels healthier than soda—hence the raft of new, lower-calorie beverages." Some have only natural ingredients, according to Nassauer while other so-called"'"functional' products claim some benefit like energy, sleep or cold-fighting properties."

So in the age-old quest for sleep, it's something new to try.  And there's always Ambien waiting in your medicine chest.


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