Dr Neil Stanley Independent Sleep Expert
© Dr. Neil Stanley 2013-2020
‘Sleep’ drinks In the days of black and white television the nation used to prepare for bed with a mug of a hot milky drink such as Horlick, Ovaltine or cocoa, then various herbals teas came into vogue the most week known being chamomile, more recently there has been drinks specifically ‘designed’ to aid sleep. In America there are a number of ‘sleep’ drinks that contain melatonin; however, such drinks are not permitted in the UK and so producers are using other ingredients with the intention of aiding sleep. One of the first of these drinks was SleepWell, a milk-based drink with valerian and honey, perhaps deliberately harking back to the black and white days, and now there is Snoooze, a combination of a number of herbs including valerian, lemon balm, passion flower with peppermint. The common factor in most herbal based drinks is valerian, an herb that has been used for centuries to help people relax and aid sleep. Of all the herbs, valerian is the one with the most scientific evidence for a beneficial effect on sleep, so why might you ask don’t people just make a pure valerian drink? Well the simple answer for this is that valerian in itself taste really quite unpleasant, this is not a problem when it is taken in tablet form, but is an issue in a drink and so other ingredients are required to mask the taste. So, do these new sleep drinks work, well as I said there is evidence for some of the ingredient in helping sleep but I suppose the key factors are, do you like the taste? and would you enjoy drinking it as part of a relaxing bedtime routine?  Just chucking it down like you would an energy drink and expecting them to send you to sleep is perhaps a bit too much to expect.