Food giants like Pepsi and Post are pushing “sleep” snacks packed with melatonin

Bigfood has set its sights on a new gap in the market: ‘sleeping snacks’.

Pepsi and Nestle are among the food manufacturing giants that have entered the space in recent years, launching food and drinks filled with vitamins and minerals related to sleep improvement.

Cereal brand Post was the latest company to get in on the craze last week, launching its Sweet Dreams cereal that claims to be “part of a healthy sleep routine.”

While the cereal contains zinc, folate and B vitamins that have been shown to promote restful sleep, it also contains a hefty 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 every night, studies show, leading to a booming market for sleep supplements.

Breakfast cereal brand Post has launched two breakfast cereals that are meant to be eaten just before bedtime as a sleep aid.  However, they have a high sugar content, which experts warn can disrupt sleep

Breakfast cereal brand Post has launched two breakfast cereals that are meant to be eaten just before bedtime as a sleep aid. However, they have a high sugar content, which experts warn can disrupt sleep

“More than ever, consumers want to embrace acts of self-care, especially when it comes to bedtime routines and we believe a relaxing bedtime routine is key to a good night’s sleep,” said Logan Sohn, senior brand manager at Post in a statement.

“We’re excited to now help fans establish healthy nighttime habits as well by offering a nutritious bedtime snack created to support a sleep routine they’ve only dreamed of.”

Post is one of America’s leading cereal brands and also produces breakfast favorites such as Fruity Pebbles, Honey Bunches of Oats and Golden Crisp.

Sweet Dreams comes in two flavours, Blueberry Midnight and Honey Moonglow.

Both contain lavender, chamomile and what Post describes as “compound vitamins and minerals to support natural melatonin production.”

The nutrition label provides rich amounts of daily vitamins and minerals, with a single one-cup serving each containing 50 percent of a person’s recommended vitamin A intake.

The ingredient panel’s two headliners, zinc and folic acid, are known to be great sleep aids.

Zinc helps convert tryptophan, an amino acid naturally produced by the body, 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 body processes, including the sleep-wake cycle.

But what might scare some away from the late night treat is its high carbohydrate content.

One cup of blueberry contains a total of 46 g of carbohydrates, including 13 g of added sugars. The honey flavor has 12 g of added sugar with 43 g of total carbohydrates.

This makes up just under 20 percent of a person’s recommended daily intake of carbohydrates 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 a person’s sleep quality.

a Saudi Arabian research team found last year that college students who ate 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, with nutritionists warning 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 the sugar as fat.

Dr. However, Michael Ormsbee, a sleep expert from Florida State University at Talhahassee, told that the 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 can help you get a good night’s sleep. These are both complex carbohydrates, which release tryptophan and help you sleep.

“However, the amount of food eaten is probably where things can turn from ‘beneficial’ to ‘problematic,'” he continued.

“I am not surprised that specific ‘foods’ for falling asleep are now being marketed, given the enormous rise in sleep physiology and the general knowledge about the importance of sleep for many aspects of our lives.”

High-carb diets have also been linked to preventing someone from sleeping deeply, meaning they feel less refreshed when they wake up in the morning.

Post isn’t the only major food brand looking into sleep aids.

With sales of melatonin supplements skyrocketing in recent years and many Americans seeking better sleep, nutrition companies have seen opportunities for profit.

Swiss food giant Nestle launched Goodnight chocolates in 2019. The candies were packed with 70 mg of magnesium.

It is unclear how successful the product was. Nestle told that the product has been discontinued.

Pepsi, most famous for its iconic soda brand, launched Driftwell in 2020 – a canned drink intended to be used as a sleep aid.

The ‘enhanced water drink’ came in two flavours, Strawberry Lemon Balm and Blackberry Lavender.

A pack of ten cans costs $29.98 – each can costs about $3 each. However, it is also unclear whether Pepsi still sells the product.

It is not available from online retailers like Amazon and Walmart listed on the official site. The dedicated Instagram page has not posted in a full calendar year.

Pepsi Co. did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Nightfood Inc, based in Tarrytown, New York, is a food brand dedicated to sleep products, including night bars and ice cream.