Nutrition-wise blog

Relaxation drinks: Does calm come in a can?

By Jennifer K. Nelson, R.D., L.D. and Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D. March 6, 2010

Ever tried a warm glass of milk at bedtime to help you sleep? What about coffee to get you going in the morning? Or an energy drink for a boost in the afternoon? How about a drink to help you unwind after a stressful day? No, I don't mean beer or wine.

I'm talking about "relaxation drinks," a new line of beverages that claim to help you chill out. Relaxation drinks contain ingredients such as theanine and melatonin, which are purported to reduce anxiety or induce sleep. These two ingredients are "generally considered as safe" by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. However, the FDA doesn't strictly regulate dietary supplements like these, which is why you should always talk with your doctor before trying any supplement. (And children and women who are pregnant or nursing probably shouldn't partake of relaxation drinks.)

Have our bodies gotten so out of sync that we can't stay awake, fall asleep or even relax without a chemical or herbal aid? Have you tried these relaxation drinks? Did you find them to be beneficial? Or do you eschew energy and relaxation drinks and similar beverages? What do you do instead to rev up or wind down?

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Mar. 06, 2010