Friday, July 9, 2010
FOR years, high school and college students have managed to meet deadlines by guzzling so-called energy drinks like Jolt, Red Bull and Rockstar.
But, as it turns out, the drinks may have worked a little too well.
The nation is so wired that it looks as if consumers are now thirsting for anti-energy drinks.
Relaxation drinks like Snoozeberry and iChill and soporific beverages with names like Unwind, Dream Water, Koma Unwind Chillaxation and Drank are aiming to take away the very buzz their caffeinated predecessors were designed to deliver. There are already more than 350 kinds of relaxation drinks on the market, according to Agata Kaczanowska, an analyst with the research company IBISWorld. Instead of slogans like Jolt’s “All the sugar and twice the caffeine,” these new drinks proffer serenity with maxims like Unwind’s “Tired of being wired?” and Drank’s “Slow your roll.”
Though that’s not all they are promising.
Drank claims it can help prevent jet lag. A drink called Blue Cow says it can improve concentration, relieve anxiety and irritability from fatigue, and even diminish PMS symptoms.
These would-be wonder drinks are coming soon to more grocery, big-box and convenience stores across the land. In the beverage industry they are known as “relaxation drinks” — and they are a big business.
The industry is expected to generate $500 million in sales revenue this year, according to IBISWorld, a year-over-year increase of about 327 percent.
The drinks often contain melatonin, valerian root and rose hips. But relaxation drinks are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration.
Not all relaxation drinks contain melatonin or valerian, though. Blue Cow, for instance, does not. Some brands have a lot of sugar; others have none. Yet even an ingredient as seemingly benign as rose hips, which contain vitamin C, can be problematic because too much vitamin C can harm your stomach.
The beverage makers say on their Web sites that the levels they recommend are safe. Doctors say there is no way to know, and that consumers should confer with their physicians before drinking a bottle — which typically costs several dollars.
Dr. Karmally offered some alternatives: take a warm bath before bedtime, listen to relaxing music, practice yoga, sip warm milk.
“A cup of skim milk,” she said, “is about 25 cents.”