Natural ingredients for improved sleep
Consumers increasingly are seeking foods, beverages, and supplements that can provide immediate results, including for improved sleep quality. Which ingredients hold the most promise?
Millennial consumers, in particular, have driven rising demand for natural ingredients for improved energy – and the flip side of this is a need for better sleep. According to recent research from Kerry Group, improved sleep, reduced stress, and energy management have become top priorities for consumers of all ages. In a survey of 1,000 US consumers, it found that sleep was a personal health priority for 38% of respondents, but many relied on medication instead of dietary solutions, suggesting an opportunity for the food and beverage industry to provide more products with sleep benefits.
Among consumers, there are many compounds attracting interest as potential sleep aids, including some that have little evidence to support such claims.
According to Kerry’s research, the top five ingredients that consumers perceive to support sleep are melatonin (53%), chamomile (51%), lavender (48%), valerian root (21%), and passion flower (16%). Some of their perceived benefits are based on anecdotal evidence that scientists so far have not been able to prove. A growing body of research suggests that ingredients like melatonin and valerian root, for instance, can indeed help promote sleep, and while passion flower has been less well examined, it has been shown to have a sleep-inducing effect in mice. However, two of the most common ingredients for sleep support – chamomile and lavender – have little scientific backing.