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Drink

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A sleep beverage, nightcap or relaxation drink are considered consumable liquids taken shortly before bedtime to induce sleep. They are often formulated to help reduce stress, alleviate anxiety, improve focus, and promote better overall sleep. For example, a small alcoholic drink or a cup of warm milk can supposedly promote a good night's sleep. These consumable sleep supplements are an anomaly or antithesis of energy drinks and have found a niche in the beverage industry. Originally, a nightcap was understood to be an alcoholic liquid with purpose of warming the drinker up and helping them sleep. That changed in 1930, when the nonalcoholic drink, Ovaltine, was advertised as "the world's best 'night-cap' to ensure sound, natural sleep. " An ingredient of Ovaltine is magnesium which helps to induce relaxation. Likewise, warm milk is often recommended as a nightcap for inducing sleep, because it contains both tryptophan and calcium. Then, the flavor of the warm milk was improved by adding a small amount of liqueur which may promote sleep as well. Alternatively, honey or vanilla can improve the flavor too. The effectiveness of warm milk for inducing sleep is disputed. Other drinks touted for inducing sleep and being effective sleep aids are hops tea, cherry juice (contains melatonin), coconut water (contains magnesium), lemon balm tea, decaffeinated green tea (contains theanine), valerian tea, and chamomile tea. Today, however, most sleep beverages, nightcaps and relaxation drinks are generally non-alcoholic beverages containing calming ingredients normally found in nature. They are considered functional beverages which serve to relax a person. Unlike other calming beverages, such as tea, warm milk or milk with honey; sleep drinks almost universally contain more than one active ingredient. Melatonin is a common ingredient found in relaxation drinks which also carries some negative connotations due to the controversial effects from long term use. Sleep beverages, nightcaps, and relaxation drinks have been known to contain other natural ingredients and are usually free of caffeine and alcohol but some have claimed to contain marijuana. Sleep beverages, nightcaps and relaxation drinks started to reappear in Japan at the beginning of the 21st century and then began to make their way to the US. One major brand was called Drank, a reference to an illicit concoction made out of cold medication. Others had names like Purple Stuff and Lean, which also hinted at vaguely narcotic effects. These brands were marketed towards a partying crowd, yet never managed to break into the mainstream. In the US, the Food & Drug Administration also moved in, shutting down brands for false health claims.

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