I Drank a Sleep Aid Drink at Bedtime for a Week and Here's What Happened
The Som Sleep formula includes melatonin, magnesium, B6, and more, intended to help you get a solid night of shut-eye.
Have a hard time falling asleep? You're not alone. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine reports that 30 to 35% of adults have brief symptoms of insomnia and 10% of adults have a chronic insomnia disorder.
And if you're anything like me, you've tried lavender goodies galore and soothing rain playlists to no avail. That's why when I read about Som Sleep, the buzzzzzy beverages made with L-theanine (an amino acid found in green tea), GABA, magnesium, B6, and melatonin — more on the science here — I was intrigued.
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Of course, I was also skeptical. Would it work? Could a cloud blue can knock out an ever-wired person like me? Would I feel groggy the next day? Here are five things that happened when I drank Som Sleep Zero Sugar for five nights in a row last week.
1. Yes, it works!
First off, let me say that Som Sleep exceeded my expectations in turns of both flavor and zonks-me-out factor. Flavor-wise, it straddles somewhere between a seltzer and lemon-lime carbonated beverage and tastes best when you refrigerate for a few hours before imbibing. The instructions say to drink 30 minutes before you're ready to go to bed, so I drank mine at 10:30pm each evening. As early as 11:00pm and as late as midnight, I was in dream land. I normally don't get into bed until around midnight and toss-and-turn for at least 30 minutes, so this was an improvement for me.
2. I woke up earlier than normal.
I am not a morning person. Allow me to repeat myself: I find the idea of making a slice of toast before 8:30am daunting, let alone putting on gym clothes. For three of the five days of my experiment, I somehow managed to work out in the morning. One day, I even managed to do several downward dog poses at Yo Yoga! as my South Carolina-born instructor coached this frazzled student through the intricacies of proper hand alignment. On Saturday, I arrived happily to my living room tea party for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle during the wee early hours of the morning.
3. And then I felt great and more productive!
When you rise earlier, under the quiet of the proverbial morning dew, the day feels longer — even if you're awake for the same total number of hours as when you go to bed later and wake up later. Thankfully, Som had no morning-after side effects and once the expected ten minutes of post-alarm, I'm really tired, was over, I felt energized and reayd to tackle my day.
This might not happen to you, but fair warning, I had way more vivid dreams. Science says this could be the melatonin. "Melatonin invariably causes more REM sleep, a normal circadian phenomenon that is used to consolidate some forms of memory," Dr. Sanjeev Kothare, a sleep scientist at the New York University Langone Medical Center, told the Huffington Post. "One way this happens is through dreams, which is why people who start taking melatonin experience more dreams." I found this somewhat rattling at first, but not so much so that the con outweighed the pro of clocking around two or so more hours of sleep per night.
5. The experience taught me the importance of having a bedtime ritual.
Part of falling asleep successfully means creating an environment that's conducive to uninterrupted slumber. Sipping on Som was my visual cue to put my phone away, turn off the TV, and get ready for bed. As much as the drink's ingredients ushered me to sleep, it also felt good to unwind with a nightly routine. Who knew that seven-minute bedtime yoga was my jam?