To stick with the same tune of my last post, I have another functional beverage to review today. The gentlemen over at Better Life Beverages have been kind enough to send me several samples of their new relaxation shot: Relax & Sleep. And, as before, I was excited to see if this one would work. After several uses of Relax & Sleep, I think that I can say with confidence that it does.
Although Relax & Sleep is "another" relaxation shot in a rapidly increasing market of anti-energy drinks and non-prescription sleep aid beverages, Better Life Beverages has decided to take a slightly different approach than much of the competition. Rather than utilizing directly neuroactive ingredients such as melatonin and 5-HTP (two ingredients commonly used in these sorts of supplements), Relax & Sleep only contains plant ingredients in its proprietary relaxation formula. Each 4640mg serving (2 servings per bottle) contains a truly impressive amount of botanical ingredients, several of which include organic violet leaves, English lavender flowers, and organic passion flower leaf. In addition to the completely botanical relaxation tonic, the drink is sweetened with all-natural vegetable glycerin, which, until Relax & Sleep, I had never even heard of before (as a sweetener, at least).
The theme behind Relax & Sleep is clear: all-natural botanical ingredients with as few man-made production processes as possible. I am not one to shy away from the occasional artificial or pharmaceutical ingredient, and in a lot cases I actively support them, but I still always like to see companies that focus heavily on the natural side of things. Balance is key in health and nutrition, and this is an attitude that Better Life Beverages quietly promotes with Relax & Sleep. Rather than denigrating the ingredients lists of the competition and implying that they are "wrong" somehow, Relax & Sleep simply presents itself as what it is: an organic, botanical alternative to the melatonin-laced relaxation shots offered by many other companies. Better Life Beverages also bolsters their peaceful image as a reasonable and legitimate company by offering a solid reasoning behind their formula, rather than relying on the "artificial ingredient panic" that other natural food and beverage companies often try to incite in uninformed consumers when promoting their beverage against similar products.
The primary drive behind Relax & Sleep's formula is to avoid the use of melatonin. Melatonin, as I have mentioned before, is a naturally occurring chemical hormone that is found in most forms of life on earth. In humans, melatonin acts primary as part of the system which regulates the body's sleep-wake cycle. As more melatonin receptors are activated over the course of the day, drowsiness sets in and body temperature is gradually lowered until the central nervous system finally gets the hint and issues the sleep imperative. What melatonin-centric pills and beverages do is temporarily add extra melatonin into the system to activate the appropriate receptors more quickly and therefore provoke the sleep response faster.
While taking melatonin will indeed help the average user go to sleep faster, it does - like most truly effective medicines - have a down side. Because of the excess melatonin in the system, it can take the body longer to "use up" the extra hormones during sleep, often leaving the sleeper feeling groggy and unprepared upon waking, especially if he or she does not sleep long enough. What Relax & Sleep promotes through their plant-based formula, therefore, is a truly restful and peaceful sleep aid. The ingredients are all geared toward soothing the body and promoting rest and relaxation without directly increasing hormone levels in the nervous system. And from what I have experienced of the drink so far, it works very well.
The directions for taking Relax & Sleep as a sleep aid (it can also be taken to promote general calmness or to simply unwind after a long day if so desired) are similar to other drinks of its type: take the shot about 30 minutes before you intend to sleep, and then actually do try to go to sleep when that time rolls around. Learning from previous mistakes with other relaxation shots, I decided to make a point to always follow Relax & Sleep's directions, and each time it has worked like a charm. Although it does not help me feel tired like other drinks have in the past, I was able to go to sleep at the recommended time after each shot, and each time I woke up feeling well-rested and surprisingly ready to get out of bed. This is a rare feeling for me - one that I have experienced of my body's own accord only a few memorable times over the past several years - and as such I feel very comfortable with attributing the results to the drink.
To be honest, I am actually a bit surprised that Relax & Sleep worked for me as well as it did. I have an annoyingly strong neurological resistance to "consciousness-altering" beverages, and as a result most energy and anti-energy drinks that rely on anything less than prescription-grade ingredients (which is effectively all of them) tend to have very little noticeable effect on me. While I was excited to see that Relax & Sleep relied entirely on botanical ingredients, I was worried that it was simply going to have no effect on me and I was going to be left with very little to say about it. This was clearly not the case, however, and I am happy to report that Better Life Beverages has really gotten their formula right. The flavor of the shot does leave something to be desired (it's a sort of odd - not bad, just odd - creamy lemon flavor), and I'm not sure that I'm entirely sold on vegetable glycerin as a sweetener, but for a two-ounce shot this is a very small complaint, especially in light of all the positives.
Overall, I would definitely recommend Relax & Sleep. It may not actually make you tired, so if you have trouble predicting when you will be ready to go to sleep at night, it may be a bit easy to waste these by drinking them too early and then staying awake past the window of optimal effectiveness. But with a bit of thinking ahead (or maybe just a more regular sleep schedule), Relax & Sleep really will help you have a better night.
Samples sent courtesy of Better Life Beverages
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