Whether it’s due to worries about the pandemic, the economy or just day-to-day tribulations, people are losing sleep. The American Sleep Association, citing figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and others, reports that 50 million to 70 million U.S. adults have a sleep disorder, insomnia being the most common. Also, 35% of adults say they get less than seven hours of sleep during a 24-hour period, and nearly 38% of people report that they unintentionally fall asleep during the day.
Consumers are seeking solutions to help them sleep soundly so they can function safely and effectively when they are awake. Manufacturers are developing iterations of successful products, launching items with less familiar ingredients and formulating products that provide additional benefits.
According to data from Nutrition Business Journal, sales of sleep supplements were estimated at $1.25 billion in 2021 with 13.7% growth. Growth spiked to record levels in 2020 as a result of the pandemic, at 36.6%. Also according to Nutrition Business Journal, melatonin is the largest ingredient for sleep at $590 million in sales. Combination herbal formulas have been trending as well, with 117.3% growth in 2020.
People are likely looking for multiple items when they shop for sleep products. According to the Council for Responsible Nutrition, or CRN, in its 2021 Consumer Survey on Dietary Supplements, 17% of adult supplement users in the United States reported taking products to support their sleep health, up three percentage points compared with 2020. Also, 14% of adult supplement users in the U.S. reported taking products to support their brain health, and 49% of these brain health users reported taking products to improve sleep.
Melatonin blends are growing in popularity. “There is strong consumer interest in combining sleep plus another benefit ingredient,” said Chris Hughes, director of sales planning, operations and category management at Chatsworth, Calif.-based Natrol. The brand’s Sleep + Calm includes L-theanine and Sleep + Immune includes elderberry and zinc, and are two top-selling new products. Hughes also said that Kids Melatonin is outperforming the overall category and the higher strength SKUs are also thriving.
CRN said that popular ingredients in supplements for sleep health include melatonin, used by 62% of sleep health users, CBD (22%), magnesium (21%), lavender (17%) and chamomile (16%).
For some, the problem is not sleeping but snoring. “Snoring is a major cause of poor sleep, often impacting two people at one time,” said John Ende, executive vice president of sales and marketing at Rhinomed, which makes the Mute wearable nasal device. In 2021, the company conducted a Harris Poll and found that 66% of U.S. adults said someone in their household snores. Also, 69% of people whose partners snore wish there was a simple solution.
Rhinomed has a dedicated professional education team focused on communication and customized support for sleep medicine practitioners. For consumer education, the company uses WebMD, the Rhinomed website, and digital and live media campaigns. The company is also working with retailers to build a snoring subcategory in their sleep sets because Rhinomed data indicates that snoring product sales are growing significantly faster at e-commerce than at retail. “We rarely spot a snoring banner or label in any retail sleep set,” Ende said. “We’re working with retailers to help them curate that snoring mix and effectively merchandise a snoring set.”
This is an interesting time for the sleep category as retailers help consumers gain access to new, innovative solutions. “The science and products are a bit ahead of where our consumers are at,” Pharmavite’s Donaldson said. “There is an opportunity for us in sharing that science and insight with them in a way that brings them along on the journey to find the product that will best meet their needs.”