One of the most interesting findings of Sainsbury’s Living Well Index survey in the UK1 was that sleep quality was the number one factor determining how well a person is living, with the impact of better quality sleep found out to be greater than having four times as much disposable income.
This surely means that sleep quality is a field to be explored in relation with wellbeing of consumers, but what products and services could gain traction, beyond the over-the-counter drugs space, and who is likely to benefit from them?
GlobalData's Q1 2017 survey found that UK consumers have relatively high levels of concern over insomnia (51%), but few are currently buying products that address this condition (7%). However, there are differences in this regard between age and gender cohorts. For example, 30% of female consumers are concerned and would consider buying products which address insomnia in future, compared to only 19% of male consumers. From an age perspective, younger Millennials are most likely to uptake sleep-related products and services, with 42% of 18-24 year olds concerned with insomnia, and either currently buying or considering buying products addressing it.
Outside over-the-counter sleep aids, some of which might be seen as not entirely harmless, offerings on the market already exist, coming from, food and drink, and household care, among others. Their strongest selling point undoubtedly is that they are often seen as helping good night’s sleep without disturbing overall health.
While most people are aware that the foods they choose may improve (or worsen) sleep quality, not much has been done to market sleep enhancing foods as such, and educate consumers in this regard. Among the few offerings on the market to do so is an “evening bread” from Poland under the Penam Fit Den brand. In line with the concept that meals containing complex carbohydrates paired with a little protein help you sleep well, this bread features plant proteins and various seeds, and has a packaging design and branding that clearly targets sleep quality.
Looking into drinks, functional teas are the traditional good night’s sleep remedy. Beyond this segment, soft drinks offer various opportunities in addressing sleep quality. The Good Night Drink from Austria looks much like an energy drink but claims to have quite the opposite effect, achieved with herbal extracts, lemon balm and hops.
From the household space, a few brands of fabric softeners have been capitalizing on aromatherapy by incorporating scents that help consumers sleep. Lenor used lavender and camomile fragrances in its Sleep Sensations fabric softener release in the UK, as these scents are thought to have a relaxing effect. Other manufacturers go further by claiming scientific research when innovating in the field of improving sleep quality. A fabric softener in the Philippines, called Anion The Healthy Fab-Con, contains "negative charged ions, commonly found in beaches, springs, and waterfalls,” claimed to promote good mood and provide a range of health benefits, among which is better sleep quality.
Considering that such products are likely to attract young adults, they could be successfully paired with tools popular among this population, like smartphone apps and wearable devices that monitor and manage sleeping.