Calming and soothing products: global consumers cope with increased stress

Full sleep has become a privilege for many people. Hectic lives, stress, addiction to stimulants, digital media and ageing are some of the main reasons why people are losing their sleep. Euromonitor International analyses energetic lifestyles against the need for calming and sleeping products.

Sleep as an important promoter of health

People around the world are sleeping fewer hours as hectic lifestyles and stress take over their lives. Scientific research published in recent months emphasizes the impact of sleep on health. Even a few hours of sleep deprivation on a regular basis can lead to health conditions affecting metabolism and cardiovascular health (ref: F. P. Cappuccio, D. Cooper, L. D’Elia, P. Strazzullo, M. A. Miller. Sleep duration predicts cardiovascular outcomes: a systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective studies. European Heart Journal, 2011).

The energy buzz contributing to the problem

Consumers have found a quick solution in energy drinks and coffee to reverse their tired feeling during their waking hours. The “sleep few hours-energize more” model has become a vicious circle for many people who do not engage in activities that require more energy inputs such sports, extreme activities, and night work shifts.

An interesting contrast in the consumption of calming and soothing products

In Brazil people are opting for prescription (Rx) drugs and moving away from herbal/traditional passion flower products. High levels of stress and poor diets contribute to a higher incidence of insomnia in recent years. Newer prescription (Rx) drugs offer the promise of sound sleep that attracts the attention of Brazilians.

Sales of new generation calming products with reduced or no sedative effects are expected to record the highest growth in Russia, where herbal options dominated the market in 2010. The expansion of retail chains brings a wider array of calming and sleeping products addressing the needs of busy and stressed Russians.

In the United States herbal calming and sleeping products made gains in 2010 as safe alternatives to recalled brands like Simply Sleep and Tylenol PM (Johnson & Johnson Inc) in the same year. Alternative options in herbal/traditional remedies drive value down. Recent trends in alternative healing are anticipated to deter some people from going back to standard OTC drugs to reduce their stress and promote sleep.

Silenor (doxepin) by Somaxon, a prescription (Rx) non-addictive drug to be marketed by The Procter & Gamble Co, pose an important threat to the sales of calming and sleeping products if it eventually switches to OTC status in the future. Chattem Inc (Sanofi) dominated one quarter of OTC retail value sales thanks to its popular brand Unisom in 2010.

The situation is very different in China where the rising number of elderly people has driven demand for calming and sleeping products. Many health food products, claiming to provide similar calming and soothing benefits, are putting considerable pressure on standard OTC options.

Surprisingly, sales of calming and sleeping products are negligible in India. Herbal products such as Himalaya Pure Herbs Ashvagandha (Himalaya Drug Company) are available, yet most calming remedies are sold unpackaged and in loose form. Some Indians purchase prescription (Rx) drugs such as diazepam and alprazolam, usually sold illegally under-the-counter (UTC), to treat their insomnia. For minor cases, Indians prefer to consume warm milk, use herbal remedies, or apply massages for soothing.

The growing presence of mobile phones and digital media at home are preventing people in the United Kingdom to achieve enough hours of sleep each day. The pharmacy channel remains the most important for the majority of sales since pharmacists play an important role in advising consumers on calming and soothing products.