Seeking sleep in the culture of wellness — Retail trends to watch

October 24, 2019By Behind the Shelf Blog, Culture of Wellness

By Jen Johnston, CHHC, senior marketing services account manager, for the Culture of Wellness blog series

Americans are a tired bunch.

The search phrase “sleep better” has been steadily rising for the last 15 years, according to Google Trends. What might be driving this quest for sleep? Chalk it up to our stressed-out, modern lifestyles combined with an increased interest in wellness and self-care. We are collectively getting less sleep than ever, while our lives become more and more complicated.

In fact, a Report of the National Commission on Sleep Disorders Research estimated that total sleep time for the U.S. population has decreased by 20% over the past century, so modern lifestyles are definitely taking their toll.

Seeking Sleep – Statistics

The American Sleep Association® reports that 50-70 million U.S. adults have a sleep disorder, with insomnia the most common. Length of sleep is also an issue, with 35.3% adults reporting less than seven hours of sleep during a typical 24-hour period.

This correlates with a growing market for sleep products. estimates the U.S. “sleep market” was worth $28.6 billion in 2017, and to 2023, a 4.7% average annual growth is forecasted.

Obviously traditional sleep products such as mattresses and pillows continue to dominate the sleep products market, but consumers are seeking sleep solutions at all kinds of retailers in many different forms.

Finding Sleep…at the Pharmacyman yawning

In addition to picking up prescriptions for sleeping aids, many consumers find sleep solutions in the over-the-counter aisles. In fact, the non-prescription or OTC sleeping pills market, valued at $576 million, is growing faster than the prescription insomnia drugs market, according to

And while there is still a strong market for drug-based sleep ingredients such as diphenhydramine and doxylamine succinate, some brands such as Vicks® ZZZQuil® have diversified with more natural products as in their PURE Zzzs® Melatonin line and PURE Zzzs® aromatherapy items.

Finding Sleep…at the Natural Store

One of the more unusual forms for a sleep product is clarified butter. Pure Indian Foods® Brahmi Ghee is an Ayurvedic product that says it enhances memory and promotes a restful sleep. It also appeals to many food tribes as it is suitable for Whole30®, Paleo, and Keto. It is also gluten-free, USDA organic, and non-GMO, and is batch tested for casein and lactose.

Powders are a convenient form that also travel well. Natural Calm® offers magnesium powders that can be mixed with a liquid to induce sleep. Youtheory® Sleep is a nighttime powder that promotes a rapid onset of deep sleep with L-Glycine, L-Tryptophan, Magnesium, L-Theanine, 5-HTP, and Melatonin.

Snoooze® is a 4.6oz beverage that contains sleep promoting herbs such as passionflower, lemon balm, linden flower extract, and valerian. 

Finding Sleep…at the Dispensary or CBD Store

Cannabis is the ultimate wellness rockstar. This little plant went from every teenage parent’s worst nightmare to wellness necessity for people of all ages seemingly overnight. While marijuana still has a way to go before universal acceptance, hemp-based CBD is becoming increasingly popular for many health concerns, including sleep. One such example is Irwin Naturals® CBD +Power to Sleep which pairs CBD with melatonin and L-Theanine.

Finding Sleep…at the Mass Outlet

Essential oils have been around for a long time, but now they can be picked up at the local mass outlet. Most shoppers do not know what the specific oils should be used for, so blends can be very helpful. NOW® and Plant Therapy® make sleep or rest blends. These can be diffused or blended with a carrier oil to make a massage product or lotion.

Finding Sleep…at the Grocery Store

Even tea is marketed to address sleep problems. The Republic of Tea® Beauty Sleep is an herbal infusion that contains chamomile along with “beautifying” ingredients such as bamboo and rose hip. Celestial Seasonings also offers a Sleepytime® tea.

Finding Sleep…on the Internet

The ancestral lifestyle wellness movement includes elements like paleo and keto diets, barefoot running, and natural movement. There is also a sleep component, with ancestral advocates pushing for less blue light after dark, so some folks are turning to blue blocking glasses.

Finding Sleep…Everywhere

Fitbit® seems to be sold at nearly every kind of retailer these days – department store, electronics store, sporting goods retailer, mass outlet, club store, online, home goods merchant, and the list goes on. While Fitbit is first and foremost an activity tracker, most models now track a person’s sleep as well, allowing the wearer to achieve great insights into their sleeping patterns, which can give clues to what type of supplements or other products they need.

What Does It All Mean?

It means everyone is seeking sleep solutions from practically everywhere. Retailers of all kinds should highlight their sleep solutions to make it easier for shoppers to find them. Brands can empower retailers with signage, displays, and other materials that help sell the products, including easy-to-understand literature to inform shoppers. Retailers and brands should work together to include information about sleep on their social media sites and blog to educate their customers on sleep and ensure they come up higher on those “better sleep” Google searches!