‘I tried ice cream that helps you sleep – and yes, you read that right’

You know that dream where you’re naked and floating in a tub full of gravy? Or the one where Jason Bateman is licking honey off a bowling ball? Run-of-the-mill dreams like that? Well it’s been a while since I had one of those. Most likely due to the fact I have trouble sleeping for more than three hours at a time. You could blame the wine I so often have with dinner. Or the cheese I crave after that. Or perhaps the phone screen I squint at until my eyelids start drooping.

I’m sure I’m not the only one. In 2019, we fetishise ‘busy’ almost as much as we fetishise fame. Which makes a good night’s sleep hard to come by. Of course if there’s one thing capitalism is good for, it’s finding a hole it caused and filling it. So enters Nightfood — the ice cream that helps you sleep. That’s right, dessert is now marketing itself as the modern answer to drawing the curtains. If the Elizabethans could see us now.

Having debuted this year, Nightfood is hard to come by. It sold out almost immediately upon launch and took months to restock. But I have connections. And by connections I mean really good wi-fi and the wherewithal to press refresh on a web page for hours on end.

It gives me time to ponder which one to get. Flavours include Full Moon Vanilla, Midnight Chocolate, Cold Brew Decaf, Milk & Cookie Dough, Cherry Eclipse and more. Each pack features cute cartoonish characters that the packaging tells me are ‘cravemonsters’. It also has the words ‘sleep-expert approved’ slapped on at least two dozen times.

The website goes into more detail listing ‘America’s most prominent sleep expert’, the aptly named Sleep Doctor (TM, of course), as well as the director of a university sleep program, and a sleep and nutritional therapist among those giving a thumbs-up to the confection.

So what makes it so Z-inducing exactly? Does it contain a sleep aid of some kind? A little dram of Dramamine? No, nothing of the sort. It turns out they essentially just take all the sleep-robbing ingredients most ice creams include — like caffeine, sugar and excess fat — out of the equation. They then add in amino acids (the same kind you’ll find in warm milk) as well as a ‘Nightfood mineral blend’ of calcium citrate, magnesium citrate and zinc citrate… basically what you’d get in your average off-the-shelf calcium supplement. The result is ‘sleep-friendly ice cream’.

I’m a little disappointed there are no chunks of Valium in there, but eventually go with After Dinner Mint Chip. The taste is akin to any ‘healthy’ ice cream — that is more like icy yoghurt than actual ice cream. There’s no noticeable sugar high, which is obviously the point. And it’s definitely friendlier on my tummy than regular ice cream. But do you know what would be even better for your digestion? Not eating ice cream at all. This is obviously for those people who can’t help but tuck into a pint before bed.

While I would be far more excited by a melatonin-laced cheese platter, I can see how this could be an alternative for those addicted to a post-dinner pick-me-up. It’s not going to cure insomnia — or even help you sleep — but it also won’t have you reaching for the Mylanta at 3am.

So I guess it turns out you can have your ice cream cake and eat it, too.

The lowdown

  • WHAT: Night ice cream.
  • WHERE: nightfood.com
  • HOW MUCH: Until they start distributing internationally, a pint will set you back US$5.99 (about $8.50) and a ticket to the States.
  • I LOVED: Finding out that the nighttime snack biz is worth a billion dollars a week… in the US alone!
  • I QUESTION: How we can have sleep-friendly ice cream but we can’t have dog-friendly bars. I bet the Elizabethans could take Fido for a pint — a real one, I mean.

Emma is a comedian, writer and b+s’ intrepid trend guinea pig. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @markyknowsbest