Is the Bay State Banning Brownies?

Two towns in the state of Massachusetts (Fall River and New Bedford) are seeking to ban the sale of brownies. Nay, not just any brownies [insert sigh of relief], but Lazy Cakes, a melatonin-laced brownie. The “relaxation brownies,” which are being called dangerous, are being sold at convenience stores for just $4 each.

The hubbub stems from cases in which children have consumed these soporific sweets and drifted off into dangerously heavy and unresponsive states of slumber, resulting in trips to the ER. Of course, the company claims that its product is not meant for children, but it’s easy to see how “The Original Relaxation Brownie” might inadvertently appeal to a child. First, they’re brownies (duh). Second, they come in a purple package complete with a friendly, animated brownie man on the label. Hmmm, chocolate, plus a cartoon? What on Earth would make a child try to eat that?

A cheeky article from Gawker goes on to point out that Lazy Cakes are not only a terrible idea for children but also adults. Even nutrition zygotes know that too many empty calories before bed aren’t beneficial to one’s health.

Here’s my take: Skip the sugar (and sedatives). There are better ways to send you off to dreamland that are perfectly safe for adults and children. In fact, here are five no-fail tips for sound sleep:

1. Yoga
If you’re hoping to unwind before bed, choose movements that quiet the nervous system, such as forward bends and gentle twists. Using additional props, such as a bolster, is a wonderful way to settle into a relaxed and comfortable state before sleep.

2. Meditation
People who have difficulty sleeping complain that they can’t shut off racing thoughts, which is one fundamental benefit of meditation. Your brain won’t stop thinking (nor should it), but you will learn to create space between your thoughts and select thoughts that serve you in the present moment. Yoga Nidra, in particular, is a sleep-like state achieved through guided meditation. I recommend Yoga Nidra resources by Jennifer Reis of the Kripalu Center in Lenox.

3. Aromatherapy
Trust me on this: Buy a 100% silk eye pillow filled with lavender (, $13). Apply over eyes at bedtime. Take slow, deep breaths, inhaling the soothing scent… See you at breakfast.

4. Vigorous Exercise
My South End apartment won’t allow dogs — making me, in all likelihood, the only person in the South End without a dog. But if I did own a dog, you would expect me to walk it, right? A tired dog is a happy dog, and the same goes for people. We need exercise. Regularly. Anything else is negligent. Figure out a way to exercise during the day and you will sleep better at night. End of discussion.

5. Start a blog
You’ll never have trouble sleeping again. Sadly, this will be due to the ensuing sleep deprivation, but, hey, it works.