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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Having your cake...and sleeping too

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Just when you thought you'd never get a good night's sleep again...just when you were convinced all those over-the-counter medications made you more dopey than drowsy, here come Lazy Cakes, the coolest thing to happen to brownies since the '60s.

Lazy Cakes are like Ambien CR in a chewy chocolatey square with a layer of fudge in the middle. The product, sold at convenience stores next to 5-hour Energy drinks, Slim Jims and butane lighters, provides a mega-shot of natural herbs that the manufacturer claims will result in the best snooze of your life. The Lazy Cakes package is emblazoned with a cartoon brownie called Lazy Larry, whose drugged-out smile suggests the same thing I was talking about in the first paragraph.

The major ingredient is a sleep-inducing substance called melatonin, a chemical that is produced naturally in your body, but apparently not nearly enough at night and too much when you are at the 2 p.m. staff meeting or in church on Sunday. The recommended serving (dose, might be a better word) is half a brownie, which would be like putting half a shot of flavored rum in a potato chip with this warning on the bag: "Eat just one."

There are some major concerns about this new product. Toxicologists report, for example, that in the USA last year there were 5,000 melatonin-related calls to the poison center. The fear now is that the phrase "I ate too many brownies" will not get you to the top of the triage list. In another study, scientists claim the ingredients in Lazy Cakes that make you nod off quickly may be detrimental to women who are trying to conceive. Ya think?

By the way, if you don't have a sweet tooth, there are competitors in this field of slumber-causing foods. One libation is called Drank, which the manufacturers claim will help you if you are tense. Sounds like past tense to me.

Of course, there are blogs for consumers who, once they can crawl out of bed, want to share their Lazy Cakes experience. "I ate one while I was watching TV and it made me so sluggish I didn't even want to grab the remote," wrote one man. Lazy Cakes may be this year's most popular item in Dad's stocking.

One woman claimed that she threw a Lazy Cakes party and everyone indulged: "All our bodies went limp. We closed our eyes. There was yawning, then snoring. Suddenly, we were on our way to bed at 10 p.m." This sounded like last New Year's Eve with my wife and our closest friends. Except we all ordered bread pudding and four regular coffees.

And this one: "I was on a plane trip and tried the brownie, but I don't think I slept better than my norm." I believe this was just a typo. She meant "any better than my Norm," referring to her husband, who passed out after two whiskey sours somewhere over Peoria.

Personally, I'm not a big chocolate fan. So, I've also drafted a letter to my friends at Cracker Barrel asking if maybe they could spike their roast chicken with a little melatonin, a smidgen of rose hips, some valerian root, and a hint of passion flower, all proven to give you heavy eyelids. What an inexpensive Saturday night that would be for the Wolfsies. Dinner--and no movie.

One final note on melatonin from the New England Journal of Medicine: "After frequent consumption, it will stop working." And so by the way, will anyone who takes it.