The EarlyBird Night Cap, is it worth it? Does it work? For the short and sweet answer, yes, EarlyBird Night Cap does improve sleep quality when taken consistently along with other positive sleep habits.
Although if I left you there, you wouldn’t have the full picture. Let’s rewind real quick for some context….
Since I was 17 years old, I have become obsessed with figuring out how to wake up early consistently. I know I’m more productive when I get an early start, but it’s so difficult actually to make it a practice. Over the years, I honed my routine and was finally able to manage waking up at 3:45 am for three years. Pretty crazy.
Fast forward a few years, and I moved away from my past gym partner (certainly helps with motivation to get out of bed knowing someone is waiting for you), I’m a little older than before, and I don’t have nearly as many accountability systems in place as I once did.
This made me realize I hadn’t so much “become” a morning person, I just surrounded myself with outside accountability that “forced” me to be consistent. So to speak.
There is nothing wrong with this, but I started to struggle to wake up early and needed to find a better solution. This is where I discovered the first piece of the puzzle, EarlyBird Morning Cocktail (read about my experience with it here).
This drink concoction helped get me back on track with my early morning routine, but I still found myself struggling at times and needed to figure out why.
It wasn’t until I got a Whoop health tracker that I realized my problem wasn’t so much waking up early as it was the terrible sleep I was getting.
With three young children, a puppy, and a job that requires my full attention, I knew I wasn’t getting “optimal” sleep, but I didn’t think it was as bad as it had become.
According to my sleep analytics, I was averaging 6 1/2 hours in bed, with only 5 hours of sleep, and 15-20 disturbances a night. No wonder it was difficult to wake up early!
I knew I needed to change something, which is right about the time EarlyBird released their new Night Cap drink for better sleep. I figured anything might help at this point, so I got some to try out. Here is my review after taking it nightly for 31 days along with tracking my sleep performance.
What is the Night cap drink?
For those unfamiliar, Night Cap is a sleep aid drink created by the Early Bird company that also makes a complementary morning drink called the Morning Cocktail. This drink contains different ingredients than you might expect with absolutely no melatonin, artificial sleep aids, or other filler ingredients.
The Night Cap drink is something you drink 30 minutes to 1 hour before bed to assist in better quality sleep.
Why is it called “Night Cap”?
The EarlyBird company has a “cocktail” themed drink lineup complete with cocktail shaker bottles. Their morning drink is modeled after a Blood Orange Mimosa flavor, while their Night Cap drink is modeled after a Honey Lemon Long Island.
The 31-Night Challenge
When I test out a product, I like to be consistent and do it over a long period of time to track real results. I hate it when I see someone review a “supplement” for 3 days and then form an opinion over its effectiveness. You need more time in my opinion.
For my 31-Night challenge, I took 1 serving of Night Cap 1 hour before bed every night. In addition, I created a pre-sleep routine. Something I hadn’t done well before. This routine included:
- Drink 1 serving of EarlyBird Night Cap 1 hour before bed.
- Keep a consistent bed time.
- Avoid screens and bright lights 1 hour before bed.
- Aim for at least 6 hours of quality sleep (from my past experience, I feel best at 6 hours of sleep (probably different than most people). Too much sleep makes me groggy and tired, and too little does the same. 6-7 hours is the sweet spot for me.
Does Night Cap actually work?
After testing for 31 nights, sticking to the routine above, I noticed significant improvements to my overall sleep quality. Due to my slightly earlier bedtime that remained consistent, I had an average of 7 hours in bed, with an average of 6 1/2 hours of sleep. This is a 92% sleep efficiency up from my previous average of 76% efficiency before.
Disturbances (times I was randomly awakened) went from 15-20, down to 7-8 per night.
Lastly, my REM sleep went from 38%, down to 24%. This might seem like a bad thing, but it’s actually not. REM sleep for a healthy adult should be anywhere from 20-25% of your sleep. When you average more than that, it’s a sign your body is trying to make up for lost sleep.
Lastly, aside from the statistical improvement, my general overall wellbeing was improved as well. Keeping a strict nightly routine helped me fall asleep much fast.
Avoiding screen time allowed me to focus on more productive tasks, like planning for the next day or reading an educational book.
Better sleep allowed me to wake up at my desired time easier with less of the mental battle in my head trying to get me to stay in bed.
How does it taste?
Taste is important to me. I’m a baby when it comes to taste and can’t drink something consistently that I don’t enjoy (aka 95% of the protein powders out there ?).
Night Cap is based on a Honey Lemon Long Island. I was unsure about this before tasting it, as that wouldn’t typically be my drink of choice.
Although, I was pleasantly surprised at the flavor of the Morning Cocktail, so I had high hopes.
It did not disappoint. While I enjoy the taste of the morning drink, Night Cap is even better. It was something I actually looked forward to drinking rather than having to plug my nose and try to think of the health benefits like most supplements.
What are the actual ingredients?
Ingredients are important. How much of this effect is a placebo? Are any of the ingredients addictive long-term or detrimental to health? All things that should be considered with any sleep aid.
Here is the breakdown of the Night Cap ingredients, along with my research and opinion on each.
Pharma Gaba is an ingredient well studied, but not commonly used. It promotes relaxation and can reduce stress and anxiety; all things that can greatly improve sleep.
According to multiple studies, after 60 minutes of administration, GABA significantly increases alpha waves and decreases beta waves compared to water or L-theanine. These findings note that GABA not only induces relaxation but also reduces anxiety.
Night Cap has a 200mg dose of Pharma Gaba which is an optimal amount. Most studies have recommended dosage of 100-200mg to see the desired results.
So Night Cap gets an “A+” for this ingredient.
According to EarlyBird, Magnesium Chelate:Promotes relaxation & calmness, naturally regulates your body’s melatonin and binds to GABA to help calm your body and mind!
Magnesium plays a role in supporting deep, restorative sleep by maintaining healthy levels of GABA, a neurotransmitter that promotes sleep. Research indicates supplemental magnesium can improve sleep quality, especially in people with poor sleep.
While the recommended dosage for Magnesium for improved sleep is typically 200-300mg, Magnesium Chelate has the advantage of being superior in the sense that it offers superior bioavailability and increased stability, which allows for more of the nutrients to be properly utilized by the body.
AKA you need less Magnesium Chelate than you would need Magnesium to get the same effect.
Night Cap has 30mg of Magnesium Chelate. From my research, this still seems on the low side, but I did find a study to suggest even dosages as low as 30mg can have the passive effects mentioned above.
In addition, Magnesium Chelate does bond to Gaba, which is also an ingredient in Night Cap, furthering its effectiveness.
Overall I’d give this ingredient and dosage an “A”.
According to EarlyBird, Zinc:Reduces movement & restlessness for longer quality sleep and regulates your body clock increasing sleep time & efficiency!
Newer research has suggested that Zinc actually plays a significant role in sleep regulation. This study demonstrates that Zinc taken orally can improve the quality of sleep and limit “restless” sleep.
The recommended dosage according to 4 studies I found is between 40-80mg when taken as a sleep aid. Night Cap contains only 20mg.
This is certainly lower than the commonly recommended dose. The only reason I think they decided to include a lower dose was that this is just one of many sleep-aid ingredients in this supplement.
If you were taking Zinc and Zinc alone to try and improve your sleep, it is logical that you would want a higher dosage than if you were taking multiple sleep aids at once.
Nonetheless, I think Night Cap could probably benefit from a higher dosage of Zinc. I’ll give the ingredient an “A+” and the Dosage a “B”.
EarlyBird say L-Theanine:Amino found in tea promotes relaxation & calmness, plus helps brain lower stress and anxiety, allowing you to sleep faster and deeper.
While all that is true about L-Theanine, they did miss one positive trait. L-Theanine, when combined with Gaba (also an ingredient in Night Cap) decreases sleep latency and improves REM sleep.
“Sleep Latency” is the time it takes you to actually fall asleep. This time varies widely for different people, but a decrease in latency is a positive thing regardless. This means less time attempting to fall asleep and more time actually sleeping.
The dosage in Night Cap is 200mg. According to one study, L-Theanine when combined with Gaba at a dosage of 100mg improved sleep latency by 14.9% and increased sleep duration 26.8%.
This is a huge improvement and the perfect ingredient to combine with Pharma Gaba. This ingredient gets an “A++”.
According to EarlyBird, they say L-Glycine is an:Amino shown to decrease body temperature to shorten how long it takes to fall asleep and also enhances sleep quality (more time in REM)
L-Glycine is an interesting ingredient. According to a few prominent studies, one of the largest effects it has on improved sleep comes from its ability to lower core body temperature.
If you have studied sleep at any length, you’ll know that a lower core body temperature results in better sleep quality and duration.
Night Cap has dosed L-Glycine at 1,000mg. Commonly recommended dosages are anywhere from 2,000-3,000mg when being used as a sleep aid. Again, my guess for the lower dose included in Night Cap is likely that it is mixed with other sleep aids that all work together requiring less of each.
Given this, and the strong reputation L-Glycine has for improved sleep quality, I’d give this ingredient a strong “A”.
Lastly, EarlyBird say Rutaecarpine:Speeds up your body’s ability to metabolize caffeine, cancelling out any caffeine effect so you sleep faster and improve sleep quality
This is probably one of the most unique ingredients on this list as it’s not something you would typically see in a sleep aid (although it probably should be).
Rutaecarpine was initially studied for its effects at speeding up the metabolization rate of caffeine so that people could drink caffeine later on in the day without the negative sleep effects.
The initial studies all proved it was successful at increasing the liver’s ability to metabolize caffeine. One caveat though, most of these studies were conducted with the participants (humans and rats) taking Rutaecarpine BEFORE caffeine consumption.
While taking this ingredient an hour before bed as Night Cap recommends still may help clear out caffeine from your system, it’s not quite as effective as when taken BEFORE caffeine consumption.
Nonetheless, I think this is an excellent addition to the ingredients because even if it helps process caffeine at a slightly increased rate, it will have a positive effect on sleep quality.
Overall Thoughts on Ingredients
I was pleasantly surprised after going through this ingredient list and seeing the effects firsthand. These ingredients are expertly selected to work with each other for optimal results while avoiding anything that would lead to negative health effects, grogginess, or dependencies.
I’m not sure who actually formulates these products, but you can clearly see they have done their research, thought outside the box of traditional supplements, and selected the highest quality ingredients to achieve the desired effect.
How much does it cost?
High-quality ingredients come at a cost. Night Cap will run you $1.73 per serving for a single bottle. This comes to a total of $78 for the 45-serving bottle with a shaker included (these are pretty high quality as well).
While this price may seem steep when you find you can purchase 180 servings of melatonin from Amazon for a little over $9. But if that’s your thought process, I’d suggest you are missing the point of Night Cap.
The goal with this product is to increase your sleep quality, using healthy ingredients that don’t leave lasting hangover effects or mess with your body’s normal sleep hormones like melatonin.
I can’t answer the question “is this product right for me” since everyone’s situation is different, but from my point of view, improvement in the quality of my sleep affects my entire day. It affects the quality of work I get done. My mood. My energy and so much more.
For me, $1.78 a day is a small price to pay for the effects better quality sleep has on my life.
Now, this isn’t a magic formula. Simply taking this while avoiding setting up nighly routines for yourself will have a limited effect and likely not be worth the money.
If you choose to invest in this, I recommend you go all in, take this consistently, and implement a nightly routine to keep you on track.
EarlyBird Night Cap Discount Code
You can purchase Night Cap at a 10% discount here on their website using coupon code LEGIONARY10. If you are going to make the investment, might as well save some money in the process. (Note, this 10% discount only works on their website, it will not apply to purchases from Amazon).