I was watching TV recently when I saw a commercial for a supplement called Dream Water. Dream Water is basically a small bottle of water that has ingredients – which we'll cover below- to help you fall sleep. A liquid sleep aid supplement is definitely something I had not seen before so I decided to take a look at Dream Water. Does it work? What are it's ingredients? Does Dream Water have any side effects? So, let's take a deep dive review of Dream Water and see if it's right for you.
Dream Water Research
I was unable to locate any clinical studies on Dream Water itself. That said, I have a good idea that it might help some people fall asleep based on its ingredients. That said, does the combination of ingredients in Dream Water work better than any of the individual ingredients alone? Let's next take a look at the sleep evidence the ingredients in Dream Water.
Dream Water Ingredients
- 5 HTP
Each of these 3 ingredietns adds up to 150 mg total.
That said, we are not told is how much GABA, melatonin and 5 HTP is in this sleep supplement. All we are told on the label is that it is a proprietary blend (which they call “SleepStat”).
Let's briefly review each ingredient and see what the research says.
GABA is short for Gamma Amino Butyric Acid. GABA is a brain chemical (neutrotransmitter) that does have a calming, sedative effect on nerves. That said, in order for GABA supplements to help insomnia, GABA would have to pass through the blood brain barrier that protects the brain and central nervous system.
According to a study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, it appears that GABA supplements cannot cross the blood brain barrier. Even so, GABA supplements do appear to calm nerves outside of the central nervous system and this is likely why GABA is in Dream Water.
Interestingly, some older research has shown that GABA can increase growth hormone levels when given to healthy people (5 grams of GABA was used in this study). Higher amounts of GABA however decrease growth hormone levels.
The hormone, melatonin, is made in the brain, specially in the pineal gland. Melatonin levels rise at night and decrease during the day. In fact it is the lack of sunlight (or any light) that causes the release of melatonin. The darker your bedroom, the more melatonin you make.
A good amount of the melatonin research finds that it can help those who have issues with their sleep/wake cycles. These are technically called circadian rhythms. There is also some evidence that melatonin helps insomnia as well.
Melatonin has also been studied for a number of other conditions. Some research hints that melatonin may help migraine headaches. Other researchers find melatonin may help some forms of cancer There may be something to this but women should speak to their doctor before taking melatonin supplements.
Teenagers usually don't have any trouble sleeping (because they make a LOT of melatonin) but just in case, young adults should avoid melatonin. Some research shows that melatonin might effect the development of the gonads.
Melatonin might increase blood pressure and heart rate in those who have high blood pressure. In theory, this risk may be increased when used with 5 HTP supplements.
This is also called 5 hydroxy tryptophan. It's called this because 5-HTP “looks” like the amino acid, tryptophan. Most people have heard about how the tryptophan in warm milk helps people sleep right? Tryptophan is made into the brain chemical called serotonin which has a calming effect on the body. 5-HTP also kind of “looks” like serotonin as well.
It's well known that 5 HTP can raise serotonin levels.
This however is what may make 5HTP potentially harmful. There is a condition called serotonin syndrome, where serotonin levels go too high. This can lead to dangerous elevations in blood pressure and heart rate. The risk of this may be increased in people who take antidepressant drugs.
Since 5 HTP looks like tryptophan, might it also increase EMS? I don't know. I am not aware of any cases of EMS stemming from 5 HTP supplements but I thought I would mention it.
As I outlined in my book Nutritional Supplements What Works and Why, the link between tryptophan supplements and EMS is contentious. Some say that EMS was due to an impurity (sometimes called Peak X) in a batch of tryptophan made in Japan. Others say it was tryptophan itself that caused EMS in susceptible individuals (this is because the Peak X impurity was not found in all cases of EMS). Regardless what what caused the EMS outbreak of the late 1980s, I believe both tryptophan and 5 HTP supplements should be used with caution.
5 HTP is also found in the weight loss supplement 1 Db Goddess.
Dream Water Side Effects
As far as I can tell, Dream Water has not been tested in published peer reviewed studies. To my knowledge also, the specific combination of 3 ingredients in Dream Water – GABA, 5 HTP and Melatonin have also not been adequately tested for safety either in published peer reviewed studies.
That said, I am reasonably confident that in healthy people Dream Water is safe for short term use. The levels of GABA, melatonin and 5 HTP are probably low enough that healthy people may not experience adverse effects if Dream Water is used occasionally.
Of the 3 ingredients in Dream Water, I think both GABA and melatonin are probably the safest overall for most people. It is the 5HTP ingredient that gives me some concern.
In theory 5 HTP may interact with:
- Antidepressant medications
- Parkinson's medications
- Over the counter cough suppressants
- Pain medications
- Supplements used for depression (like St. John's Wort)
The evidence for these interactions is not concrete and is based for the most part on worst case scenarios. Still, given the seriousness of serotonin syndrome causing drastic increases in blood pressure and heart rate, I think it was worth mentioning.
The Dream Water website (DrinkDreamWater.com) does state that they do not recommend long term use of their product. They also state Dream Water should not be combined with any medications – including alcohol. The company goes on to say that people should consult their doctor if they experience any adverse effects from Dream Water. I feel these statements are appropriate and congratulate the Dream Water company for saying this.
Melatonin might cause vivid dreams or nightmares especially if too much is used. How likely this is to happen with Dream Water I don't know.
- Stop taking dream water at least 2 weeks before having surgery
- Don't take dream water if you are pregnant/breastfeeding
- Dream Water is not intended for people under 18
What's The Active Ingredient?
Of the 3 different ingredients in this sleep supplement:
- 5 HTP
I believe melatonin is the main active ingredient. I see more evidence for melatonin than the other ingredients. Is it possible the combinaion of all 3 ingredients works better than melatonin by itself? Sure, its possible. But, that would take studies to prove for sure. I'm not aware of any Dream Water vs. melatonin research.
How Much Does Dream Water Cost?
Dream Water is sold via its website and at over 30,000 locations such as Walmart and Walgreens. The product comes in two sizes:
- 2.5 oz “sleep shot“
- 8 oz size bottle
Both sizes of Dream Water have zero calories. Both the 2.5 oz sleep shot and the 8 oz version are said to have the same concentration of ingredients.
On the Dream Water website, a 6 pack of the Lullaby Lemon Sleep Shot (2.5 oz) costs $19.95. A 12 pack costs $38.99 and a 24 pack is $71.99.
A 6 pack of the 8 oz Lullaby Lemon costs $19.99. A 12 pack costs $33.99 and a 24 pack costs $59.99.
Since nighttime trips to the bathroom can interrupt sleep, taking Dream Water at least an hour before bedtime -or using the smaller 2.5 oz Sleep Shot – might be a good idea.
Can You Take It On Plane?
The product is sold in every major airport so it better be allowed on planes. Fortunately, yes, the smaller 2.5 oz Dream Water bottles state they are TSA Compliant. The 8 oz bottle likely is not TSA compliant.
Who Makes Dream Water?
The company is called Sarpes Beverages LLC also known as Dream Products LLC which was founded in 2009. The company website is DrinkDreamWater.com. The company is located at 2001 Tyler St Suite # 5 Hollywood, FL 33020.
Does Dream Water Work?
The ingredients seem logical to me so I would not be surprised if some people say Dream Water works for them. Indeed, if you read the comments below, you will find people who say just that. Does Dream Water work better than melatonin? I can't say for sure.