I was watching TV 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 asleep. 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 is its 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. Also see the Relaxium Sleep review.
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 of the ingredients in Dream Water.
Dream Water Ingredients
Dream Water's active ingredients form a proprietary blend they call “SleepStat.” In order, as they appear on the label, here are the 3 ingredients:
- 5 HTP
Each of these 3 ingredients 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 (neurotransmitter) 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, specificlaly 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 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.
Likewise, be aware that melatonin may also interact with blood thinner medications and diabetes drugs .
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.
In the late 1980s over 30 people died from a rare white blood cell disorder called eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome (EMS). All of the people who died were taking tryptophan supplements.
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 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 has 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 combination 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 Dream Water On A 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 worked for them. Indeed, if you read the comments below, you will find people who say just that. Does Dream Water really work better than melatonin? I can't say for sure.
I tried dream water last night for the first time. Today I am groggy and tired. Won’t take it away.
Hi Diane, thanks for sharing and sorry you woke up feeling tired.
Robert Williams says
Dream water works great for me. Love it. Question – how many mg’s of 5 HTP are in one dosage? Can’t find the amount of 5-HTP anywhere on their site. Does anyone know?
Hi Robert, I did some double checking on this and I’m not sure. I cant find anything on how much 5 HTP is in Dream Water. All 3 ingredients add up to 150 mg. If it helps, since 5HTP is the last ingredient listed in the proprietary blend its likely present in the smallest amount.
I highly suggest you dont take it if your under 18. it says so in the fine print but let me telk ya. you see some WEIRD stuff in the dreams it gives you. I was 12 and my mom bought this for me because ive had sleeping problems for years, so i took it, and i woke up confused and terrified because of the dream. though i did feel well rested, and id like to try it again maybe. at least its gives me some sort of nightmares or dreams.
jenny harding says
i love the stuff but i was wondering why cant u take it if u r on meds for migraines or depression or if u have migraines thank you
Hi Jenny, my guess is because there might -in theory- be an interaction with migraine meds. If you take meds for this why dont you show the ingredients to a pharmacist and see what he/she thinks about it. Let us know what you learn.
dylan jensen says
I love this stuff, I sleep great and feel even better when I wake up
Thanks Dylan, I’m happy it is helping you.
Rachel L Donegan says
Thanks for the article. I have high blood pressure, and had it down. Then I drank the Sleep easy, dream water, snooze berry! AWEFUL. I slept a couple of hours and then up and down all night. Then check my blood pressure, it was wayyyy up! There needs to be a warning on the label. Not for people with high blood pressure. WORST EXPERIENCE EVER!
Hi Rachel, so sorry that happened to you!
Andrea Cherez says
It seems like it would be safer, less expensive and maybe just as effective to use melatonin supplements only. Has melatonin been compared with Dream water?
Hi Andrea, I believe melatonin is the active ingredient in Dream Water. I think they would work the same.
Rachel Weatherly says
I would not use anything like this long term for sleep issues however I recently flew from Australia to US to Columbia and all the way back in 6 days. I used one of these on the flight on the way home and slept comfortably for 9 hours and then used it again my first night home, and as a result of great sleep suffered no jet lag and not drowsiness when waking up. For me it was a lifesaver in being able to get straight back to work the day after I arrived home.
There is an expiration date on the bottom of the bottle. It’s almost impossible to see unless the bottle is completely EMPTY (which doesn’t make much sense)
But The ones I bought in February 2016 have the expiration date October 2017.
And I know this wasn’t your question, but just in case anyone else was wondering, it does say to refrigerate after opening and discard 5 days AFTER opening
I hope this helps
Whats the shelf life on this stuff if left unopened? I don’t see an expiration date on my bottles.
Lonewolf, I honestly dont know. I’d call the company and ask them.
Anything containing 5-HTP may also interact with triptan medications for migraine, sometimes fatally.
I suspect my baby’s daycare of giving my child a sleep aid to sleep or to stay asleep. How can I prove this?
Lizlemmon, wow I really hope not! I’d try taking your child to the doctor. Maybe they can tell from how she/he behaves. They may be able to detect things with a blood test.
I first tried Dream Water on a late night flight and really liked it. I bought two more bottles on my home from that trip and took only half the bottle each night until I used both bottles. I was able to pop up and get my day started without feeling groggy, I may get a little tired a few hours later but that is normal for me. Once I took it on a Friday night and I awoke around 9 am just to eat and lay around but I spent the entire day in bed. So if you’re up it’s okay but don’t get too comfortable or it will put you back to sleep.
While shopping at Wegman’s I noticed that they sold dream water and I bought a 4 pack. I was hoping to get a good night rest for the week but I noticed that each night I have flat out nightmares that are very vivid and disturbing. If it gets too bad I will wake up a few times during the night but the good thing is that I am actually able to go back to sleep, the only problems is that it goes right back to another nightmare. Has this happened to any one else?
Shareen, Ive heard that melatonin can cause vivid dreams. Here is review of melatonin that mentions this: http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/melatonin
Tom Jones says
I have been using this supplement for over 2 years now off and on as needed. I have never had any nightmares and I have never woken up with any feeling other than, that was great and I’m ready to go. I was skeptical when I first saw it and a fund raiser but since I got my first 2 4-packs free to try it, I have been thrilled with it since. I am not technically an insomniac but, I do have a tough time sleeping for years now and can’t thank the inventors enough for this product. I will continue to use it and have turned on many friends to it and so far I’ve heard nothing bad about it. I should probably get a job with them as a distributor, I could probably make some real money just in my circle.
Just my in put. Have a happy new year and dream well.
I have tried dream water 2 nights I am currently tappering off klonopin this stuff is amazing especially if your tryimg to taper off klonopin or xanax just keep track of your blood pressure im doing good the mornings are fine..I sleep betterthan I did on klomopin…would like to take long term….if anyone has taken this long term please let me know thanks ….no nightmares for me at all
I am coming up to my college graduation and have been having trouble falling asleep and staying asleep for the past few weeks so I started drinking a DW shot on nights I knew it would be important for me to get a full nights uninterrupted sleep to be rested for the following day.
I now live by DW. It worked fantastic for me. Only wake up once every now and then (usually to go to the bathroom) and fall right back asleep. I do need a little extra sleep on nights I use DW (usually try to get minimum 8 hours) to eliminate some grogginess the next day, which is typical when using any sleep aid.
I don’t drink energy drinks, very little caffeine (sometimes a tea or latte) and I don’t take any medication so I am not fearful of any side effects. Overall, I am very please with this product and will continue to use it!
Jess congrats on graduating college! 🙂
Very interesting chain. Please comment on DW and insomnia associated with PTSD, especially for military combat veterans.
Bill, I wish I had some information for you but Im not aware of any dream water / PTSD research. Many people hear have commented that dream water has helped them sleep better (some say it didn’t) and from the ingredients I feel it may help some people. as for PTSD, I have no idea. My advise would be to run the ingredients past your doctor and see if they know anything about it.
Best sleep I’ve had in years!! Woke up feeling refreshed and full of energy!
Gene Flow says
Hi – nice review – getting paid from DW? You wrote in a reply to Susie – July 31st – “I think you are the first to say dream water caused heart palpitations.” — yet Cindy and Brittnie both noted heart palpitations earlier – and you responded to Brittnie – so why the sudden amnesia? Your “science” review was also very incomplete.
READERS: note: Joe wrote: “That said, I am reasonably confident that in healthy people Dream Water is probalby 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.”
Does that sound like a qualified scientist? Not at all. Very vague. Heart palpitations can be very dangerous as noted by several people in the comments section.
Joe, please do not attempt to advance scientific information when you are not, in fact, qualified to do so. Many more people may get sent to the ER as a result of your watered-down review. Do you really want to be responsible for that? Is there any amount of ad-money that makes that worth it to you?
Gene, dream water does not pay me to write my reviews. No supplement company or pharm company does. I was attempting to be fair to dream water when I wrote how I thought it was safe in healthy people for occasional use. You will also notice that I also said that dream water had no published peer reviewed proof and also that its combination of ingredients didn’t either.
I can understand how you would feel that I was slanted toward DW but I really was trying be fair. Your point is well taken though and I see your point of view and have altered that sentence.
I disagree 100% that I wrote a watered down review of dream water. As proof, I’ll remind you that I mentioned EMS as a possible side effect of both 5 HTP and tryptophan and advised caution. I never would have mentioned that if I was writing a fluff review. Most people slanted toward supplements never discuss EMS. They dont want people to remember what happened in the late 1980s.
I apologize if I miss spoke when I replied to Susie. I forgot about Cindy and Brittnie and I apologize to those ladies also. I’m guilty of having a bad memory in this instance but that is all.
Gene Flow says
I owe you an apology! I was a little harsh with you, and I commend you for both posting my comment and also responding to it! I also would like to take back my words: “Joe, please do not attempt to advance scientific information when you are not, in fact, qualified to do so.” — You did not “advance” any scientific information – you simply made a decent attempt to “distribute” it – and that is commendable – especially in a day and age when many people do not trust scientists – and in a time when there is a HUGE disconnect between scientists and the general public. Decades of advanced study are required to truly understand the abstracts in the scientific literature – let alone the whole articles! You are brave to cite and summarize the literature! I will agree that you made a best attempt to provide a balanced review and not a watered-down review as I incorrectly accused you of doing.
From your perspective, you did just fine. From my perspective, I would like to add some critical information which caused me to mistakenly accuse you of being an ad agent and/or writing a watered-down review:
First of all, because the science is currently unclear on the relation between 5-HTP and various disease conditions, the general public is warned by the National Institutes of Health to avoid taking this supplement unless under the supervision of a licensed health care professional (ie a Medical Doctor). Your literature review missed the critical relationship between 5-HTP and supporting amino acids that are needed to keep the 5-HTP “system” in balance to ensure proper functioning and prevention of imbalance that can result in disease conditions. The 5-HTP “system” includes the neurotransmitter dopamine. From the National Institutes of Health:
“Administration of 5-HTP alone is contraindicated for depression and any process involving a catecholamine component due to its ability to facilitate depletion of these neurotransmitters. 5-HTP should be administered carefully in patients because depletion of dopamine and norepinephrine may exacerbate existing disease processes or precipitate onset of catecholamine-related problems.
Administering serotonin or dopamine amino acid precursors should never involve administration of only one amino acid. Improperly balanced amino acid precursors are associated with decreased efficacy, increased side effects, and depletion of the nondominant system.” [taken from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3415362/%5D
And note that at least 2 people commented here that they had to go to the Emergency Room after taking this supplement with serious conditions. The scientific information that I provided is just the tip of the iceberg.
The main point is that Dream Water – and every 5-HTP supplement CAN be very dangerous and therefore should not be taken apart from the supervision of a qualified health professional.
The whole environment of “supplements” is way too relaxed these days – the huge disconnect between valid science and the general public is only getting worse – I advise you to be much more vigilant in obtaining health information relating to supplements. In reality, you need at least a decade more of advanced education. You almost need a Medical Degree to even be able to speak correctly about supplements. I have heard WAY too many people talk about supplements with literally NO UNDERSTANDING of the physiological and metabolic pathways involved. This does a huge disservice to our community. I suggest that if you are truly interested in the relation between supplements and physiology that you apply for an advanced doctoral degree in physiology. Good luck!
Gene, no worries and I appreciate you writing back. I have been thinking about your comment for a few days now and I do want to beef up my review of dream water and add the side effects of those who have previously left comments also. Ive been leery of 5 HTP for a long time because of what you have stated previously. Ive been writing about/investigating supplements for well over 10 years (almost 20 I think) but truth be told, I do sometimes think about getting a PhD to augment my other science degrees.
I have chronic sleep issues from working overnight on a weekly basis. Tried dream water this am and slept until 1:30pm. I did notice my heart racing before I fell asleep and I was groggy at wake up. I would try 1/2 shot next time.
KK thanks for writing. yes, its always best to start a new supplement with less than the recommended amount at first, just to see what might happen. That’s what I do.
Dream water caused a terrible reaction for me. I had difficulty waking up, felt like I was in a haze, had memory loss and lost a day and a half of work. My fiance took me to the ER for evaluation the morning after I took Dream water. The ER tests showed slowed heart rate and diminished cognitive status. I appeared drugged.
I was there for several hours before they let me go home. I don’t believe my situation is the norm, but use caution and know that this is serious medicine.
Tamara, wow! So sorry that happened to you!
Dave LaValley says
I’ve tried Dream Water 3 times and I have to say that it DEFINITELY works for me. PLUS I have amazing dreams with no grogginess in the morning. I’m a skeptic on pretty much everything – and I expected it NOT to have any noticeable effects. All I can say is it absolutely makes me pass out.