Does Dream Water Work?
Americans are chronically, acutely sleep deprived. Dream Water promises better sleep with no drugs. Does it actually work? Let’s talk.
Call it up-late capitalism. The CDC has officially declared sleep deprivation a public health epidemic. Besides making us tired and cranky, insufficient shut-eye makes our brains fuzzy, puts us at greater risk for certain psychiatric disorders, and to top it all off it’s also making us fat.
A third of Americans qualify as chronically underslept, and some 50 to 70 million Americans suffer from the more than 70 different types of sleep disorders that exist, the most common of which is insomnia, or difficulty falling and/or staying asleep.
Never fear, though. According to CBInsights, the $3.7 trillion wellness industry has heard our yawns. Sleep is a hot new frontier, and companies are cranking out new sleep-boosting supplements, foods, bedding, clothes, and apps faster than you can, well, fall asleep.
Besides the old OTC standbys like AdvilPM (a personal favorite) and Simply Sleep, beauty supplement brands are getting in the game as well with products like The Nue Co., HUM Nutrition, and Moon Juice.
Enter Dream Water. What is Dream Water? It’s a zero-calorie 2.5-oz sleep shot that’s packaged like a 5-Hour Energy, but promises the opposite effect.
The three main active Dream Water sleep aid ingredients are GABA, Melatonin, and 5-HTP. And it might soon have some new ingredients. Harvest One Cannabis acquired Dream Water in May.
Most Amazon reviewers say Dream Water is effective at getting them to sleep and keeping them there.
Opinions on taste are mixed, with some saying it’s good, other saying it’s terrible, and most saying it’s okay. People seem to be more positive about the Snoozeberry flavor than the Nighttime Nectar.
The thing people really hate about Dream Water is packaging that makes bottle caps often very difficult to remove. Cue the Wrap rage.
I looked for other Dream Water reviews and found a video that made me feel very, very old.
Does Dream Water work? Our sleep challenge
At Biomarker Labs, we challenged three people to try Dream Water, a sleep aid with GABA, Melatonin, and 5-HTP for five days. We used fitness monitors to measure their sleep quality and duration.
Our data science team analyzed more than 337.52 hours of sleep, comparing the five days taking Dream Water with nine days afterward taking nothing. They measured their sleep using Fitbits. Keep in mind that our challenge had many limitations, including a small sample size, no placebo group, and different Fitbit models between users.
We found taking Dream Water was correlated with a slight increase in total sleep, with the greatest increase in light sleep. On the negative side, our participants did see a slight increase in time spent awake in bed. They also woke up throughout the night 20% more on Dream Water than than on subsequent nights without Dream Water.
More problematically, perhaps, is that most challenge takers felt less rested on the days after they drank Dream Water. They were reporting morning-time grogginess and fuzzy headedness.
How we computed the sleep results
To calculate the totals above, our data science team found the average time challenge takers spent asleep, in each type of sleep, how long they were awake, and how many times they woke up. They subtracted the averages for each data point for the days they drank Dream Water from the days they did not.
Light Sleep duration change = Average time spent in light sleep on baseline days for all participants - average time spent in light sleep on days drinking Dream Water
To make results easier to understand, our data scientists flipped the signs of any numbers where a positive is actually a bad thing or a negative is a good thing, like “awake minutes” which most people want a lower number of.
Getting to sleep
To understand how easily our Dream Water drinkers got to sleep we asked them how they felt it affected ease of going to sleep.
A factor in quality of sleep measured in terms of average minutes awake per night and average times awoken per night.
A factor in Quality of Sleep measured in terms of average REM minutes per night.
Based on a journal question about mental acuity and mental sharpness, and is measured in points. The change was a positive 0.72 points on average in this case.
Quality of sleep
Our team looked at objective and subjective measures of sleep quality.
Subjective sleep quality
Our data geeks gave each part of how the challenge takers felt the next day a weight, out of 100%:
How happy do you feel right now? 10%
How tired are you feeling? 30%
How well do you think you slept last night? 50%
How would you rate your mental acuity/sharpness right now? 10%
And then they took the weighted sum of those values to compute a single measure: the Journal Biomarker. On average, the Journal Biomarker was 4.93%.
Objective sleep quality
Quality of sleep is a weighted average of percent differences across light sleep, deep sleep, rem sleep, total sleep, awake minutes, and times awoken. In short, it's a metric that measures whether there was overall sleep improvement. A positive number means improvement while a negative number means decrease. It ranges from -100 to 100.
To get the “quality of sleep” measure our data geeks gave each part of sleep a weight, out of 100%:
light, minutes: 12.5%
deep, minutes: 25%
rem, minutes: 25%
total_sleep, minutes: 21.875%
awake, minutes: 12.5%
On average, our Dream Water drinkers’ quality of sleep improved 10.94%.
Products used in this study
The Does It Work Podcast
See for yourself
Would you like to assess the effect of Dream Water or any other wellness improvement on your self? Sign up to beta test Biomarker.io below - it’s an app that connects with your wearables to let you know how well your wellness choices are working for you. Or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to talk.
Purchases made from some links may benefit Biomarker Labs.
Dream Water did not pay for, promote, or influence the results of this study in any way.