Gadling Gear Review: Dream Water

TSA restrictions mean that I can only give up so much space in my bag to concoctions. I like the idea of somewhat more natural ways to get over the jitters and sleeplessness of travel, but there was no way I was going to pack Dream Water, a TSA-friendly-sized product that claims to help you sleep, for a carryon-only, big trip. A recent overnight seemed like the ideal scenario for checking it out.

What is this stuff, anyway? It’s a mix of melatonin, GABA, 5HTP and a few other things, in a 3-ounce serving that you can slurp down before you go to bed (or if you can’t sleep on the flight).

Here’s how I tested it, giving up my innards for science. I slugged back one dose the night before I had a dawn flight and the other in my hotel room in L.A. where I had a one-night stay. I typically sleep badly in both those scenarios. Early morning flights have me waking up repeatedly the night before I fly. And I need three or four days on the road before my inner security system mellows enough to let me sleep well in strange places.How’d it work? Well, okay … I guess. I was genuinely sleepy after taking it at home, I crashed pretty hard in my own bed, though I did not stay asleep any more than I usually do. And in my hotel, well, the “enthusiastic” couple in the next room assured that even if I was going to sleep, I was not going to do so until they finished their exertions.

If you want to know more about what’s in this stuff, there’s a breakdown on Dream Water’s natural ingredients page. You’ll have to do your own sleuthing if you want to know more about what exactly GABA, melatonin, and 5HTP do for your sleep. I have tried all kinds of things to overcome travel sleeplessness and I find that a combination of melatonin at night and sunshine by day is the best solution, though I’ve been known to pack pharmaceuticals for time changes that are more than three or four hours. Jet lag is a drag, right? That’s why I was up for trying this even if it carves into my limited space for liquids in the carryon.

But my results were inconclusive. I’m not convinced I couldn’t get the same results by taking melatonin, a remedy many of travelers swear by. I didn’t love the taste – it’s weirdly artificial – but that’s not what makes me raise my eyebrows. It’s that while I did fall asleep pretty fast after drinking a dose of this stuff, I didn’t stay asleep any longer than I usually do, either at home or while traveling. I didn’t have any weird side effects either; that’s good, but sleep is precious and I’d have liked to get more of that.

The folks that distribute Dream Water say it’s available now in lots of airports on the other side of the security wall, so if you want to try it out on your long-haul flight, try picking some up at the airport. Right now, a six pack is $38.99 directly from Dream Water but there are much better prices if you look around. If you want to try it yourself, there’s a promo for a single serve, you pay shipping and handling of about $3. Me, I’ll stick with melatonin and a nightcap.