Dream on

Today, society's obsession with supplements has become not only part of common conversation but a multimillion dollar industry that is constantly introducing new products, from uppers to stay awake to downers to relax.

As one of these marketed products, Dream Water is a water-based drink that claims to help a person fall asleep quickly and receive a solid four to eight hours of sleep at a time through three main ingredients, according to the product's website.

Its three active ingredients are melatonin to help induce sleep, 5-HTP to help improve the quality of sleep by stimulating the production of melatonin, and gamma-amino butyric acid, or GABA, to reduce anxiety and promote relaxation, as stated on the website.

Dream Water does not state ingredients other than the three active ingredients. The website states that it contains “a proprietary blend of all-natural sleep ingredients generally known to promote effective sleep, among many other benefits.”

The Food and Drug Administration requires that certain information appear on a dietary supplement's label, including if the dietary ingredient is a proprietary blend, or a blend exclusive to the manufacturer. The total weight of the blend and the components of the blend in order of predominance by weight must also be listed, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements National Institutes of Health.

Santa Monica College student Ashley Schimmel says she is a deep sleeper, but if falling asleep were an issue for her, she says she would try sleeping pills, not the water.

"There's nothing worse than not being well-rested," she says. "I would not try dream water. The thought of taking a lot of something and it making me fall asleep terrifies me."

As a zero-calorie drink, Dream Water beverage "shots" are available in Snoozeberry, Lullaby Lemon and Pineapple PM flavors. All flavors are offered as naturally sweetened with naturally-derived plant stevia.

Some consumers may not be swayed by product flavoring. However, SMC student and part-time grocery store employee Melissa Hinojoza has seen how flavoring can reel in consumers.

“Recently Red Bull came out with new flavors," says Hinojoza. "I cannot begin to tell you all the fuss and rave it has become. Many people consume this new item because they prefer flavoring.”

However, Dream Water has had its fair share of nightmares.

A class action law suit against Dream Products, LLC and SarPes Beverages, LLC had been filed by San Diego resident Joe Ferris in September of 2011 regarding Dream Water, which is a product of the two companies.

The plaintiff claimed that the water misrepresents itself in advertising, saying that the company "has been misrepresenting the effectiveness of its products to the general public, in order to reap windfall profits," according to the lawsuit.

SarPes Beverages, LLC is a company formed in 2009 in Miami, Fla. and partnered with the Target Corporation, Kroger Co. and Safeway Inc., according to their business profile on Bloomberg Businessweek.

Dream Products, LLC does not offer any business information or biography on its website.

Hinojoza believes that it is important to be aware of possible side effects with any product.

“I am very much about side effects,” she says. “If a product is trying to be sold to me, that is probably the first thing I want to know. What are its side effects? Obviously results will vary with each person, but there is no way that a sedative cannot have side effects.”

“Dream Water is non-habit forming and offers an effective way to help get a restful night’s sleep without many of negative side effects associated with several of the OTC and prescription sleep aids on the market,” according to the website's FAQ.

"It does scare me a little that products can be put on the market before they have been officially approved by the FDA," says Schimmel. "It just goes to show you that we, as consumers, have to take it upon ourselves to know what we are putting into our bodies."

Vanessa BarajasComment