James Dixon has long been an advocate for the restorative power of sleep. But can this patch really help you get a better night’s sleep? Find out in this Zleep review below…
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Zleep are a wellness brand whose topical sleep patches have been gaining some traction of late. They claim that their patches can aid sleep, helping their users to fall asleep faster, stay asleep, and wake up feeling far more refreshed.
All you need to do is simply stick on a patch, get to bed on time, and the formula released by Zleep will do the rest.
Sound too good to be true? Well, it probably is.
I came into this review with a healthy degree of skepticism based on a few factors. That skepticism remains – I have to question whether Zleep can do what it claims to do, whether the formula is workable, whether, in fact, it does much of anything at all.
Quick Verdict: Zleep Sleep Patches
Zleep doesn’t work. Though the ingredients list is solid at first glance, there are three major problems with it that make the whole lot almost entirely ineffective.
Firstly, the list is a bit lean. This needn’t be too much of a problem as what it does include is clinically valid and would work incredibly well were it not for the two other problems. Namely, the whole lot is chronically underdosed. Most of the ingredients are included at something like ten percent of their effective dosing. Finally, it’s a topical patch most of whose ingredients cannot be absorbed topically.
Essentially, it could have the best, most generously dosed formula going (which it assuredly does not), and it still wouldn’t work. Few of the meagre ingredients will actually make it into your system to do what they are meant to do.
I find it hard to believe that Zleep are unaware of these facts. Instead, we prefer oral supplementation in the form of melatonin rich tart cherry supplements – for which Performance Lab Sleep is an ideal choice.
Zleep patches are simply topical supplements designed to help you sleep. They claim to induce sleep and allow for deeper sleep, keeping you fast asleep through the night. The ingredients included in Zleep’s formula are released slowly through the night, entering the skin, then in to the blood stream, before dwindling towards morning.
A lot of their theory revolves around melatonin, a chemical produced naturally within the pineal gland in your brain.
Melatonin is released when it’s time to switch off and go to sleep. It gives you that drowsy, sleepy feeling you should be experiencing in the run up to bed time. Melatonin supplementation has been shown to be incredibly effective for maintaining and assisting a good sleep-wake schedule.
There are additional ingredients in the formula, of course. These should, in theory, interact with key neurotransmitters in the brain, specifically those that relate to mood and anxiety. They should raise the levels of these neurotransmitters, meaning a reduction in stress, a greater sense of calmness and wellbeing, and an overall improved mood.
All told, if these claims are correct, you would indeed expect to see an improvement to your sleeping patterns and quality of sleep. For those struggling with sleep conditions like insomnia, or even those who simply struggle to wake up feeling refreshed, this can be a godsend – it can be a real temptation.
However, as we will soon see, this temptation is probably best avoided. The above is all the manufacturer’s theory. In reality, there are several large holes in their reasoning.
How Zleep Works
If it can be said that Zleep works (and I’m skeptical that it can – it certainly didn’t for me, see below), it’s as a topical injection of various ingredients related to sleep and mood that should allow you to get to sleep and stay asleep for more ably, before waking up with a far clearer head.
The ingredients are sent straight into the bloodstream through skin pores via transdermal – again, I’m unconvinced.
Everything is time released, meaning that they ease off in time for you to wake up, which is admittedly quite clever. The idea is that you should wake up clearer headed.
As I mentioned above, a lot of this revolves around melatonin, supplementation of which has been proven to improve sleep quality. This makes a good amount of sense. Melatonin is the main hormone that puts you to sleep, keeps you there, and regulates your sleep wake cycle.
As we’ll see below, there are plenty of additional ingredients, like l-theanine and ashwagandha, which are known to raise levels of key neurotransmitters like GABA, which among other things help to reduce symptoms of anxiety.
Again, if the theory checks out, this is a very good idea. Stress and anxiety are amongst the leading causes of insomnia and other sleep-related issues. Combatting them is good sense if you’re looking to improve sleep quality.
If this all worked as it’s supposed to, we would have a fantastic product here, capable of both inspiring improved sleep and reducing the barriers to sleep simultaneously.
There is nothing too much wrong with the ingredients list. It’s a pretty stellar cast of sleep-improving compounds. If they were consumed using an appropriate delivery method, in good doses, you would indeed expect to see some improvements both to sleep quality and stress and anxiety levels when using Zleep.
Melatonin is a must-have and a great foundation for the formula. It is perhaps the best studied ingredient for sleep supplementation. It has been shown multiple times in good quality studies to help synchronize circadian rhythms and reduce time-to-sleep, whilst also increasing quality and duration of sleep.
You’ll also commonly see chamomile, our next ingredient, in plenty of sleep products. Indeed, chamomile tea is one of the oldest, most potent sleep remedies going. It’s one of my go-to methods for improving sleep when I’m going through periods of stress. There is plenty of clinical data backing up its efficacy in aiding sleep quality and mitigating the symptoms of stress and anxiety.
The herbs ashwagandha and valerian root are also solid. Both are widely used in sleep supplements across the industry. Both have been clinically proven to improve sleep quality.
You get a surprisingly generous helping of magnesium, which has proven benefits for sleep, and which I suspect brings you most of the meagre benefits offered up by Zleep.
This is a bit of a lean list, but it’s well-thought out. Or, at least, what is included is well thought out. Take a well-dosed oral supplement with these ingredients and you’ll be onto a winner.
Unfortunately, this is where things start to fall apart.
Firstly, the dosing is nowhere near sufficient. The supplement is unfit for purpose because it delivers such meagre portions of each ingredient.
For example, the effective dose for ashwagandha to improve sleep quality is upwards of 100 mg according to most research. The same is true of chamomile – you need over 100 mg of it. For valerian root, you need a whopping 300-600 mg per day to see any benefits.
These herbal ingredients are all grouped together into a blend called the ‘Dream Patch Complex’. Basically, you can’t see how much of each is included. What you can see is that the ‘Dream Patch Complex’ contains six ingredients and comes in at a total dose of just 65 mg per patch. That means an average of around 11 mg per ingredient.
This is one of the most stingily dosed supplements I think I’ve ever reviewed. Based on dosing alone, Zleep will not work. It is rendered pretty much pointless.
Then there is the delivery mechanism. Topical application just doesn’t work for several of the key ingredients. You cannot absorb them through the skin. So, even if they were dosed well, which they absolutely are not, you wouldn’t be getting any of it into your system.
Magnesium is eminently absorbable through the skin, with plenty of clinical evidence to prove it. After all, Epsom salts, which have been used medically for millennia and have proven clinical benefits, are just magnesium chloride. They are topical and work perfectly well.
Melatonin has also been shown to be effectively absorbed through transdermal supply, albeit at far lower doses than Zleep relies on.
This is it. There is no evidence that any of the other ingredients work topically in any way. You need to ingest them. And you need to do so in much higher doses than Zleep offers.
The main plus point to using Zleep is that it’s easy to use. Simply slap a patch on before bed and you’re good to go. And it is indeed easy. You begin by peeling the film off the back of the patch. Then put it somewhere on your body without too much body hair, such as your shoulder or inner forearm. Then go to bed.
It couldn’t be simpler.
So you might be wasting money and hope by investing in Zleep, but at least you’re not wasting much time or effort. That’s got to be a good thing, right?
You won’t really feel any benefit in falling asleep or staying asleep. In fact, the nightmares you get from having wasted so much money on buying your Zleep patches may well make things worse.
I certainly didn’t get any benefit.
Honestly, a cup of chamomile and passionflower tea from my local supermarket ($5 a box, which is a couple of month’s supply, or go to a health food store for a more potent blend at more like $10), does far more than Zleep ever could.
I actually sleep quite well when I get things right. Supplement well (with proper, bona fide supplements, which again mostly means chamomile tea), meditate before bed, keep stress levels low, make sure I’ve tired myself out, and so on. I always wake up with a foggy head. It takes me ages to come around, much to my wife’s ongoing chagrin.
Zleep didn’t help here, either.
I felt the same as I always feel when I wake up – like I could easily sleep for another five hours.
It took the same double espresso as I always drink each morning to kick start me (you can buy a bag of espresso beans and a moka pot for about the same as a month’s supply of Zleep, even if you go with fancier coffee.)
Overall, then, Zleep failed in every major way. It didn’t help me get to sleep above and beyond what my pre-existing routine does for me. I always wake up at least once in the night. I continued to do so whilst using Zleep patches. And I was as lethargic as ever come morning.
But still, as above, at least it’s easy to use. If only it actually worked.
Do note that this isn’t all just subjective whinging on my part. It’s backed up by a cursory look at Zleep’s own website. Or, at least, the overall lack of scruples and efficacy are.
For example, there are several questionable and un-cited health claims they put up as if they are the God’s honest truth.
They claim, for example, that their product’s absorption rate is 65% without offering any proof (because there isn’t any). They claim that it begins to work in just 3-5 minutes, again without offering any proof, again because there isn’t any.
They include a diagram of their patch which makes the bizarre claim that the so-called ‘formula layer’ is designed to slowly release nutrients through the night, which is a lovely idea. But I’m sure you know where I’m going with this – they offer no proof, because there isn’t any.
There are some mild side effects associated with some of the ingredients included in their formula. For example, l-theanine may cause headaches. Ashwagandha can cause an upset stomach. You probably wouldn’t experience any of these, however. The dosing is negligible and even these small amounts won’t actually get into your system.
So Zleep is safe as well as easy to use. Let’s not always focus on the negative.
No surprise, then, but I wouldn’t recommend Zleep. It doesn’t work, and the manufacturers should know it doesn’t. There are plenty of alternative roots, including a nice cup of chamomile tea, as mentioned above. There are also plenty of good quality sleep supplements that really can do a lot for your sleep quality.
Alternatives – Performance Lab Sleep
One of these good quality alternatives comes in the form of Performance Lab Sleep by Opti-Nutra. It has a lot going for it over Zleep. Namely, it works. It does what it claims to do.
You get a full dose of melatonin with each serving, sourced from tart cherry, alongside magnesium and l-tryptophan, to name just a few ingredients. All of this is designed to give you what you’re after – a better night’s rest, more easily achieved.
I’ve taken it in the past for a tart cherry supplement review and found it pleasantly surprising in its efficacy. Over a few weeks, Performance Lab Sleep did indeed give me a good night’s rest.
I changed little else about my regimen, other than taking out the chamomile and passionflower, and felt fantastic for it. Sleep came more easily, after just a few minutes (it usually takes me nearer an hour to fall asleep). I didn’t wake up as often. I woke up feeling more refreshed, or at least less groggy, within just a few days of beginning it.
The ingredients are all solid and safe, with no known major side effects. They are also non-GMO, non-irradiated, gluten free, caffeine free, free from synthetic additives, artificial colors, preservatives, and allergens… everything you want them to be, in short.
It’s all also put together using Opti-Nutra’s patented BioGenesis™ method. For this, Opti-Nutra grow their vitamins and minerals in a lab in conditions meant to replicate natural nutrient genesis. This supposedly makes the ingredients safer and more eco-friendly – it certainly reduces reliance on factory farming and mineral mining, meaning that they are taking less from the earth.
It comes in around the same price point as Zleep. Unlike Zleep, it earns every penny. A month’s supply will set you back around $40 or so. This may sound steep, but honestly, it could revolutionize your life if you’re a troubled sleeper.
Steer clear of Zleep. It doesn’t work. Three fundamental conditions would need would need to change for it to do so.
Firstly, it would perhaps need more ingredients, not to make it work, but to earn its price tag. Secondly, these ingredients would all need to be dosed at usable levels, which they really, really aren’t at present. Finally, it would need to be changed completely – you would need an oral capsule, not a patch that delivers very little of anything of worth into your system.
It’s not effective in the slightest in my opinion. Either the manufacturer know this and they are trying to dupe their users, or they don’t know it, in which case shame on them – they have no business being in the supplement market.
This article was written by: James Dixon – SOMA Analytics PT, Nutritionalist & Published Author
James Dixon is one of the key players in the SOMA Analytics’ team. He is a personal trainer and is educated to Masters level. He is a published author and is a keen advocate of high quality nootropic supplements. James enjoys helping others to reach their peak both physically and mentally and believes that expressing his knowledge through his writing is an effective way to positively impact the wellbeing of others on a larger scale.