Zleep is a wellness brand that makes topical patches used to improve sleep quality. The brand claims that their “skin therapy patches” can help users “fall asleep, stay asleep & wake up refreshed.”
But does Zleep contain ingredients shown in medical studies to improve sleep quality? Does topical delivery of supplements even work? Are there any potentially dangerous ingredients? And how do real users rate and describe the effects of Zleep?
In this article we’ll answer all of these questions and more as we review the ingredients in Zleep based on clinical research to give our take on whether or not the supplement is likely to be effective.
We’ll also share our thoughts on whether topical patches work or if they’re a waste of money, and highlight real, unsponsored user reviews of Zleep.
Zleep patches do contain some ingredients that are clinically shown to improve sleep quality.
Melatonin is arguably the most well-studied supplement for sleep. A 2017 medical review found that melatonin supplementation helped to synchronize circadian rhythms, reduced time-to-sleep and increased sleep quality and sleep duration.
Chamomile was shown in a meta-study published in the Phytotherapy Research journal to significantly improve sleep quality and significantly reduce anxiety scores.
Ashwagandha has also been clinically shown to improve sleep quality, as we documented in our Relaxium sleep reviews article on another sleep supplement containing this ingredient.
Valerian root was also shown to improve sleep quality in a 2020 medical review that analyzed data from hundreds of clinical trials.
While these ingredients may be effective for improving sleep quality, their dosage may be too low in Zleep to have any effect. All of the herbal ingredients in Zleep are included in a “Dream Patch Complex” that contains six active ingredients and a total dose of only 65 milligrams (mg). This equates to only 11 mg per ingredient.
The effective dose of ashwagandha for sleep is over 100 mg according to the clinical research cited above. The effective dose of chamomile appears to also be over 100 mg, and the effective dosing range of valerian root extract is 300-600 mg per day according to the above-cited review.
Zleep doesn’t contain any ingredients that we consider likely to be harmful, but several of its active ingredients appear to be included at too low of a dose to be effective.
But do topical patches actually get the nutrients in the bloodstream or are they pseudoscience? We’ll analyze in the next section.
Do Skin Patches Even Work?
Zleep claims that ingredients are “delivered directly into the bloodstream through skin pores via transdermal technology.”
Transdermal absorption does work for some nutrients, but certainly not for all.
Magnesium is an ingredient in Zleep and has been shown in a clinical trial to be effectively absorbed through the skin. This is unsurprising, given that Epsom salt foot soaks are actually magnesium chloride and have been used medicinally for thousands of years.
The clinical trial used 400 mg of magnesium daily, which is the same amount as in Zleep.
Melatonin was shown in a clinical trial to be effectively absorbed transdermally at a lower dose than exists in Zleep sleep patches.
We can’t find any clinical evidence that any of the other active ingredients are effective for improving sleep quality when applied topically, and Zleep fails to cite any on their website.
Just because an ingredient like ashwagandha is effective for sleep when taken orally does not necessarily mean it will be effective when used transdermally. Just like you can’t rub vitamin C on your skin to take your daily vitamin C, we find it highly questionable that Zleep fails to publish any convincing evidence that most of the ingredients in its formulation actually work when taken transdermally.
Questionable Health Claims on Zleep Website
There are a number of questionable and uncited health claims on the Zleep website that we disagree with.
The brand’s website has a comparison chart, shown above, claiming that Zleep works in 3-5 minutes. We’re unsure how they make that claim when Zleep doesn’t appear to have been studied in any clinical trials, and there is no proof given to support that claim.
The brand also claims that the absorption rate of their product is 65% without any proof at all.
Zleep’s comparison chart states that the “reaction time” of sleep pills is 4-5 hours, which is an obviously absurd and illogical claim given that there are thousands of different sleep pills, all with varying formulations.
Zleep also includes a diagram of their patch which claims that the “formula layer” is “designed to release nutrients through the night.” There is zero proof provided of how Zleep’s patch releases the nutrients in a timed manner.
We recommend that consumers be wary of wellness brands that make bold health claims without providing any proof that those claims are accurate.
Real, Unsponsored Zleep User Reviews
Zleep is sold on Amazon, which is a more objective resource for customer reviews than a brand’s website in our opinion. The product has been reviewed over 1,600 times with an average review rating of 3.2 out of 5 stars.
The top positive review comes from a user named “Scott M” who gives Zleep 4 out of 5 stars and claims that the patches improved sleep quality:
“After using the patches for about a week these worked well for me. They're easy to apply but have to apply with a good amount of pressure especially at the corners and edges. Also, I don't fall asleep quickly but when I finally do I stay asleep for several hours. So far, this is about the best sleep method I've found. Like any product it works for some but not for everyone.”
The top negative review is written by a user named “GHR” who claims the product is a waste of money:
“It was the biggest waste of $44 I have ever spent. If they actually work, you will never know, because the basic premise of having them stick to your body doesn’t. Just take melatonin from a tablet, works like a charm, and you don’t have to lay still all night and pray the adhesive works. Or, you could also just take $44 and burn it. You will get the same amount of sleep!”
We’re unable to find any unsponsored video reviews of Zleep, but the popular YouTube channel “The Doctors” had three real people test a different sleep patch brand:
Our Research-Backed Sleep Product Picks
Bulletproof Sleep is our top sleep supplement pick. It contains an effective dose of melatonin (3 mg), and also passionflower extract which has been shown in a clinical trial to increase total sleep time and decrease wakefulness. This supplement is free of any questionable additive ingredients and only costs $25.
Interested consumers can check out Bulletproof Sleep at this link to its product page on the official brand website.
Nolah Weighted Bamboo Blanket is a great option for consumers who prefer non-supplement solutions for sleep. Weighted blankets are clinically shown to improve sleep quality in both older adults and in children, and early research suggests they may also reduce anxiety.
Interested consumers can check out Nolah Weighted Bamboo Blanket at this link to the product page on the official brand website, where it’s currently retailing for under $100.
Manta Sleep Mask is the most cost-effective sleep solution, because it’s only $35 and will last for years. A 2021 clinical trial found that eye mask and ear plug use improved sleep quality in ICU patients. Manta’s mask comes with ear plugs.
We can't locate any medical studies on sleep mask use in healthy patients, but it seems logical that the same effects would hold given that light exposure during sleep negatively impacts sleep quality.
Interested consumers can check out Manta Sleep Mask at this link to the product page on the official brand website.
Pros and Cons of Zleep
Here are the pros and cons of Zleep patches in our opinion:
- Unlikely to cause harm
- Safe ingredients
- Not all ingredients work transdermally
- Questionable, unproven health claims
- Mediocre online reviews