Summary: Zhou Driftoff contains far too many unproven, ineffective ingredients for our liking. If you want a supplement to help you fall asleep faster, to stay asleep for longer, and to get more high quality sleep, then Zhou Driftoff is not the best option. Zhou Nutrition could be doing much better here.
Zhou Driftoff Review: What does this sleep aid claim to do?
Zhou Nutrition is a massive name in the supplement industry. They produce one of the best-selling nootropics of all time, Neuro-Peak, and they have recently expanded their range to include pretty much every supplement category you can think of. Driftoff is their specialist sleeping supplement. But what is it supposed to do exactly? Who is it aimed at?
According to the official website, Zhou Driftoff provides “natural sleep support”. It claims to deliver the following key benefits:
- Calms the mind
- Decreases restlessness
- Promotes deep sleep
- Reduces anxiety
Zhou claim that Driftoff stops the “stressful moment replay reel” which can often keep you tossing and turning all night. This is a major selling point; the thing that keeps most people up at night is anxiety; they lie there for hours worrying about the next day in work, an upcoming test, or whatever.
The question we need to answer is, does Zhou Driftoff really do any of this? Is it safe? Will it cause serious side effects? Are there better sleep aids on the market right now? Find out by reading our detailed Zhou Driftoff review below!
Zhou Driftoff Ingredients
Here is the Driftoff formula as it is displayed on the bottle:
We’ll now run through each of the ingredients in Zhou Driftoff, explaining what they are, if and how they enhance sleep, and what we think of the dose. If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments section at the end!
Valerian Extract – 150mg
Valerian extract is often used in natural sleep supplements. It is said to induce sleep, reduce anxiety, and to promote deep, restful sleep. However, we aren’t convinced. Manufacturers often quote a few clinical trials supposedly showing good results from valerian supplements. But these studies all use multiple substances at once. We’ve never seen any evidence showing that Valerian Extract by itself enhances sleep. As far as we know, it has never been studied alone.
GABA – 100mg
GABA is the primary inhibitory neurotransmitter in mammals. It induces feelings of relaxation, reduces anxiety, relaxes the body, and clears the mind. However, taking GABA orally does not produce these same effects. It is not properly absorbed in the gut. What GABA is absorbed is first used by the enteric nervous system. Any GABA that is able to reach the head does not readily cross the blood-brain barrier. So supplementing with GABA – at least orally – does not lead to higher GABA levels in the brain. It therefore does not lead to greater activity at GAB receptors, so it doesn’t reduce anxiety, promote relaxation, or promote deep sleep.
Tryptophan – 100mg
Tryptophan is an amino acid. It is a precursor to 5-HTP, which is itself a precursor to serotonin. Supplementing with 5-HTP is effective, but it is not particularly efficient. Not all of the 5-HTP you consume will be absorbed in the gut, and even less will make it across the blood-brain barrier. Taking tryptophan is much more effective, as it is readily absorbed and can easily cross into the brain.
Tryptophan is also a precursor to melatonin; the hormone which governs sleeping patterns. By boosting both melatonin and serotonin, tryptophan promotes a positive mood, reduces anxiety, and helps maintain a healthy sleeping schedule. Tryptophan is found in large concentrations in turkey, goose, eggs, and spinach.
Chamomile Extract – 100mg
We are highly sceptical of chamomile extract as a sleep aid. It does seem intuitively right; people have long drunk chamomile tea to unwind and to bring on sleep. There is a lot of anecdotal evidence to support it use as a natural anxiolytic when brewed in tea. But we have not seen any convincing evidence that it produces meaningful improvements in sleep quality; certainly not when consumed as an oral extract powder.
Zhou have not specified what has been extracted from chamomile here – which parts have they gotten rid of, and what has been concentrated?
Passion Flower Extract – 100mg
We have never seen a controlled, independent, peer-reviewed paper showing good results from passionflower supplementation. To our knowledge no such studies exist. This one comes up very often in sleep aids. It seems that many manufacturers are letting anecdotal evidence and hearsay dictate what goes into their products, not science! Unless we see hard proof that passionflower enhances sleep, we’re saying that this is a complete dud.
Lemon Balm Extract – 100mg
Lemon balm is an interesting one. We were sceptical about this stuff for a very long time. But we were recently shown a couple of research papers that indicate lemon balm might be an effective cure for anxiety-related sleep disorders. Researchers in one trial found that lemon balm supplementation significantly reduced perceived anxiety in participants, which in turn led to much better sleeping patterns. More research is needed here obviously, as the evidence is quite thin so far. But this looks like one to keep an eye on!
Hops Extract – 100mg
Hops appear to have a sedating effect on the body. Several studies indicate that they induce muscle relaxation and mental sedation in humans. This may explain why some people are such intense responders to beer; the hops are combining with the alcohol to have a massive effect on your body! The evidence is pretty thin as of right now; there haven’t been many large, controlled trials done on this yet. But early evidence does suggest that supplementing with hops helps with sleep by reducing muscle soreness and inducing relaxation.
Melatonin – 2mg
Melatonin is easily the most reliable and effective natural sleep aid in existence. It should be in every single sleeping supplement on the market. Zhou Driftoff contains 2mg, which isn’t a particularly big dose. But it is enough to see significant improvements in sleep quality, assuming you use it at the same time each night for a good few weeks.
Our thoughts on the Zhou Driftoff formula
While Zhou Driftoff does contain some effective sleep enhancers, it really doesn’t impress us.
We think Driftoff looks like a distinctly average sleep aid. It uses very basic ingredients, many of which lack sufficient scientific evidence for inclusion in a professional-quality sleep enhancer. Neither Valerian root nor passionflower have any valid studies backing them up. Chamomile has never been shown to have a meaningful effect on sleep in clinical settings.
That’s a lot of unproven ingredients for a premium supplement!
GABA is unable to properly cross the blood-brain barrier. Nor is it well absorbed in the gut; what is will be quickly used by the enteric nervous system anyway!
The same goes for 5-HTP; some of it gets through to the brain, but a lot of it doesn’t.
We do get a decent serving of Tryptophan, but we would rather Zhou cut out the 5-HTP and just doubled the dose of Tryptophan – the end results would be far greater as a result.
Driftoff does provide some melatonin. However, the dose is pretty low by today’s standards.
All-in-all, Zhou Driftoff is an unimpressive sleep aid.
We think many people will see real improvements in their sleeping patterns using Driftoff. But we also think the results will be minimal compared to what you can achieve with a more focused, powerful supplement.
Side Effects: Is Zhou Driftoff safe for long-term use?
We don’t see any ingredients in Zhou Driftoff which make us concerned about side effects. These ingredients are all well-understood, commonly used sleep aids. They have all been studied extensively, and they are deemed perfectly safe for regular human consumption.
Zhou Nutrition is a very reputable company. If you have any concerns – or if you do experience any side effects – we strongly advise you to contact them directly to get their advice.
If you experience any side effects while using Driftoff, please stop using it and seek medical attention right way.
Driftoff looks like a safe sleep aid to us, so we doubt many of you will experience side effects. When they do occur, they will probably be mild.
That said, you need to remember that everybody is different.
You are all individuals with unique medical histories and complex circumstances. What is safe for 99% of people might not be safe for you.
In conclusion – Is Zhou Driftoff worth a try?
Will Zhou Driftoff help you sleep?
Is it one of the best sleep aids on the market today?
No, it is not.
The formula contains too much dead weight; too many unproven ingredients, and too little of the good stuff.
If you are looking for a supplement to help optimize your sleep – be it to fall asleep faster, to get more high quality, restorative sleep, or to enhance lucid dreaming – there are better options out there than Zhou Driftoff.
We do respect this supplement company a lot.
Their products are generally of a very good quality. But they really missed the mark with their sleep aid. You can do better than Zhou Driftoff!