Som Sleep Review: Does It Work?

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Medically reviewed by:
Dr. Jennifer Hughes, MD

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Som's strengths lie in the effectiveness and simplicity of their drinkable sleep product, but a bit of missed formulation potential and some customer service issues lowered their overall ranking to a B-.

Our Rating:

B-

» Rating Methodology

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Our Rating Methodology

We determined this rating by evaluating the following factors:

  • Quality: A-
  • Transparency: C+
  • Website Experience: B+
  • Customer Service: C
  • Value: B
  • Brand Value: B-
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In an industry needlessly bogged down by an unspoken commitment to capsules, capsules, and more capsules, Som Sleep and their drinkable sleep supplements are calling for change.

Admittedly, we came to their booth at Expo West 2022 for the gimmick factor, but we stayed and listened to marketing director Erika Huennekens for her breakdown of the clean, if not overly simplistic formulation.

We learned that Som is a non-habit-forming sleep supplement delivered in an approachable medium—a non-carbonated drink in a can—that facilitates the body’s natural sleep cycle without simply homing in on excessive amounts of melatonin (hint hint, just about everyone else).

Som is a non-habit forming sleep supplement delivered in an approachable medium—a non-carbonated drink in a can.

After taking a much closer look at the product and the brand behind it, which revealed a few rough edges in labeling practices and customer service as well as plenty of positive potential, we award Som Sleep a B-.

Som Sleep Original
  • Som Sleep Original, the brand’s flagship product, aims to support your body’s existing sleep physiology using GABA, L-theanine, melatonin, and other key compounds.

  • Our team found the original formula to be consistently effective and enjoyable to use, especially considering Som keeps total sugars to a fairly reasonable 8 grams.

Som Sleep Pros and Cons

  • Pros
  • Better all-around delivery system than capsules
  • Pleasant taste (both standard and sugar free)
  • Savvy, balanced formulation that doesn’t overdo melatonin
  • Non-habit-forming product
  • Effective for promoting sleep per our testing
  • Cons
  • Product label does not express individual amounts for melatonin, GABA, L-theanine
  • Basic formulation: few herbal ingredients and/or adaptogens
  • Customer service issue (see below)

Everybody Sleeps: Som’s Unlikely Origin Story

Starting out as an investor in tech, media, and entertainment startups, Som Sleep co-founder Abdul Khan’s migration to sleep supplements was more of a fated outcome than a conscious decision.

As he described to us, Khan experienced sleep disturbances as he entered that busy phase of life when one is preparing to get married (while continuing to work very long hours), but he felt limited in his options for safe and convenient sleep aids. 

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Som Sleep Founder, Abdul Khan

“I was always drinking coffee or something to perk me up,” Khan told us, before explaining that he wanted something to calm him down that was delivered in a similarly fun and familiar way (instead of the same old capsules). 

Hence, he created the Som Sleep drink with the help of an advisory board of nutritionists, doctors, and other health science experts, and to his surprise, saw the supplement take off in a population he had not intentionally targeted: professional athletes.

Not long after the 2018 launch, NFL and MLB athletes began using Som Sleep, and word spread through the leagues to the extent that dozens of teams now use the NSF-certified product. 

Four years and a few shoutouts from high-level athletes later, and Som is offered at 2,000 retailers across the nation, including Wal-Mart. 

Our Som Sleep Review

Summary:

A safe and consistently effective formulation stands in stark contrast to a couple of glaring (yet reversible) issues in transparency and customer service, earning Som an overall grade of B-.

We followed our standard review process in the case of Som Sleep, using a three-pronged approach that includes interviewing key personnel at the company, sampling the products ourselves, and conducting independent research to expand on and/or verify the company’s claims. 

As always, we report our findings and assign credit towards the overall review score under the following major categories:

  • Quality
  • Transparency
  • Website Experience
  • Customer Service
  • Value
  • Brand Value

With the exception of a glaringly problematic transparency issue (more on that below), Som was fairly consistent in scoring well across these categories, earning an overall rating of B-.

To learn how we got there, let’s start with the all-important metric of quality.

Quality

Summary:

Grade: A-

Som earned this core with their well-balanced and safe formulation, advisory team support, and sparing use of sugar/additives (including consideration for sugar-free consumers).

What we really mean by “quality” goes well beyond the finished product and into every factor driving both the user experience and the company’s operations.

Understandably, this usually encompasses a wide range of elements, including formulation know-how, packaging and labeling, supply chain oversight, and much more.

On the formulation front, we give the Som team credit for incorporating GABA, magnesium, vitamin B6, and L-theanine to support the melatonin in a way that more naturally mimics the brain’s sleep physiology.

However, the formulation stops there, with no herbal ingredients or adaptogens in sight to bolster it.

Som Sleep Original contains a total of eight grams of real (cane) sugar along with erythritol, natural flavors, and stevia extract, and Som Sleep Zero Sugar swaps out cane sugar for monk fruit extract. 

In both cases, the sugar-free sweeteners are widely acknowledged as safe, and though we wouldn’t want to see any more than ten grams of sugar, eight is a reasonable amount to land on (not enough to derail sleeping pattern).

Both the cans and the packaging they came in arrived undamaged, and were durable and informative (save for one issue—see transparency criterion below).

Read on for a closer look at Som’s product catalog.

All Som Products

While hardcore “naturopathy nerds” may feel jilted by the lack of herbally infused options on Som’s website, the everyday shopper simply looking for a safe and non-habit-forming sleep supplement can avoid the paralyzing effect of too many similar options.

Som has two options, in fact, both essentially featuring the same formulation: Som Sleep Original and Som Sleep Zero Sugar.

Som Sleep Original
  • A potable sleep supplement safe to consume at ambient temperature or refrigerated, Som Sleep Original emphasizes key neurotransmitters to naturally encourage your sleep cycle. available in 12-packs and 24-packs.

  • Active ingredients: Vitamin B6, Magnesium, L-Theanine, GABA, Melatonin.

    Other Ingredients: Water, Cane Sugar, Erythritol, Natural Flavors, Citric Acid, Magnesium Citrate, Stevia Leaf Extract, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride

Som Sleep Zero Sugar
  • With the exception of the swapping of sweeteners, Som Sleep Zero Sugar brings the exact same formulation as the original to those looking to minimize added sugar intake. Our team was pleased with the non-artificial taste, which we attribute largely to the monk fruit.

  • Active Ingredients: Vitamin B6, Magnesium, L-Theanine, GABA, Melatonin

    Other Ingredients: Water, Erythritol, Natural Flavors, Citric Acid, Magnesium Citrate, Monk Fruit Extract, Stevia Leaf Extract, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride.

Limited Edition Satin Sleep Mask
  • Designed as the perfect pairing to their flagship sleep supplement, Som’s satin mask is here for a limited time to help that overstimulated brain get the hint.

  • This feather-light, breathable mask was made to fit snugly without chafing or pressuring your skin, and comes with a drawstring pouch.

To round out our quality assessment, the formulation is simplistic but sound, the product is easy to use (and tastes pretty good, we thought), and the brand backs it up with a team of high-profile nutrition science experts. 

Transparency

Summary:

Grade: C+

Som saved face partially by being upfront with us in our personal correspondence (and by at least listing the melatonin content on their FAQ page), but for many consumers, not individually labeling melatonin, L-theanine, and GABA concentrations on the product is a dealbreaker.


Som Sleep Founder Abdul Khan was very transparent with our editorial team as it concerned Som’s research and development processes, certifications, studies they’ve been involved in, and more.

The site reinforces this openness with a short, yet illuminating breakdown of the science behind the formulation.

However, one particularly glaring oversight significantly affected their score here: glossing over the amount of melatonin on the product label.

Because the melatonin, L-theanine, and GABA are labeled as three parts of a proprietary blend, we know from the label these three items total 357mg, but we can’t see their individual concentrations.

Especially for those more sensitive to melatonin, a single milligram can make the difference between an effective sleep supplement and one that’s too powerful or underwhelming; melatonin is absolutely a dealbreaker for many sleep supplement shoppers.

Som Sleep lists the amount of melatonin (3mg) on their FAQ page, which softened the deduction slightly, but it should definitely be on the product label or, at the very least, closer to/on the home page. 

Website Experience

Summary:

Grade: B+

Learning, browsing, and purchasing products from Som’s site is a seamless and enjoyable experience overall, but a hitch in the process knocked them out of contention for an A.

Function presides over form in our assessment of the website experience a brand provides, because as long as the site design is non-distracting, we’re more interested in the depth and breadth of content as well as the smoothness of the e-commerce experience. 

As mentioned, Som provides a decent introduction to the science behind their formulation on the website, and the regularly updated blog fills in a few gaps, but these two together don’t provide a fully comprehensive introduction to the effects of Som’s nutraceuticals on sleep physiology. 

On the e-commerce side, our shopping experience was fluid and engaging, with no awkward splash pages or screen-hogging pop-ups.

Finally, we made a deduction for the “checkout protection” feature—an optional $0.98 charge to essentially insure orders against damage in the shipping process—as this should be covered anyway.

Customer Service

Summary:

Grade: C

This score is a result of a mix of customer service responsiveness (quick reply over email, no reply over phone) and moderately flexible shipping and return policies.

We balance the scoring in this category to reflect three key customer service quality indicators:

  • The breadth of available support services (phone, email, messenger, text, etc.)
  • Responsiveness and accommodation level of support services 
  • Flexibility and fairness of shipping and return policies

A standard email support form is easily accessible from the “contact” page of the Som Sleep website, as is their phone number (fun fact, it has eight digits after the prefix, not seven!). 

The question we sent through the email service was addressed by an auto-responder, and then by a human about an hour and fifteen minutes after the fact, which is a solid response time.

We decided to poke a bit via customer support to see if Som would disclose the amount of L-theanine and GABA from their proprietary blend, and though they would not, they still addressed our question promptly and politely.

The phone service routed us to an automated prompt asking us to leave our name, number, and question, but we never heard back.

Shipping is free for subscribers and on purchases of $50 or more, but standard shipping (5 to 7 business days) is the only option available at checkout. 

Customers have 10 days following receipt of their product to contact Som for a full refund, or if the product is defective, damaged, or soon to expire (3 months or less), Som will provide an even exchange at no cost. 

Value

Summary:

Grade: B

The Som pricing model isn’t a cost prohibitive one if you’re already setting aside a sleep supplement budget, but you can find denser formulations at these price points.

Here’s how much the Som Sleep drink costs when purchasing directly from their website (non-subscriber prices—see below for subscription details):

For regular users looking to save money on both the product and shipping, Som also offers a subscription plan.

Is the Som Sleep Subscription Plan Worth It?

In many cases, we have to weigh the savings of a given brand’s subscription plan against any mandatory minimums they impose on subscribers (monthly purchase amount and/or subscription length), but since Som’s subscription is totally open-ended, then it’s definitely worth it for anyone who is committed to using the product regularly.

Here’s a rapid-fire list of the perks offered to Som Sleep subscribers:

  • 20% off all monthly shipments ($2.00/can versus $2.50)
  • Free shipping for the duration of the subscription
  • Pause/skip deliveries or cancel subscription anytime

Subscription price or otherwise, we place little emphasis on hard-and-fast price comparisons between different brands’ products in any category out of respect for differing formulations and use cases, but there is always a line that consumers won’t cross.

Charging up to $2.50 a can doesn’t cross the line ($3.00 and up per can is pushing it), but because Som’s formulation is on the simplistic side, it isn’t a highly competitive price point either.

Still, perceived value is circumstantial; for those who couldn’t care less about added adaptogens and/or herbal ingredients, Som Sleep may very well reach somewhere in the B+ or A- range.

Our editorial team landed on a B because we are accounting for the entire prospective customer base, which includes both types of people: “Just give me the sleep juice,” as well as “Where’s the ashwagandha?”

image 4

Brand Value

Summary:

Grade: B-

Som earns this score for their disruption of the sleep capsule industry, research involvement, and product donation campaigns.

Here we evaluate a broad range of metrics that can contribute to a brand’s overall impact on their industry while also awarding credit for philanthropic efforts in which they’ve been involved.

Understandably, this encompasses many often circumstantially affected areas, including, but not limited to:

  • Institutional knowledge
  • Product innovation
  • Participation/investment in relevant research
  • Activism and/or philanthropy

As for institutional knowledge, we awarded a chunk of credit under this factor for Som Sleep’s advisory board, but we also applied a deduction for a lack of supplement formulation knowledge among the core team members.

The product itself is innovative in that it offers a new and enjoyable delivery system, and even though Som Sleep wan’t the very first to do it, we still assign some credit for being part of the first wave. 

As co-founder Abdul informed us, Som has donated products to groups of people enduring hardships and/or trauma that could affect their sleep, including frontline nurses during the early days of COVID-19 and several families traumatized by a school shooting in Michigan.

“We never fully expected the results this product can have,” Khan told us, explaining that the mother of a young student who witnessed the Michigan shooting told him Som Sleep helped her daughter resume a somewhat normal sleep schedule after the trauma.

We never fully expected the results this product can have.

Som Founder Abdul Khan

Finally, the brand being embraced fairly consistently by high-profile athletes bears importance for their impact on the sleep supplement industry, as shoutouts from NFL and MLB players certainly have the power to elevate conversations surrounding sleep, mental health, and general wellness. 

Som Sleep still has plenty of room to grow—most pertinently, by recruiting expert formulators or similarly credentialed members onto the core team—but their substantial efforts have helped the brand climb into B territory. 

Our Experience Using Som

All of our Som Sleep products arrived undamaged and in their original packaging. 

Between the cans and the boxes, we gleaned all the need-to-know information: supplement facts, ingredients, use instructions (namely, take 30 minutes before bedtime), and an “x free” list (preservative free, allergen free, etc.).

Both versions of the non-carbonated supplement were pleasant to the taste, and the sugar- free option surprisingly did not have that syrupy or artificial note to it, which we attribute to the savvy swapping in of monk fruit.

As for effectiveness, Som Sleep worked as advertised.

Accounts among our review team varied consistently based on melatonin sensitivity; those of us more sensitive to melatonin felt very drowsy within half an hour (crashing on the couch in one case), where the rest of us noted a potent, but more moderate sense of calmness and sleepiness that was still difficult to fight off for more than 45 minutes or so. 

Sleep quality after the fact was not noticeably affected, though we felt more rested the next day on a couple of occasions.

While we still acknowledge the missed potential for the addition of sleep- and wellness-boosting herbs and other ingredients, there’s certainly very little room to argue in light of our experiences that the formulation as it is now isn’t a sound one. 

Overall, the products worked, tasted better than expected, and didn’t cause any sleep disturbances or next-morning issues. 

Som Sleep FAQs

How do I use Som Sleep Original or Som Sleep Zero Sugar?

Som recommends drinking one full can of Som Sleep approximately 30 minutes before going to bed.

What does Som taste like?

As confirmed by our review team, Som has a moderately sweet berry flavor.

Do Som Sleep drinks work?

While results may vary, our review team noticed consistent and potent results, including improved time-to-sleep and feeling rested the next day. 

Does Som have to be refrigerated?

Som can be consumed at room temperature or refrigerated.

Is erythritol, the sweetener found in both of Som’s sleep drinks, safe to consume?

Erythritol is a naturally occurring sugar alcohol that has been deemed safe for human consumption (even for diabetics) by several studies such as this one from Drexel University in Philadelphia. 

How much melatonin is in Som Sleep?

Each can of Som Sleep contains 3mg of melatonin.

Is Som Sleep natural?

Som’s active ingredients are all produced by the body to regulate sleep, mood, and other important functions.

Is Som Sleep carbonated?

No, Som Sleep isn’t carbonated.

Can you drink Som on the keto diet?

While dieters with a more forgiving daily carb cap may be able to make do with Som Sleep Original (which has 15g net carbs), we recommend the completely keto-friendly Som Sleep Zero Sugar for keto dieters. 

Will Som cause next-morning grogginess or fatigue?

Though our testers didn’t notice this effect, Som may produce next-morning grogginess for some as a result of deeper and more restorative sleep the night before. 

How does the Som subscription plan work?

Som Sleep subscribers set a standing monthly order, for which a 20% off discount and free shipping continually apply. Cancel or pause any time. 

Final Thoughts

Som Sleep already has several of the pieces they need to be an industry frontrunner, but they have a couple of mostly self-imposed obstacles to overcome before they realize that level of quality and, ultimately, success.

They already have effective and enjoyable products, but as the sheen wears off and the world slowly wakes up to the idea of the drinkable sleep supplement, the novelty effect will give way to more incisive investigations into the company’s makeup and practices.

When that day comes, we hope Som has recruited at least one expert formulator or nutrition scientist onto their core team, and most certainly, we hope they can make the extremely needed adjustment to their labeling practices (reporting melatonin, L-theanine, and GABA amounts individually). 

Still, the products as they are now are consistently effective and fun to use, which is why we recommend Som Sleep for anyone looking to wind down with virtually no risk of dependence and—thank goodness—no more capsules.

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