Do you wake up feeling well-rested every day? You should! However, 43% of men and 55% of women report trouble with falling asleep or staying asleep1. We know how great it feels to fall asleep easily, get a deep and restful sleep, and wake up feeling refreshed. What you may not realize is how important sleep is for our overall wellbeing.
Think of sleeping like cleaning up your office after everyone else has left for the day. No new information or calls are coming in, and you finally have time to sort through the stack of paperwork on your desk, consolidate and file it properly, and empty the recycling bin. This active tidying-up sets you up for success when you arrive at work the next day. You can make-do with skipping the clean-up for a short period of time, but after a while, it catches up with you. Chronic non-restorative sleep is like having years of paperwork piled up on your desk: paperwork gets lost or takes extra time to find, the recycling bin is overflowing, and your productivity at work declines.
Sleep is part of our circadian rhythm, which is the light-dark dependant cycle that keeps our body functioning in a healthy way. Melatonin is our “sleep hormone”, and it is released in response to darkness. It should be highest at night, promoting a deep, restful sleep, and lowest during the day. In opposition to melatonin is our “stress hormone”, cortisol, which inhibits melatonin to promote alertness and wakefulness.
There are five distinct stages of a healthy sleep cycle. Stage 1 is when you are drifting off to sleep. Stage 2 is light sleep where heart rate and brain waves start to slow down. Stages 3 is characterized by very slow delta waves in the brain. Stage 4 is the deepest state of Non-REM (NREM) sleep, and it’s when the body undergoes most of its healing. Stage 5 is when we dream, called Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep2.
We should repeat this cycle 4-6 times during a healthy night’s sleep, which requires both sleeping for enough time and repeatedly entering into the deep sleep of Stages 4 and 52. When we face challenges with falling asleep, staying asleep, or entering into a deep sleep state, our overall health is significantly impacted.
When we don’t get enough sleep, or get poor quality of sleep, our ability to think clearly, learn and retain memories is significantly impacted. Our immune system is weakened, causing frequent cold and flu or difficulty with getting over infections3. Our appetite and blood sugar levels are negatively impacted, linking insomnia to increased risk of weight gain, heart disease, and diabetes1. When we don’t produce enough melatonin, we have an increased amount of cortisol, our stress hormone, which can lead to anxiety, depression, irritability and difficulty coping with stress1.
SLEEP-GREAT is a complete formulation that helps you fall asleep quickly, stay asleep and achieve deep, restful sleep. Unlike medications that may assist with falling asleep but limit your body’s ability to enter into a deep sleep state, SLEEP-GREAT works by enhancing the body’s natural sleep hormone pattern so that you enter all five stages of a healthy sleep, allowing you to wake up feeling refreshed every day.
Sleeping well is one of the most important things we can do to support our overall health. When we don’t get a good night’s sleep, the body’s ability cope with stress, regulate hormones, repair muscle, strengthen the immune system, and support mental clarity and capacity are profoundly impacted1. This can result in fatigue, anxiety, depression, weight gain, frequent cold and flu, brain fog, and increased risk of diabetes and heart disease1.
Dr. Hilary’s (Healthology) Lifestyle Changes To Improve Sleep
- Set a bedtime: What is your ideal number of hours of sleep per night? Your ideal number should be between six and eight hours. What time do you need to wake up to start your day? Use these parameters to set a bedtime and stick to it whenever possible.
- Develop a bedtime routine: Turn off all electronics and screens for 30 minutes before your bedtime. Instead find a quiet bedtime routine: get ready for bed, spend time with family, meditate, journal, or read a book. Light from our screens significantly inhibit melatonin production14, so I suggest giving your body a 30-minute head-start where you engage in calming, screen-free activities before you get into bed.
- Protect your relationship with your mattress: When you tuck yourself into bed, your body should know, “this is where we sleep”. If you watch tv, work, or even read in bed, your relationship with the mattress can become broken, and that signal to sleep in that space is lost. Keep other activities outside the bedroom, even reading before bed should be done on or near bed, not in bed, to help re-connect your body with the idea that “this is where we sleep”.
- Sleep in a dark room: Even a small amount of light inhibits our natural melatonin production14. I suggest using a sleep mask nightly to block out ambient light. It takes a few weeks to get used to but stick with it! A mask will also help to re-program your relationship with your mattress, as mentioned above.
- Balance blood sugar: Eating sweet snacks or simple carbs before bed can spike our blood sugar, making it difficult to fall asleep, and causing us to wake up when our blood sugar crashes during the night. Limit snacking after dinner, but if you do reach for a snack, focus on high protein and low sugar snacks such as nuts or unsweetened nut butters.
- Limit caffeine, nicotine and alcohol: Avoid caffeine, even lightly caffeinated beverages like green tea, after 3:00pm if you experience insomnia. Nicotine dependence causes waking about four hours after your last exposure, so smoking and vaping cessation helps us to sleep through the night. Alcohol may help us fall asleep but prevents us from achieving a deep sleep, so avoiding alcohol is important for waking up feeling well-rested.
- No napping: Napping is for babies, toddlers, pregnancy, breastfeeding, and the elderly. Napping might help you feel energized to get through your day, but it undermines getting a deep, restful sleep at night.
- Additional screening: Insomnia and fatigue may be indications that another health concern should be addressed. Start with blood work to assess thyroid health and anemia, a sleep study to look for sleep apnea and other sleep disorders, and address underlying concerns like anxiety, depression, frequent urination, and chronic pain.
- We should aim for six to eight hours of deep, restful sleep per night. Sleeplessness can be improved by developing a consistent bedtime routine where we avoid screens, sleep in a dark room, avoid stimulants, and keep blood sugar balanced. From time to time, we benefit from additional support to re-set our sleep cycle and achieve a deeper sleep.
SLEEP-GREAT regulates our circadian rhythm through enhancing the brain’s natural hormonal pathways. It assists with falling asleep easily, staying asleep, and achieving a deep restful sleep. SLEEP-GREAT is effective without causing the grogginess or poor sleep quality of sedative treatments. It improves both sleep quantity and quality of sleep, allowing you to wake-up feeling refreshed and rejuvenated every day.
How it Works:
- Enhances the body’s natural melatonin production to assist with falling asleep and achieving a deep, restful sleep state.
- Helps trigger the body’s sleep wake-cycle to assist with jetlag.
- Assists with falling asleep and reducing sleep disturbance.
- Reduces stress-related symptoms, improves low mood and anxiety, and improves cognitive function by targeting glutamate receptors in the brain, which stimulates the release of GABA, serotonin and dopamine in the brain.
- Assists with falling asleep and staying asleep without causing morning grogginess.
- Increases serotonin production in the brain, which reduces anxiety, improves mood and triggers sleep.
GABA (Gamma Aminobutyric Acid)
- A primary inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain, meaning it promotes feelings of calm and relaxation by taking us out of “fight or flight” and putting us into a “rest and digest” nervous system state.
- Improves the ability to fall sleep through its calming action and improves quality of sleep by regulating both NREM and REM deep-sleep states.
- Crosses the blood brain barrier and readily converts to serotonin in the brain, which improves mood, reduces anxiety and regulates sleep.
- Loquat fruit Erijobotrya japonica 15:1 Extract, 25% Ursolic Acid
- Activates GABA receptors to enhance sleep duration, helping us to stay asleep longer.
Valerian Root 4:1 Extract 0.05% Valerenic Acids
- Improves sleep quality through increasing GABA in the brain, which promotes relaxation as we fall asleep and regulates NREM and REM cycles to facilitate a deep sleep state.
Skullcap Herb Top 4:1 Extract
- Reduces stress and anxiety through stimulating GABA receptors in the brain to promote relaxation.
Passionflower Herb Top 10:1 Extract
- Gentle sedative effect that significantly improves nervousness and anxiety through boosting GABA levels in the brain.
Schisandra Fruit 10:1 Extract
- Acts as an adaptogen in the body by supporting our ability to cope with stress and promoting relaxation through acting on the serotonin pathway.