Written by Chris Claussen, Co-Founder, Chief Innovation Officer
About the Author: Chris has over 20 years of experience in product and business development. For the past five years he has focused exclusively on innovative product development in the functional foods and functional mushrooms space. Chris brings experience exploring, experimenting, and conducting extensive research on the relationship between functional foods/mushrooms and metabolic, brain, and mental health.
Few things feel better than an excellent night's sleep. A fantastic shut-eye puts us in a better mood and optimizes our brains, giving us the energy and ability to run our lives. But sleep can be confusing, so understanding it can help you get the proper rest you need.
We sleep in cycles, so most scientists and researchers break up these cycles into two categories: non-REM and REM sleep.
As REM is the most famous of all the sleep cycles, many of us assume it is the gold standard of sleep. REM, occurring around 90 minutes after falling asleep, pushes our brains into deep recovery. During this sleep stage, our brain waves are closer to wakefulness and our breathing becomes irregular and speeds up. During this cycle, blood pressure and heart rates also increase to near-awake levels. It is essential to know that you can get fantastic REM sleep and still wake up feeling tired. Ever wonder why? Now, let's jump into deep-cycle sleep.
Deep-cycle sleep is part of the non-REM cycle and is more critical than REM sleep because it is in this phase that we get physical rest. During deep-cycle sleep, our brains cleanse themselves of toxins that build up during the day. This process is facilitated by the glymphatic system, a network of cells and pathways that work together to help cleanse the brain while we sleep. The glymphatic system flushes out metabolic waste such as amyloid beta, a type of protein that can accumulate in the brain that has been linked to Alzheimer's disease, so it's essential to keep them under control.
Researchers have found that during deep-cycle sleep, our brains engage in what's known as "memory consolidation", a process of transferring short-term memories to long-term storage. This is an important function because it helps us remember important information and forget the unimportant stuff. When you get enough deep-cycle sleep, you wake up feeling refreshed, allowing you to stay sharp and productive throughout the day.
First Person's Moonlight has been formulated to boost deep-cycle sleep by promoting the body's natural production of GABA. GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter that blocks or inhibits specific brain signals and decreases activity in your nervous system. At night, an increase in GABA production can help to further calm brain activity, allowing us to enter deeper sleep. GABA also prevents wakefulness during the night by suppressing brain activity, allowing us to stay asleep longer. By regulating brain activity and promoting relaxation, GABA is important in achieving deep-cycle sleep.
Sleep, in all stages, is integral to brain health and function. While there is no "magic bullet" to ensure a good night's sleep each night, you can improve your chances by limiting screen time before bed, avoiding both caffeine and eating late in the evening, and creating a comfortable sleep environment. Taking the time to ensure you get enough deep-cycle sleep each night will pay dividends in brain health and function.