Written by Joseph Claussen, Co-Founder
About the Author:
Joseph has 20+ years of leadership experience in high-touch luxury industries. For the past five years, he has worked exclusively on mycology & plant medicine supply chain development with a focus on mushroom cultivation and extraction, nutrition science, health coaching, cognitive health, metabolic function, and product development in CPG supplements. Joseph is an avid speaker and cognitive health evangelist.
Sleep stands as the foundation of our physical and mental well-being, serving as the time when our bodies regenerate, and our minds process the day's events. Personally intrigued by the science of sleep and grappling with a mere 5-6 hours of nightly rest, I embarked on a journey to optimize my sleep quality through the use of natural supplements and sleep tracking technology.
Restless nights were a familiar companion — a result of frequent international travel, alcohol consumption, a demanding schedule, and an irregular sleep routine. The true revelation of the impact of inadequate sleep only came when I embraced sleep tracking devices. These devices unraveled valuable insights into my sleep patterns, underscoring the significance of deep cycle sleep for brain health and overall well-being.
Understanding Sleep Stages
Crucial to this quest is comprehending the various sleep stages, particularly the deep cycle sleep stage. Sleep encompasses distinct stages, including REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep and non-REM sleep, which is divided further into three stages.
Within non-REM: Stage 1 marks the moments after falling asleep, Stage 2 signifies light sleep, and the third stage, known as deep sleep or slow-wave sleep, becomes the realm where the body and brain undergo critical restoration processes.
One well-understood facet of sleep is the role of slow electrical oscillations or "slow waves" in deep, non-REM sleep, aiding memory consolidation—the process of transferring new memories into long-term storage. A 2019 study led by neuroscientist Laura Lewis at Boston University revealed that these slow waves, crucial for memory, also coordinate blood flow and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) oscillations in the brain. Additionally, research from the University of Rochester Medical Center unveiled that deep, non-REM sleep is optimal for the brain's glymphatic system to cleanse itself of toxins, including beta amyloid and tau, linked to Alzheimer's and dementia.
Maiken Nedergaard, co-director of the Center for Translational Neuromedicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center, emphasizes, "Sleep is critical to the function of the brain's waste removal system, and this study shows that the deeper the sleep, the better." Furthermore, these findings underscore the growing evidence connecting sleep quality or deprivation to the onset of Alzheimer's and dementia.
Deep cycle sleep is the stage where the body repairs and rejuvenates, fortifying the immune system, consolidating memories, and fostering overall recovery. Nevertheless, the duration of deep sleep can greatly vary from person to person and night to night, influenced by factors such as age, stress, and lifestyle choices.
The Role of Sleep Tracking
To obtain a comprehensive grasp of my sleep patterns, I turned to sleep tracking technology (I use both the Oura ring and Apple Watch to cross reference the data) monitoring various aspects of sleep, including duration, interruptions, and sleep stages. This data transformed my pursuit of better sleep.
With over a year's worth of data, my sleep trackers revealed that I spent on average, only 15-25 minutes in deep cycle sleep on most nights—a startling revelation given its pivotal role in physical and mental restoration. Empowered by this insight, I embarked on a search for a solution that could enhance my deep sleep quality.
Optimizing Sleep Quality through Science-Backed Ingredients
Our mission was to create a supplement to enhance sleep quality using scientifically supported ingredients. Each component was carefully selected to bolster the body's production and binding of the neurotransmitter GABA. And so, we created Moonlight.
Understanding GABA and Sleep Cycles
Before delving into the remarkable effects of Moonlight's ingredients, it's essential to unravel the science behind GABA (Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid) and its role in regulating sleep cycles. GABA serves as a calming agent in the brain, inhibiting nerve transmission to prevent overstimulation and promoting relaxation. Maintaining adequate GABA levels is vital for healthy sleep patterns, as it reduces anxiety, quiets the mind, and facilitates the transition into restorative sleep cycles.
Reishi Mushroom: The "King of Mushrooms"
Reishi Mushroom, scientifically known as Ganoderma lucidum, boasts a rich history of health benefits, including its positive impact on sleep quality. This ancient Chinese remedy contains bioactive compounds that enhance GABA activity in the brain, alleviating anxiety, reducing stress, and creating a tranquil environment conducive to quality sleep.*
Passion Flower: Nature's Tranquilizer
Passion Flower, also referred to as Passiflora incarnata, has been cherished for centuries for its sedative properties. It contains compounds that elevate GABA levels in the brain, inducing a sense of calm and relaxation. By alleviating anxiety and fostering a peaceful mind, Passion Flower becomes an invaluable ally for those grappling with sleep disturbances.*
Kava: The Pacific's Sleep Elixir
Derived from the root of the Piper methysticum plant, Kava has been a ceremonial drink in the South Pacific, celebrated for its ability to induce relaxation and alleviate anxiety. Active compounds in Kava, known as kavalactones, enhance GABA's binding to brain receptors, leading to reduced anxiety and improved sleep quality.*
L-Theanine: Zen from Tea Leaves
L-Theanine, primarily found in tea leaves, is renowned for its calming effects. It boosts GABA production and increases alpha wave activity in the brain, promoting relaxation without drowsiness. L-Theanine's capacity to enhance sleep quality and reduce sleep latency renders it a standout ingredient in the quest for restful sleep.*
Holy Basil: The Stress Buster
Revered in Ayurvedic medicine, Holy Basil (Ocimum sanctum) possesses adaptogenic properties that help the body adapt to stress, modulating stress hormone production that can interfere with sleep. By reducing stress, Holy Basil indirectly supports GABA function, facilitating smoother transitions into various sleep cycles.*
The Synergy of Natural Ingredients in Moonlight
The synergy of Reishi Mushroom, Passion Flower, Kava, L-Theanine, and Holy Basil in a sleep supplement creates a powerhouse that aligns with the body's natural processes. These ingredients work together to promote quality sleep cycles:
- GABA Enhancement: Each ingredient enhances GABA in the brain, reducing anxiety and promoting relaxation, easing the transition into quality sleep cycles.*
- Anxiety Reduction: By calming the mind and reducing anxiety, these natural ingredients create an environment conducive to sleep, mitigating racing thoughts that often hinder sleep initiation.*
- Sleep Cycle Optimization: Improved GABA function and reduced anxiety levels optimize sleep cycles, increasing time spent in deep and REM sleep, crucial for physical and mental restoration.*
- Natural and Non-Habit Forming: Unlike some pharmaceutical sleep aids, these supplements are natural and non-habit forming, promoting sleep without the risk of dependency or morning grogginess.*
The Transformation Unveiled
After incorporating First Person Moonlight into my nightly routine which, the transformation in my sleep quality was nothing short of remarkable. While I noticed subtle differences in sleep depth in the initial nights, the true impact became evident over time.
Tracking my sleep with two different monitoring devices, I consistently observed spending over an hour in deep cycle sleep on nights when I took Moonlight. This marked a significant improvement from the mere 15-25 minutes I had been experiencing previously. The data left no room for doubt—Moonlight was making a substantial difference in the most vital phase of my sleep. Each morning, I awake bright-eyed and full of vigor, ready to face the day with mental clarity.
Sleep w/out Moonlight: 24 min of deep sleep.
Sleep w/ Moonlight: over 1 hr of deep sleep!