Natural Sleep Guide

Dr. Shawn Talbott (Ph.D., CNS, LDN, FACSM, FACN, FAIS) has gone from triathlon struggler to gut-brain guru! With a Ph.D. in Nutritional Biochemistry, he's on a mission to boost everyday human performance through the power of natural solutions and the gut-brain axis.

This is an edited excerpt from Mental FitnessMaximizing Mood, Motivation, & Mental Wellness by Optimizing the Brain-Body-Biome – available in hardcover, paperback, Kindle, and audio versions.

Poor Sleep as a Unique Form of Stress

Easily the most effective stress-management technique you can practice is really very simple: get enough sleep! Even one or two nights of good, sound, restful sleep can do more for maintaining your biochemical balance (stress hormones, blood sugar, inflammation) and improving your mental fitness than just about any other intervention.

It is almost impossible to overstate the crucial role that adequate sleep plays in controlling your stress response, helping you lose weight, boosting your energy levels, improving your mood, and, of course, bolstering your resilience and elevating your mental fitness.

Because sleep is such an important component for building mental fitness, I consider it to be AS IMPORTANT as a balanced diet and regular exercise – it really is the 3rd-leg of the Mental Wellness stool.

I’ve written entire books about the “stress” of poor diet and sedentary lifestyle on the function and structure of our entire gut-heart-brain axis – and we need to think of lack of sleep (and poor sleep quality) as a unique “stress” on our body and mind.

On a certain level, most of us will be aware that eating a doughnut is not as healthy for us as eating an apple—and that the doughnut is creating a certain level of “stress” on our system.

The same applies for sitting on the couch versus going for a walk and for being tense and irritated versus being calm and relaxed in any given situation.

However, most of us don’t have an appreciation for the extremely high level of stress that inadequate sleep delivers to body and mind. Many of us think that we can “get by” with inadequate sleep, at least for a while, but that thinking is completely wrong.

Lack of sleep is perhaps the most underappreciated—and most toxic—sources of stress in our modern lives. Sleep is one of the most important and most modifiable of all the lifestyle factors associated with mental fitness.

We need to “consume” enough sleep every night to rejuvenate our brains, to allow our bodies to recover and repair, to consolidate memories, and to test out emotional scenarios (more on all of these to follow). If we “starve” ourselves of proper sleep—either in quantity or quality—we suffer in myriad ways, from minor things such as fatigue and short temper to major things such as increased risk for cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease.

There are many reasons why we don’t get enough sleep—and why we fail to appreciate the health implications. One is that our modern overstimulated world often seems perfectly designed to prevent good sleep. Another is that most of us are simply unaware of our sleep patterns (we’re unconscious, after all). Just as you pay little attention to the fact that your heart beats in a regular pattern, so too are you normally unaware of your body’s natural rhythm during restful sleep. But night after night, your body follows a well-worn path into dreamland: Breathing slows, muscles relax, heart rate and blood pressure drop, and body temperature falls. The brain releases the “sleep hormone,” melatonin, and begins a slow descent into sleep. The rapid beta waves of your restless wakeful state in the daytime gradually change into the slower alpha waves that are characteristic of calm wakefulness, or “relaxed alertness,” where you generally want to spend most of your time. Eventually, your brain drops into the still-slower theta waves that predominate during the various stages of sleep.

During a full night of sleep, we normally pass through several stages: Stage 0 is when we are awake. Stages 1 and 2 are “light sleep” (lasting ten to fifteen minutes). Stage 3 is “deep sleep” (lasting another five to fifteen minutes). Finally, we enter the deepest portion of sleep in stage 4 (lasting about thirty minutes). Even though stage 4 lasts only about a half hour, it is the most “famous” portion of the sleep cycle, because it is when you dream and exhibit rapid eye movement, popularly referred to as REM. Your total sleep cycle, from early stages 1 and 2 to final REM sleep, takes an average of ninety minutes to complete. And, most importantly for people who have trouble sleeping, this cycle repeats itself over and over throughout the night, which means that interruptions can make it harder to get back to sleep, depending on which part of the cycle you’re in when awakened.

Bright Days and Dark Nights

Perhaps the most dominant driver of our twenty-four-hour day/night circadian rhythm is exposure to light in the day and darkness at night. But our modern world easily and frequently interrupts our natural wake/sleep patterns with bright lights, television screens, and smartphones.

On the flip side, we can actually use different levels of light exposure during the day and night to “set us up” for a good night of sleep. For example, we can try getting out in the bright sunlight to encourage daytime serotonin production and try sleeping in a very dark bedroom to encourage nighttime melatonin production. Having some daytime exposure to bright light can not only improve sleep that night, but it also improves mood during that day and can even enhance immune function and speed wound healing (both benefits due to a lot more than just the superior vitamin D levels associated with sunlight exposure).

Today, most of us spend too much time in twilight—not bright enough in the day and too bright in the evening. Light “strength” (referred to as illuminance) is measured in lux units and refers to the amount of light striking a surface. Studies of agricultural and other “off-grid” societies, such as the Amish, have shown that lux exposure can range from around 4,000 in the summer daytime (compared to about 600 for the average office worker) while winter daytime values drop to around 1,500 for the Amish (and way down to about 200 for the modern office worker). During the evening, the average illuminance in Amish homes is only about 10 lux, while the average modern electrified home is at least five to ten times higher, around 50–100 lux.

It isn’t just that bright light is bad or that darkness is good for sleep. The amplitude between the two extremes is crucial to establish and maintain healthy circadian rhythms. We need to experience a marked contrast in lux exposure (which can range from 10,000 lux of daylight to 1 lux of deep twilight to 0.001 lux of dark night). These fluctuations in light/dark exposure are sensed by our eyes, transmitted to our head brain, and influence our body clock, sleep patterns, mood, alertness, and every aspect of our mental fitness and physical health.

Our eyes contain light-responsive cells called retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) that are particularly sensitive to light in the blue part of the spectrum, which includes bright daylight but also light from screens, such as televisions, computers, and smartphones. Our RGCs send blue light signals to the part of the brain that controls alertness (our body’s master clock, the suprachiasmatic nucleus, or SCN) so that even just an hour of exposure to low-intensity blue light increases alertness as much as drinking two cups of coffee. This is why looking at your smartphone before bed often interferes with restful sleep—because the blue light signals your brain that it is day rather than night.

Studies have shown that people living in areas with high levels of light pollution (such as cities) tend to go to bed later than those living in darker areas (such as rural areas) and also have fewer total hours of sleep, have higher reports of daytime fatigue, and have lower scores for sleep quality and overall quality of life.

Understanding how light and dark exposure influences our daytime moods and nighttime sleep can help us to establish a regimen to harness these signals to improve our mental fitness. For example, studies have shown that if you can expose yourself to daytime light, such as by sitting next to a window at work or taking a walk outside at lunch, you’re likely to sleep better at night (falling asleep faster, waking up less often, and sleeping deeper) and also feel better the following day (with higher indices for mood, alertness, energy, and reaction times). These findings are starting to be used in hospitals (to enhance healing and recovery) and nursing homes (to improve mood and cognitive function).

Sleep Loss Damages Our Three Brains

If you’re not yet convinced of the mental fitness benefits of adequate sleep, consider that few people fully appreciate that lack of sleep is one of the most important determinants of whether you might get Alzheimer’s disease in the future!

Even a single night of poor sleep can lead to brain changes similar to the damage seen in Alzheimer’s patients, with a buildup of the beta-amyloid protein plaques that are normally flushed out by the brain’s glymphatic “housekeeping” system after a good night of sleep.

Our gut microbiome also seems to exhibit certain circadian patterns that may be related to light/dark cycles and to food timing—such as when we eat breakfast, how long we fast overnight, whether or not we have a midnight snack—which suggests that we can target the gut brain to encourage our head brain to get a good night of sleep. A recent study from researchers in Florida showed that overall microbiome diversity was correlated with overall sleep quality in a bidirectional fashion, suggesting that a resilient and diverse microbiome helps us sleep and that high-quality sleep helps us maintain a healthy microbiome and proper signaling across the entire gut-brain axis (including our immune system and inflammatory network).

For example, better sleep was associated with improved levels of microbiome bacteria species in the Bacteroidetes phyla, which produce gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and serotonin (neurotransmitters that promote mood, relaxation, and sleep). Higher levels of Bacteroidetes have also been associated with improved metabolism and weight loss, suggesting that one of the ways that good sleep promotes weight loss (which has been shown in dozens of recent studies) is via the microbiome.

Because sleep problems are at epidemic levels, millions of people look to a pharmaceutical solution: using sleep drugs to knock them out at night. But not only is this not particularly effective in the short-term, it is potentially extremely dangerous in the long-term. Sleep drugs—Ambien in particular and benzodiazepines like Valium in general—have been linked to longer duration of sleep (they knock you out for more hours compared to a placebo) but not to improved sleep quality. In fact, these drugs will actually enhance your brain’s ability to consolidate negative emotional memories during sleep, so you’re likely to wake up with a higher level of agitation, tension, and stress—or precisely the opposite outcome you were hoping for.

And because sleep drugs fail to produce natural sleep patterns, their prolonged use is also associated with higher risk for a long list of diseases, including Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and certain cancers. The Food and Drug Administration requires sleep drugs to carry the agency’s most stringent and prominent safety warning (the “black box” warning) to call attention to possible side effects, including serious injuries or death. Even the lowest doses of all of the major sleep drugs are required to carry this warning, including Ambien (zolpidem), Lunesta (eszopiclone), and Sonata (zaleplon).

How Much Sleep Do You Need?

In sleep-research labs—where alarm clocks, lights, and other interruptions can be banished—scientists have found that the natural duration allowing adequate “cycling” through the sleep stages described earlier (the “physiological ideal”) is eight hours and fifteen minutes for adults (while kids and teens typically need several hours more).

We’ve known this for decades, and research studies have confirmed the “eight-hour rule” on numerous occasions. Yet according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than half of Americans still get less than seven hours of sleep on a regular basis.

The idea of getting more than eight hours of sleep per night may sound great—but what if you simply can’t (or won’t) get that much shut-eye? You could be setting yourself up for numerous health problems, beginning with the fact that your blood sugar levels will rise. Sleep researchers have shown that getting only four to six hours of sleep per night results in signs of impaired glucose tolerance and insulin resistance. This means that cheating on sleep—even for only a few nights—can put a person in a prediabetic state.

These changes in insulin action and blood sugar control are also linked to an increase in risk for inflammation-related conditions, such as heart disease.

Poor sleep also contributes to obesity, because it precipitates changes on the hormonal level. Growth hormone and leptin are reduced in people who spend less time in deep sleep. Leptin is a hormone that plays important roles in regulating appetite, body weight, and metabolism. When you have less growth hormone in your system, it typically results in a loss of muscle and a gain of fat over time. Reduced levels of leptin will lead to hunger and carbohydrate cravings.

In a famous (and cruel) series of animal studies in the 1980s, researchers showed that rats subjected to total sleep deprivation started to die by day eleven without sleep. By thirty-two days, all of the animals deprived of sleep were deceased even though there was no clear biological cause of death. The animals simply “gave out,” probably through a combination of physical and mental breakdowns involving the brain and the immune system.

Fast forward four decades, and we know that sleep is when our brain “cleans” itself by flushing out accumulated toxins of the day. It’s when our body secretes anabolic “building and repair” hormones to stimulate tissue and organ regeneration. It’s when our immune system hits the reset button and learns how to fine-tune its vigilance for the next day of exposures.

Given all these health impacts, I am continually astonished by how many people think they can just “get by” with inadequate sleep and are then surprised when they struggle with low energy, belly fat, constant cravings, brain fog, low sex drive, depression, or any of the other problems associated with being underslept, overstressed, and out of biochemical balance.

Thinking that you can “get by” with inadequate sleep is exactly like thinking you can “get by” with a steady diet of Twinkies.

Sadly, trying to “make up” for missed sleep is also not an effective option, with recent studies showing that the metabolic damage of sleep loss can’t be reversed by “extra” sleep later on. For example, researchers at the University of Colorado showed that sleeping five hours nightly during the week led to the expected derangements in insulin sensitivity, blood sugar balance, evening snacking, and belly fat gain. But they also found that “sleeping in” on the weekend (as many hours as they wanted) not only didn’t help restore normal metabolism, but the sleep-deprived subjects also had even worse metabolism numbers and snacking behaviors compared to the “normal sleep” group getting eight to nine hours nightly.

If you’re “shorting” yourself on sleep, you are virtually guaranteeing that your biochemical balance will be chronically disrupted, and you are putting yourself in a position of weak mental fitness.

To give you some idea of just how detrimental a lack of sleep can be to your biochemical balance and mental fitness, consider what happens to an average fifty-year-old who sleeps just six hours per night. That middle-aged person has evening cortisol levels more than twelve times higher than the average thirty-year-old who sleeps eight hours per night!

Not only will an inadequate quality or quantity of sleep upset stress hormone balance, but it will also limit your ability to fall asleep the next night (because your cortisol is still too high) as well as the amount of time that your mind spends in the most restful stages of deep sleep.

A vicious cycle gets set into motion when you experience poor sleep, an overactive stress response and subtle changes in signaling across the gut-heart-brain axis that lead you down the path away from mental fitness and toward burnout.

Even though numerous research studies verify the damage caused by sleep deprivation, and even if you now understand the importance of sleep for our mental fitness and performance across our gut-heart-brain axis, you may feel lucky to get just six or seven hours of nightly shut-eye. I know I do, and yet I also realize this is still not enough sleep to maintain my own mental fitness. On top of that, I also know that some of the best ways to ensure a restful night of sleep are to avoid caffeine after noon (yet I sit here writing this with an afternoon cup of java next to the laptop), leave work at the office (yet I’m writing this from my home office), and skip the late-night TV (yet all the on-demand streaming services allow me to easily binge on the latest shows), so that’s three strikes for me.

I tell you these personal details in the hope that you will see that maintaining and improving our mental fitness is not an all-or-nothing proposition. No one does this perfectly, myself included! Sometimes you have lots of stress, and sometimes you have less. Sometimes you get adequate sleep, but for many of us, that doesn’t happen often enough. On certain days you’ll be able to exercise and eat right and relax, and on other days you’ll hit the drive-through and feel like you’re working frantically.

The point here is not to strive to be “perfect” in your efforts toward better sleep quality and mental fitness; rather, the best approach is to apply the principles as consistently as possible to ensure that you can do as much as possible to keep your mental fitness high as often as possible.

As such, please think of the suggestions below for building better sleep habits as a “buffet” rather than as a “to-do list”—where you can choose the things that look best to you, but don’t feel like you need to try them all. Many of these tips have worked for me personally, so I try to incorporate them as often as possible.

Build a Better Bedtime

Exercise on a regular basis.

Exercise can help reduce inflammation, stress hormones, blood sugar, and simply help us feel better because of the pleasant postexercise fatigue that can help us sink into our bed in the evening.

BUT…Don’t exercise too close to bedtime.

While exercise is great for the reasons just described, exercising too close to bedtime can increase alertness enough in some people to interfere with their ability to fall asleep.

Relax before bed.

Take time to unwind by enjoying a nonelectronic relaxing activity, such as reading. Electronics, including computers, video games, and televisions, can increase alertness and stimulate the brain into a wakeful state that can make it hard to fall asleep.

Make your bedroom dark and cool and (somewhat) quiet.

The slow drop in body temperature that you experience in a cool room can help you feel sleepy, and a darkened room with as little light distraction as possible can help you stay asleep. The idea of making your “room a tomb”—as dark and cool as possible (between sixty and sixty-seven degrees)—can be enhanced with a fan that provides both cooling and white noise. White noise is simply a consistent noise that comes out evenly across all the hearable frequencies, from low to high. When a noise wakes you up at night, it’s often not the noise itself but rather the sudden change or inconsistencies that your brain notices to jolt you awake. White noise masks these changes to help you fall asleep easier, and you wake up less frequently in the night because it keeps you from hearing changes in sound. I use a fan at home and a white noise app on my phone (ocean waves and rainstorms) when traveling.

If you can’t fall asleep after twenty minutes, get up.

If you try to fall asleep and can’t, get up and do something relaxing, such as reading, until you feel tired enough to fall asleep. The stress that comes from trying to “force” yourself to fall asleep will almost certainly keep you awake longer and may interfere with restful sleep when you finally do drift off.

Brighten your day and darken your night.

Building on our discussion earlier about the importance of bright sunlight exposure during the day and dark exposure during the night, it makes sense for all of us to apply this new science to our own pattern of brighter days and darker nights to enhance our mental fitness. Your daytime setup should include some exercise (at least four to six hours before bed), ideally done outside in bright sunlight. Your nighttime setup is to cut the caffeine after noon (because caffeine’s stimulating effects can linger for five to six hours in most people) and banish blue light from television, computer, and smartphone screens at least one hour before lights out.

Find your personal wind-down routine.

It’s difficult to overemphasize the importance of establishing a nightly “wind-down” routine. Each of the “build a better bedtime” techniques are effective on their own, but linking them together in a pattern that you engage in on a regular/typical basis will also help signal your brain that “we’re getting ready to sleep.” You’ll find that falling asleep, staying asleep, and getting high-quality sleep will eventually become more of the rule than the exception.

Here is my own personal wind-down routine that I practice almost every night. Feel free to use it as a guide:

9:00 p.m.—I relax and have a snack.

  • We typically watch the early local news and then stream an episode of one of the late-night comedians like Seth Meyers, John Oliver, or Trevor Noah. Your brain needs thirty to sixty minutes to wind down before bed, so being able to “disconnect” like this is a lot more effective than closing out those last few emails and then trying to immediately go to sleep.
  • To keep you asleep, you need good blood sugar control, so having a small protein/carb snack like nuts/fruit, cheese/crackers, yogurt/granola can facilitate that process (but a large meal or high-calorie snack like an ice cream sundae can interfere with your sleep).
  • On most nights of the week, I have a glass of wine with dinner, and on some nights I might have another glass while relaxing. My limit is two because more than that is likely to interfere with proper sleep cycling and interrupt the most restful deep stages of sleep. Sometimes, instead of a glass of wine, I’ll have a cup of herbal tea. Chamomile helps relax the smooth muscle in the gut, which sends a similar relaxation signal to the brain to help us wind down.

10:00 p.m.—This is my target for going to bed.

  • While I’m brushing my teeth, I think of a few things for which I am grateful. This two-to-three minute “gratitude practice” is triggered by my nightly oral hygiene routine, so I never miss it (just in case we need a reminder, we also have a little sign on the wall at the foot of the bed that simply says, “Gratitude”).
  • After I brush my teeth, I take my evening supplements, which religiously includes corn grass extract to help improve sleep quality (by up to 40 percent) and omega-3s (to help balance inflammation and enhance overnight tissue repair).
  • Read! This is my secret weapon for a good night of high-quality sleep. If I have completed an effective “daytime setup” (exercise in the sunlight, relax before bed, small snack), then I’ll often start to get the “head bobs” after ten to fifteen minutes of reading my book (either a paper book or a Kindle to minimize blue light exposure) in my dim room (just a bedside light bright enough to read by) with a fan blowing cool air and soft white noise toward my bed.
  • If, for whatever reason, my mind is still at work and I’m having trouble shutting it off, I’ll do a set of deep breaths and a quick body scan—progressively relaxing each part of my body from toes to feet to calves, all the way up to my head. This simple process activates the PNS (parasympathetic nervous system) and engages our natural anti-stress relaxation response. If you often have trouble shutting off the noise in your head, then keep a notebook by your bed so you can download any invasive thoughts out of your head and onto the page. This can help you stop worrying and ruminating because those thoughts will be there in the morning for you to pick back up if needed.
  • If I can’t fall asleep in twenty to thirty minutes, I don’t stress out. I’ll simply get up, grab a glass of water, write down anything that might be on my mind and interfering with my ability to relax, and then do something else (like read) until I’m more tired.

6:00 to 7:00 a.m.—This would be my target range for waking up to ensure a solid eight hours of high-quality sleep.

When I’m doing it right, I’ll typically wake up before my alarm clock—or before the dogs bark for their breakfast. This is just the wind-down routine that I have found works very well for me. While it, or at least certain aspects of it, might also work for you, it is important for you to find the right combination of steps and strategies that represents the best fit for your own likes and dislikes.

Supplements as Sleep Aids

How to get off Melatonin?

Let’s say that you (like millions of other people) fell into the trap of taking synthetic melatonin supplements – and now you’re hooked (melatonin dependence) – how can we get you off melatonin and onto a natural regimen that will help you make your own melatonin again?

The easiest and most straightforward approach for most people is to keep taking their “usual” dose of synthetic melatonin (typically 1mg-3mg nightly), while adding a cocktail of nutrients designed to restore your natural melatonin producing biochemistry. Do this for one week.

After that first week of “taking both” supplements, you should be able to drop the synthetic melatonin down by 25-50% (this may vary, depending on the dose you started with, the form of delivery such as capsules, tablets, gummies, etc) – and keep the usage of the natural cocktail at “full dosing. Do this for the 2nd week.

By the 3rd week – and certainly within the first month – most people should be able to go down by another 25-50% and eventually completely off of the synthetic melatonin because their body has become fully (re)tuned to making its own melatonin at the right times and in the right amounts to deliver optimal sleep quality.

Corn Grass

Corn grass (Zea mays) is just what it sounds like—the “grass” that develops into a corn plant. If you have ever seen the “wheat grass” on display on the counter at your local smoothie shop, then you have seen a related “monocot grass” that naturally contains a specialized phytonutrient (methoxybenzoxazolinone, MBOA), which acts as a positive regulator of the serotonin/melatonin system to enhance day-time serotonin levels (for mood improvement) and night-time melatonin synthesis (for improved sleep quality).

Corn grass has been clinically shown to both improve mood and improve sleep-quality – in a number of ways that are superior to melatonin-based sleep aids.

If you’ve read any of my books or my recent “Case Against Melatonin” white paper, then you already know that I am not a big fan of using synthetic melatonin supplements to induce sleep (especially for kids and teens);

  • because melatonin works for only about half of people who try it…
  • because those it does work for often wake up with the common “melatonin hangover” because their body has not fully metabolized the melatonin dose overnight, so they spend the first half of the day in a groggy melatonin-induced brain fog (not exactly what they were hoping to get from a sleep aid)…
  • because regular or frequent use of melatonin supplements can induce a “dependence” where your body stops producing this hormone on its own and must rely on nightly supplements to sleep at all…

Corn grass helps your body and brain naturally produce its own melatonin on demand, in the right amounts at the right time. Doing so has been shown to improve the amount of time spent in REM sleep (where the brain repairs) and deep sleep (where the body recovers) by as much as 40 percent.

Griffonia seed

Combining corn grass with a small amount of griffonia seed is a way to naturally supply the amino acid 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) that can be used as a building block for the production of serotonin and melatonin—and nutrient cofactors vitamin B6, C, zinc, and magnesium to optimize serotonin/melatonin metabolism.

Griffonia seeds are native to the Western and Central regions of Africa, where they are used medicinally to treat a wide range of stress-induced problems. I often recommend the combination of corn grass and griffonia seed for not just enhancing sleep quality but also for addressing stress-related imbalances, including issues like insomnia, depression, anxiety, sugar cravings, and pain (including fibromyalgia and migraine).

Vitamin B6

Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that helps regulate nervous system activity related to relaxation and sleep. Vitamin B6 converts a small amount of the tryptophan in your body to serotonin (our key “happiness” neurotransmitter) and then to melatonin (our primary “sleep hormone”). Without an adequate amount of vitamin B6 in your diet, your body’s metabolism of tryptophan may be disturbed. This may limit the amount of serotonin and melatonin in your body, potentially leading to mood disturbances, disrupted sleep patterns, and insomnia.


Sufficient levels of magnesium are required to stimulate melatonin synthesis and maintain optimal nerve transmission. Not only can magnesium help you get to sleep, but it plays a part in helping you achieve deep and restful sleep as well. Magnesium deficiency has been shown to result in sleep patterns that were light and restless—an effect that is partially due to magnesium’s influence in “calming” the nervous system.


Zinc plays an essential role in neurotransmitter function and helps maintain cognition, due to its involvement in both melatonin and dopamine metabolism.

Japanese Asparagus

Japanese asparagus extract is a rich source of unique phytonutrients with the special ability to help the body create Hsp70 (heat shock protein 70), which is a cellular protein that induces “autophagy” that helps protect cells (especially delicate neurons) from stressors, repairs damaged cells, and balances inflammatory cytokine responses.

This biochemical reaction improves cognitive performance, reduces fatigue, and improves stress responses. Unfortunately, our heat shock protein response to stressors of all kinds decreases with age but is also thought to be one of the most modifiable “anti-aging” pathways that we can actively manage to help maintain mental fitness and physical health as we age.

Clinical research has shown that Japanese asparagus extract significantly increases the expression of Hsp70 and is effective in modifying stress responses, improving sleep quality, and improving heart rate variability (HRV is often used as an indication of your body’s overall state of recovery and resilience).


Without exaggeration, I can tell you that having a consistent pattern of high-quality sleep can literally change your life by improving your mental fitness and physical performance across every parameter that you can imagine. Sleep is every bit as important for overall health and well-being as proper diet and regular physical activity—and just a few of these simple steps, applied consistently night after night for a few days to a few weeks, will deliver benefits for years to come.?

About the Author

Exercise physiologist (MS, UMass Amherst) and Nutritional Biochemist (PhD, Rutgers) who studies how lifestyle influences our biochemistry, psychology and behavior - which kind of makes me a "Psycho-Nutritionist"?!?!

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Solve the 3 Main Sleep Problems
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