Healthy sleep is a foundation for human vitality, but in this age of anxiety it often suffers. Strategic formulations of complementary botanicals can finally help deliver powerful rest for everybody.
Take a two-year global pandemic. Add a highly charged political environment. Infuse it all with anxiety about climate change, and stoke the volatile package with economic and workplace upheaval. While we’re at it, let’s toss in a devastating and escalating European war.
Now, try to sleep.
For many of us, sleep has suffered at least since March of 2020, when COVID-19 arrived in the United States and everything changed. In fact, the American Academy of Sleep found in a survey from the summer of 2020 — the pre-vaccine days — that 20 percent of responders said the pandemic was interfering with their sleep. But when the Academy ran the survey 10 months later, in March of 2021, that number had spiked to 60 percent.
This is bad news, and timely, too, as March is National Sleep Awareness Month. Healthy sleep contributes toward vigor in body and mind. Poor sleep, on the other hand, can lead to overweight, depression, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, reduced attention span, damaged memory and weakened immune system, among other things.
Exercise, diet and sleep-nurturing habits like reducing alcohol consumption in the evenings and turning away from screens after dinner can help foster healthy sleep.
But plants can help, too.
After all, sleep is a mental activity, and we know plants — from coffee to kava to cannabis — can interact with the mind in powerful ways.
When we decided to craft a supplement aimed at sleep health, we understood that a variety of botanicals could help. But before exploring the world of sleep-positive plants and working on synergistic formulations, we knew one ingredient was a given: CBN hemp extract.
The Endocannabinoid System
& the Sleepytime Power of CBN
ECS Brands revolves around the human body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), a cell-signaling system discovered by researchers in the 1990s that is involved with regulating sleep, mood, appetite, memory and reproduction. Molecules called endocannabinoids that are found within the body are essential for the system’s functioning. But plants produce molecules like this too, called phytocannabinoids. Receptors located within the ECS attract cannabinoids; when receptors and cannabinoids link, the ECS can better perform its many functions.
With more than 120 phytocannabinoids, far more than any other discovered plant on earth, the hemp plant serves as a cannabinoid incubator, and has become central for researchers working to understand how to strengthen and optimize the body’s endocannabinoid system. One hemp cannabinoid, CBN, appears to precipitate sedative and calming effects. As big believers in the transformative power of plant compounds found within hemp, we built our Sleep Optimizer on a base of full-spectrum hemp extract containing a wealth of CBN.
Sleep Herbs: Valerian
Botanicals are unique in that they can collaborate in synergistic ways within the human body. For Sleep Optimizer, we sought a formula that could ease people into deep, long-lasting sleeps.
One easy decision, following the hemp extract base, was the inclusion of valerian, a tall, perennial, grassland plant native to Europe and Asia that people have leveraged for sleep for centuries. A pair of compounds found in valerian, valerenic acid and valerenol, can act on GABA receptors in the body. GABA, an amino acid, is a principal neurotransmitter contributing toward sleep regulation, and GABA receptors are vital in its regulation. It is possible, too, that valerian compounds also interact with key sleep chemicals serotonin and adenosine.
Sleep Herbs: Lichen Extract
Vitamin D is one of the most important vitamins for human health. It is involved with heart health, immune function, protecting bone and muscle, and calcium absorption. It also participates in sleep cycles in powerful ways.
Vitamin D deficiency is associated with sleep problems, while optimal volumes of Vitamin D encourage healthy sleep. For Sleep Optimizer, we turned to lichen extract, the only known plant source of real Vitamin D3.
We champion D3 from lichen extract, and rely on it in Sleep Optimizer to keep the body abundantly supplied with this safe, natural and essential vitamin. The vitamin is good for the whole body, including the systems related to promoting healthy sleep.
Sleep Herbs: Corydalis Yanhusuo Extract
Practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine for centuries have used this species of flowering plant, most prevalent in China’s Zhejiang Province, to treat pain. It has been widely studied by scientists, with promising results in animal studies.
Researchers believe an alkaloid in the plant called DL-tetrahydropalmatine (DL-THP) may help explain the plant’s efficacy with pain management. Studies have demonstrated that DL-tetrahydropalmatine blocks receptor sites, including dopamine, in the brain. The result is sedation and mitigated pain.
As pain is one culprit for poor sleep, corydalis stands as an important ingredient in the Sleep Optimizer formula. The plant seems to simultaneously manage pain and encourage healthy sleep.
Plants offer the world thousands of compounds, all of which interact with the body in different ways. Many plants, it turns out, can help manage sleep. The best approaches to plant-based sleep optimization involve careful and strategic formulations of complementary botanicals, rather than just relying on single plant compounds. We think Sleep Optimizer is an ideal formulation, one that promotes healthy sleep while also rejecting side-effects like grogginess.