Published September 7, 2018 My ultimate goal when creating my new line of herbal formulas was to give you effective tools for REAL LIFE. Because as crazy and beautiful as real life is, it can get a little stressful too. There are so many products out there marketed as magic bullets for when things go wrong- but what about when you just need some help doing this human thing right? Each product in this collection is something I made either for myself or a loved one to provide relief for a specific “real life issue.” They all have a story, and the one I’d like to tell you today — how SLEEP JUICE came to life — is what started it all. THE STORY BEHIND THE FORMULA All my life, I had friends who would complain of insomnia and other sleep troubles. They’d walk into school or work late after bingeing on a deep corner of YouTube all night because no matter what they did, they simply couldn’t fall or stay asleep. “Can’t relate,” I’d say… because me? I loved my sleep. I could run a sleep marathon and win every time, easily crossing the 12 hour mark if no one extracted me from my bedcave on a Sunday. I couldn’t understand how someone’s body would say NO to such delicious slumber… until it happened to me. The short version of this story is that: I’m a crazy ambitious Leo who is a “pitta” in Ayurvedic medicine (fire type), and there’s nothing I love more than working towards a goal and crushing it. You’re on this website because I started a health company when I was 20, writing blog after blog while simultaneously acing my college classes. I found my passion at a young age (helping others feel better physically, mentally and emotionally) and dove into it full force. I worked hard at building my company, at healing my own health issues that drove me into this field, and shared everything I could on social media for years on end. I felt invincible, and then one day it hit me — I pushed myself too hard. It started with me throwing out my back sweeping the kitchen (because that’s totally normal for a 20-something), then escalated to serious muscle aches/soreness after doing even the simplest exercises, then grew to me gaining weight despite clean eating and said exercise, and ended with someone dropping a BOMB on my lifelong perfect sleep. I suddenly felt wired once 9pm hit, and even when I did get my body to shut down before midnight I would wake up to pee at least 3-4 times a night. I no longer felt rested in the morning and wanted to nap all day. Once the sleep issues hit, I started feeling fatigue like I was 80 years old. My brain didn’t feel as sharp as it once did, and my body basically forced me to stop working so hard before I completely burnt myself out. I was in full-on “adrenal fatigue” mode, although that is an outdated term that should be known as HPA axis dysfunction. You can read all about it in my post here. I enrolled in herbalism school shortly thereafter, not only to expand my professional knowledge, but to dig deeper into this debilitating new health obstacle as well. I truly didn’t know where to start when it came to healing the adrenals and getting my body out of overdrive, but I knew one thing for sure — I needed to SLEEP if I was going to get anything of value done. Sleep loss causes increases in stress hormone levels, blood pressure, blood sugar and heart rate. Those of us who get only six hours a night have an 18 percent higher risk of developing blocked arteries than those who sleep eight hours. And this is only looking at total sleep quantity, nevermind quality! I quickly learned from my teachers that actually, sleep is one of the top complaints people visit herbalists to address. And in fact, it’s where we start with each and every client as the body can’t heal itself unless you’re getting that deep, restorative, don’t-care-that-im-drooling-on-the-pillow snooze. I realized that sleep is important for everyone, and more people need help with it than I ever imagined. I wanted to create something that would give others the relief and rest they needed to live a full life. I now had a new mission: to slow down, take care of myself, and find a way to get real, restful sleep each night. I worked on my circadian rhythm, stopped using my phone after 7:30, and even wore orange glasses around the house after sunset. After many nights studying (and consuming) nervines, AKA herbs that calm the nervous system, I came up with a blend that finally broke the cycle: SLEEP JUICE. THE HERBS INSIDE + HOW SLEEP JUICE HELPS My teachers explained that when someone is overworked and overstressed for too long, they’re in a situation where “their nerves are fried.” It becomes a vicious cycle because since our nervous system is now so sensitive, we begin overreacting to things that usually wouldn’t cause us stress, which becomes a new source of stress in itself. Events that wouldn’t seem a big deal to others are magnified in our perception due to lowered tolerance. The nervous system / HPA axis being in overdrive is what throws off our sleep as well, causing us to be “wired but tired” at bedtime, unable to fall asleep and get into deep REM. Thus, the entire goal is to calm and nourish the nervous system as a whole – not just focusing on sleep herbs, but neurotrophorestoratives as well. These are herbs that act as nerve tonics and tissue rejuvenators; they actually rebuild and nurture the nerves! 1. Valerian Root Valerian comes from the Latin word “valere,” to be strong. I believe part of this is because it helps us get deep enough sleep to where we feel true inner strength the next day, yet the other part is that it strengthens the mind. Valerian is indicated for worriers who run circles in their mind of “what ifs” and “could have, should haves.” As our ally, this herb helps us to be of strong mind, where worries of the day can be processed yet not linger. Valerian is a relaxant herb that has a calming effect on the autonomic nervous system and opens up peripheral circulation while you sleep. (This is great if you have cold feet in bed that your partner isn’t particularly fond of! Haha). It is a wonderful short-term sedative that works quickly, offering a healthy, nontoxic alternative to sleep drugs. It decreases the amount of time it takes to fall asleep, and Principles and Practices of Phytotherapy (2000) states that it condenses non-REM sleep time, implying that you may actually get more REM per hour in bed. 2. Hops Did you know that hops is in the Cannabaceae (cannabis) family? No, it’s not a drug — and no, it doesn’t contain any THC or psychoactives whatsoever. In Ayurveda, Hops is indicated for restlessness associated with nervous tension, and Traditional Chinese Medicine uses it to treat insomnia and indigestion. It’s an incredible sedative which is made that much more powerful when combined with Valerian, and helps increase both sleep quality and duration. Together, they calm and settle the nervous system within an hour which is why you take sleep juice 1 hour before bedtime (and again just before sleep if needed). 3. Skullcap This may be my favorite herb in the entire blend. Skullcap is an extremely safe and reliable mild sedative that not only helps with insomnia, but anxiety as well. While herbs are usually studied on rats, there’s actually been a double blind study on humans where 15 women and 4 men took one of three types of skullcap preparations. They proceeded to rate energy, cognition and anxiety at intervals for two hours thereafter, and the researchers found that it “demonstrated noteworthy anxiolytic [anti-anxiety] effects.” This is wonderful if you’re someone who has racing thoughts and a restless mind before bed! However, my favorite aspect of this herb is that it’s got that neurotrophorestorative quality I was excited about earlier. This means that it helps to rebuild and restore the nerves, which can be helpful for those who twitch and move in their sleep and generally feel jumpy throughout the day. 4. Lemon Balm Another absolute star and one of the best herbs on the planet! Lemon balm is used to reduce anxiety, mild depression, nervousness and panic attacks. It also addresses “sympathetic excess” of the nervous system, where the adrenals are in overdrive. It is my go-to herb for treating insomnia, especially combined in synergy with the other herbs on this list. The calm, happy feeling that you get after a mug of lemon balm tea is second to none, which is why I had to include it in this blend. (Also a nerve tonic/re-builder like Skullcap!) 5. Passionflower This beautiful herb allows you to shut down chatter in the mind, nourishes the adrenals, and is perfect for city dwellers who get frazzled in their chaotic environment. For this reason, I also find it helpful for those with social anxiety who get wound up after a night of too much social interaction and need help finding their center. The real reason I had to include this herb in the blend is because it’s one of the few herbs that helps you reset your circadian rhythm. Finally, no more “second wind” at 9pm when your body needs to rest! 6. California Poppy California poppy is a great addition to this blend for many reasons (and shares several properties of the herbs above), however I included it to help address the specific problem I was experiencing: nocturia, AKA having to wake up and pee throughout the night. If you don’t have this problem, no worries – California Poppy will simply enhance the other herbs in the formula. But if you do, know that I have you covered because I went through the same thing! HOW TO TAKE SLEEP JUICE To experience a deep night of restorative rest with sleep juice, take 1 full squeeze of the dropper bulb one hour before bed in water, juice, or straight down the hatch! It can be taken again at bedtime if you need an extra snooze boost. Because our tinctures are glycerin-based, they are alcohol free, delicious, and naturally sweet without impacting blood sugar. That means they also taste great when added to hot water if you’d rather sip on a “bedtime tea.” I hope you absolutely love this formula, and that it helps you get the most out of your sleep AND your life. My goal is to make your days (and nights) a little better with the help of these herbs. If you’re interested in buying Sleep Juice, check it out here!