346 – Quality Sleep is Critical for Good Health

Lifestyle and good nutrition can improve your sleep*

Brain Support
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Dr. Erin Stokes

In this interview Dr. Erin Stokes discusses the importance of sleep. Most of us know that lack of sleep has profound effects on how we feel and how we perform. When sleep deficits become chronic then we can experience many different complications. Dr. Stokes explains what happens to the body and mind when sleep is short and/or poor quality.

Dr. Stokes explains many of the factors that could be involved. It is critical that one explore the possible contributing factors. The first thing to consider is whether you have a medical concern including side effects from medication. If this is the case then you need to work with your health care professional as you explore your options. Even if you have a medical condition it is very possible that lifestyle and nutritional support would be beneficial.

Sleep Disruptors

There are a lot of factors that can disrupt sleep. Learn to identify which factors may be important in your case.

  • Age – People often have more trouble sleeping well as they age.
  • Stress – Stress, worry and anxiety can easily disrupt sleep. Dealing with these causes is of primary importance.
  • Caffeine – Caffeine consumption is a common cause of poor sleep. Nicotine and alcohol can also be sleep disruptors.
  • Lack of a regular bedtime and routine – Go to bed at a time that allows 7 to 8 hours of sleep.
  • Excessive stimulation from electronic devices – No TV and leave your cell phone in another room.
  • Some prescription drugs and OTC medications – Make sure to explore this possibility with your doctor.
  • Light – Too much light and/or the wrong type of light influences our internal clock.
  • Jet Lag and Shift Work – These can disrupt our internal clock.
  • Pain and Other Medical Conditions – Pain, depression, GERD, restless legs are all possible contributors. Work with your doctor to address any medical conditions, but do consider the benefits of other lifestyle factors.
  • Sleep Environment – This can include light, sound, temperature, bedding and electronics.

Nutritional Sleep Support

Dr. Stokes discusses the nutrients and herbs that are helpful to support healthy, restful sleep. Perhaps the most well-known nutrient to support sleep is melatonin.*

“Melatonin’s main job in the body is to regulate night and day cycles or sleep-wake cycles. Darkness causes the body to produce more melatonin, which signals the body to prepare for sleep. Light decreases melatonin production and signals the body to prepare for being awake. Some people who have trouble sleeping have low levels of melatonin. It is thought that adding melatonin from supplements might help them sleep.” Source: WebMD

MegaFood Herbal Sleep Support

Promotes restful and restorative sleep

There are numerous herbs that have been used to support sleep. Combinations of specific herb are often used together to achieve a synergistic effect. MegaFood Herbal Sleep is an alternative to melatonin that is formulated by Dr. Tieraona Low Dog, M.D., to provide a sense of relaxation and restorative sleep.* Valerian and hops are used to promote restful sleep in those with occasional sleeplessness, while calming Passion Flower and Sensoril® ashwagandha help to release tension.* Together, these herbs support optimal sleep when you need it most.

Dr. Erin Stokes

Dr. Erin Stokes is a Naturopathic Doctor and the Medical Director at FoodState/MegaFood. Erin received her Naturopathic Doctor degree from Bastyr University in Seattle, Washington, in 2001. She combines her experience as a Naturopathic Doctor with an extensive background in the natural products industry. Erin’s personal mission is to empower people with the inspiration and tools to change their lives. Dr. Stokes practices naturopathic medicine in Boulder, CO.

CLICK HERE for all interviews with Dr. Erin Stokes


Fresh from Farm to TabletExcerpt from MegaFood.com

“We are a vitamin and supplement company working toward a world where everyone is truly nourished.

Together with our trusted farm partners, we are a force for good. From creating premium products with radical transparency, to committing to organic and regenerative agriculture, we are nourishing our world from the roots by filling nutritional gaps and revolutionizing a broken farming system.

We harness a unique process built from a strong history—crafting our supplements with real food plus added nutrients because we believe our bodies recognize real food.

And as a B Corporation, we’re also cultivating a community of transparent suppliers, working to enable a thriving workforce, and supporting businesses, communities, and programs that share these same goals and values. All for a healthier, more sustainable and more resilient future.”

CLICK HERE for all MegaFood sponsored interviews.


Exploring the Science

These are the results returned by Google Scholar in my recent search. This is an excellent resource for exploring the amount of science that exists. Use it whenever you want to see if something has been well-studied. Here are the search terms I used and the results.

  • Sleep (all time) = 3,650,000 results
  • Sleep (since 2019) = 44,200 results
  • Sleep (since 2019) + melatonin = 9,390 results
  • Sleep (since 2019) + passion flower = 4,270 results
  • Sleep (since 2019) + hops = 2710 results
  • Sleep (since 2019) + valerian = 680 results
  • Sleep (since 2019) + ashwagandha = 241 results

This is a significant amount of scientific inquiry. The body of scientific research provides a strong foundation for confidence. The more you know the better choices you will make. Better choices lead to better outcomes.

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