Sleep. We all need it. But how many of us are actually getting the amount of sleep that we need to keep our brains and bodies functioning at optimal levels? If you’re reading this while groggily sipping your morning coffee … you’ve already answered our question.

The fact is, for some wildly unexplainable reason, our society doesn’t think sleep is important. We’re told to push ourselves and work all hours of the night – and if we don’t, that somehow means we are lazy and will never be successful. Pretty ironic considering sleep helps improve your memory, increase your ability to make quick, accurate decisions, and it even helps combat burn-out at work. In fact, according to a study performed on college students, after 17 to 19 hours without sleep, performance on tests was equivalent or worse than if a student had a blood alcohol level of 0.05 percent (similar to having around two drinks). Not only that, but their response speeds could be up to 50 percent slower than normal for some tests.

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Lack of sleep has also been linked to dementia as well as Alzheimer’s, obesity, and even heart disease. Basically, by not getting enough sleep, we are setting ourselves up for failure. Yet, according to the CDC, around one-third of all adults don’t get enough sleep.

So great. Now we’ve found ourselves here and know why not sleeping enough is bad … but the real question is why aren’t we sleeping? Of course, part of the reason is the societal/cultural stress mentioned above, but our daily habits also play a role here. From consuming too much caffeine to staring at screens all day (and night), we’re throwing off our body’s natural rhythms that help us fall and stay asleep. This is where John Shegerian comes in.

John is a serial entrepreneur who has founded many businesses in his lifetime. He is also very familiar with the struggle to get enough sleep. That all changed, however, after he had a “microsleep event,” where he literally passed out from sheer exhaustion and (excuse the pun) woke up. This and a series of other revelations led him to co-found the company, Som Sleep. Essentially, Som is like the anti-Red Bull. It’s an all natural, vegan, non-GMO, allergen-free, non-habit forming beverage that is formulated to help individuals achieve better sleep.

John has been conscious of his health and followed a plant-based diet for the better part of 30 years, but once he realized sleep was the factor missing in his life, everything changed. In a recent episode of #EatForThePlanet with Nil Zacharias, John talks about the vital “nutrient” most of us are missing in our lives and how he hopes to democratize sleep. The market for sleep aids and supplements is rapidly growing, but it is dominated by pharmaceuticals that frankly, are not good for us. 

In this unique and enlightening interview, John shares some statistics related to microsleep events and the average American and how the ingredients in Som are designed to naturally restore our body’s ability to sleep restfully. He also gets into the business side of the company and how he hopes to compete and grow within the increasingly popular sleep category. 

We focus a lot on how we can build a healthier, more sustainable food system and world here, but as John points out, we can never hope to achieve these goals if we don’t prioritize our own well-being first. 

To hear more about how getting more sleep can help you excel in life and business, be sure to listen!

You can listen to the full episode below or on the following platforms: iTunesGoogle PlaySpotifyStitcher.

If you like this episode, be sure to subscribe to the #EatForThePlanet with Nil Zacharias podcast for new episodes with food industry leaders, health, and sustainability experts, as well as entrepreneurs and creative minds who are redefining the future of food – and order your copy of the #EatForThePlanet book!

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Image source: Som Sleep/Facebook