“Welcome to, something like elation when you first open your eyes, just cuz it means, you must have finally got to sleep last night” – Ani Difranco
So you guys may not know this about me but I have been struggling with insomnia for about 6 years now. It had gotten to the point where I would get jealous of people who complained of being sleepy. I’d get angry at John for being asleep next to me as I laid awake for 2+ hours every night. I consider myself to be one of the lightest sleepers on the planet. The slightest noise, movement or light will wake me up. Over the last 6 years I have tried everything and have done countless hours of research. I started with natural supplements, changing my sleep environment, removing ALL caffeine, sleep apps, etc. I’m ashamed to say that I got SO desperate that I tried prescription sleep aids from my doctor. Even those didn’t help and the side effects freaked me out. Ambien came with warnings that I might hallucinate and drive, cook, or have sex in my sleep. Before going to bed for the couple of weeks that I tried that med, I said goodnight to John with an apology for anything I might do to him while unconscious. Nothing exciting happened because the drugs didn’t help me sleep. Eventually I found that one glass of red wine right before bed helped me to fall asleep but not sleep deeply. Falling asleep was at least something, so I went with that one for a long time. A glass of red wine every day is fine for a lot of people but I wasn’t comfortable with NEEDING wine to sleep, so I continued my search.
One day I was killing time in Duane Reade and I saw a bottle of femMED Sleep on the clearance rack. I have no idea why it was 50% off but I liked the list of ingredients. I had become familiar with skullcap (to relax your brain), melatonin (to help fall asleep), 5-htp (for sleep and mood) -but I hadn’t found anything that combined them all. There were also a few ingredients listed that I hadn’t tried (magnolia bark, lemon balm, passion flower, amur bark, L-theanine). I decided to give it a try. Lo and behold – I slept on the first night and every night after! I fell asleep within 15 minutes, slept through the night, and woke up singing Hallelujah! If you have ever struggled with sleep you know what I’m talking about. It is a feeling of elation to wake up knowing you finally slept. That was 3 months ago and now I sleep EVERY NIGHT. I even ran out of the supplement because I couldn’t find it in the store again and I slept anyway, even without taking it. This leads me to think there is a bit of an adaptogenic effect on me. This year at SLB was the first of 4 years that I actually slept. I have had awful insomnia there in the past which has lead to unbearable anxiety. Now that I was able to sleep, my training increased from 15-18 hours per week to 21-26 per week. My day was packed and I felt AWESOME. I would wake up, food shop, put out lunches, train for 4-7 hours, then cook dinner for 10-14 people – like I was a superhero. I did my fastest climb for my first QOM of SLB and beat some very talented athletes up that mountain. And when it was all said and done I felt like I wanted more. I even came back to NYC craving a race. I honestly credit this improved performance 100% to sleep. Even before SLB I was reaping the benefits of my renewed sleep habits during my 90-mile run weeks to train for Rock N Roll New Orleans Marathon. Plus, I had that January Watchung Marathon overall win. I think I’m headed into a breakthrough season and I have a couple of big surprises up my sleeve in terms of events and qualifications *hint* *hint*.
So, I emailed femMED with a testimonial and a thank you. I also wanted to inquire about where to purchase their product but instead they agreed to a sponsorship deal because they were inspired by my story! I’m wildly excited about this. The company is founded and directed by women and the products are geared towards women’s health. None of the products are tested on animals. Check out their story. Their blog is also awesome.
A word about my position on supplements: I am constantly approached by supplement companies offering me product sponsorship and I’ve never even accepted samples from any of them. I don’t just accept sponsorship deals willy-nilly, you all know that. I believe in trying to take care of my body through diet and lifestyle FIRST. I don’t put my name behind products that I don’t LOVE. That said, there are certain health issues that require more than just diet and lifestyle changes. Hormonal imbalances, chronic insomnia, nutritional deficiencies… these are all issues that female endurance athletes are known to struggle with. I take supplements for these specific issues when my training load increases throughout the season. I use them a bit less during the off-season. I found femMED through my own exploration and I know that their products work for me. I will be trying the Hormonal Balance (I’ve had nasty PMS crankiness for the last few months, so much so that John had to wait to propose to me. HA!). I’ll also try using the Energy supplement only as needed if I have a blah day. And I’m going to replace my multi with the femMED Multi + Antioxidants.
And here’s more good news. My peeps get a 10% discount. Go to www.femmed.com and use code “holistic”.