Restorative Sleep and Brain Health

SleepJacquie Eubanks RN BSN

If you are in mid-life you may have noticed changes in sleep structure, such as alterations in the quality and quantity of sleep. As we advance in age, we don’t sleep as well as younger adults. Science has yet to determine whether older adults require less sleep or are unable to generate the amount of restorative sleep needed. Normal aging is associated with sleep disruptions that can include a reduced ability to initiate and maintain sleep, earlier bed and rise times and shorter sleep duration, as well as a reduced amount of deep sleep and lighter sleep with more frequent awakenings. With a focus on memory impairment, researchers are exploring underlying neurological mechanisms that may account for age-related sleep disorders, as sleep disruption is widespread among those with neurogenerative dementias.

Per a 2017 study published in Neuron, researchers revealed there may be a bi-directional link between disrupted sleep and a more rapid rate of cognitive decline with increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s. The study suggests that inadequate sleep is a predisposing risk factor contributing to degenerative disease processes. As well, an adequate amount of healthy sleep may present an opportunity for treatment or prevention. As not all older adults suffer the same degree of sleep disruption, aging itself is not the sole determinate of declines in healthy sleep patterns. Daytime napping, chronic pain, depression and frequent nighttime urination, as well as medications and medical conditions can all contribute to sleep disruption.

A common feature of cognitive decline is an impaired ability to form new memories. A meta-analysis of self-reported sleep in older adults has established a relationship between poor sleep and the extent of impairment on cognitive and neuropsychological tests, even when controlling for cardiovascular conditions, anxiety, stress, depression and medication history. Growing evidence suggests that sleep disruption mediates the effects of age-related long-term memory impairment, while sleep quality is associated with memory retention. Therapeutic interventions that restore sleep show promise in delivering preventative benefits that may reduce the risk or severity of cognitive decline with aging.

New research from the University of Rochester found the depth of sleep impacts the brain’s ability to efficiently clear waste and toxic proteins that accumulate during waking hours. As sleep becomes increasingly lighter, as well as more disrupted with aging, the findings indicate that sleep deprivation can predict the onset of Alzheimer’s and dementia. The study, published in the journal Science Advances, found the slow and steady brain and cardiopulmonary activity associated with deep non-REM sleep are optimal for the brain’s waste removal processes. As toxic protein elimination in the brain happens while we sleep, it further supports the connection between sleep, aging and Alzheimer’s disease.

Current evidence supports the probability that although sleep generating capacity is impaired in older adults, the need for sleep remains high. Sleep therapy, or other clinical approaches that boost the quality of sleep, may enhance the proper function of the glymphatic system, responsible for the brain’s housekeeping. For those who frequently have trouble sleeping, it may be time to consider the effects of sleep deprivation on daily life, as well as long-term cognitive health. Despite many studies, the science of sleep is still largely a mystery. However, we do know that sleep is essential to healthy body functioning, and appears to be critical for maintaining brain health, memory consolidation and learning ability. Science tells us that sleep is vital for rest and recovery and, quite possibly, a reduced risk of degenerative brain diseases.

Now available at Professional Supplement Center:

Sleep BalanceSleep Balance by Diamond Formulations: Highly recommended by our customers, Sleep Balance is formulated to provide calming support for the central nervous system to encourage and maintain natural restful sleep, as well as discourage sleep disruption. Specific ingredients support restorative sleep, calmness and relaxation and aid in sleep/wake cycle regulation. Free of wheat, yeast, soy, gluten, animal or dairy products, fish, shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, eggs and artificial colors, artificial sweeteners and artificial preservatives. Non-GMO kosher formulation.

Sleep and Human Aging.
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AQUA BIOME™ by Enzymedica – Featured Brand

Aqua BiomeSusan Brown Health and Wellness EditorProfessional Supplement Center now offers AQUA BIOME, a line of uniquely blended, science-based omega fish oil formulas manufactured by Enzymedica®. These innovative, potent, effective products are specifically designed to promote microbial diversity in support of a healthy microbiome and overall wellness. A flourishing microbiome beneficially impacts the immune, cardiovascular, digestive and musculoskeletal systems. The supplements provide an optimal ratio of omega fatty acids, including DHA and EPA, as well as DPA, a unique fatty acid not typically seen in concentrated fish oil supplements. These optimal omega blends support healthy energy levels and proper mood, as well as joint, skin and brain health.

Products are manufactured in accordance with cGMP guidelines in a GMP facility certified by NSF. A breakthrough chemical and solvent free manufacturing process is utilized to extract the omega-3 fatty acids, completely eliminating heavy metals and toxins, and resulting in unparallel purity. AQUA BIOME’s pure, clean fish oil is sustainably and responsibly sourced from wild caught Peruvian anchoveta, a low toxin level small fish. AQUA™ BIOME is the first fish oil to receive Clean Label Project Certification by an independent, non-profit accredited chemistry laboratory that tests for 130 harmful environmental and industrial contaminants. All products are gluten, soy, dairy and GMO free.

To help save and restore the Florida Keys coral reef, AQUA™ BIOME by Enzymedica has partnered with Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium, a private, internationally respected, non-profit marine research laboratory located in Sarasota, Florida. Global warming, destructive fishing practices, plastic litter and pollution are destroying individual live corals at an alarming rate. Every bottle purchased results in a donation to Mote to plant new corals with a goal to rebuild one mile of underwater life in the only barrier reef system in the continental U.S. by 2021.

To see the full line of AQUA™ BIOME by Enzymedica®, please visit

Aqua Biome™ Fish Oil...Fish Oil + Meriva® Curcumin: ON SALE This cutting-edge formula delivers 1200 mg of omega-3 fatty acids plus 500 mg of Turmeric Phytosome® per serving in support of proper digestion, healthy energy levels and muscle recovery, as well as joint, brain, cardiovascular and immune health. Sustainably sourced, gluten, dairy and soy free, non-GMO formulation. Fish gelatin capsule. No additional ingredients.

Aqua Biome™ Fish Oil...Fish Oil + Sports Performance: ON SALE Each serving of this breakthrough formula provides 1200 mg of fatty acids plus 250 mg of Quercetin Phytosome® in support of a healthy microbiome, endurance and overall wellness. Clinically studied Quercetin Phytosome® has been shown to improve muscle performance, as well as reduce delayed onset muscle soreness after exercise. Sustainably sourced, gluten, dairy and soy free, non-GMO formulation. Fish gelatin capsule. No additional ingredients.

Aqua Biome™ Fish Oil...Fish Oil + Digestive Relief: ON SALE This optimal level formula provides all the benefits of omega 3 fatty acids plus advanced support for digestive irritation. Each serving provides 1200 mg of omega-3’s, plus Casperome® (boswellia serrate complex), a full spectrum extract demonstrated to reduce both bowel and joint related discomfort, as well as promote intestinal motility. Sustainably sourced, gluten, dairy and soy free, non-GMO formulation. Fish gelatin capsule. No additional ingredients.

Aqua Biome™ Fish Oil...Fish Oil Maximum Strength: ON SALE Each serving of these natural lemon flavored high potency softgels provides 2000 mg of DHA, EPA and DPA plus additional omega fatty acids in support of proper digestion and overall wellness. Sustainably sourced, gluten, dairy and soy free, non-GMO formulation. Fish gelatin capsule. No additional ingredients. Classic Strength formula also available.

Is There an Optimal Time to Work Out?

Work OutSusan Brown Health and Wellness Editor

Right now, you may be thinking the best time to work out is anytime that allows follow through on exercise plans. But are there advantages to morning, afternoon or evening workouts? In addition to all the good reasons for daily exercise, timing itself may have specific benefits. Some associate early morning exercise with success, others equate evening workouts with enhanced performance. Scientific research suggests the right time to exercise is relative to and dependent upon each individual’s own body clock or circadian rhythm. Chronobiologists, who study the brain’s time keeping mechanism, believe that even among those who sleep the same amount of hours, there are behavioral, emotional and cognitive differences that determine whether an individual is a ‘morning person’ or a ‘night owl.’

While ‘morning person’ and ‘night owl’ are not scientific terms, researchers theorize that each of us has our own individual chronotype influenced by physical biomarkers. The hormones melatonin that encourages sleep, and cortisol, that helps us wake, help determine whether an individual is “programmed” to start and end the day earlier or is naturally inclined to sleep in and stay up later. Those who wake early have more energy in the morning, while those who stay up late feel more energetic later in the day. Of course when we sleep and when we rise is determined by other factors, such as lifestyle decisions and our environment. It may help explain though, why some feel empowered in the morning and others not so much.

Finding or making time to exercise can be challenging, yet there’s really no wrong time to do it, as any amount of exercise is better than none. However, those who wish to optimize their workouts might try working out at different times of day to find what feels most advantageous.


Working out in the morning on an empty stomach is an ideal way to burn stored fat. Per Anthony Hackney, a professor in the department of exercise and sport science at U.N.C. Chapel Hill, natural elevation of cortisol and growth hormone levels in the morning results in more energy drawn from fat reserves, which can potentially aid weight loss. Additionally, morning exercisers tend to consume fewer calories and make healthier food choices, as well as have more consistent energy throughout the day. Some research suggests that exercising before life’s responsibilities interfere leads to improved consistency. As exercise is a great stress-reliever, morning activity may lead to a calmer, yet more productive day. If you’re truly not a morning person and find you’re exercising at a low intensity, a more energetic workout later in the day could be more beneficial.


If you can get out for a workout or walk during the lunch hour, it can help boost performance and focus. Some research has shown that the body naturally burns a slightly higher amount of calories during late afternoon compared to morning and evening. Research also suggests that the body is adaptable to consistent timing, resulting in better performance, higher oxygen consumption and lower perceived exhaustion over time. As well, the body’s core temperature may also influence exercise quality, since in late afternoon muscles are more flexible, body temperature is highest, heart rate and blood pressure levels are lowest and reaction time is quickest. Combined, this can mean better performance and less chance of injury.


Exercising  after work or in the evening is a matter of convenience for many. Contrary to the popular belief, nighttime activity doesn’t necessarily interfere with sleep patterns, as long one doesn’t expect to sleep immediately following exercise. Stress relieving activity, such as yoga or gentle stretching, is recommended for relaxation, as well as a proper night’s sleep. Some evidence suggests that evening workouts can reduce levels of the hunger-stimulating hormone, ghrelin, further aiding weight management.

While the general consensus is that morning exercise is best, timing of exercise is personal. For most people the key is to exercise regularly at whatever time works with one’s daily routine. While one can be flexible and work out at different times on different days, scheduling a set time to exercise supports consistency and follow through. Activities such as walking, biking, swimming, dancing, yoga or strength training can be done at any time of day. Be sure to warm up cold muscles, especially in the morning and remain steadfast in your commitment for optimal health benefits.

Professional Supplement Center offers these and other high quality supplements for exercise support:

Energy/Sports...Energy/Sports Formula by Douglas Laboratories®: This comprehensive formula provides proper proportions of synergistic  bioavailable vitamins, minerals, trace elements, digestive enzymes and botanicals in support of energy metabolism during sport and exercise. Free of yeast, wheat, gluten, soy protein, milk/dairy, corn, sodium, sugar, starch and artificial coloring, preservatives and flavorings.

BCAA CapsulesBCAA by Pure Encapsulations®: BCAA provides the branched chain essential amino acids leucine, isoleucine and valine in support of muscle function during exercise, as well as post-exercise muscle recovery. Available in powder or capsule form. Gluten and soy free, Non-GMO, hypoallergenic, vegetarian formulation.

Power FuelPower Fuel by Nutritional Frontiers: Power Fuel provides D-ribose and other workout supportive nutrients that help to minimize fatigue and support energy and endurance, as well as muscle strength, physical stamina and exercise recovery. Gluten free, vegetarian formulation.

Athletic NutrientsAthletic Nutrients by Pure Encapsulations®: This hypoallergenic, nutrient-rich, highly bioavailable multivitamin, mineral and trace element complex is formulated to support exercise performance and training, promoting energy and stamina and lessening muscle fatigue. Gluten and soy free, Non-GMO vegetarian formulation.

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