In this blog post I'll explain my experience with Qualia Night. Suffice it to say, I had tremendous benefit from this supplement.
This blog post is the second installment on how Qualia Night resolved my insomnia. If you're interested in my background, listed in the first blog post called My Lifelong Insomnia Symptoms And Qualia Night As A Sleep-Saver, then go ahead and read that first.
This second installment focuses on reviewing Qualia Night in more detail. So here we go:
In this section, I'll go over my experience of going through a bottle of Qualia Night (QN). Let's first explore what some other people are saying about Qualia Night:
(I didn't know about these survey questions and results until a month after the experiment.)
Before digging into my personal experience on this product, let's compare my Fitbit data both without Qualia Night and with the product.
First, the before situation (with insomnia), without QN:
Over the three years of wearing a sleep tracker, I've had a very high percentage of light sleep. The image above is one example of that. I think those three sleep studies above shed some light on this.
In contrast, I spent far less time in light sleep while taking Qualia Night, as you can see in this image below:
My subjective experience accords to that picture as well:
I also experienced significant benefits that are not asked about on this survey. Someone without insomnia who could get a solid 6–8 hours of sleep a night while taking this supplement may not even have any negative effects.
My unwanted side-effects can simply be explained by symptoms of sleep deprivation. The only reason these symptoms of sleep deprivation were new to me is that I suspect they were being compensated for these past 3 decades with my chronically high levels of stress hormones and neurotransmitters.
Qualia Night seemed to be dramatically decreasing my levels of high-stress/high-alert hormones and neurotransmitters. The longer I took QN, the more it built up in my system and the greater impact it had on lowering my stress hormones and neurotransmitters as the experiment went on and it took weeks to gradually approach the ballpark of my baseline after the experiment was over. It seems to have plateaued a month after taking the last capsule, and those stress hormones and neurotransmitters seem permanent, significantly lower now.
My subjective symptoms of ultra-low adrenaline, cortisol and dopamine are just one side of the coin. As levels of some hormones and neurotransmitters decrease, others increase such as adenosine, melatonin, and GABA to name a few that I'm familiar with.
In reality, there are hundreds of neuromodulators and they are all impacting the levels of others and affecting diverse areas of our brain and central nervous system and even other organ systems as well.
So my best efforts at drawing the most detailed diagram of my subjective experience are only scratching the surface of the tip of the iceberg. Envisioning myself climbing to the summit of an iceberg in Iceland, I would carve into its zenith the hexagonal logo of Neurohacker Collective the formulators of Qualia brand nootropic supplements like the two I tested: Qualia Night and Qualia Energy. I can see the etched design now, reflecting the swirling lights of the glowing aurora borealis in the night sky.
I think I got more total sleep on QN due to taking naps which also shortened the length of my average time asleep.
If I did lay down during the day before QN, I was not able to fall asleep even if I had not slept a wink the night before. Only one out of every 50 times laying down in bed was a daytime nap before QN. I rarely ever napped before QN mainly because I didn't feel sleepy.
Ever since taking QN in September, I am able to fall asleep and even dream. Nowadays, it's nearly one in five times or (8 out of 50 times) of going to bed is to take a daytime nap. If I wasn't needing to factor all those naps into the equation, I think my average sleep time would be longer on QN. I just calculated only the nighttime sleep segments during QN. Sure enough, it averages out to 5.6-hour segments which are 35% longer than my August sleep segments.
I would have much preferred to sleep longer, however, both Qualia Night and the Rx sleep aid I took for a month roughly 16 years ago caused unmistakable rebound wakefulness for me. As research shows: "Sleep induced by the A2AR agonist CGS 21680 is followed by a strong rebound of wakefulness..."
I hypothesize that this is why I often wake up in the middle of the night and woke up wide awake 5.5 hours after taking a full dose of QN at the beginning which progressively lengthened as QN built up in my system and I adjusted the timing to take a partial dose right at bedtime.
On the Rx sleep aid I would be hit with intense wakefulness like an adrenaline rush in the middle of the night with my heart racing, so I cut that tablet in half and took the other half in the middle of the night to help me fall back asleep after being so wide awake. After a few weeks I discontinued it because the two half doses weren't hardly making a dent in the time it took me to fall asleep plus it was causing other unwanted effects.
Why does it matter that I was waking up a little too soon on Qualia Night? Well, one of the crazy patterns to my sleep is that regardless of the timing of the sleep window, say from midnight to 8am or 4am to noon, I tend to often have my second deep sleep cycle at the end of the night, so rebound wakefulness might have cut the deep sleep time. I think I got a little run down waking up just before my usual deep sleep timing.
The bright side of QN:
The dim side of QN taking a low dose of only one to three capsules:
The dark side of QN taking a full-dose of four capsules most of the month:
I think each of those unwanted effects could simply be symptoms of chronic and acute sleep deprivation that had previously been masked by high levels of adrenaline and cortisol. Our body can't suddenly switch gears without experiencing some trade-offs.
Reminds me of the motivational quote, "The life you've always wanted will cost you the life you've always had." High adrenaline and cortisol levels do give us a performance boost when we need it most, but they erode our health when we rely on them day after day for decades.
I jumped at the chance to test this nighttime nootropic because Alex had shared his results after taking a different product also formulated by Neurohacker Collective on his YouTube channel titled: "Qualia Mind Review: Incredible 40% Deep Sleep & Improved Brain Function!"
Curious about brain health supplements? Here's Everything You Need to Know About Nootropics
I waited until after the experiment to read about the specific beneficial effects of the 25 ingredients in this synergistic nootropic formula so that it wouldn't affect my unbiased personal experiences.
Withania somnifera [Solanaceae the nightshade family]
(Indian ginseng, poison gooseberry, winter cherry, "the king of Ayurvedic herbs")
Biologically active constituents: glycowithanolides, lactones, alkaloids, saponins, glycosides, tannins, flavonoids, polyphenols: gallic, syringic, benzoic, p-coumaric and vanillic acids, catechin, kaempferol and naringenin
Neurohacker Collective: "...supports sleep quality, relaxation, muscle recovery, cognitive function, immunity and a healthier stress response."
PubMed: "...prevented adrenal gland changes of ascorbic acid and cortisol content, cognition promoting... useful in neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's, Huntington's and Alzeimer's... GABA mimetic... promote formation of dendrites [branches on nerve cells]... It has anxiolytic effect and improves energy levels and mitochondrial health. It is an anti-inflammatory and anti-arthritic... It enhances the function of the brain and nervous system and improves the memory. It improves the function of the reproductive system... it enhances the body's resilience to stress... insomnia, nervous breakdown..."
Pubmed: 250 and 600 mg/day dried ashwaganda root
"A significant reduction in [perceived stress scores]"
"Serum cortisol levels reduced"
"significant improvement in sleep quality"
Ashwagandha's effect on the circadian clock: "The master pacemaker, the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), containing light-entrained circadian clock orchestring mammalian circadian rhythms in physiology and behavior is located in hypothalamus. SCN possessing core circadian machinery genes regulates the synthesis and release of melatonin (messenger of darkness) from the pineal gland via multisynaptic pathway. The decline in endogenous levels of this multitasking molecule with aging is associated with circadian dysfunction, neurodegeneration and brain aging as well as alterations in the endogenous defense and survival mechanisms. The studies in our laboratory have revealed the therapeutic and adaptogenic potential of hydroalcoholic leaf extract of WS on age induced alterations in various clock gene expression and its modulators."
International Journal of Innovative Research and Development: "...treatment of rheumatic pain, inflammation of joints, nervous disorders and epilepsy. Dried roots are used as tonic for hiccup, cold, cough, female disorders, as a sedative, in care of senile debility, ulcers... anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor, anti-stress, antioxidant, mind-boosting, immune-enhancing, and rejuvenating properties... sex-enhancing properties... anti-stress, adaptogenic, aphrodisiac, sedative, diuretic, antispasmodic, germicidal, anti-inflammatory action... nervine tonic.. It enhances immunity and endurance. It is a natural nutrient for insomnia. It stimulates thyroid activity. Enhances anti-peroxidation of liver."
Herbalism history: "...one of the most widespread tranquillisers used in India... It acts mainly on the reproductive and nervous systems, having a rejuvenative effect... to improve vitality and aid recovery after chronic illness... abortifacient, adaptogen, antibiotic, aphrodisiac, deobstruent, diuretic, narcotic, strongly sedative and tonic... It is also used to treat nervous exhaustion, debility, insomnia, wasting diseases, failure to thrive in children, impotence, infertility, multiple sclerosis etc..."
Ocimum sanctum [family Lamiaceae]
(tulsi, "the queen of herbs")
Biologically active constituents: civsilineol, civsimavatine , eiothymonin, apigenin, rosavinic acid, and eugenol
Neurohacker Collective: "We included holy basil because one of the leading causes of poor sleep is hyperarousal—an overactive stress response and over aroused nervous system."
Pubmed: 300 mg capsules of ethanolic leaf extracts
"cognition-enhancing properties in humans"
(marsh penny, Indian pennywort, ji xue sao, brahmi)
Neurohacker Collective: "...it is calming and supports repair and rejuvenation processes."
Pubmed: 250, 500 and 750 mg of the plant extract
"enhanced working memory"
"Improvements of self-rated mood"
Herbalism history: "...an aid to meditation... a revitalizing herb that strengthens nervous function and memory. The whole plant is alterative, cardio-depressant, hypotensive, weakly sedative and tonic. It is a rejuvenating diuretic herb that clears toxins, reduces inflammations and fevers, improves healing and immunity, improves the memory and has a balancing effect on the nervous system. It has been suggested that regular use of the herb can rejuvenate the nervous system... reduces scarring, improves circulatory problems in the lower limbs and speeds the healing process. It is used internally in the treatment of wounds, chronic skin conditions (including leprosy), venereal diseases, malaria, varicose veins, ulcers, nervous disorders and senility. Caution should be observed since excess doses cause headaches and transient unconsciousness."
Hormone notes: Some women use gotu kola for preventing pregnancy, absence of menstrual periods, and to arouse sexual desire.
Polygala tenuifolia root extract [Polygalaceae the milkwort family]
Biologically active compounds: triterpenoid saponins
Neurohacker Collective: "supports brain protection and repair processes and molecules (such as BDNF and NGF), counters stress, supports sleep, and influences both adenosine signaling—a molecule involved in the sleep homeostatic drive—and GABA signaling—a neurotransmitter involved with relaxation... without producing sleepiness at the doses used... a healthier response to stress—one of the leading causes of poor sleep is an overactive stress response and over aroused nervous system..."
Pubmed: 3 times daily extract of dried roots
"to assess verbal memory and working memory"
"significantly reduced the number or errors"
"showed more significant increases in immediate recall"
Herbalism history: "expectorant and stimulant to treat bronchial asthma, chronic bronchitis and whooping cough... antibacterial, cardiotonic, cerebrotonic, expectorant, haemolytic, hypotensive, sedative... tonic for the heart and kidney... insomnia, palpitations, poor memory, anxiety, depression and nervous tension."
Haematococcus pluvialis microalgae extract
Biologically active compounds: keto-carotenoid terpene
Neurohacker Collective: "...astaxanthin is... a powerful antioxidant... cell membranes..., mitochondria, and the brain and nervous system. Astaxanthin can cross the blood-brain barrier (BBB), and accumulates in the brain over time... cognitive function support, as well as protective, repair and regenerative processes in the brain. Other reasons we included astaxanthin included immune support and gut-brain axis... and recovery from mental fatigue..."
Sesamum indicum seed extract
Biologically active compounds: tocopherols, tocotrienols, and 16 lignan polyphenols including sesamin.
Neurohacker Collective: "...one of the two best food sources of lignans... influence the gut-brain axis... In animal studies, sesamin has been neuroprotective and supports molecules like BDNF, which is involved in nervous system repair and growth. It has also countered changes in behavior caused by stress... cardiovascular and liver health... cognitive function and recovery from mental fatigue..."
Pubmed: food-extracts capsules including astaxanthin above
"significant improvements in psychomotor speed and processing speed"
Pubmed: "significantly improved recovery from mental fatigue"
Herbalism history: "...diuretic, emollient, galactogogue, lenitive and tonic... treatment of premature hair loss and greying, convalescence, chronic dry constipation, dental caries, osteoporosis, stiff joints, dry cough etc. It has a marked ability to increase milk production in nursing mothers."
Ganoderma lucidum fruit extract
Neurohacker Collective: "supporting sleep (without producing sleepiness) and calming/centering the mind... immune system support and rejuvenative processes, including stem cell function."
PubMed: "Lingzhi has been recognized as a medicinal mushroom for over 2000 years... "
According to the State Pharmacopoeia of the People’s Republic of China (2000): "G. lucidum acts to replenish Qi, ease the mind, and relieve cough and asthma, and it is recommended for dizziness, insomnia, palpitation, and shortness of breath."
Schisandra chinensis fruit extract
(wu wei zi)
Biologically active compounds: non-flavonoid polyphenol ligans
Neurohacker Collective: "resistance to stress... enhancing mental and physical performance... a restorative tonic and for cognitive performance... enhance calmness and relaxation... support readiness for sleep... complementary with... the lignans found in... sesamins"
Herbalism history: "...restorative, helping in stressful times and increasing zest for life... a tonic for both the male and the female sex organs. The fruit is antitussive, aphrodisiac, hepatic, astringent, cardiotonic, cholagogue, expectorant, hypotensive, lenitive, nervine, pectoral, sedative, stimulant and tonic. Low doses of the fruit are said to stimulate the central nervous system whilst large doses depress it... dry coughs, asthma, night sweats, urinary disorders, involuntary ejaculation, chronic diarrhoea, palpitations, insomnia, poor memory, hyperacidity, hepatitis and diabetes..."
Biologically active compounds: saponins, triterpenoids, flavonoids, and alkaloids
Neurohacker Collective: "support the GABA pathway... not known for producing feelings of sleepiness... supporting sleep and a healthy stress response"
Herbalism history: "...improves muscular strength and increases stamina... a tonic to strengthen liver function... increases immune-system resistance. Antidote, diuretic, emollient, expectorant. ...anodyne, anticancer, pectoral, refrigerant, sedative, stomachic, styptic and tonic. ...purify the blood and aid digestion... chronic fatigue, loss of appetite, diarrhoea, pharyngitis, bronchitis, anaemia, irritability and hysteria. It is hypnotic, narcotic, sedative, stomachic and tonic... palpitations, insomnia, nervous exhaustion, night sweats and excessive perspiration. The root is used in the treatment of dyspepsia... anaemia, hypertonia, nephritis and nervous diseases."
(Chi Shao Yao, Bai Shao Yao, Shao Yao Tang)
Biologically active compounds: paeoniflorin (Pae), hydroxy-paeoniflorin, albiflorin, benzoylpaeoniflorin, paeonol, paeonin, triterpenoids, sistosterol, benzoic acid, β sitosterol, gallotannin, pedunculagin, 1-O-Galloylpedunculagin, eugeniin, tannin acid, resin
Neurohacker Collective: "emotional stability, mental focus, and immunity... support sleep quality and help with mental fatigue. White peony root contains a compound called paeoniflorin that influences adenosine signaling—a molecule involved in the sleep homeostatic drive. Preclinical research has also reported that paeoniflorin supports brain protection and repair processes and molecules (such as BDNF and NGF), counters stress, influences learning, and promotes a balanced mood. An extract standardized for paeoniflorin was included in Qualia Night because of this combination of potential for brain rejuvenation, nootropic, anti-stress, and sleep supportive functions."
Herbalism history: "...a woman's tonic, ...remedy for gynaecological problems and for cramp, pain and giddiness. When the whole root is harvested it is called. The root is alterative, analgesic, anodyne, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antispasmodic, astringent, carminative, diuretic, emmenagogue, expectorant, febrifuge, hypotensive, nervine and tonic... antispasmodic effect on mammalian intestines, it also reduces blood pressure, reduces body temperature caused by fever and protects against stress ulcers. It is taken internally in the treatment of menstrual disorders, injuries, high blood pressure, pre-menstrual tension and liver disorders. It should only be used under the supervision of a qualified practitioner and should not be prescribed for pregnant women."
(Rosaceae the Rose Family)
Biologically active compounds: bioflavonoids
Neurohacker Collective: "for stress, nervousness and sleep... removing a hurried feeling, having a calming effect on the nerves and the heart, and being a mood brightener... restorative benefits when taken over time. support for heart rejuvenation... calming and sleep supportive properties..."
Herbalism history: "...treating disorders of the heart and circulation system, especially angina..."food for the heart", it increases the blood flow to the heart muscles and restores normal heart beat... antioxidant, helping to prevent... degeneration of the blood vessels... antispasmodic, cardiac, diuretic, sedative, tonic and vasodilator... hypotensive... treatment of weak heart combined with high blood pressure, they are also used to treat a heart muscle weakened by age, for inflammation of the heart muscle, arteriosclerosis and for nervous heart problems. Prolonged use is necessary... to enhance... memory... improving the blood supply to the brain."
Biologically active compounds: trans-resveratrol, trans-ε-viniferin, resveratrol monomers and oligomers.
Neurohacker Collective: "supports healthy aging functions... supporting metabolism, heart health, immunity, and cognition... homeostatic sleep drive... sleep quality and next day feelings of being refreshed"
Herbalism history: "The plant is used in Bach flower remedies - the keywords for prescribing it are "Dominating", "Inflexible" and "Ambitious".
Biologically active compounds: polyphenols hydroxytyrosol and tyrosol.
Neurohacker Collective: "heart and brain health, as well as healthy aging... Adenosine—the “A” in ATP—is believed to be the key molecule in the homeostatic sleep drive. And in several brain regions there’s a surge of ATP during the initial hours of sleep. This ATP surge appears to be especially important for deep sleep..."
Herbalism history: "...cholagogue... demulcent, emollient and laxative... The leaves are antiseptic, astringent, febrifuge and sedative... a tranquillising effect on nervous tension and hypertension... shown to decrease blood sugar levels by 17 - 23%... The plant is used in Bach flower remedies - the keywords for prescribing it are "Complete exhaustion" and "Mental fatigue".
Biologically active compounds: steryl ferulates
Neurohacker Collective: "...supporting aspects of menopause, mood, nervous system, and heart health... cognitive, mood, stress, immune, and sleep support functions... its sleep supportive actions might be related to histamine signaling. Circadian changes in histamine neurotransmission play an important role in sleep-wake cycles and both daytime and night time performance. Histamine neurons fire rapidly during periods of wakefulness, more slowly during periods of relaxation/tiredness, and stop firing altogether during REM and NREM sleep."
Biologically active compounds: carotenoid
Neurohacker Collective: "...a powerful antioxidant... cell membranes..., mitochondria, and the brain and nervous system... a growing body of research, mostly in animals, suggesting support of protective, repair and regenerative processes in the brain... support the gut-brain axis and play a functional role in normalizing GABA levels, a neurotransmitter involved with relaxation at night and sleep..."
Biologically active compound: amino acid trimethylglycine TMG
Neurohacker Collective: "...an important cofactor in methylation... Both making melatonin, our darkness hormone, and serotonin require methylation... support liver and heart health... normalizing homocysteine metabolism—betaine is thought to be the source of up to 60% of the methyl groups required for the methylation of homocysteine. Newer research suggests betaine is an inhibitory neurotransmitter—neurons have betaine/GABA transporters... may support cognition and neuroprotection."
Biologically active compound: Uridine-5'-monophosphoric acid disodium salt
Neurohacker Collective: "Uridine is one of the 5 standard nucleosides; the others are adenosine, thymidine, cytidine and guanosine... the building blocks of DNA and RNA, and play a central role in cellular metabolism... healthy cell membranes throughout the body and in the brain. And it may support different neuroregulatory processes and neurotransmitters."
Neurohacker Collective: "enhances dopamine receptor signaling efficiency"
Citrus × paradisi
Biologically active compounds: polyphenol bioflavonoids: standardized for naringin
Neurohacker Collective: "...support enzymes in both adenosine—a key molecule in the sleep homeostatic drive—and GABA metabolic pathways..."
Biologically active compounds: polyphenol flavonol
Neurohacker Collective: "...a variety of polyphenol compounds... tend to have complementary interactions... many of the ingredients we included in Qualia Night are standardized for unique polyphenols... may support enzymes in both adenosine—a key molecule in the sleep homeostatic drive—and GABA pathways."
Biologically active compound: magnesium glycinate
Neurohacker Collective: "Magnesium is used in more than 300 enzymes, including reactions in the GABA, an important relaxation neurotransmitter, and melatonin, the darkness hormone, signaling processes. Magnesium also plays a role in circadian rhythms, which are essential for healthy sleep-wake cycles. And it is needed for ATP to do its job... cells in the brain and body continue to work at night... in several brain regions there’s a surge of ATP during the initial hours of sleep. This ATP surge appears to be especially important for deep sleep. With known functional roles in relaxation (via GABA), sleep (via melatonin), and ATP... We choose to use a glycinate form of magnesium... Glycine is a conditional amino acid, and like GABA, a molecule that acts as an inhibitory neurotransmitter."
Biologically active compound: pyridoxal 5'-phosphate
Neurohacker Collective: "Pyridoxal 5'-phosphate (P5P)... is the bioactive form of vitamin B6: it requires less metabolic “work” to be used as coenzyme in vitamin B6-dependent enzyme reactions. P5P is... needed in the brain pathways that produce three important nighttime molecules—GABA, melatonin, and serotonin."
Biologically active compound: a non-polar, aromatic, essential amino acid
Neurohacker Collective: "...an essential amino acid... the body cannot synthesize it... has niacin equivalent activity in the body (i.e., we can make the NAD+ molecules from it)... At night the priorities for L-tryptophan also shift a bit. While most of it’s still funneled into the de novo pathway, the amount that gets directed to a different pathway, 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) → serotonin → melatonin, goes up at night. This is important because this alternate pathway is critical for regulating sleep-wake cycles and nighttime body clock functions... support skills that fall into the social cognitive domain: these include prosocial behaviors like cooperation, empathy, getting along with others, and altruism..."
Pubmed: 1,000 mg: "significantly reduced sleep latency."
250 mg: "Stage IV sleep [deep sleep] was significantly increased"
Biologically active compound: theanine is an amino acid
Neurohacker Collective: "...naturally occurs in green tea... promotes focused attention and mental alertness... supports a calm, relaxed sense of mental energy... promotes alpha brain waves (α-waves), which... reduces the perception of stress... L-theanine can be broken down into glutamate, which is a building block for glutamatergic signaling (i.e., the glutamate-GABA pathway) and for glutathione, an antioxidant used in every cell for defenses and detoxification... primes specialized immune cells..."
Enhances alpha brain waves: "Alpha brain waves are associated with a state of “wakeful relaxation.” That’s the state of mind you experience when meditating, being creative, or letting your mind wander in daydreaming. Alpha waves are also present during REM sleep. L-theanine appears to trigger the release of alpha-waves, which enhances relaxation, focus, and creativity. One of the appealing aspects of L-theanine is that it works to relax without sedating."
Vaccinium angustifolium fruit extract [Ericaceae the heath family]
Biologically active compounds: anthocyanin and polyphenols
Neurohacker Collective: "...support cognitive function... support the gut-brain axis... support healthy stem cell activity in animal studies... The European cousin of wild blueberries is called bilberry... supporting both vision and night vision... North American blueberries have produced functional dark vision responses... an important part of night time function... In some cognitive studies, blueberry and grape extracts have been complementary, so included both."
Crocus sativus stigma extract
Biologically active compounds: crocin~color, picrocrocin~taste, and safranal~fragrance, carotenoids lutein, zeaxanthin and lycopene~color, cyanidin-3-glucoside, astaxanthin and alpha-carotene.
Neurohacker Collective: "supporting sleep and mood... used as a nerve and heart tonic, and for relaxation and sleep support. Saffron is a source of crocin (responsible for saffron's color), picrocrocin (a bitter compound giving the characteristic taste), and safranal (gives part of the fragrance) as well as the macular (eye) carotenoids zeaxanthin and lycopene... sleep support, mood enhancement, and relaxation."
Herbalism history: "Saffron’s benefits can be augmented by other proven vision-preserving nutrients... which preserves dim-light vision. Recent clinical studies show patients supplementing with a flower-derived spice [saffron] experienced significant vision improvement as measured by seeing an average of two additional lines on the eye chart used by ophthalmologists to test vision."
I hope this section has given you more information about the tons of ingredients found in Qualia Night! I've specifically tried to focus on sleep with my review.
Let's move on to the last part of my review, the conclusion!
"Where is the bottom-line data?" you're wondering. Let me tell you, on old-school graph paper because my Fitbit doesn't run the type of visually-attractive analysis reports that high-end trackers provide.
I've been analyzing my sleep data for 3 years now. I'll share my findings in chronological order. From January of 2017 to December of 2018, I was averaging around 2,450 hours of sleep per year. In 2019, I slept 2, 414 hours. During the first half of 2020, I had gotten 1,174. Doubling that figure gives an approximation of 2,348 hours projected for 2020.
Fitbit has a glitch where it doubles past sleep on many days. Also, and this could be a direct result of my polyphasic sleep segments in little increments during the night.
Past data will consolidate my sleep according to the date in such a way that it frequently gives me zero hours for a given day because maybe on that date I got all my sleep before midnight on the previous day and didn't fall asleep until after midnight of the following day.
I believe it is my insomnia causing the doubling of sleep times on many dates too, because Mark's predictable sleep doesn't result in any data glitches on his Fitbit app.
The biggest issue I have always faced with Fitbit due to my insomnia is the way it records my tossing and turning in bed at the beginning of the night and when trying to fall back asleep during the night, when returning to bed later in the night after being in the living room, and when laying in bed in the morning trying unsuccessfully to fall back asleep.
It shows up as rapid oscillations between awake and light sleep. I wasn't interested in the false hour of sleep it gave me while tossing and turning for two hours, so all these years I have cut that off.
For the month of taking Qualia Night, I realized that I didn't want to cut that off to preserve the integrity of the data. Plus, since I often sleep in two segments, if I shaved off all those times of tossing and turning during the study, it would risk dipping below the 3 hour requirement for sleep stages and it would be changed to basic awake/asleep data.
As you can see, there is no way to make an apples-to-apples comparison between the month of taking Qualia Night in September compared to all the previous months.
Why? Because I didn't shave off those times of tossing and turning, so I get all that false light sleep data included. Which is much less than all the long hours of tossing and turning that I edited out of my previous months' data all these years.
I can tell you, this was the most dramatic improvement Qualia Night (discount code FERGUS saves 15%) made for me. I used to toss and turn for many hours trying to fall asleep as you can see meticulously documented in my June sleep diary entries.
By extension of the same apples to oranges situation created by editing out the tossing and turning of all past months, my QN data is diluted with some excess false light sleep. Were that edited out, I believe it would show a greater decrease in my light sleep than it already does and markedly more REM sleep.
Due to my flip-flopped sleep of often having REM the first half and deep right before waking, and due to the rebound wakefulness that was very apparent to me from QN, my opportunity for deep sleep was being cut off prematurely at the end of my night.
I haven't edited out my tossing and turning since the first night of taking QN. When I take the second and third bottles that I have on hand, I will be able to get an apples to apples comparison against my October and November data.
At the same time, my sleep has seemed to be permanently improved because I am hardly tossing and turning at all any more. I'm really eager to test it in the future to see if I can surpass my personal record-best sleep.
Finally, in this experiment, I limited myself to only taking Qualia Night in the evening as directed or half the amount right before bed which was my personal strategy that worked best for me.
On these next two bottles, I will be eager to test taking a capsule as soon as I wake up during the night for any reason even if I am able to easily fall back asleep. I hypothesize that a capsule during the night will prolong my sleep length to achieve my ultimate goal of consistently getting 7 hours a night.
Thank you for the time you have invested in reading my article. Conducting this experiment and writing about it has been a life-changing blessing for me. It has also been a labor of love because I feel deeply invested in wanting you to get your best possible sleep too.
My sincere hope is that you will take away something of value from reading about my struggles that will be a help to you, even if that is the simple reminder that you are not alone in your efforts. I understand. I applaud you for your perseverance. I believe in your ability to come up with creative solutions that will result in additional improvements. I care about your wellbeing and wish you a lifetime of restorative sleep and optimal health.
Christa Rucker has been biohacking her own physiology for two decades now. She loves to geek-out on researching scientific studies that connect different habits to measurable health outcomes. She also has extensive clinical experience assisting patients which has fueled her passion for prevention.
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