Why we started this company

The idea for Food for Sleep came about after I crashed a dive off the high board at a Boston aquatics center. It was a Sunday morning session with a coach and three other divers. All of us were grown-ups and some would say that we’re all a little crazy. I was about to try a new high board dive (a back 1½ in pike position) and I was a bit scared. As I stood on the platform next to the board, I mentally reviewed the steps – sort of like “aerial choreography” – required to execute the dive and successfully enter the water head-first. I walked to the end of the high board, turned around backwards, and balanced on my toes with my heels hanging out over the water. I pumped the board three times, flew up in the air, brought my legs up straight, grabbed my calves, pulled in tight, and rotated furiously.

Then I came out early, and landed flat on my back. I hit with the full force of not only the altitude, but also my rotation. Ouch. Big-time bruises for a few days. “Bob, your back looks like a roadmap…”

After feeling sorry for myself for a while, I asked, “Why? How did I lose my focus and screw this up?”

I figured out that I’d just come back from a four-day business trip followed by a late Saturday night before my Sunday crash. It was a serious sleep shortage. I started reading and researching, and realized how much of your performance you lose if you’re not sleeping enough.

  • If you don’t sleep enough hours in the night, your brain fails to convert important things you learned into “long-term storage.” That means you have a really hard time duplicating what you thought you’d learned.
  • Another part of this is – big surprise – you lose some of your ability to focus.

All of us who compete in anything athletic need to pay attention to this: sleep is a crucial part of our training.

When I looked at what I could take to help me sleep, I found two alternatives: drugs and supplements. Sleep drugs require a doctor’s prescription and often have bizarre side effects; no thanks. I think most supplements are created by marketers who’ve never met a scientist, and to be blunt, they don’t work. No thanks, again.

I’ve had the good fortune to work for some years with a group of physicians and scientists at Harvard Medical School. I went to them and essentially said, “Let’s solve this problem with something that’s based on solid science and is just foods.” It took us a while: lots of research, lots of false starts, a couple of truly vile-tasting first efforts, and a fair measure of frustration. But we reached our goal: Food for Sleep is based on clinical trials published in peer-reviewed journals, it’s pleasant tasting, and it works.

I think it was worth the trouble. I hope that it helps you with your sleep, that it helps your recovery from your workouts, and most importantly, that it improves your athletic performance.

As our coaches say: train hard, eat right and SLEEP.