Qualia Night - The Building of a Comprehensive Sleep Support Stack

Qualia Night - The Building of a Comprehensive Sleep Support Stack

Qualia Night

Sound Sleep ... Next Day Nootropic ... Rejuvenation

Biohackers know that what they do in the first part of the day has an outsized effect on the rest of the day. In fact, diet and lifestyle actions we take at the start of our day can affect sleep that night! 

With this in mind, it should not come as a surprise that we recommend taking Qualia Mind or Focus first thing in the morning. The start of our day is disproportionately impactful in terms of its ripple effect throughout the rest of our waking hours. 

This same holds true for the early part of the evening. What we do in the beginning parts of our evening can affect the rest of our night … our sleep … and how we perform the next day. It’s a period where, like the early morning, there can be a big ripple effect from what we do. The importance of the early evening is why we created Qualia Night.

We started as a nootropic company. Optimizing brain performance is built into our corporate DNA. After the successful launch of our original nootropic stack, we turned our attention to the flip-side of the early morning nootropic coin, evening performance and sleep. We’ve spent more than two years developing Qualia Night

Developing Qualia Night took a long time because (1) getting sleep right isn’t easy, and (2) we wanted this product to deliver more than just sound sleep. Qualia Night is unique in many ways. We’d like to share a bit about why. 

Why Did We Create Qualia Night?

To really appreciate why we developed Qualia Night, it’s important to understand one fundamental principle about healthy function—we have completely different daylight and darkness physiologies.

Healthy function in the early morning doesn’t look at all like healthy function in the early evening. They are, in many ways, mirror images of each other. 

Early morning, moving from sleep to being awake and alert, is characterized by a huge change in the body and brain. Body temperature is at its low point and starts to rise. Cortisol surges to prepare us for the day. Alertness and mood neurotransmitters increase (e.g., acetylcholine, adrenalin, dopamine, serotonin). Melatonin secretion stops. Growth hormone and repair processes are at their lowest. 

The early evening is when body temperature reaches its peak and starts to drop. Cortisol approaches and eventually reaches its low point. Alertness and mood neurotransmitters give way to those that drive sleep homeostasis and relaxation (e.g., adenosine, GABA). Melatonin production rises. Repair and rejuvenation processes start to dominate. The high point of growth hormone is approaching. 

In a sense, the morning is when the gas pedal is pressed to make sure we accelerate into our day. This allows us to transition from sleeping to waking physiology. And it supports the high level of alertness, drive, focus, and mood needed to perform at our best during the active hours of the morning and throughout the day. 

Evening is when the brake is applied. But, and we think this is critically important, most before bedtime sleep supplements are designed to essentially do the equivalent of slamming on the breaks just before bedtime. They are intended to take a fairly alert user and put them to sleep … quickly.

But is this the best approach for producing quality sleep? Or supporting the repair, restoration and rejuvenation processes that dominate at night? Or ensuring that we wake feeling alert and ready in the morning? Or giving the brain and body what it needs to perform at the highest level throughout the next day?

While before bed sleep supplements have their place, it occurred to us that what was missing was a different, more elegant solution. So we started to ask some questions. 

Instead of slamming on the brakes just before bed, what would happen if we started the braking process a few hours earlier? Would the experience be different if we applied the brakes more gently, or upregulated the entire braking system? Should we really only focus on sleep, or would it be better to focus on sleep … and rejuvenation … and next day performance. 

Ultimately, we arrived at a product, Qualia Night, that is a sleep support product and an evening nootropic and a rejuvenator. It’s designed to support sound sleep. And it is designed to deliver much more than that.*

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When does a new day really begin? In modern times, a new day starts immediately after midnight. This wasn’t always the case. And when you think about it, the idea that a new day would start in the middle of the night seems silly. Most ancient cultures started a new day at sunrise … or sunset. 

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Sleep 101—Understanding a Few Sleep Basics & Principles

Since sleep is a defining behavior during the night, let’s briefly touch on the big picture of why it’s important and how it works. 

Sleep is a regulated drive. The things that are most essential for survival and reproduction—activity, appetite, circadian rhythms, sex, temperature, thirst—are controlled in a small part of the brain called the hypothalamus. 

Regulation implies an active physiological defense of something. With respect to sleep, this means we don’t get to decide how much sleep we need: It is decided for us. Our options are (1) getting the amount and quality we need, or (2) paying consequences. 

The most immediate consequence of doing a poor job meeting sleep needs is feeling fatigued or sleepy during the day. If we do a poor job in meeting sleep needs, the brain starts to grab sleep for us without our permission. We find ourselves nodding off during the day. Severely sleep-deprived individuals experience microsleep—episodes of sleep lasting for a fraction of a second up to about half a minute when the brain literally goes to sleep—throughout the day. One of the hallmarks of regulated drives is that, if we don’t do a good job meeting the need, the brain puts increasing pressure on us to meet it or starts to meet it despite us.

Poor sleep has many longer term consequences. Sleep is needed to recover from exercise and have the motivation to engage in activity. Sleep strengthens the immune system. Sleep is important for clean-up of wastes that build up in the brain during the day. Sleep is essential for rejuvenation and repair processes. Good sleep is essential for looking and feeling physically younger. Memory consolidation, and hence learning, requires sleep. Brain performance and mood depend on sleep. Sleep is a key factor that determines whether we stay in shape or get fat. Sleep impacts all of these and more. The consequences of insufficient or poor quality sleep are felt in many areas.

In general, if we can sleep, we need sleep. Sleep researchers often talk in terms of “sleep debt.” In accounting, black ink indicates a profit (i.e., surplus) and red a loss (i.e, debt or deficit). But the sleep account can never run in the black; it can only be in the red (or paid off fully each night). This means we can’t sleep more than we need and store the rest away. We can only repay the sleep debt we owe.

Sleep debt begins to build from the moment we wake in the morning. As this debt builds, so does the drive to sleep, which is called “homeostatic sleep drive” or “sleep load.” But if sleep debt is building steadily throughout the day, how are we able to—naps aside—stay awake till sometime in the evening?

The answer is that our body clock, circadian rhythm functions, allows us to postpone repayment until nighttime. It also allows us to repay the debt quicker than it was built (i.e., we can repay ~16 hours of being awake with ~8 hours of sleep). Sleep-wake cycles are a circadian function, and a general rule of thumb is that the more robust our circadian system, the easier it will be to get a good night’s sleep.

The “Two-Process Model Of Sleep Regulation” is used as a way to explain the interaction between the homeostatic sleep drive and the circadian wake drive (sometimes called clock-dependent alerting).

Adenosine—the “A” in ATP, cellular energy—is believed to be the key molecule in the homeostatic sleep drive. A side-effect of being awake, active and alert is a gradual build-up of adenosine. The longer we’ve been awake, the more adenosine accumulates, and the stronger the homeostatic sleep drive.

Melatonin is the key darkness time-keeping molecule for the circadian wake drive. It may seem counterintuitive, but clock-dependent alerting is much stronger in the early evening than the morning. This is because it doesn’t take much “wake drive” to counter the small amount of “sleep drive” that has built up early in the day. But much more wake drive is needed in the early evening to offset the much higher pressure to sleep that has built-up over the course day.

While melatonin is often thought of, and typically described, as a sleep hormone, it is a darkness hormone—it’s produced at night whether an animal sleeps at night (like humans) or during the day (like many big cats and rodents). Instead of being a sleep-inducer, it plays a time-keeping role, synchronizing sleep-wake cycles with other parts of physiology. One of these time-keeping jobs in humans, and other diurnal animals, is to signal “wake drive” processes to ease off. 

When there’s a large enough build up of “sleep drive,”it only takes a little easing off of the “wake drive” for sleep to occur naturally. This easing-off is signaled by the nighttime surge in melatonin. The best sleep results occur when the sleep and wake drives are synchronized, but the exact time of night when the melatonin surge will occur for an individual can vary based on genes and behaviors.

While we’ve introduced adenosine and melatonin, there are many more players in the sleep game. One of these is GABA (full name, gamma-aminobutyric acid). GABA is the chief inhibitory neurotransmitter. Its principal role is in reducing neuronal excitability throughout the brain and nervous system. This means it is important for promoting calmness and relaxation, decreasing stress, and inducing sleep.

The stress system plays a large role in sleep, with the quality of sleep being influenced by stress and the hormones and messenger molecules we make in response (e.g., cortisol, epinephrine, norepinephrine). In a simple sense, stress leads to a state of “hyperarousal,” which means that the body, brain, or emotions (or aspects of all 3) are on higher alert and interfering with the other processes that should allow us to experience restful sleep. Some people are less, while others are more prone to stress causing issues with sleep. 

Stress is not alone. Other alerting compounds, like histamine and acetylcholine, can interfere with sleep if released in the brain in too high amounts or at the wrong time.

The brain releases many endogenous sleep-inducing factors, which are compounds that play a role in physiological sleep. Adenosine is one of these. Another is uridine, which is used as a nootropic in the morning, but supports sleep in the evening. Anandamide (the brain’s principle endogenous cannabinoid), oleamide, growth hormone and many other substances play roles in sleep.  

There’s a growing appreciation that the gut microbiome—an increased richness and diversity of gut microbiota—because of the molecules made, and via communication through the gut-brain axis, could play a big role in sleep efficiency and quality.

Sleep is a time of work. While we are asleep, consciously unaware of our surroundings, the brain and body have lots of important jobs to do. Clean-up, detoxification, recovery, regeneration, and repair tasks are night jobs. This work, just like work during the day, takes cellular energy. The mitochondrial networks within cells that make this energy play an important, and overlooked role in sleep.

One of the main priorities of the brain is to keep us safe. This is a good thing, because, as the character Melisandre from the Game of Thrones says, “The night is dark and full of terrors.” Hearing, the auditory brain signaling circuits, remains active during sleep. This is an evolutionarily important safety feature. Our brain will be more active in an unfamiliar environment (this is called the first-night effect and occurs commonly in a new hotel room) and less so when we are in an environment it has learned is safe, like our own bedroom. 

These safety jobs also take energy. It’s probably not a surprise that older adults, the population most likely to have mitochondrial issues, are also most likely to struggle with getting good sleep.

And last, but certainly not least, sleep is not a uniform state. There’s non-rapid eye movement (NREM) and rapid eye movement (REM or dreaming sleep). Within NREM there are different stages, with deep sleep being the most restorative (and the hardest to get enough of). The neurotransmitters needed to optimize one, can interfere with the other. 

Getting a good night’s sleep requires timing and precision of what to release, where in the brain to release it, and when to release it. Sleep isn’t simple. It’s a complex ensemble of multiple interacting molecules and pathways that is dependent on circadian rhythms and is strongly influenced by our behaviors, thoughts and environment. It takes a lot to go right for sound sleep to occur. The good news is that the brain evolved to regulate all of these different factors. It can do a good job with the right support.

But the right support is more than just taking an herb (or herbs) before bedtime to make a person feel sleepy—hitting the GABA brake hard a bit before bedtime—or a dose of melatonin many times higher than what our brain naturally makes. 

Some of the reasons that we have difficulty with relaxing at night and getting quality sleep have to do with brain energy production, sleep homeostasis mechanisms, pineal gland melatonin production, the brain’s main inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA, gut-brain axis performance, brain growth & regenerative factors, and hyperarousal. Because of this, the right support means addressing (1) sleep homeostatic drive, (2) melatonin production and signaling, (3) the entire GABA breaking system (not just stimulating GABA receptors), (4) stress and hyperarousal, (5) gut microbiome, and (6) brain mitochondrial energetics and performance.

Qualia Night was designed to offer this comprehensive support. It supports sleep without relying on herbs intended to make someone feel sleepy or giving melatonin. Instead, it is designed to help the brain better regulate the ensemble of molecules needed to support restorative sleep and waking feeling refreshed. Instead of giving the brain high amounts of melatonin, or herbs that produce a strong GABA signal, we think a better approach is to give broader support that the brain can use to make more of what would help it at night ...and less of what won’t.*

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The biohacking community is very aware of the importance of sleep. They track it and hack it. But sleep challenges are common. One out of four adults don’t make sleep a high enough priority to get enough. Even when we are trying to get enough sleep, many of us have at least a few nights a week where we are unable to get quality sleep. Sleepiness during the day is a good indicator of whether or not a person is getting sufficient quality sleep to meet their individual needs. But half of adults feel sleepy 3 or more days a week.

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Qualia Night—Experience the Difference

Qualia Night is a nootropic; just a very different kind of nootropic. It was designed to help users perform better during their days by helping with nightly relaxation and rejuvenation. What happens across the whole night will have a dramatic effect on how we perform the next day.*

Qualia Night is designed to be taken early in the evening to support getting a sound night’s sleep. It is not like the before bed sleep supplements which rely on commonly used sleep herbs and/or melatonin. Instead, it is designed to support the many different pathways and molecules the brain relies on to (1) de-stress in the evening, (2) get a good night’s sleep, and (3) wake feeling alert and ready for the next day.*

Qualia Night is designed to support healthy function across the entire night. It supports quality sleep but is not designed to immediately make someone feel sleepy or to put them to sleep. How we feel and perform the next day—alertness, energy, focus, mood, motivation, and productivity—are the telltale signs of a good night’s rest, and the emphasis of Qualia Night.*

Qualia Night was designed with the idea that how one feels when waking in the morning, and performs across the entire next day, is more important than forcefully putting someone to sleep. While feeling like we had a good night’s sleep and waking feeling rested, restored, and ready for the day are both important, of the two, the true test of a good night’s sleep is how we perform the next day.*

Qualia Night was designed to broadly support many areas of sleep quality. These include helping with feeling more calm and relaxed at night (i.e., readiness for sleep), soundness of sleep and vividness of dreams, and waking feeling more refreshed and ready for the next day.* 

Qualia Night addresses the key areas needed for quality sleep including supporting both melatonin production and homeostatic sleep drive. When these are synchronized, we experience better quality sleep, getting to deep, restorative sleep more quickly and often experiencing more of it.*

Qualia Night tunes up the GABA braking system so that it will work more efficiently; it doesn’t just hit the GABA brake. GABA is sometimes described as the brakes of the brain. While many herbs commonly used for sleep support act on GABA receptors, creating a strong GABA signal, Qualia Night is designed to instead support the ways the brain makes and uses GABA.*

Qualia Night combines Rasayana herbs (i.e., Ayurvedic rejuvenators) and Adaptogens to support a healthy stress response and relax an overactive nervous system, countering one of the leading causes of poor nighttime function and issues with sleep—hyperarousal.*

Qualia Night is designed to promote evening relaxation and help with letting go of the day's tension and stress; calming and clearing the mind so that it will be easier to notice when sleepiness starts calling.*

Before bedtime sleep supplements typically use herbs, melatonin, or both to induce a feeling of drowsiness. Qualia Night is not designed as this type of sleep supplement. Instead, it’s designed to help the body shift into the relaxation and rejuvenation modes needed to get a sounder night’s sleep and better next day performance.*

Qualia Night contains polyphenols and other compounds that feed healthy gut bacteria, supporting gut microbiota and the gut-brain axis, which is critical for healthy brain function and sleep.*

Qualia Night contains ingredients that support brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), an important compound the brain and nervous system makes to protect existing neurons and encourage growth of new neurons, doing both in support of learning, memory, and higher thinking.*

Qualia Night is designed to support aspects of stem cell function, which play an important functional role in repair and regeneration.*

Qualia Night contains polyphenol-rich food extracts, including olive fruit, blueberry, grape, sesame, and saffron to support the brain in making energy. This is because the night is not a time when the brain and nervous system are idle; it is a time when they are doing work, just different work than what is prioritized during the daytime.*

Qualia night supports brain and nervous system antioxidant defenses, combining cell membrane antioxidants like astaxanthin and lycopene, with superfood extracts, and herbal tonics.*

Qualia Night - What Makes It Different?

Qualia Night combines 25 carefully selected ingredients. It is the ultimate formulation of Rasayana rejuvenators, herbal adaptogens, restorative nootropic ingredients, superfoods, and cellular antioxidants, combined to support healthy function from sunset till sunrise. A complete solution for sound, refreshing sleep, stress support, enhanced next day performance, and long-term brain health.*

Designed To

  • Promote Relaxation & Calmness*

  • Support Readiness for Sleep*

  • Support Deep, Refreshing Sleep*

  • Enhance Next Day Alertness, Focus, Mood and Performance*

  • Promote a Healthy Stress Response*

  • Support a Healthy Immune System*

  • Create Long Term Brain Health & Function*

  • Support Healthy Aging & General Well-Being*

Key Features

  • Supports Creation and Use of GABA (GABA Signaling support)*

  • Supports Creation and Use of Melatonin (Melatonin Signaling support)*

  • Supports Healthy Stress Response -- Adaptogen Support*

  • Supports BDNF to protect and encourage growth of new neurons*

  • Supports Healthy Cortisol Levels*

  • Dampens Nervous System Hyperarousal*

  • Supports Gut-Brain Axis*

  • Supports Stem Cell Function and Natural Renewal Processes*

  • Supports Healthy Mitochondrial Networks for Cellular Energy*



*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The products and information on this website are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. The information on this site is for educational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice. Please speak with an appropriate healthcare professional when evaluating any wellness related therapy. Please read the full medical disclaimer before taking any of the products offered on this site.

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