Are you dreaming of your next big innovation in immune health?

Health & Nutrition 09/24/2020

5min read

By: Talking Nutrition Editors

Discover the gift of sleep

  • Sleep is an essential part of everyday life, but do we truly understand its benefits? And, what happens when we don’t get enough, can it make us more suspectable to illness?  
  • With the global spotlight on immunity, consumers are prioritizing their health and wellbeing to improve their resilience to, and recovery from, illness and disease. Sleep plays a restorative role in relation to overall health as well as immunity, but consumers may not necessarily make that connection.  
  • In The Gift of Sleep – the first webinar of DSM’s Holistic Immunity Insights series - our experts explored the role of sleep in immunity and how it can inspire innovation in the dietary supplements space for a stronger, more resilient world.  

We’re sharing the key insights from The Gift of Sleep webinar for you here or you can watch the full webinar on demand

Insights for a holistic approach to immunity

In a four-part series, DSM, alongside industry experts, will be exploring the contributing factors to healthy immune function, to inspire innovation in the dietary supplement space and give consumers the nutritional solutions they’re looking for. First up, ‘The Gift of Sleep’, an insightful deep dive into the link between a good night’s shut eye and a strong and resilient immune system.

Let’s talk about sleep 

We all need to sleep, but with 37% of U.S adults struggling to doze off, is it time we looked at these hours of slumber from a different perspective? In the current climate, consumers are on the lookout for ways to stay healthy and improve their wellbeing. This creates an opportunity to educate consumers about the role of sleep in better defending our bodies against viruses or other infections and how good nutrition can help to boost sleep’s restorative powers.

Scientists recommend that we get seven to eight hours sleep per night, but do we really understand why we sleep and the impact it has on our physical and mental health? Dr Michael Grandner, Behavioral Sleep specialist from the University of Arizona College of Medicine, joined DSM to explore the perception of sleep and the impact of having too little on our overall immunity.  

Sleep is inextricably linked to our brain health and cognitive performance. An insufficient amount of sleep can impair your brain’s ability to regulate emotions, process emotional memory, and manage stress. In addition, it is also essential for removing toxins and waste from the brain, integrating information and memories as well as supporting our ability to make complex decisions. In addition, there is also worrying evidence to show that individuals who regularly get six hours of sleep or less are at a higher risk of becoming obese or developing conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes.

So, we can all agree sleep is important, but what consumers may not realize it that it’s also critical for supporting our immune health. Sleep is connected to the foundations of healthy immune functions, such as disease prevention and recovery. Dr. Grandner also discussed the link between good nutrition and sleep. Consumers are less likely to eat well if they are tired as they are more likely to turn to convenient fast food and frozen ready meals, rather than nutritious home-cooked food.  He also highlighted that supplements including ingredients such as valerian, melatonin and some amino acids have been shown to have positive impacts on sleep but often lack sufficient data to support usage in real-world settings.

So how can the nutrition industry support quality sleep, in order to boost healthy immune function?  

Omega-3 fatty acids and sleep  

Diving further into the science of nutrition and sleep, Nate Matusheski, Lead Scientist for Personalized Nutrition and Dietary Supplements at DSM, explored how omega-3s can help to support better quality sleep, contributing to a healthier immune system. A direct association exists between daily intake of DHA and EPA fatty acids and improved sleep quality, duration and decreased disturbances. As evidence continues to emerge, suggesting a link between omega-3s and healthy sleep patterns, is it time for re-education on the role of nutrition in getting a good night’s sleep?

Supporting a stronger, more resilient world

Innovation opportunities exist in the sleep space, but first it’s important that consumers know and understand the benefits of sleep and its connection to overall immunity. Any nutritional products to aid sleep should focus on its rewards, restorative function and health benefits, including how it supports immune health. How can we build greater resiliency and a stronger world? By focusing on the whole health picture – the immune response, recovery and rest.

Anne Healy, Senior Marketing Manager for Dietary Supplements at DSM rounded up the webinar by sharing examples of opportunities for innovation in nutritional solutions that support immune and sleep health. She explained that by positioning sleep to consumers as a ‘gift’, rather than a chore, there is an opportunity to enhance the experience around sleep to help consumers benefit from restorative benefits, ultimately supporting a more resilient immune system. Examples of concepts including nutrient powders and shots were also highlighted demonstrating how products that included ingredients such as omega-3s, melatonin and chamomile, could be designed to be taken at nighttime to help support immunity, sleep quality and duration.

This webinar series aims to the change the conversation about immunity by shifting attention towards the holistic contributors to better health and immunity – sleep, stress, nutrition during pregnancy and early life as well as gut health. 

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