If you ask Emily Matorin about her career, she’ll talk about it in the context of two “chapters”: the first in investment banking/private equity, and the second—where she is now—in a series of leadership roles at startups such as ZocDoc, SignPost, and, currently, Quartet Health. Although many things differ between the two worlds, both have been what Emily calls “decently hard-charging,” which has led this Brooklyn-based 38-year-old to prioritize overall wellness, sleep included.
“I totally understand the need to physically be in a good spot, but also mentally—hence my desire to be at my current job at Quartet Health, a mental healthcare company,” explains Emily. “I have always felt the need to make sure I put my best foot forward, especially as it relates to recharging so I can bring my best self to efforts that require a fair amount of energy and focus.”
We caught up with Emily to hear more about her philosophy on wellness, history with sleep, and “aha moment” trying Proper.
“The well is not endless”
I’m not a health nut by any means, but I definitely do realize that the well is not endless. You can’t just keep tapping into it and expect that you’ll have endless amounts of energy, regardless of how much you sleep. You’re not always going to be able to work 60, 70 hours a week completely unfazed.
This has become more and more evident to me in my 30s, and so I’ve tried to get much better at making sure that I’m well-rounded in terms of the fuel that I’m putting into the tank.
“I have always had some level of insomnia… and over the last year in particular, it has gotten much worse”
Over the last 5-10 years, I have always had some level of insomnia where I just cannot get to sleep and I almost need to exhaust myself. I’ve also always been a night owl and struggled to get to sleep before 11pm. And no matter how much I slept, I’d also wake up early in the morning. In terms of duration, I’d say I average six hours a night, so I’m on the lower end of the spectrum. And most of the time, it’s decently restless.
There seems to be this low-level degree of anxiety and stress produced just by the world we all live in, so over the last year in particular, my sleep has gotten much worse. At the end of the day, I would find myself hitting a wall and not being able to remember things. It also affected my overall mood—a 4pm meeting was a LOT less exciting for me than a 10am. By the end of the week, I was just, like, done. Spent. Nothing left to give. I also felt like I was never able to just recharge and reset. And I have never had that experience before; I’ve always been able to power through it. I don’t know if it’s because of the environment that we’re in, or getting older, or some combination of the two, but this past year has been very stressful on the sleep front.
“I’ve tried prescription + over-the-counter options to help my sleep”
I’ve definitely had Ambien, but I don’t love the way that makes me feel—you feel like you’re on a drug. There’s nothing natural about it. I would feel very hazy and weird right before I was going to bed, and then I’d wake up feeling funky. Same with NyQuil, which also made me have lucid dreams. I also had concerns about the addictive nature of both of those things and never wanted to turn them into a long-term solution.
Note: Recent research published in BMJ Open confirms that prescription sleep medications such as Ambien and Lunesta may help with occasional insomnia but do not help in the long run. In fact, over the course of the two-year study involving 700 middle-aged women, there was no difference in sleep outcomes for those who did use prescription pills as those who didn’t. (1)
“Certain more ‘natural’ things have helped me get in a better spot”
I’ve found that working out a fair amount has made a difference, along with being cognizant of not drinking caffeine and reducing screen time. I even bought an anxiety blanket because I heard those worked wonders.
“I had a lightbulb, aha moment, with Proper”
It felt like a more organic way to have a sleep aid that doesn’t have a lot of the negative cons, either addictive qualities or drug hazy qualities of what I’ve tried in the past.
I started with the Discovery Pack in order to try out all five formulations, then ended up sticking with Sleep + Restore. At night, I don’t feel it in a... “it knocks me out” kind of way—it’s not a drug-induced type of thing, which honestly is better for me. Instead, it feels like I could go to bed and not be restless. And when I wake up in the morning, I’m clearer in my ability to think. I’m more on point and mentally sharper than I have been in some time. In short, it allows me to get a better night’s sleep which then puts me in a much better spot during the day.