Wendy Sherman is more than happy to talk about sleep…”what could be more important?” she says, as I reach her by phone on a Tuesday afternoon in mid-August. “I mean, if you don’t have it, your whole day is messed up, right?”
It’s a feeling Sherman is all-too-familiar with, having struggled with sleep for years due to stress and anxiety. As the owner of a literary agency (who, prior to venturing off to start her own business, worked at the likes of Macmillan and Simon & Schuster), Sherman is responsible for a lot of people and moving parts, in addition, quite literally, to “a lot of authors’ hopes and dreams.”
Below, hear what Sherman had to say about her history with sleep, the way her sleep struggles manifest, what she’s tried in the past, and what finally made a lasting difference.
When did you first start struggling with your sleep?
Probably in my early 40s, and it continued for a long time. But I don’t think I’ve ever had trouble falling asleep, per se. As my children will attest, I’m not the best person to watch a movie with at night, because within 10 minutes, I’m completely asleep. But I would find myself constantly waking up in the middle of the night, like many pre/menopausal women do. And then I couldn’t fall back asleep because my mind would be racing. So I might get three good hours, then be up for an hour or two, then maybe get two more hours.
When this first started happening, who/what did you turn to for a solution?
Like many people, I went to the doctor and was prescribed Ambien. I would take it a couple times a week and always sleep like I was dead, then wake up like I was still wanting to be asleep. I did that for years, then dialed it back. I then started taking some form of another sleep aid called Lorazepam, which I would take every single night. That’s how I went to sleep. It was definitely less of a zonk out than taking Ambien, but I also don’t think it was particularly good. So I started looking for more natural options.
In your search for more natural sleep solutions, what did you try?
I took essential oils for a while, which was really helpful, as well as mineral creams. I’ve used CBD oil, too. I would try different combinations of things to try something that would give me the best night’s sleep, but none of it felt particularly consistent.
At this point, were you tempted to return to prescription medications?
No, only because I know what it feels like to need to rely upon medication to sleep, to feel like that’s the only way you’re not going to wake up in the middle of the night with your heart pounding out of your chest and unable to fall back asleep. So I was determined to find a natural solution that fits in my life, in addition to exercise and fitness, which is very important to me. I work out every day and meditate as often as I can. Because it’s never any one thing. And the idea of taking a pill to be completely conked out just doesn’t appeal to me anymore.
And then you found Proper! Tell me more about how you felt when taking Core Sleep.
I just felt...better. I have a ton of energy now and actually stay awake later, which is interesting because I used to want to go to bed really early. And now I want to get into bed, but I’ll read a book or watch TV or something. I’m not ready to go to sleep yet. My kids text me…”Mom, is it too late to call?” And when I tell them it’s not, they say…”You’re still up?!” That’s a surprise to everyone. And in the morning, I never feel groggy from it. I wake up feeling so rested and refreshed—it just sets the tone for my entire day.