BRAINLUXURY’s Dr. Axel Bouchon on Getting Better Sleep

BRAINLUXURY’s Dr. Axel Bouchon on Getting Better Sleep

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BRAINLUXURY’s Dr. Axel Bouchon on Getting Better Sleep

The DELTA BRAINLUXURY Co-Founder explains the importance of neuroplasticity, as well as what sets his sleep supplement (a favorite amongst supermodels) apart.

The DELTA BRAINLUXURY Co-Founder explains the importance of neuroplasticity, as well as what sets his sleep supplement (a favorite amongst supermodels) apart.

Text: Staff

“How are you?” 

Perhaps the most commonly asked question in modern-day times (maybe always?) also has an extremely common response: “I’m tired.” In fact, the ubiquity of not getting enough sleep, or rather enough good quality sleep, has birthed what is now a multi-billion dollar industry of sleeping pills, caffeinated drinks, and other products that essentially introduce foreign chemicals into our body to elicit sleep. While these products continue to become more and more available, so too do we see a rise in people questioning both their effectiveness and healthfulness. 

Dr. Bouchon, on the other hand, set out to create a different type of sleep supplement that would provide the brain with the right amount of nutrients in order to help people to reinstall their natural sleep and recharge their brains during the night. To better understand why so many fashion insiders (Alexandra Agoston, Ophelie Guillermand, and Chris Colls, for example) are turning to him, we spoke with Dr. Bouchon to learn about the relationship between good sleep and neuroplasticity (plus, what that word means), as well as why DELTA BRAINLUXURY is an even more natural alternative to supplements such as melatonin and GABA. 

How did you get your start in your current career? 

I hold a doctoral degree in biochemistry and have focused on neuroscience and inflammation of the brain for the last 20 years. I was more or less always between academia, big pharma and biotech going back and forth, and actually just looking for one thing that I wanted to find, which is this question: how can I prolong life? What is the best drug, treatment, behavior, whatever, just to promote that? Because I love life. 

Now, the interesting thing that I came across after working with so many pharmaceuticals is that the most effective way of living substantially longer is actually feeling happy. There’s data that shows that when people feel happy, they live 10 to 15 years longer. 

It’s like how they say laughter is the best medicine. 

Exactly. But obviously, just living long is not really attractive. Based on the medical data, a lot of people get depressed when they get old. If you are depressed, living long is not so much fun actually.

You want to live long, healthily and happily. That’s actually what you want, so it's even more specific. I realized that I have to understand how this feeling [of being] happy actually works. When you then take a snapshot of brains, like you do with brain imaging of people, it becomes even more interesting because there are certain areas in the brain that are correlating very strongly in terms of how dense they are to how happy people are. In essence, all of a sudden—that was like seven or eight years ago—I realized there’s a triangle between feeling happy, living long & healthy, and the density of our brain network. This is called, in neuroscience, neuroplasticity. 

So at the time, I decided that I just wanted to build neuroplasticity for myself and for the world. How can we make our brains more plastic? How can we make that network deeper? You need the building materials for your brain as a foundation. Then you need the proper fuels for your brain, so that it has the resources it needs to function well. And lastly, you need to then take that and live your actual life. 

For the brain, the building material is primarily essential fatty acids, different Omega-3 oils. The fuel is essential amino acids. We only can get these from the food we eat. We can’t build these critical molecules by ourselves. 

What is the significance of memory building here? 

A memory is the essential facts from an activity plus the emotional significance we attach to it. That’s why you’ll remember your first kiss, because it triggers so many emotions that you’ve never had before. Your brain immediately puts it into its network and never forgets it. You hard-coded a memory. All our memories are the basis for neuroplasticity. 

But when is this neuroplasticity actually built? It is primarily built during your sleep. So, if you don’t sleep, there will hardly be any memories and your neuroplasticity declines with it. The interesting piece, even on top of this, is that this memory creation is only happening in a subset of a few hours of your sleep, what is called “deep sleep.” If we are very precise, it's actually the deep sleep phase in the first three hours of your night that is so important because that's when our memories are formed and neuroplasticity is built. 

So, if you sleep well, you have good nutrition and you have a lot of exciting activity, then your neuroplasticity is built, and you live 10 years longer.

If somebody still doesn't understand what neuroplasticity is, what would be an example of somebody who has a lot and somebody who does not? How does that actually manifest, besides that you might live longer?

One piece of neuroplasticity is just how you react to your environment. So, if you have learned a lot in your life, you have, by definition, a high level of neuroplasticity, because a lot of memory and a lot of learning has been recorded. In essence, it's just what has been learned during life, and how quickly you can retrieve and apply it. That is, more or less, what neuroplasticity is. Indeed, it is similar to a fast computer with a big hard drive, to be honest. One stores a lot of data inside and you have [to be] quick to retrieve it.

How does age factor into your ability to change the neuroplasticity and sleep in general?

That’s a good question. Science has always believed that the major changes in neuroplasticity, and actually neurogenesis, which are new neurons that are created, only happen when you're young. Now, interestingly, in recent years, it has been shown that in particular, between 18 and 30, a lot of neuroplasticity is created. That makes a lot of sense in your life, because a lot of new and uncertain things come really exactly in that period. It’s kind of the first time you're moving out, you are going to university, you have to decide what job you have to do, and so on. In terms of the brain reacting to uncertain and new things coming towards you, it is one of the richest periods of life. Therefore, this period between 18 and 30 is so important for a long life, because you're more or less setting the foundation on where to go in the executive period.

It's interesting that in that period, we don't care about sleep so much. We simply believe sleep is not important, but neurologically it's actually the opposite. It would be important to have a very healthy sleep because that's what helps your brain record things during this very important period of time.  In other words, the usage that we all do, stimulants all over the place, and kind of quick fixes, like caffeinated drinks, or taking sleeping pills…this is actively hindering the natural sleep process because if you're overstimulated, it's very difficult for the body to have a natural sleep. If you force your body to sleep, it is very difficult to get into the very critical deep sleep phase in the beginning of your sleep. 

Therefore, it's interesting that during the entire time of between 18 and 30 years of age, because we feel strong, we actually are not really supporting ourselves for a long life because we just try to put a lot of quick fixes that disrupt the natural things, like natural sleep, that, by definition, is actually perfect already.

What is the difference between DELTA BRAINLUXURY and just taking melatonin, for example? 

The major expectation of all the consumers out there is that sleep aids have an effect that they can experience immediately. Now, interestingly, if we look at how we experience sleep, it's actually just that we close our eyes and doze off. So, nobody really knows whether we have high quality sleep or just light sleep over a certain period of time. It actually doesn't matter how long you sleep. It fundamentally matters how well you’re sleeping. Good sleep is exactly natural sleep. It has evolved over hundreds of millions of years because we had to learn what we have experienced during the day, and that’s what is happening during natural sleep. 

So giving someone something that just knocks them out actually disrupts the quality of sleep. The impact of all the substances around can be easily seen when you are wearing a sleep tracker like Oura, Whoop, or FitBit. Sleeping pills or even Melatonin and GABA are active molecules that can derail the regulation of your sleep entirely, in particular if wrongly dosed. That’s kind of why we intentionally said, “Let's not have any molecule decide how long or how deep we sleep. Let's have the brain decide how much it needs.” And we used this philosophy to decide the ingredients in DELTA BRAINLUXURY. We only provide the natural precursors that are converted to the active molecules guiding our sleep. So our brain can decide, “Do I need to sleep longer, or deeper, or do I need more energy in order to be in a better mood in the morning?” Our brain knows exactly what we need. 

Why do sleeping pills make you feel so bad in the morning? 

It’s a difficult question. Sleeping pills were developed for severe sleeping disorders, like insomnia. There is a big difference between someone who says that they cannot sleep well, and someone who has insomnia. A lot of people are using sleeping pills even though they are not sick. They just need a natural recovery for the brain most likely. If you have a sleeping disorder, a sleeping pill might be a good solution. Your physician will tell you. But I’d rather just have people focus on reinstalling their natural brain state and sleep naturally first. 

So some people use sleeping pills whereas what they really need is to just almost rehabilitate their brain back to its natural state. 

Yes. What I’m trying to do is offer a healthier way to recharge your battery. It’s not a quick fix. It’s actually just a very normal way of recharging your brain. That’s why there is no such thing as a hangover with DELTA BRAINLUXURY. You are not forcing anything unnatural into your brain. 

How exactly does DELTA BRAINLUXURY work once you’ve drunk it? 

The drink has three objectives. One is that we want people to fall asleep quickly. Two, we want them to have longer deep sleep periods, and thus more time to build neuroplasticity. The third one is to give the brain all the nutrients needed to decide how long to sleep. 

For the first step, falling asleep quickly, we use an amino acid called glycine, which also mediates falling asleep naturally. It’s the same molecule our brain uses to fall asleep naturally. 

The length of this deep sleep phase is actually purely driven by us offering these omega-3 amino acids so that there is enough material to build. The more building material our brain has, the more brain network it can build. As a consequence, we’re able to stay in the deep sleep phase longer, plus shape and recharge better and more. 

The last objective is delivered by tryptophan. It is a natural amino acid that is very rich in fish, for instance, and also cheese. The tryptophan that we use is actually a vegan alternative, as is our whole product actually. Melatonin is built from Tryptophan, so DELTA BRAINLUXURY provides the input for our brain to build as much melatonin as it needs to sleep well. The other thing is, tryptophan can also be processed into serotonin, a neurotransmitter that is supporting a good mood in the morning. In essence, we offer the brain tryptophan and it can decide, “I want to have melatonin to sleep, to be in a good mood in the morning, or I don't need any of this.” 

That is the difference of DELTA BRAINLUXURY compared to all other sleeping agents: we accept that only your brain knows what you really need. Therefore, we provide all the natural ingredients to your brain so it can make the optimal decision for you. 

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