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I'm A Retired Fire Captain & This Supplement Is Helping Me Get My Sleep Back On Track

Elizabeth “Liz” Shannon
March 23, 2023
Elizabeth “Liz” Shannon
By Elizabeth “Liz” Shannon
mbg Contributor
Elizabeth “Liz” Shannon retired from the Nantucket Fire Department in 2020 after 26 years of service as a Fire Captain and Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). Following a diagnosis of sarcoidosis in 2019, Liz pursued a healthier, reduced-toxin lifestyle in the Monadnock region of New Hampshire.
Young white woman sleeping in bed
Image by Javier Díez / Stocksy
March 23, 2023

I spent 25 years working on a 24-hour rotating shift as a fire captain and EMT. It was the best job in the world—but it took a real toll on my sleep. I sometimes had to function on four to six hours of sleep during a 24- to 48-hour period, and getting back into a regular sleep routine between shifts always took time. That was the "job," but being able to thrive with limited sleep extended to my personal life. I was also raising two daughters, and being present for them called on almost as much energy but definitely as much focus as being a firefighter/EMT. No wonder I didn't place much value on quality sleep!

About three years ago, I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease that forced me into early retirement from the fire service. Through working with a naturopath and striving for a healthier lifestyle, I realized that I needed to start working on my sleep so my cortisol levels and circadian rhythm could steady out again. From there, getting a good night's rest became a top priority for me—but it was a challenge.

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Resetting my sleep after years of an irregular schedule.

Like many women in their 50s, I often wake up in the middle of the night. But instead of getting up at the 3 a.m. hour, sometimes I'd wake up as early as 1 a.m. and have a lot of trouble falling back asleep. This fragmented sleep affected my mental health and energy levels, and I'd get incredibly tired in the afternoons after a mid-evening wake-up. Naps were out of the question. I had too much to accomplish each day, and I wanted my waking hours to be full of movement and energy!

I tried a lot of the usual sleep aids with no success. Melatonin made me too groggy in the mornings, as if I'd just had a night out on the town. Sipping reishi tea before bed gave me really vivid dreams that woke me perplexed and out of sorts. I'd try to exhaust myself with physical activity during the day, but that didn't make it easier to sleep through the night either.

Then, I heard about sleep support+ on an episode of the mindbodygreen podcast and figured I'd give it a try. (I'd been having a good experience with mbg's vitamin D3 potency+ supplement already.) This was back in early September, and I've noticed a big improvement in my sleep quality in the weeks since.

My sleep support+ experience.

With sleep support+, on the nights I do wake up, I'm able to go back to sleep quickly—and it's made a huge difference in how I feel the next day.*

Here's how a usual night goes when I take the supplement: I'm in bed by 9:30 p.m. and my alarm "reminds" me at 9 p.m. to start preparing for bed, which includes stepping away from electronics including social media, dimming the lights, limiting food/liquid intake, and jotting down at least three things I'm grateful for from my day's experiences. I head to bed with the intention of reading a chapter or more of a great book but hardly ever get more than a few pages read. My body just feels ready to get into a great sleep, so I fall asleep very quickly. I know I'm getting deep, REM sleep because I go through some dream states and wake feeling well rested.

If I do need to get up to go to the bathroom or listen to the coyotes or owls serenade our woods, I can fall back asleep without lying there forever. I used to keep a pencil and paper by my bed at night because when I'd wake up, my mind would be busy with the things I couldn't forget to do the next day. Since taking sleep support+, I haven't had to use that nearly as much. My mind just stays quiet until I wake up around 5:30, having gotten about eight hours of sleep.

Now, I almost always start and end my day feeling really good. I don't feel like I need a lot of caffeine to make it through an afternoon energy dip. I'm able to pursue all the activities I love including fishing, hiking, yoga, traveling, and gardening. After years of irregular and disrupted sleep, I finally know the benefits of a solid night's rest thanks to this supplement.*

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The takeaway.

Sleep is one of my main pillars of health, and I know how important it is after years of having to function without it. Quality sleep is a nonnegotiable for me, and I'm grateful for sleep support+ for showing me how much better I can feel after snoozing for eight hours, night after night.*

If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or taking medications, consult with your doctor before starting a supplement routine. It is always optimal to consult with a health care provider when considering what supplements are right for you.
Elizabeth “Liz” Shannon author page.
Elizabeth “Liz” Shannon

Elizabeth “Liz” Shannon retired from the Nantucket Fire Department in 2020 after 26 years of service as a Fire Captain and Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). She holds fond memories of her profession and personal connections to the Island community where she raised two daughters, served a variety of community organizations, and embraced a lifelong passion of fishing.

Following a diagnosis of sarcoidosis in 2019, Liz was forced to decide between her career and her healthspan. She took the challenge to leave a career that she loved, and pursue a healthier, reduced-toxin lifestyle in the Monadnock region of New Hampshire. She strives to reduce the symptoms of her incurable illness with as few traditional medicines as possible and embraces her new lifestyle with gratitude and acceptance.

Liz hopes to mentor others to discover the rewards of service and pursues this goal by teaching EMT and CPR courses. As someone who loves multi-generational connections, she is also a substitute elementary teacher and serves as a Lake Host for the NH Lake Association. Liz volunteers with Casting for Recovery and the Harris Center for Conservation. She is passionate about spending time in nature, especially fly fishing, hiking, and gardening. Additionally, she loves yoga, cooking, book clubs, and traveling. Her “happy place” is having her morning cup of coffee overlooking her garden while watching songbirds, caring for her small flock of chickens, and taking her senior yellow lab Luna for a slow walk. Add in a visit from one or both of her daughters who live in CO and RI, and she’s having the perfect day! Throw in some time on the river with a trout on the fly, and she’s in her version of Heaven.