Proper, a sleep wellness company that raised $9 million in venture capital funding leading up to its first launch in July released its latest products today. The supplements, which incorporate CBD and other ingredients shown to support sleep quality, are designed to help those who suffer from lack of sleep get a good night’s rest that’s critical to long-term health. The “sleep vitamin,” as cofounder and CEO of the New York City based company Nancy Ramamurthi puts it, is unlike traditional medication but still works to improve overall sleep and health.
“Sleep is really foundational for your overall health,” said Ramamurthi. “Harvard calls sleep the third pillar of health. It’s as important as nutrition and exercise. We’re working very hard in keeping the best of science and data to help people with different biochemistries,” Ramamurthi said.
The 50 to 70 million Americans that currently experience wakefulness and sleep disorders—many of them left untreated—can end up with long-term consequences on their health. These disorders and general sleep loss have been linked to severe conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, heart attack, stroke, obesity and depression. The $30 billion-dollar sleep-health industry includes products and services aimed to combat this and offer a good night’s rest.
Founded by Ramamurthi, Kamiu Lee and David Berzin, Proper offers behavioral sleep coaching in addition to the formulations. The new launch includes “Core Sleep With 25mg Broad Spectrum CBD” and “Sleep + Restore With 25mg Broad Spectrum CBD.” Ramamurthi stressed the importance of sleep treatment and the prevalence of sleep disorders exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic, pointing out that stress and anxiety are leading causes of poor sleep. The founders of Proper all suffered from sleep problems, so creating the company was not only inspired personally, it was an area they felt that if treated appropriately, could bring substantial improvement to quality of health.
Lee, who ran an influencer marketing company prior to Proper, found that her sleep issues were primarily stress and work related, and they were affecting her performance, mood and health. “When you look at sleep as a category in the industry, we should be spending about a third of our lives sleeping, but if you go to the doctor, over 90% of doctors have had very little education in sleep science,” Lee said. “So, if you have a sleep issue there’s very little accessibility in the country.” Lee felt that with the growing research on CBD and its use as a de-stressor, incorporating it into Proper’s sleep formulations at the right dosage would make for an effective supplement.
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Ramamurthi, an ex-military officer who later worked in consulting and consumer technology, and has experience at ebay, Yahoo, TripIt and other companies, also struggled with sleep for years. She tried melatonin but its effects didn’t agree with her, and she didn’t want a prescription medication. Her primary care physician didn’t know how else to treat the problem. The team at Proper thought, “There should be a better way. Something that’s more holistic, is more personalized, that’s grounded in science and data and technology.”
In putting the formulation together, they made sure to selectively choose ingredients that would be effective and user friendly. For example, the CBD is put into a vegan marine algae-based omega-3 carrier oil that’s been proven to improve sleep quality. “It’s an opportunity to take a much more scientific, cleaner approach to CBD,” Lee said, adding that the crowded market has caused lots of mislabeling in the space. We wanted to bring the science, bring our focus on having the right dosage and clean ingredients.”
Dr. David Casarett, Chief of Palliative Care at Duke University who also serves on Proper’s scientific and medical advisory council said Proper’s formulations leverage multiple strategies. “Whereas prescription drugs use one molecule, like zolpidem, and use a lot of it, Proper’s formulations rely on a mix of natural compounds, like omega-3s and terpenes in their CBD products, which work together in complementary and synergistic ways,” he said.