Trouble sleeping? Then this episode is a must-listen! Grant and Heavey are joined by John Shegerian of Som Sleep, a sleep supplement that’s like no other in the market today. Nope, it’s not magic, but science – and natural at best. It’s vegan, non GMO, drug-free, gluten-free, non addictive, and NSF certified.
As what has been repeatedly discussed on the show, sleep constitutes one of the four pillars of health. It’s something non-negotiable. Otherwise it disrupts your energy throughout the day and your health over time. You’ve got to do what it takes to get the amount you need. Get Som Sleep! (Stay until the end to learn about some great stuff John is giving away.) You can listen in on iTunesor view the transcription below:
GRANT: I can swear that I have less than 30 cups of coffee a day.
NARRATOR: Welcome to Strength & Scotch, the show where health, fitness, and alcoholism come together. So pour a couple fingers, throw a barbell on your back, and listen closely.
GRANT: Welcome to Strength & Scotch. I’m Grant, and here with me as always is Coach Brandon Heavey. Hey Brandon, how are you?
BRANDON: I’m doing swell man. How are you?
GRANT: I’m great. I’m really excited to introduce our guest today, John Shegerian from Som Sleep. His website is www.GetSom.com. How are you doing John?
JOHN SHEGERIAN: I’m great. Thank you guys for having me today. It’s an honor.
GRANT: We are really glad to have you. I love the website address, www.GetSom.com, and just the product name as soon as I heard it was really cool you know? Som Sleep.
JOHN SHEGERIAN: Well Grant it’s easy. If you can’t sleep, you Get Som.
GRANT: Exactly. Well we’re going to get into the product and the back story of it and how Brandon and I have been liking it, but first I have a story to share with you guys. This one is maybe not quite so timely. Brandon this is one I had saved in the archives and just hadn’t gotten around to. It’s about vitamin B. One of the ingredients in Som Sleep is vitamin B so I thought this might be a good time to take it out of the archive and talk about it.
GRANT: Obviously we’ll get into the sleep part of vitamin B. In the past we’ve talked about how vitamin B is great for hangovers. But there was a recent study – and I thought this was kind of crazy – that shows that taking vitamin B can actually counteract the negative effects of pollution in the air. So they took a look at the what they’re calling “toxic air” which is air that has a number of particulates under 2.5 microns because that’s what can work its way into our lungs and create a lot of stress and inflammation because they’re so small. They took a control group of people, checked their levels of these particulate matters and different stressors in the body, different indicators of inflammation, things like that, and gave them a placebo for a week. First a baseline then a placebo and then they gave them vitamin B for a week. The vitamin B was B6, B12, folic acid, and they found up to 76% reduction from taking these things.
BRANDON: You live in California. Have you started taking B vitamins yet?
JOHN SHEGERIAN: I take B vitamins every day guys.
GRANT: Do you? Just for sleep or for – why do you take them?
JOHN SHEGERIAN: For the reasons you just said. Because they just – they do what you just said and I really feel better when I’m on them.
GRANT: Can you tell a difference if you don’t take them?
JOHN SHEGERIAN: 100%.
JOHN SHEGERIAN: Yep.
GRANT: I feel like – and I’ve talked about this a couple of times in the show – I’m awful at taking supplements, at taking any vitamins, and I know I would be happier and healthier if I did. How do you ensure that you always take supplements like vitamin B?
JOHN SHEGERIAN: Yeah I had my supplements a month in advance so I packed morning and I pack evening. I put them in Ziploc bags and I take them with me wherever I travel and even in the house I just use those Ziploc bags. So to me it’s a failsafe. I mark them AM and PM and that way they’re always ready for me. That’s my own stack that I’ve created over the years.
BRANDON: John sounds like my kind of guy Grant.
GRANT: Yeah he sure does. Do you precook your meals also? Do you do meal planning?
JOHN SHEGERIAN: No I’m a vegan so I just – I’m very careful about what I eat. But I think about everything I put in my mouth. Absolutely.
GRANT: Oh my gosh we are seeing a video of his Ziploc bags. When you’re seeing Ziploc – I was thinking kind of like those little mini ones because they’re just doing supplements. Those are the giant freezer size Ziplocs. What have you got in there?
JOHN SHEGERIAN: I’ve got a whole 30 at a time. So it’s 30 of the smaller ones within one of the big ones.
GRANT: Oh I see so you can just grab the whole month at a time. I get you.
JOHN SHEGERIAN: I hit the road, I just grab as many as I need when I’m travelling, and that’s it.
GRANT: That’s pretty cool. Well when I saw this article, Brandon, we’ve got a friend, John, that’s running his own gym in Shanghai. That was the first person I thought of because you hear about how bad the air is in Shanghai. As I’m reading the article and I get to the end according to the World Health Organization 92% of all of the world’s population lives in places where the PM 2.5 – which is that sub 2.5 micron level – exceeds the recommended threshold. I mean that’s almost literally everybody alive that is breathing shitty air and it causes a host of problems. In fact, Brandon, there’s one of those words that you would like, the epigenetic effects. They found that breathing these micro toxins can really affect your genetics by modifying.
BRANDON: By modifying the genes. Yup.
GRANT: Exactly. So it’s crazy.
BRANDON: Well you know what we don’t have in the Ozarks is a lot of pollution. Suck it California!
GRANT: But there is no vitamin to protect you against tick borne disease Brandon.
BRANDON: That’s true. That’s true.
GRANT: That’s a whole other conversation. John, Brandon and I were all day arguing back and forth about whether it was safe to live in Missouri because of all the tick diseases.
JOHN SHEGERIAN: Oh my gosh.
GRANT: So coming full circle, Vitamin B, everyone should take it for pollution, but it’s also for sleep. That brings us into Som. Tell us a little bit about the background. How did this product come to market?
JOHN SHEGERIAN: Two ways. One my wife unfortunately about 7 years ago came down with MS. MS started affecting her sleep. We started creating a little sleep stack for her off of the best neurologists and doctors recommending some different items to put in that sleep stack. I was traveling a lot and I was also having what are called micro sleep events where I was falling asleep at the wheel due to time changes in my travels, stress, anxiety, everything that we all live with. These micro sleep events I was having actually near misses and I started realizing I’m running out of chances here. Until one night I came back from a business trip and I had been in four time zones or so in about 10 or 11 days. I woke up in the middle of the night feeling really exhausted. I went to go get some coconut water and the next thing I remember is I woke up and I heard a dripping faucet in my kitchen or somewhere. It wasn’t a dripping faucet. It was me face down in the kitchen and that was blood that was dripping.
GRANT: Oh my god.
JOHN SHEGERIAN: I had blacked out on the way to – and I don’t remember any of it except waking up. I realized I had to change my life and really focus on sleep. I had to undergo massive reconstructive surgery. My face – my nose was broken in numerous places. My head was open. It took a massive amount of stitches. It all had to be repaired by plastic surgery months later. I brought my experiences both in micro sleep, my wife’s issue, and this incident of blacking out, to a friend of mine – Abdul Kahn – who was about 15 years younger than me. I’m 55. I was 53 at this time when I brought this to him. He was in his late 30s at the time and his wife was in her late 20s and they were having trouble sleeping. As we started socializing the concept with friends and relatives we started finding out that everyone we knew or at least everyone or one step removed (one degree of separation) had a sleep issue. 18 to 85 year olds. We started thinking about it more intellectually, trying to unravel the why and the why was very simple to figure out actually. The reason why 18 to 85 year olds were suffering from this sleep deprivation was you have two huge trends that had converged. One was the energy trend that started with Starbucks, Red Bull, Five Hour Energy, Rockstar, Monster, and that is continuing to grow. So you have the energy generation and trend converging with the technological revolution. All these cell phones, laptops, tablets, and all the stuff that throws off blue rays every day that we’re sitting in front of. Blue rays are literally messing with our pineal gland which greatly affects the production of melatonin in our bodies.
So between the technological revolution which is continuing to grow and the energy revolution and the convergence of both of those this sleep epidemic is only starting to get any social discussion and media discussion and we’re only at the way way tip of the iceberg in the beginning of a massive consciousness in regards to sleep.
BRANDON: You know John a big part of the reason that I invited you on the show aside from liking your product is that you were very timely. In that I saw that I got an email from somebody that ran a company that helps support sleep I had just been talking to Grant – well I’ve been talking to grant over the past year about how his sleep has been suffering. It’s funny that you mention those two factors converging because, Grant, how many cups of coffee do you have per day?
GRANT: I can swear that I have less than 30 cups of coffee a day.
BRANDON: And what time – how many minutes before bed do you stop looking at your phone?
GRANT: Well I mean I’m in bed while I look at my phone at the end of the day.
BRANDON: Right. Precisely. So I just think it’s pretty interesting because you are a poster child for what John is talking about here.
GRANT: Sure. I’m fortunate enough that I didn’t have to have the incidents that you did, John. I’m really sorry to hear about your wife and yourself but I hope you guys are both feeling better.
JOHN SHEGERIAN: Everything is right.
GRANT: But one of the first things you said was when your wife started with the symptoms from MS you saw doctors and looked at other sleep stacks. Clearly it seems to me that you must have found those products lacking otherwise you wouldn’t have gone to try to make something better. What’s wrong with the other things?
JOHN SHEGERIAN: Well there’s nothing really “wrong” with the other things but after a while it becomes time consuming to have to run a little apothecary out of your own home or on the road, so I wanted a one stop shop. Basically as Sports Illustrated called it it’s “sleep in a blue can.” I’m big in and I believe in quality eating and drinking products. I’ve been vegetarian since I’m 17 years old, vegan the last 12 years of my life, so I wanted to create something that I could be really proud of. My partner and I, Abdul and Rob Bent, our food and beverage scientist partner, we came together. We wanted to put out something that we’d all be proud of – vegan, non GMO, drug free, gluten free, nonaddictive, and NSF certified. And we also wanted to put it in an 8 ounce can because a lot of sleep related or insomnia related disorders are tied to another big problem that we’re deficient in in America which is we’re dehydrated. So we wanted to put it in a can that was very socialized already (obviously this is a size of a Red Bull can) with enough liquid, about 8 ounces, that doesn’t affect your bathroom breaks but can also help you get hydrated and help you sleep better.
GRANT: Yeah it’s funny. I really liked the size of the can but for the opposite reason, because it was really easy for me to drink it in like 1 or 2 big gulps. I don’t have to sit there drinking something for 30 minutes to be able to get the effect. It makes sense what you’re saying, you wanted to put all of the stacks of the different pills that you’ve gotten into one thing and say “hey use this, you’re going to be good.”
JOHN SHEGERIAN: That’s right.
GRANT: I found in my experience that what it did is it made it so easy to fall asleep. My fiancé had the same exact experience where we would normally either talk or lay in bed or toss and turn for, I don’t know, 15 to 30 minutes. Something like that. Over the last few nights when we’ve been drinking it it’s been almost we turn off the light, lay down, and just pass out.
BRANDON: Last night I took one and I tried to read a book after. You know, just read a little bit. That’s a habit that I have before I go to bed. Man, I was reading for about five minutes and I could just not keep my eyes open. I had to put it down at that point. It knocked me out.
JOHN SHEGERIAN: That’s great. That makes me really happy.
BRANDON: I’m curious. This is a nutritional product. There B vitamins in it. There is melatonin in it. There is magnesium in it. Is there something about the nutrients in this product that we’re missing as a society today that you’re trying to address? Or are these nutrients needed because of those other factors you mentioned earlier?
JOHN SHEGERIAN: It’s a little bit of both and it’s a great question. first of all when you talk to people who are real health practitioners – both MDs and natural health practitioners with huge histories of success – they’ll tell you first of all most of us because we now work indoors and we’re not outside anymore and in an agricultural or agrarian society most of us are deficient in vitamin D. that’s not in Som but just as whole as a macro answer to your great question, Brandon, we are deficient in vitamin D. For instance when my wife was first diagnosed with her MS her reading was a 17. Of course that’s way low and we have to get that up and that’s one of the many reasons she’s doing so much better. But the second thing they’ll tell you that we’re very low in was magnesium. Magnesium we put into Som for that reason. It also helps get your natural sleep cycle going. It’s great for us. Most of us are deficient in it so we did put the magnesium in there. Same thing with the B6. You pointed out earlier at the top of the show the great qualities of B vitamins. So the magnesium and the B6 help ensure our body’s sleep cycle is operating effectively. It gets everything back on track again. The second part of our Som stack is the L-theanine and the GABA which promote relaxation. That’s also it does it in a nice healthy way.
BRANDON: As I understand it the GABA especially is something for – that addresses when people have that mind racing phenomenon going on.
JOHN SHEGERIAN: Yep.
BRANDON: When they can’t go to sleep because they’re thinking about the things that they didn’t do at work earlier that day or the things they have to do tomorrow or they wake up a couple of hours later and their mind is just racing. What I understand is that GABA helps address that.
JOHN SHEGERIAN: 100%. So that’s the second part of the stack. The third is melatonin, and we put it at the right level. What science has proven is the perfect level. You can overdo melatonin. You can underdo it. We put it at 3 megs. It sort of gets your natural sleep cycle going with magnesium and B6, then you move on to the relaxation mode of our stack with the L-theanine and the GABA, and then you go into the knockout punch with melatonin. That’s really the simplicity of what we created in an 8 ounce can and you have both a sugar free version with 10 calories and you have a regular version with 40 calories. If we’re trying to democratize sleep, if that’s our ultimate mission, we wanted something for everyone so we made sure we had a sugar free and a regular for everybody.
GRANT: It’s funny that you bring that up because that was one of my first questions when I received the product in the mail is why is there a sleep drink that has sugar in it? My mom always told me “don’t have sugar before bed because it will keep you up.” As I asked Brandon about his thoughts he answered in a way that I think is probably hitting the nail right on the head which is you seem to be very interested in natural healthy holistic products and sugar is natural rather than all those artificial sweeteners.
JOHN SHEGERIAN: It’s true. And also when you’re on a mission to accomplish something you have to go to where people are. You know there is a huge amount of the population in America that loves regular soda, Coke and Pepsi and other great sodas, and there’s a huge amount of the population that loves sugar free, so you want to give them what they want. You don’t want to exclude anyone. You want to be inclusive. So we created something for everyone.
GRANT: Well I saw one of the other ingredients you say is derived from a component of green tea.
JOHN SHEGERIAN: Yep.
GRANT: I was like “does that mean it’s going to keep me up?”
JOHN SHEGERIAN: No.
JOHN SHEGERIAN: No. The L-theanine is great and it’s just a natural – it really promotes relaxation. It’s so good for the brain. It’s so good for us as people. There is so much science behind that. It doesn’t do any of that stuff. It just promotes relaxation.
BRANDON: While we’re on the topic of ingredients one of the things that I wanted to complement you on on your product is the selection of ingredients because with all of these nutrients there are many different formulations. I don’t know if people recognize that. You say you put magnesium in the product. That doesn’t – you could be getting any number of different formulations of magnesium. What you use is magnesium citrate I believe.
JOHN SHEGERIAN: Yep.
BRANDON: That is a very bio-available form of it. I actually prior to trying your product I took a very popular product that is exclusively mag citrate and used that to help me with my sleep on a regular basis. So anyway looking over the ingredient list that you’ve got you’ve got great ingredients but you’ve also got high quality versions of them. Anybody can make a product that has cheep – and that’s why you see multivitamins that cost $5 at Wal-Mart or Costco or whatever is because they’re using terrible ingredients. You did not take shortcuts when it comes to that.
JOHN SHEGERIAN: No, and thank you for that. But that’s the genius of my – listen, we have four cofounding partners: Christine Kahn, Abdul Kahn, and Rob Bent. Rob is a food and beverage scientist and he is literally when I first interviewed him for the formulation and then eventually joining us as cofounding partner he is literally the first night I had dinner with him at my favorite vegan restaurant in New York City I realized he is just an absolute genius. There was no cutting corners. If we were going to do this we’re going to do it right. There is no sense going out and trying to make the world a better place and accomplish an important mission of democratizing sleep and cutting corners. It’s not worth it. It’s not worth it in my career and how I have approached things in life and nor for my partners, Abdul, Christine, or Rob either.
GRANT: Well, John, how many hours of sleep do you get a night these days?
JOHN SHEGERIAN: It’s a great question. It’s a fair question. Average anywhere between – a bad night for me is 5 ½ and a really good night is about 7:15. I average about 6:15 to 6:30 but it’s a better quality sleep because I literally drink Som every night and I make it part of my routine. That’s about what I get. I’m really thrilled when I get 6:15 to 6:30 every night.
BRANDON: Before your accident how many hours of sleep were you getting?
JOHN SHEGERIAN: Anywhere between 3 ½ and 4.
GRANT: So obviously the product helps with sleep quality and falling asleep but there’s also that sort of life changing piece of the puzzle that you had to say “I’m going to prioritize sleep, I’m going to make more time in my life.” How did that process go, chemicals aside, drinks aside?
JOHN SHEGERIAN: Yeah well that was the aha moment. You ask a great question. I thought I was doing everything right. I was a vegetarian since I’m 17, a vegan since the last 12 years or so, then I would go to the gym 3-4 times a week, do at least 45 minutes of cardio 5 days a week, Soul Cycle, Orange Theory, HIIT, any high intensity cardio training. But then what I realized is those things are much more negotiable. Sleep was the nonnegotiable part of this and I was cheating myself on the nonnegotiable third leg of the stool, meanwhile the other 2 hours being very honest about and pure about but the sleep part was what I was cheating and only cheating myself because it’s the glue to the other two legs. I realized you really fall apart. You can take a day off work and eat birthday cake or do some sort of cheat day in your diet. You can miss a couple of days of training and let your body recover and be absolutely fine and healthy. If you start missing a day or two of sleep there is no way the following day you’re going to be your best in terms of brain power and performance whether you’re an athlete or just need your brain for work. There is no way. Start putting a couple of those days together and everything starts falling apart. Sleep is nonnegotiable.
BRANDON: Well and the research backs that up too. You say just missing one or two days is a big deal and it is. We’ve seen in studies that just missing a day people will show signs of impaired glucose response. It’s just incredible how the body is affected by lack of sleep. Since the beginning of doing the show we’ve talked about the four pillars of health.
GRANT: Five pillars Brendan.
BRANDON: Stress management, exercise, nutrition, and sleep.
GRANT: And sex.
BRANDON: And we have this joke about the fifth pillar because – yeah. We comment about Grant thinks it’s sex. I think it’s something that’s a little more personal connection type thing. But that’s neither here nor there. But when we talk about all of these sleep has always been my number one. I will let any of them go. If I get super busy with work or anything else then my nutrition might not be as dialed in. I might not exercise for a couple of weeks because I’ve got a crazy schedule. But sleep is going to be always my number one. I always prioritize it. So the thing that I find really interesting about you is that you are a very type A. like if somebody were to go onto LinkedIn and look at your background they would see somebody that has formed and sold a number of companies over a long successful career. I think that by and large if you look at similar people with your background they are not prioritizing sleep at all. I’m wondering was it just that acute event in your life or since you started prioritizing sleep have you noticed improved cognition? Have you noticed some enhancements to your business that you can now put forward and then also get buy-in from your fellow executive type friends?
JOHN SHEGERIAN: 400%. A, I’m a better thinker, less emotional, and what you learn by creating businesses and filling voids as an entrepreneur and a social and serial entrepreneur is that you lead by example. When others see me getting better at what I do and taking Som and prioritizing sleep and my wife’s condition getting better and other people with other conditions, we’ve had so many emails from wonderful strangers with all sorts of afflictions whether it be lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, even autism, that have seen massive results from just getting better sleep. It’s not a cure for anything. There is no way this means a cure. But it’s again one of the answers. In theory any autoimmune disease or any really serious disease that we all are worried about, Parkinson’s, autoimmune diseases, dementia, Alzheimer’s, all can be related to the inflammation levels in the body. If you start missing sleep you’re kicking up your inflammation levels which are only exacerbating whatever condition that you have whether it’s an autoimmune such as MS or rheumatoid arthritis or some other preexisting condition that you’re predisposed to have or get such as even Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and early dementia which they’re tying now – the science is starting to tie those diseases to people who have gapped out and missed huge chunks of sleep in their 30s or 40s or 50s. So it’s really a great inflammation reducer. It has been for me and it’s changed my life and the lives of many of my colleagues and others that I get to work with.
GRANT: One of the other businesses that you’ve got there on your resume that I find really interesting is your experience in the past with HomeBoy.
JOHN SHEGERIAN: Yep.
GRANT: I want to talk a little bit or ask you a couple of questions about motivation. HomeBoy is an interesting business model. For those listeners who are not familiar with it maybe you could give them some background into what it is.
JOHN SHEGERIAN: Yeah. The Rodney King riots were tragic. Tragically happened in LA. I was living in LA at the time and managing the Grand Central Market for Ira Yellin who has passed since who was one of the more famous real estate developers. After the Rodney King riots no one wanted to come downtown, in downtown LA, because everybody was very fearful. That’s where the riots started, down by City Hall. The Grand Central Market was close to that. We had a tortilleria owner that days after the riots handed me his keys and said he was out. So we were left with all this tortilla equipment. I had seen Father Greg Boyle on 60 Minutes. I called him up. Back then it was only landlines. I invited him to a meeting. He came to the market. I said “why don’t we put your young people to work” which was then called the Prieto Pastoral out of the Dolores Mission that he was running. His tagline was “nothing stops a bullet faster than a job.” We put the kids to work in the tortilleria. We named that HomeBoy Tortillas. We branded it with T-shirts and hats. Father Greg Boyle went on a mission. I ran that with some of his co-pastors and other cofounders like Michael Sikes and others that were just people from the community that helped with T-shirts and hats. And we invited Sylvia Lopez who was my wife’s roommate from USC College who was a local newsperson to come do a story which she did. Thankfully it gave it some visibility and it was off to the races. So many people came to support the HomeBoys and HomeGirls and buy the T-shirts, buy the hats, buy the tortillas, and that then prompted other donations, more businesses, and graffiti removal and a bakery and tattoo removal. Then Father Greg Boyle came back from his mission and he took it back over and has done a brilliant job in the last 25 years. But think about this guys. Unfortunately and fortunately something like HomeBoys Industries exists today and HomeBoy Tortillas kicked it off and HomeBoy Industries we created soon thereafter. But that changed my life in two things. First of all Father Greg’s words still ring true today, “nothing stops a bullet faster than a job.” People shouldn’t be without jobs or be left just to find a family structure in a place that welcomes them such as a gang. Because the gang members or ex-gang members or gang impacted youth that were involved with HomeBoys all told me the same thing. They thanked me for the job and they said “thank you because there are only two places I would have ended up if I didn’t have a job, eventually I would have been dead or I would have been in jail.” So the HomeBoys story lives on today but it lives on in regards to my mission. I realized then you can make money doing anything. I only wanted to make money after the HomeBoy Industries experience where there was also a social bottom line. I went on to create www.FinancialAid.com and democratize the pseudo lending business with my partners Mark O’Brien and Matt O’Brien, I went on to then create ERI which my wife runs now as a CEO which is now the largest electronic waste recycling company, and then now Som. So there is a narrative of you can do well and do good at the same time and there was no such thing back then as a social entrepreneur back in 1993. Now it’s a fun or hip thing to be a social entrepreneur but to me it’s just the lifestyle of how you see voids in the marketplace and how you want to attack them that are personal to you, that a void has to have a personal side to it like it did with me in collapsing in my kitchen and my wife’s autoimmune disease. Because I saw it and then with my partners Abdul and Rob and Christine we saw the massiveness of the problem, that we could fix the void that has such a massive epidemic going on in the United States and around the world then we said “this is worth tackling, this is worth going after.”
GRANT: That really does an excellent job at answering the question about motivation because if I hear you right you didn’t start out sitting there thinking “how am I going to help the world” but you found something that changed what motivated you and you let that continue to grow inside.
JOHN SHEGERIAN: That’s really what it was. And HomeBoy Tortillas and HomeBoy Industries was just the happy accident, the happy mitzvah, of Father Greg and I coming together, starting it in the Grand Central Market with HomeBoy Tortillas, and then growing it from there just because Sylvia gave it publicity and got the story out. And then these kids were just unbelievable young people. They were so thankful for that opportunity. And they still are. I’ve been down there recently and I met some of the leadership there today. Father Greg is still there, but other leaders and the young people, and they’re just as grateful. He’s doing so much more in so many other divisions. It’s just a story that continues to give back. But in terms of my life it gives back because it taught me a lesson that you just don’t – we could all go create another widget that doesn’t have any social purpose and make money and there is no shame in that. But my goal and my way of living and my wife’s way of living is everything we do has to also have a social bottom line and do good for the communities that we’re in and that we get to affect.
GRANT: So you know what I’m thinking about as I’m hearing this story – it’s kind of interesting. I was born in Los Angeles, raised in Los Angeles. I remember when no one wanted to go to downtown LA. I actually went to USC and it was one of those things that in the 90s people were worried. “Hey you’re going to USC, that’s so close to downtown, are you sure you want to be there?” and nowadays downtown – like if we’re going out for a nice dinner we’re going to downtown. If we’re going to go do a special night out we’re hitting the bars in downtown. What was occurring to me as you’re breaking down that history is that change where you now can look back and see how it has transitioned where perhaps you used that social aspect to create jobs and all these other things but the economy has now grown from those things. It’s an entirely different world and it’s better and it’s safer and all those other things. It’s really something that if I were you I know I would have a lot of pride in.
JOHN SHEGERIAN: Thanks for saying that. That’s really Ira’s genius. We were pioneers downtown because of Ira. And also as a little shout out my wife and Sylvia met because they were roommates at USC so they’re both proud Trojans also.
GRANT: Yeah. Fight on.
JOHN SHEGERIAN: So without Sylvia helping spread that story and without my wife’s support – because we were broke back then. We were just kids starting off. She was giving me money to help support HomeBoy when we were selling enough tortillas or T-shirts. Without Sylvia spreading the story – so in other words without that Trojan support it would never have gotten off the ground and gotten the visibility that it deserved. But still a lot of great things never get the publicity it deserves so you have really someone who is personal to Sylvia as well and she’s still involved actually as well as her family, her mom and dad. So it just goes to show you it takes a lot of committed people to change the world together. Just one good idea is not what it’s all about. It’s people working together and filling their part of the role to get it borne and then to get it socialized.
GRANT: And getting the sleep so that you’re smart enough to handle it.
JOHN SHEGERIAN: That’s right. That’s right.
BRANDON: I do think that you’re really early on the sleep thing because there’s still very much this attitude of “work hard, grind, I’ll sleep when I’m dead” that sort of thing. A lot of that comes from this whole glorification of entrepreneurship. But it doesn’t have to be that way and I hope that this message that you’re trying to put out and the social underpinnings, which I didn’t appreciate before we got on the call here tonight, will just continue to grow and people will just have a better appreciation for that moving forward because sleep is so powerful as you mentioned.
JOHN SHEGERIAN: And thank you for that but you’re exactly right. Think about three of the more famous people right now, leaders in their industries. Tom Brady credits sleep as being the glue as to why he’s able to play football into his 40s. Lebron James also credits sleep and he admits to sometimes sleeping 12 hours a night to keep him at the highest performance level in the NBA. Jeff Bezos who has arguably created one of the greatest companies in our lifetime, Amazon, credits getting a solid 8 every night and making that part of his life. So there are a lot of not only science but also great evidence now and great leaders coming out saying “yeah maybe 20-30 years ago it was cool to be on the grind and claim that” – you know everyone was like “I got 3 hours tonight,” “I got 2,” “I didn’t sleep at all.” Now people are coming out and actually evangelizing the importance of great sleep and I think this is going to be just the beginning of a massive trend in the years to come.
GRANT: So one thing – and this is running long because your product is interesting and you’re interesting and all that, but I do have one last question.
JOHN SHEGERIAN: Sure.
GRANT: What I’ve noticed drinking it the last couple nights, like I said earlier, is I fall asleep like that. But I find that I’ve been waking up naturally without an alarm earlier than normal. I’m wondering if that’s something you hear a lot because I’m thinking maybe the quality of my sleep or something is being more restorative so I’m waking up saying “hey you don’t need to go and sleep 9 hours anymore.”
JOHN SHEGERIAN: It’s a great point and a very legitimate point, Grant. What we found after we’re getting all the responses when we were doing pretesting before we launched it and even post launch now is that people are so different. There’s genetically different, their heights, weights, their ages, the kind of food they eat, going to bed on empty stomachs, full stomachs, people have different experiences but overall the feedback has been massively positive. I myself am like you Grant. I can get by on less sleep but I find it much more restorative and that’s been typically the responses we’ve been getting in terms of the quality of sleep goes up so even the amount that you need goes somewhat down. But then again it’s tied. Remember I’m 55. You guys are much younger. So there is a lot of science showing that as we get older, over 50, you get less deep sleep than you got when you were 20. At 70 it even goes down more. So that’s why this product was created for 18-85 year olds because at all of the age levels you have different needs and different things going on in your life. But what we found is the overwhelming response has been positive from all different backgrounds.
GRANT: Well doing some research there are a whole lot of articles that people are swearing by your product. You mentioned one of them earlier on Sports Illustrated about Get Som and how it has affected some of the NBA players. As an NBA fan I found that article very interesting but it wasn’t until I tried it myself that I realized that wasn’t some sort of sponsored BS article. It’s a pretty good product you’ve got out there and people who maybe aren’t completely swayed yet they should do a little bit of searching and read some of these articles because the proof is out there.
JOHN SHEGERIAN: Well, Grant, it is – and the reason why we’re able to do that with the NBA – and by the way were also doing it – we have orders from all sorts of Major League Baseball teams, NFL, soccer teams. The amount of teams that are ordering the product on a huge basis for their players is fascinating because it is NSF certified for sport which means no athlete, amateur, or professional, can drink the Som and ever test a positive which when you talk to ex-NFL players or current NFL players or Major League Baseball players what they tell you is historically they’re been drinking NyQuil or ZzzQuil or Benadryl to get rest during their season and that stuff is really not good for their pancreas, liver, and other critical organs. Some o them even said “John after I’ve been taking it for 4-5 nights in a row on a road trip I start getting depressed” and they’re so thrilled to have a product that is healthy for them, vegan, non GMO, no drugs, and nonaddictive. The team leadership whether it’s the dieticians or the strength and conditioning coaches, even the ownership, are directing purchases of it and the players are using it. So it just makes the journey so much more rewarding when you get real evidence back by purchase orders and then also the stories that they’re able to share.
GRANT: Well, John, when we were setting up the show you mentioned that you wanted to give our listeners a little something if they wanted to try Som.
JOHN SHEGERIAN: Yes. So for your first 100 visitors that order Som on our website and put in the keyword “Scotch” they’re going to get a 15% discount.
GRANT: That’s awesome.
JOHN SHEGERIAN: That’s number one. And out of all of your listeners that try the Som and have a good story to share with me they can write to me directly at John@GetSom.com and the story that I find the best that I post up I’m going to send them a month’s supply of Som on us. We really believe in the product. I know your listeners will get a lot out of it and we encourage them to try it. We’ll give the first 100 listeners that 15% discount if they type “Scotch” into their code that presents itself and then the best story gets a one month’s supply.
BRANDON: That’s super generous, John.
GRANT: You’re the man.
BRANDON: We very much appreciate it. All the listeners out there take him up on it. Grant and I have tried it. We both felt a very real benefit. We also had our significant others try it. They felt the benefit. The ingredients are great. The product works.
GRANT: And you know, Brandon, this episode sort of sounds like a big long advertisement but we’re not getting paid for this.
GRANT: And you guys that listen to this show should know that we don’t shill for anybody. We actually thought it was a good product and we do really recommend it from personal experience.
JOHN SHEGERIAN: That’s so nice of you guys. It’s such an honor to be here. By the way just for your listeners to hear this, I have never met you guys before today and it’s just an honor to be here because I love what you’re doing. I’ve listened to your podcast before and I’m so honored that you guys invited me on and tried our product and actually liked it. That means so much to me and to my partners as well.
GRANT: Well John it was truly an honor on our behalf to have you on as well. Thanks for the time and we’re glad to hear you and your wife as doing well. Keep up those great businesses man. They do make a change.
JOHN SHEGERIAN: Thank you.
BRANDON: Cheers guys.