Sleep Science: Recovery, Memory, Repair

Episode 56

Insomnia and sleep disorders are incredibly prevalent in America. Nearly 70 million Americans have a sleep disorder, insomnia being chief amongst them. 30% of adults report experiencing short term insomnia; 10% report long term insomnia (nearly 33 million adults!). It is recommended that we get 7-9 hours of sleep, yet 35% of adults get less than the recommended amount of sleep. Insomnia, anxiety, and depression rates increased in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, social unrest, and uncertainty in the economy.  Lack of sleep and poor sleep quality is associated with numerous chronic diseases, including diabetes, obesity, Alzheimer’s, cancer, infections, stress, heart disease & more.

Our “hustle” culture places emphasis on getting things done while sacrificing sleep and rest. Paradoxically lack of sleep impairs our cognition and makes it harder to complete the tasks we set out to accomplish. In this episode, we discuss the anatomy of sleep, why we sleep, the four stages of sleep, REM vs. NREM sleep, circadian rhythms, and holistic strategies to improve your sleep duration and quality.

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Episode Transcript

[00:00:00] Dr. Richard Harris: Join me, Dr. Richard Harris, as we strive to unlock the secrets of the human body. Strive for wellness, strive for great health. Follow the show on iTunes, Spotify, Google, and Android.

And now a word from our sponsors. This week’s sponsors are Real Ketones. Real ketones is a product that gets you in ketosis in an hour. It’s been used to improve athletic performance, support metabolism, improve mental clarity and focus, manage cravings, and then help you burn fat for fuel. I actually use this product as part of my pre-workout routine.

It’s a product that I love. We know I’m a big fan of ketosis; to learn more about Real Ketones and all of their products, you can head to our website, Go to the bottom where there’s wellness links and click drink ketones, or we’ll have a link for you in the show notes. And now to the episode,

Hello, and welcome to this episode of the Strive for Great Health podcast. I’m your host, Dr. Richard Harris. And today, we’re going to be talking about one of everyone’s favorite things to do, and that is sleep. Yet, it’s something that we do not do enough of. Lack of sleep is correlated with an increased risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, depression, obesity, cancer, cardiovascular disease.

You know, a study by the CDC showed only 6% of Americans get enough sleep, exercise, eat proper nutrition, don’t drink to excess, and don’t smoke. So there are millions of people walking around with sleep deprivation, and that is a major problem and a major cause of chronic disease. So let’s talk about the anatomy of sleep.

So the hypothalamus is a gland. That’s about a peanut-sized gland, and it controls the centers affecting sleep and wakefulness. So it’s the master control system for sleep. Something called the suprachiasmatic nucleus or SCN; it integrates information about light exposure from the eyes to help modulate our behavior and activity.

So light, dark cycles are one of the circadian rhythms that our body has. Circadian rhythms are just rhythms that are based upon time. And so we have some for our different hormones, and we have another for sensing, light, and dark. And the suprachiasmatic nucleus is one that helps modulate our behavior depending on if it senses light or if it senses dark.

And it’s interesting people, enough people with SCN damage, they kind of sleep haphazardly throughout the day. They’ll just kind of erratically fall asleep. They’ll wake up. They’ll sleep at weird times, inappropriate times. And it’s due to; there’s a mismatch between the internal circadian rhythm and the light-dark cycle.

So another area of importance is the brainstem. The brainstem helps control the transition between wakefulness and sleep. And the main neurotransmitter here is GABA. We’ve talked a little bit about GABA when we talk about relaxation, anxiety when we talk about CBD, and that’s all because these are important in GABA signaling and the way GABA works.

And so GABA helps to reduce activity in the arousal/wakefulness centers in the hypothalamus and brainstem. And actually, it’s interesting during REM sleep, the pons and medulla, different areas of the brainstem, activate to relax our muscles for posture and limb movement.

And the reason it does is this, so we don’t act out our dreams. So there is a protective mechanism that, of course, can go sometimes wrong. And some people, right, with the sleep disorders, like sleepwalking, sleep eating, things like that. But in general, the brain tries to relax the muscles, so we don’t act out our dreams.

So [00:04:00] during sleep, another area of the brain called the thalamus goes dark. And so it does this, so it tones down signals from the external environment to the higher-level centers of the brain, like the cortex. So basically, the brain will stop taking in information from the environment and sending it up to our decision-making centers so we can relax.

And so we can go to sleep. And so hopefully we’re not sitting there all night thinking about, did we leave our car unlocked or something like that? Right. So dreams, this is an interesting fact. On average, we dream for about two hours a night. Most people don’t; sometimes you remember your dreams, sometimes people don’t,

I dream, and I remember all my dreams like every single night. So I’m pretty lucky in that regard because I have superhero dreams. It’s pretty cool. I can like fly and lift cars and shoot energy beams and all that super nerdy stuff from reading all the comic books I read and playing all the video games I play.

So if you didn’t know, I’m a nerd, probably why I have a health and wellness podcast. So another piece of anatomy that’s very important in sleep is the pineal gland. The pineal gland receives signals from the SCN to make melatonin. And this effect is mediated by GABA in the SCN. So you need GABA in the SCN to tell the pineal gland to make melatonin.

And melatonin’s main function is to match our internal circadian rhythm to the light-dark cycles. And that’s melatonin’s main job. It doesn’t; it’s not like a hypnotic. It doesn’t induce sleep. It’s really a sleep regulator to match the internal environment with the external environment. And the highest melatonin levels are actually about three or four o’clock in the morning, which makes sense.

Cause you should be deeply asleep at three or four o’clock in the morning. And then, another area in the brain called the basal forebrain releases adenosine. Adenosine also helps us sleep. One of the reasons that people often sleep better when they get into ketosis is because ketosis upregulates adenosine production because ketosis is really like supercharging your metabolism.

And adenosine is a metabolic byproduct, and we’ll talk about this more in a minute; why higher adenosine levels can help you sleep. But that supports what we call the sleep drive, and caffeine actually works by blocking adenosine. So that’s how caffeine keeps us awake. It upregulates the arousal and wakefulness signals, and it tones down what we call sleep drive and the amygdala. We’ve talked about the amygdala; it’s our emotional processing center, our fear center.

Or sometimes, it’s called the reptile brain is involved with processing emotions during REM sleep. And this is why we can feel emotions in our dreams. So why do we sleep? That’s the million-dollar question, and it really hasn’t been fully elucidated. There’s some great theories. You know, we spend about a third of our life sleeping.

If sleep wasn’t important, we wouldn’t spend a third of our life doing it. So the main theories now about why we sleep are, is it sleep enables repair and clearance of toxins in the brain. And it seems to be that sleep is more important for doing this in the brain more so than the body. And then, we also sleep to allow our brain circuits to reorganize, which is necessary for learning.

And it’s also necessary for the normal balance and functioning of the synapses. Synapses are the spaces between two nerve cells. You know, you have the end of one nerve cell called the axon, which communicates with dendrites or little spikes on other nerves; basically, that receive the signal. They’re the catchers.

And those dendrites then travel to the cell body stuff happens, travels down another axon. That’s how nerves talk to each other. And so sleep is very important for neuroplasticity, which is that neural reorganization, forming new [00:08:00] connections, getting rid of bad connections. And then overall, just checking the health of the connection.

You know, basically, sleep is like saying, can you hear me now on the cell phone commercials? Right. We’re just checking to make sure the connections are sending and receiving like they should. So, sleep also has some other functions. You know, we’ve talked about this before that when you sleep, you get a wave of CSF. CSF, which is cerebral spinal fluid.

It washes over the brain to remove those beta-amyloid plaques. Amyloid plaque levels are actually higher when we are awake. And so they build up throughout the day, and then when we sleep, they get washed out. That’s one of the reasons why we sleep, and this process really of neural reorganization and cleaning doesn’t really happen when we’re awake.

And so there’s some evidence that shows that it’s not supported during waking. So sleep is necessary for this to happen, and prolonged sleep deprivation likely leads to death because of a buildup of metabolic byproducts in the brain, which are toxic. So sleep probably is associated or its main function is to drive metabolic clearance.

Drive those metabolic toxins from the brain. And then 80, 90% of the energy expended by the brain is for signaling and computational activities. So most of the energy being used by our brain is literally to drive the functions, higher-level functions, and sensing and thinking. Only 10% is for about the normal maintenance of the cells.

And so, the brain lacks a penetrating lymphatic system. We haven’t really talked about the lymphatic system that much. We mentioned it with, with movement, that it’s another drainage system, how we remove byproducts. So because the brain doesn’t have a penetrating lymphatic system, the CSF recirculates, and that’s how it removes waste.

And that’s why when you sleep, it kind of washes over your brain, and then it drains out. And then, when we sleep, we have an increase in what we call the interstitial space, which is the space between our cells, by 60%. So this is to allow for all of that waste products to little space for that. So it can be removed to this space and then removed from the body.

So we talked about neuroplasticity, which is basically teaching the old dog new tricks. It’s how our brain reorganizes itself and learns things. This is especially important in areas of memory and consolidation. I talked about this on one of our research Tuesday or Thursday episodes; how there was a study, we’ll call it the Simon study.

And it showed that nerve fire, nerve firing sequences that encode spatial memory. And this term, spatial memory was, Oh my gosh, I just forgot the name of the game. It was that game where the light would blink red, and you have to hit it. And then the light would blink blue, and then you have to hit it. Then it would be like red, blue, then yellow.

Then you’d have to go red, blue, yellow. Totally forgot the name of the game. They played that game, and they found that, that the sequences that were firing when people were awake playing the game were replayed during sleeping. So there was actually encoding and imprinting of those memories during sleep. So sleep facilitates the growth of learning synapses and weakens the connections that are not being used, right.

So maintaining these synopses is expensive. It’s it costs energy. It costs resources. So if you’re not using them, then the brains going to say, Oh, we’re not using this connection. Let’s get rid of it. And let’s make the connections that we are using stronger. And so sleep recycles proteins that were used to make the connections between our neurons.

And so that way we’re feeding the strong connections, getting rid of the weak connections. So what’s interesting is that sleep times decrease over different species as body mass increases amongst animals, but the REM sleep fraction does not change with [00:12:00] brain or body mass. So basically, larger animals need less sleep time for maintenance and repair.

And so this is why, you know, your dog may sleep for 17 hours a day, but it seems that brain size and brain metabolic rates are highly predictive of sleep time. And this is, you know, probably because sleep time is when the body and brain are repairing itself, mainly the brain. And so what a recent study hypothesized, and it’s really interesting, is that sleep, before we are about two and a half years of age, appears to be primarily for the purpose of neural reorganization.

Meaning that sleep before then is mainly used to grow these connections. And that’s a time when there’s so much to learn about the environment and the world. And there’s so much rapid development after that; sleep’s main purpose is for repair and to clear metabolites. And during sleep is a time that we repair nerves and neurons that have been damaged by oxidative stress.

Again, oxidative stress is a process by which either the immune system or byproducts of metabolism create damage to nerves, proteins, other cellular structures. And so during waking time, these products are made, and then the body tries to recover, repair during sleep. During sleep, we actually cut the production of these metabolites by one third.

So it’s not a very big production time. It’s more of a repair and recover time. So let’s talk about the four stages of sleep. Stage one is a transition between wakefulness and sleep. Usually lasts about a few minutes, and during this phase, it’s characterized by a slowing of the heartbeat, breathing, eye movements, and you get relaxation to the muscles, but occasionally you can get twitches.

And sometimes, this is why you’ll twitch right before you fall asleep. Or sometimes you’ll wake up with a twitch because you’ll wake up in stage one sleep, and you’ll start to see the brainwaves slow if you’re hooked up to a brainwave machine. Then you have stage two sleep, and this is the stage right before deep sleep, your heart rate, breathing slow down even more.

The muscles relax; your body temperature drops. And then eye movements stop, brainwave activity slows, but there are bursts of brief activity every now and then. And the longest period of sleep is stage two. Most of the time, we were sleeping every night; we’re in stage two sleep.

Stage three sleep is deep sleep. It’s the period we need to be refreshed. So you spend longer periods of deep sleep early in the night, and it gets progressively shorter as you get close to waking, and you have the slowest heartbeat and breathing rate, and your muscles are very relaxed. So it can be very hard to wake someone when they’re in stage three sleep and the brainwaves are very slow.

So REM sleep, REM sleep typically occurs about 90 minutes after falling asleep. It’s characterized by rapid eye movements. That’s what REM stands for rapid eye movements. And so your eyes are darting back and forth from side to side, the brain activity is actually  really close to when we’re awake, and your heart rate and blood pressure increase to about waking levels and our breathing speeds up and becomes irregular. And most dreams, not all dreams, but most dreams occur in REM sleep.

But like I mentioned earlier, the muscles that control movement and posture are paralyzed. So we don’t act out our dreams in REM sleep. And stage three sleep, the deep sleep decline with age. So there’s a debate in the [00:16:00] literature about when do we do the memory consolidation and memory forming? Is it REM sleep as a non REM sleep?

So, REM sleep is associated with local circuit changes and memory consolidation. So this is more of a particular areas of the brain are doing their thing in consolidating these memories. REM sleep is about 50% of the sleep for newborns. It makes sense. There’s a lot of information that they’re having to store and encode, and it drops to about 15% of the sleep time for people at the age of 50.

But in non-REM sleep, you also get some memory consolidation, but it’s mainly transferring of memories between different regions. You know, we have our short-term storage in the hippocampus and our long-term storage in like the medial temporal cortex, and that information needs to get transferred from place to place.

And that seems to happen during non-REM sleep. And then also that synapse balance, the synapse homeostasis happens in non-REM sleep. So some studies show that you get the pruning and reconnection that neuroplasticity in REM, others in non-REM sleep. So you can see that there’s still a lot that we’re trying to work out with sleep.

So now, let’s move the discussion to our clocks, our internal clocks. And so there’s two that we’re going to talk about with sleep, the circadian rhythm that we already mentioned, and then the homeostatic sleep drive, which we just touched on briefly. So circadian rhythm directs a number of processes in the body, including wakefulness, body temperature, hormone release, and metabolism.

And like we said, the sleep-wake cycle is an example of our circadian rhythm, there are others. And the purpose of circadian rhythms is to synchronize the external environmental cues with internal environment cues, and ocular light exposure is, is the most powerful regulator of our circadian rhythm for light-dark.

So what happens is light leads to excitatory signals in the SCN and this suppresses melatonin synthesis, well light, it’s kind of an interesting pathway, and this is how amazing that we are made. Thank you, God. Thank you, Jesus. So when light hits our skin, it increases serotonin production. And so that’s why when you’re out in the sunlight, you feel happier.

All right. Serotonin is the happy neurotransmitter. We talked about that, but serotonin is the precursor to melatonin. So you need serotonin to make melatonin. So what happens at night is there’s an enzyme called inositol transferase, which has low activity during the day. And this enzyme is what is needed to make serotonin (into) melatonin.

And this activity picks up at night. So as we lose that drive from light to make serotonin, then melatonin is made at night. So you need sun exposure throughout the day to make melatonin at night. I think that’s a beautiful; it’s just an expression of our regulated normal balanced systems. You know, God is great.

And it’s interestingly enough, these circadian rhythms, these internal rhythms will continue even without environmental cues. So even people who are blind still have a circadian rhythm to too light and dark. It just may be dysregulated, but it’s still there. So sleep homeostatic drive. This is a pressure that builds up and gets stronger every hour we are awake.

So from the moment, we wake up, sleep pressure and sleep drive starts building up. And what this sleep drive is, is it senses recent sleep and wakefulness. And it’s looking at the balance between the two. And this is why if you get abnormal sleep or if you’re sleep deprived for a while, you will get a longer and deeper sleep.

As the body tries to catch up in a process called REM rebound and you’ll get more REM and more deep sleep if you’re sleep-deprived. So maximum sleepiness occurs when [00:20:00] melatonin is at its highest and the body temperature is at its lowest. So these are both signals for normal sleep. And this is probably why certain medical conditions can cause you to oversleep because there’s dysregulation in metabolism.

There’s dysregulation in some of these hormonal signals and circadian rhythms with chronic disease. And we talked about adenosine earlier, adenosine as a metabolic byproduct is a major driver of the sleep drive. And so that’s why higher adenosine levels are a signal to go to sleep because that’s a signal that, Hey, we’ve done a lot of metabolism.

We’ve been awake for a while. Let’s shut it down. Let’s grow, let’s repair. So let’s briefly talk about melatonin more for a minute. There’s two melatonin receptors melatonin one and melatonin two. So melatonin one receptors basically work in the super chiasmatic nucleus, the SCN to tone down alertness signals.

And the main function there is to help reduce sleep latency, meaning help reduce the amount of time it takes us to go to sleep. The melatonin two receptors work to increase that sleep homeostatic drive. So basically, the function of melatonin is it shifts the circadian rhythm to night and then increases sleep drive. So we go to sleep. That’s basically how melatonin works.

 So, what are the causes of sleep dysregulation? You know, you can have trouble falling asleep, trouble staying asleep or early wakening, and we’ll do different strategies depending on which they are. Poor sleep habits. Number one, cause we have very terrible sleep habits, and that’s why the bulk of my sleep course and my wellness course is about sleep hygiene.

How do you develop good sleep habits? Like having a sleep routine, like making sure the room is cold. These are some of the things that we discuss in the course. Stress and pain can dysregulate sleep, medications, supplements, alcohol, and nicotine. These things that can be stimulants. You know, most people think of alcohol as a depressant, and it is alcohol has some functions similar to some of the inhibitory neurotransmitters like GABA, but because alcohol is a toxin.

It’ll send wake-up signals, too because the body thinks it’s under attack. The body thinks it’s in a stressful situation because there’s an all of a sudden, an overabundance of a toxin. So it tells you to wake up and be alert, nicotine as well. Nicotine is a stimulant. So all these stimulants are going to disrupt the natural homeostatic sleep drive and the circadian rhythm.

Certain medical conditions can disrupt our sleep. You know, acid reflux, thyroid disorders, neurological disorders, chronic inflammation, all of these things can impact the normal sleep cycles and the normal neurotransmitters and other metabolites like adenosine that work for sleep. Aging, as we talked about, you get less stage three and four sleep as we age.

And then travel and shift work. You know, these things are things that can disrupt our natural circadian rhythms. And let’s briefly talk about sleep medications. I was on sleep medications for a time. I used to struggle with chronic insomnia as a kid. It got so bad in college. In pharmacy school, I went from making A’s to making C’s in my classes, falling asleep in my classes all the time.

I was only getting like two hours of sleep at night. I tried Ambien at that time for about a week, hated the way it made me feel, hated. It just didn’t feel like myself. And luckily, I stumbled into sleep hygiene. I always tell people; sleep hygiene saved my life because it got me back on track. I realized I had so many poor habits that were impacting my sleep.

And now I sleep great because of that. And because of some of the things we’re going to talk about in a minute, so back to the sleep medications, do they work depends on your definition of work. Studies show they may help you fall asleep about eight minutes faster and increase your sleep duration by about 20 minutes.

That’s it. But the side effects, falls [00:24:00] fractures, increased grogginess fatigue, sleep, driving/eating also. There is an association with an increased risk of Alzheimer’s because what these medications do is they actually decrease your deep sleep. They decrease your  phase three sleep. And this is the sleep medications like Ambien and the, also the benzodiazepines like Klonopin and Ativan and Xanax that some people take for sleep.

So I tell people, avoid these medications, like the plague, avoid them like the plague, the risks and the side effects are not worth the benefit. 20 minutes more sleep. I don’t think so. I’m not taking that. So how do we promote healthy sleep? Increase your light exposure during the day. We talked about that more serotonin, improves the serotonin levels, and that helps the body naturally do what it needs to do to convert serotonin to melatonin,

Reduce blue light exposure at night, blue light sends signals to wake up, red lights and signals to go to sleep. And thinking about it. What did you see, our ancestors see when they used to wake up in the morning, look up blue sky, you know, and that blue is a blue is blue because of the reflection from the ocean by the way. What do we see at night when we’re going to bed, red sky.

You want to reduce caffeine intake after 3:00 PM because caffeine can last in our system for six to eight hours. Right? So caffeine is blocking the function of adenosine. Adenosine has been building up throughout the day. So if you have caffeine later in the evening, you’re blocking that adenosine.

You’re blocking one of the major signals for the sleep homeostatic drive. You want to have a consistent sleep schedule. And so this will match your internal circadian rhythm, with your external environment. If you regulate your sleep cycle, if you regulate what time you’re going to bed, what time you’re waking up, it gets easier for you to do it because then your body says, Oh, this is predictable. I can get into a rhythm easier.

Supplements CBD, you know, the data’s kind of mixed on CBD. I think it’s because some of the studies use CBD and THC. I’ve noticed myself using my Oura ring. I get much more deep sleep when I take CBD. And so I love CBD for sleep. You can take melatonin as well. You don’t want to take more than one milligram of melatonin consistently because melatonin is a hormone.

Melatonin has other effects. It has anti-inflammatory effects. That’s why you’re starting to see melatonin pop-up for COVID; you know, I’ve been using melatonin for the COVID patients I treat in the hospital for a very long time, but moral of the story, don’t take more than one milligram daily for extended periods of time.

You know, occasionally, if you’re using three, six milligrams, you know, especially if you’ve just come back from a long trip for a couple of days, that’s fine. Just don’t do it for an extended period of time. Other things that can help magnesium. Magnesium helps induce relaxation helps the brainwaves to stabilize.

L-threonine, L-threonine has a lot of different effects in the brain. L-threonine is a major amino acid from green tea, which is why sometimes I’ll recommend a decaffeinated green tea with some lavender or chamomille at bedtime. Lavender and chamomille actually worked to increase GABA, same thing with valerian root.

You know, these are remedies that people are using to help sleep. Glycine is an amino acid, but glycine also is a neurotransmitter. It is an inhibitory neurotransmitter. So it helps tone down those excitatory wakefulness signals just like GABA. Vitamin B6, vitamin B6 is necessary for serotonin. So we make serotonin from an amino acid called trptophyan.

You know, that’s why they used to say that turkey makes you tired. Cause it has tryptophan. No, it’s because you probably just ate a whole bunch of calories and a whole bunch of carbs that Thanksgiving. That’s why you’re tired. And you’ve got a massive surge of insulin. That’s probably why you’re tired.

Not because of the tryptophan, [00:28:00] but we need B6 to turn tryptophan into serotonin. You want to reduce alcohol consumption, like I said, one of the worst things that people do to help them sleep is take alcohol. Because they’re like, Oh, it helps me fall asleep. No, it really disrupts your whole circadian rhythm.

Alcohol disrupts your sleep patterns, increases snoring. So we’re not exchanging oxygen like we should. Changes respiration, so your breathing rate, supposed to slow down, your breathing rate speeds up when you drink alcohol because alcohol is a toxin. One of the ways you get it out of your body is you breathe it out.

That’s why there’s alcohol breath. You’re literally breathing alcohol out to get it out of your body because it’s a toxin. It prevents the nighttime release of human growth hormone. There’s a lot of interest in human growth hormone to stay young. You know, my main problem with the people injecting human growth hormone is you have to watch your IGF levels because if you’re not careful and you’re not watching your IGF levels.

You can increase your risk of getting cancer. Cause human growth hormone makes everything grow. And one of the reasons bodybuilders die early is because they’re using a lot of insulin and a lot of human growth hormone, and everything grows, including your heart and your other organs. And that’s not good.

Your heart relies on something called the Frank Starling law. And if it grows bigger for a time, it can push out more cardiac output. But after a while, that decreases. So that’s why a lot of these bodybuilders died from heart failure because their hearts were literally too large, but HGH helps regulate our circadian rhythm.

It’s a hormone that is released in a circadian fashion, but it also helps regulate other circadian rhythms. So. Stop using alcohol as a crutch to go to sleep; start using some of these other things.

You’ll notice that your sleep quality will improve dramatically. You want to avoid late-night meals, and that’s because there are some changes that can happen metabolically when you eat. Again, when you’re, when you have food in the system, your body’s trying to metabolize it. And we just talked about we’re sleeping to remove the byproducts of metabolism. So avoid those late-night meals. There’s also some changes in insulin signaling that can happen. That can keep us awake.

Meditation very important for sleeping, helps control stress, which will help induce natural sleep. Actually, the first line for insomnia, you go to your doctor, conventional doc, and you tell him you’re not sleeping. Well, the first thing that they should do, and this is in the data , I’m not making this up, is refer you for cognitive behavioral therapy.

That’s not what they do. Right. The first thing they do is give you medication. But the guidelines say the first thing is cognitive behavioral therapy, because a lot of sleep anxiety; this is what I had, sleep anxiety. I would get anxious when sleeping because I felt like I was such a bad sleeper that it would keep me awake. And cognitive behavioral therapy retrains your mind about notions of sleep.

It helps deal with catastrophic thinking. It helps give you solutions when those negative thoughts come in. So you can prevent them from ruminating. That’s the benefit of cognitive-behavioral therapy. Now you can do it online. Take a cool shower before bed. One of the common mistakes that people make is they sleep in too much clothing with too many blankets.

Your body temperature needs to go down to sleep. Your body temperature going down is a major signal to sleep, so that cool shower can start the process by cooling you off. If you have nocturia, which basically means you wake up to pee. Stop drinking liquids two hours before going to bed at least two hours.

This is a big problem I have. You know, I drink a lot of water throughout the day, but I have to stop drinking water about three hours before bed. If I don’t, I will be up all night peeing. Exercise, get exercise in early in the day. Not late. Why? Because we talked about adenosine, right? It’s a metabolic byproduct.

If you Jack up your [00:32:00] metabolism through exercise. You’re going to make more adenosine. So, therefore, throughout the day, that’s homeostatic sleep drive will increase. Exercise also has beneficial effects on, you know, our serotonin and our hormone profiles and just about everything you do in your body, you know, if you want to fix everything pretty much exercise, that’s the way to do it.

But it can also help you sleep

And you want to fix your gut. If you’ve got dysbiosis, that’s going to impair the ability to generate neurotransmitters correctly. Our gut bacteria make and help us digest a lot of, of, of nutrients. And so these nutrients that either made by the gut bacteria or are digested by the gut bacteria, some of them are precursors to our brain chemicals are neurotransmitters. So your brain is not going to function correctly if you have dysbiosis, if you have abnormal gut bacteria. You’re also going to get brain inflammation, which is going to further dysregulate your sleep. So you gotta fix your gut. So I hope you learned a little bit about sleep, about holistic strategies used for sleep.

You know, sleep hygiene is a big part of my course. If you’re wondering what that is, check out our wellness course, click programs. It’ll take you there. And I hope you learn how important sleep is for our function. I mean, do you want damaged, overloaded, overworked brain, or do you want a brain that is humming, like a finely tuned machine?

You don’t take your brain to the mechanic. The brain mechanic is sleep. So people prioritize your sleep, get seven to nine hours of sleep at night. That’s how that’s really where the data shows the sweet spot is, you know, risk of bad things start happening when we get less than seven and more than nine.

If you get more than nine, it means that there’s processes going on in your body. And your body’s really trying to repair. And those underlying processes are driving chronic disease and, and morbidity, you know, which is basically disease impacting our life and mortality, which is death. So get sleep, prioritize your sleep people.

All right. Thank you for listening to this episode of Strive for Great Health Podcasts. Y’all have a blessed day.

Thank you for listening to the Strive for Great Health Podcast, with your host Dr. Richard Harris. It’s our mission and goal at the podcast to impact as many lives as possible. To empower individuals, to take control of their health, and live a life full of joy and purpose.

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