Sleep and hormone connection, is your sleep destroying your hormones? – Podcast #62

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Dr. Justin Marchegiani and Evan Brand discuss the connection between sleep and hormones in this podcast. They shed some light on how many hours of sleep is essential and what time people should go to bed. They also talk about winding down before sleeping and the different techniques they do in order to get a good night's sleep. Learn why it is important to address and control sleep in relation to supporting blood sugar and hormones especially for females.

sleep-and-hormonesGet more information on the conversion process to sleep hormones. Find out how important it is to have a balance of having the perfect amount of fitness, movement and activity and using your brain to get a deeper quality sleep, as well as know the right balance of foods to eat to help achieve that restful night sleep. Discover the benefits of sleeping with white noise. All these and more when you listen to this podcast.

In this episode, topics include:

2:14   Sleep and hormones

8:30   How to avoid progesterone steal

12:55   Sleep and exercise

16:48   White noise

22:44   Sleep remedies and supplements







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Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Hello, ladies and gentlemen.  It’s Dr. J here.  Evan, what’s going on, man?

Evan Brand:  What is up?  I just had some elk for lunch before we jumped on this call.  So I’m feeling elkified.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Elkified.  There we go.  Making up words again.  I like it.  It’s how we get your creativity going.

Evan Brand:  Yup.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  I’m actually sipping on a nice little LaCroix here.  I love these LaCroix.  These are great.  You know, over 10 years ago I used to be a little Diet Coke soda addict because, you know, we wanna keep the sugar down so taking a whole bunch of aspartame or Splenda, right?  A lot of these artificial sweeteners, thought I was doing myself a whole world of good but definitely wasn’t.  Love these LaCroix, got the Natural Mango going.  It’s quite thirst quenching.

Evan Brand:  How do you feel about sparkling waters?  Do you think there’s a teeth enamel issue that occurs with excessive consumption of those?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  I don’t know.  I mean, again a lot of water, a lot of sparkling water just added CO2 in it or depends if it’s mineral water like Pellegrino or like a Topo Chico where it’s infused minerals in there as well.  So I’m not really too worried about that.  I take a lot of–when I get up in the morning, I have a really good filtered water with a whole bunch of sea salt covering the bottom level of my–my mug and I down 2 or 3 really big glasses.

Evan Brand:  So that’ll get plenty of good stuff in regardless of what you drink afterwards you’re saying?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah, a lot of good minerals in there.  I mean, my concern is like I had someone on my shoulder talking about filtered water recently and the person was just really concerned about, well, you know, the demineralization and all these different things and you know, I kinda have a different perspective.  Yeah, that’s a concern, but I think the bigger issue is people consuming water that’s not clean, that still has chlorine and fluoride and probably some pharmaceutical drugs and other potential pathogens in there that’s far worse.  Now, of course, you know, if you get your water filtered and cleaned up, or whether it’s reverse osmosis or a carbon-based filter or like a Berkey or one of those guys.  Yeah, I mean, just pinch a little bit of sea salt in there, high quality sea salt, that will really help add the–the mineralization it needs.

Evan Brand:  Yup.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  So today we talked pre-show that we wanted to chat a little bit about sleep and kinda connect the dots with the hormones, right?

Evan Brand:  Yes, sleep is essential but for some reason it’s still not prioritized among health enthusiasts and health seekers.  It’s thought of as a luxury or people are called lazy if they take a nap or if they sleep more than 8 hours and hopefully we can shed some light on why that’s not the case today.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah, I just saw a–well, it wasn’t a study but it was basically a survey of people that use these technology that go around your wrist like the–the Jawbone or the Misfit, these different things that track sleep and such.  Well, they had people sleep a certain amount of timer and they have them rate by, you know, how they felt the next day and such.  And they found on the Jawbone, that’s one of these different devices here, that 8 to 9 and 1/2 hours allowed people to feel the best during the next day.  So that’s pretty interesting.  So 8 to 9 and 1/2 hours is a really good place I believe and it’s not only just the time, it’s also when you fall asleep because that allows you to tap in to some of these different hormones that we’ll talk about in a bit.

Evan Brand:  Yeah, I don’t have any particular study or any documentation, but I always tell people that the hours before midnight almost count as double.  You know, if you’re going to bed midnight, 1 AM, you’ve already basically passed the hormonal regulation optimal starting point if you will and now you’re gonna have limited results and limited recovery which is why if I go to bed at midnight for some reason which is rare these days, I don’t feel the same in the morning as I do when I go to bed at say 9:30 PM.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah, that makes sense and there’s a handful of studies out there.  We’re not gonna say them all.  You can just go in to–to the Google machine and just punch in sleep and hormones or sleep and blood sugar or college student studies sleep and blood sugar.  They did a study a couple years back looking at college students and they cut down their sleep, I think to 4 hours or so, and they saw significant perturbations, fluctuations in blood sugar to the point where they were nearly pre-diabetic.  So we know sleep and blood sugar play a huge role and also anytime we’re messing with blood sugar we’re more than likely messing with cortisol.  So cortisol is gonna be out of balance as well and we know cortisol should have this nice rhythm of high in the morning and lower at night and the more stress we get with–with sleep, right?  We’re gonna start lowering cortisol in the morning and raising it at night relatively speaking to where it should be within that range.

Evan Brand:  Yeah, and cortisol and melatonin are gonna get thrown off out of their balance so now you’re gonna have low melatonin, your hunger hormones are gonna get thrown off so you’re gonna have tons more ghrelin than you normally would.  So you’re gonna have an insatiable appetite so that could contribute to binge-eating of gluten-free cookies and brownies when you wake up–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Ah!

Evan Brand:  Because you’re exhausted.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yup, absolutely.  Again, I look at sleep–if you can address and control sleep, you’re really addressing and controlling blood sugar and if you’re supporting blood sugar, you’re also gonna be supporting your hormones.  That’s a big one because when we throw cortisol off, especially if you’re a female listening, cortisol can be taken from progesterone.  So if we’re robbing from our progesterone, well, guess what we’re doing?  We’re setting ourselves up for a–for a really wonky luteal phase.  A luteal phase is that second half of our female cycle and it’s primarily predominated by progesterone and if progesterone drops out a little too soon in that cycle, we can really start suffering from PMS symptoms which is like breast tenderness, back pain, moodiness, irritability, excessive bleeding, menstrual cramps, etc. and this can happen before bleeding, before menstruation, and during menstruation.  So a lot of these are really not so good and it throws us into a state known as estrogen-dominance and this can allow things like fibroids to grow and endometriosis and even cause excessive bleeding that can even cause things like anemia which cause more fatigue and cause more thyroid and adrenal issues because now your body’s ability to carry oxygen because you’re low in iron is now impeded, so now you’re set up for a world of hurt when it comes to energy and mood and how you feel.

Evan Brand:  So what if you’re sleeping good but you’re still having all of those symptoms?  Is that–is there something else going on that’s causing that progesterone to be too low?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah, we always kinda look at stress and we kinda have this metaphorical stress bucket so everyone just kinda close their eyes unless you’re driving.  So you get this bucket here, right?  And we got the 3 major stressors that contribute to that bucket and that’s gonna be your physical stress, so kinda take a nod at here if you get any back pain or neck pain or chronic headaches, or you sit all day, you do too much CrossFit that’s causing you to be worn out, and maybe some old injuries, you know?  Throw a couple of balls into that bucket.  Look at the emotional stressors, you know, how’s marriage, kids, family, job?  All those things.  If you got some emotional stress, put a couple of balls in that bucket.  And then look at the chemical stressors and these stressors are the ones that are–that fly under the radar.  People have no idea they’re even an issue because you gotta actually talk to a functional medicine doctor or specialist or get some lab testing done to even know about it and that could be like low stomach acid.  So just take a look at your fingernails–nod if you’re driving–do you have any vertical ridging or white spots?  Do you have any fungal toes, right?  Do you have any white tongue stuff?  Do you get dizzy standing up fast?  I mean, these are just all signs of protein issues and adrenal issues.  Is your temperature low, right?  You don’t even need lab tests to get these things done but a good functional medicine doctor will extract this info and it’s very telling about the underlying hormonal system, gut infections, etc.  So–

Evan Brand:  Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Go ahead, yeah.  I’ll breathe for a second.

Evan Brand:  Well, I was just gonna–yeah, breathe.  So yeah, so that’s what I was getting at is that it’s not just a one thing that’s gonna go wrong like we’re talking about sleep today but there’s many people that may feel like they’re sleeping good but they still have all of those symptoms, so at point they need to zoom out a little bit and look at all these other things to make sure everything’s in place, and at a certain point, if your adrenals are taxed regardless of the nutritional aspect, if you don’t have some type of support system in place, it sounds like you’re never gonna get better with that progesterone deficiency if you will.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  You know that progesterone steal or cortisol escape or pregnenolone steal.  There’s a whole bunch of names to describe it but yeah, everyone listening that has a sleep issue, the first thing they should do before even seeing or contacting someone like us is just try to get the diet dialed in, right?  Just try to get the blood sugar going, you know, eating with the first 30 to 45 minutes of getting up.  Again, forget–throw out the window the rule of “Hey, you shouldn’t eat, you know, before bed.”  A lot of people will do better eating before bed especially some protein, fat, and maybe a little bit of carbs because their adrenals may be so messed up, their cortisol may be dropping, their blood sugar may be dropping and it may be causing their adrenals to produce more adrenalin and more cortisol to bring that blood sugar back up which could wake them up in the middle of the night.  So if you’re having a hard time going to bed, that’s probably high cortisol.  If you’re having a hard time waking–if you’re waking up in the middle of the night, we always look to lower cortisol and low blood sugar causing a stress response in the middle of the night.

Evan Brand:  I had this snack the other day.  I never eat any sort of processed food like this but this brand Pamel–Pamela’s, they have like–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Evan Brand:  A gluten-free cinnamon gram cracker and I saw it and I was like, “Oh, my God!” I’ve dreamed of having some cinnamon–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Wow.

Evan Brand:  Gram crackers since I was a kid that are actually not gonna hurt–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  The memories.

Evan Brand:  Hurt my stomach and so I bought a pack of those and I just loaded it with–loaded it heavy with some almond butter and I had that before bed, and it could have been the nostalgia kicking in but I don’t know what it was, it could have just been the good fats from the almond butter, I slept amazing that night when I had those.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Well, sometimes a little bit of carbs and a little bit of good fat before bed can be really good fuel on the fire.

Evan Brand:  Oh, and I had the cinnamon, too.  So I didn’t even think about the blood sugar–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Evan Brand:  Stabilization there.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah, and it maybe have been enough.  You know, you probably had a good dinner as well, right?  So you probably had a good, some good protein and fat at dinner so you threw maybe a little bit of extra carbs than what you normally would, you add some cinnamon, some fat, too.  So that probably helped.  Again to convert your melatonin, right?  That all comes from serotonin and then serotonin comes from 5-HTP and that comes from L-tryptophan which is an amino acid, right?  Amino acids are nothing more than pearls on the pearl necklace, right?  The necklace is the protein and the pearls are the amino acids.  So imagine breaking that necklace up and all those pearls, those are the amino acids, well, 5-HTP is a protein, right?  Essentially a protein and we need insulin to help that amino acid cross that blood brain barrier.  So sometimes a little bit of carbs, you know, some safer carbs–we’re not–not talking inflammatory carbs, can really help those aminos cross that blood brain barrier and start converting into some of these sleep hormones.

Evan Brand:  Another thing that we should talk about since we’re on the subject of the conversion process to sleep hormones is a lot of people that are dealing with adrenal issues or just a lot of stress in general, they’re gonna be burning through their B vitamins, so if they’re deficient in say B6, that’s necessary for that conversion from the 5-HTP over to serotonin, melatonin, that whole little cascade–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Evan Brand:  If they don’t have that B6, they’re not gonna be able to do it.  So in terms of having a big list of B6 foods in front of me, I don’t have that, but I know just adding in a little bit of supplementary B6 could be helpful.  Do you recommend a certain like handful of nuts or something like that in terms of B6 or–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah, I mean, typically you’re gonna get your best bang for your buck with B vitamins with good clean meats, right?  Meats are gonna be loaded especially grass-fed red meats, those are gonna have some good B vitamins, glandular, some nuts as well.  So I mean, I typically do a little bit of almond butter before bed with like a Granny Smith apple and some cinnamon on top of it.  That’s really good.

Evan Brand:  You got me.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Again, I’ll–you know, that’ll be like an hour after dinner so I’m already having good grass-fed meat, kind of non-starchy vegetable, good fats kinda thing.  If I do CrossFit that night, I’ll maybe have a sweet potato in there or something.  So it really depends on my activity level how I dose my carbs, but something like that before bed can be super helpful and you can even try, you know, if you have a good meal maybe just a little bit of honey, maybe a teaspoon of honey can be helpful just to get that insulin up to help some of those aminos cross the blood brain barrier.  A little bit of a protein shake, maybe some beef protein or good clean whey protein and some collagen can be helpful, too.  Get those extra aminos going.

Evan Brand:  You mentioned exercise.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Evan Brand:  Can we–can we transition into the sleep-exercise picture?  Because just like I’ve definitely felt this working behind the microphone in the computer.  If my brain’s exhausted but my body has not been active or used enough, I’m gonna sleep like crap, vice-versa.  If I’ve just been physical all day and I haven’t used my brain juice, so I’m gonna have a lot of brains left at night to think and not be able to sleep.  So it’s like a balance of having the perfect amount of fitness and movement and activity and the perfect balance of using your brain, so you mentioned CrossFit and I forgot to ask you.  You always keep some pretty good muscle and I’ve never actually talked with you about what you do at home.  Do you go to the gym?  What–what are you doing?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah, just functional movements.  I mean, I lift weights typically 2-3 times a week and I try to do some burst stuff so like after our interview here, I’ll probably go to the gym, do a CrossFit class or I’ll just do some functional movements whether it’s squatting, lunging, bending, pushing, pulling kinda gig.  And yeah, it’s really important a couple times a week but really getting, keeping the diet in check is really gonna be what’s good so keeping the insulin levels down at least when you’re, you know, not working out as much; that’s gonna be important so you’re more of a fat burner versus sugar burner.  But when we tie in the exercise to sleep, exercise is a sympathetic nervous system stimulator, right?  That’s kinda cortisol, sympathetic nervous system, adrenalin, that’s gonna be pushing that part of the nervous system.  Not a bad thing because, right?  Parasympathetics predominate when you sleep and you’re eating and then the sympathethics predominate while you’re working, when you’re stressed, when you’re focused and you’re moving.  So the more we trigger those sympathetics, right?  The more we’re utilizing the adrenals, so we gotta be careful if we are stressed and our adrenals are a little bit beaten down because our rhythm’s off, we gotta be careful of how much exercise we do, how intense it is and also when.  We don’t wanna be firing up the sympathetic nervous system if we’re transitioning into a parasympathetic sleep time, right?  If it’s 8-9 o’clock, 10 o’clock we wanna be in bed and winding down, asleep by 10:30-11.  We’ll come back from the gym around 8 or 9 maybe a little too much stimulation and not give you enough time to turn off the switch and kind of downregulate into that parasympathetic mode.

Evan Brand:  Yeah, definitely.  I mean, the artificial light, too.  That’s the whole other piece of the equation.  In terms of the gym, I mean, typically those places have tons of bright florescent lights that contain a lot of blue light.  So any melatonin that would naturally be getting produced around sunset time, that’s not gonna happen for, you know, it’s about 45 minutes what I found. I haven’t found an exact number.  I guess it depends on the person, but it seems like about 45 minutes after that bright light exposure, melatonin will try again to start secreting some more or so.  If you’re flipping on your Netflix or you’re checking your email or your Instagram one last time just to see what you missed out on, the fear of missing out, see what you missed out on right before you go to sleep, maybe don’t do that and see if your sleep improves.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah, one thing I’ve kind of created here.  I’ve kinda made a deal with my wife is that once 8 o’clock gets, you know, we plug in our phones upstairs.  We put them in airplane mode, we set the alarms, we put out, you know, white noise kind of thing already on low so that when we come upstairs, light are already off, curtains are closed, lights are super, super dim just so we can see where the heck we’re going, right?  So not tripping over stuff, we just turn up the–the white noise, don’t have to touch the phones at all, they’re all ready to go.  I don’t have to wait and see this next text then get my little dopamine from the little texting coming up or my little Facebook thing, I could just be like, alright, go right to sleep.  I don’t gotta deal with any technology.  That’s a game changer right there.  Have your phone in airplane mode ready to go.  You know, I use white noise because I don’t want anything to wake me up.  You know, my cat’s jumping in and out my bed and stuff.  I don’t wanna be able to hear him and know what they’re doing.  So the white noise significantly helps anything, you know, waking me up and then having everything dialed in and ready to go and airplane mode prevents me from wanting to check that last text.

Evan Brand:  What’s your white noise?  I use a HEPA filter myself.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Oh, the white noise.  Well, yeah, if you’re using like a fan or if you’re using a HEPA filter, that totally works, too.

Evan Brand:  Or using digital sound?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Uh-hmm.

Evan Brand:  White noise?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah, I like the app.  It’s called White Noise.

Evan Brand:  Oh, okay.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And it’s–it’s just a white noise.  It’s a little purply pink one with little bars.  It’s the–the most popular one in the iStore, so that’s the one I’ve used.  I’ve used it about 3-4 years. And there’s–it’s–

Evan Brand:  Oh, okay.  There’s another one called Relax Melodies.  And it’s kinda fun.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  I used to use that one.

Evan Brand: Where you add in a little–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  You could change it from a–yeah.

Evan Brand:  Yeah, yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  I used to use that.

Evan Brand:  That was–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  I used to use that.  It’s just a little too complicated because–

Evan Brand:  It is.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.  I just like this because it’s just, boom!  And it work great, but my wife and I have the same one on both of our phones, so we have them kind of in sync and we do that so in case she gets up early, she can like get on her phone and start doing whatever she’s gotta do and it doesn’t just kill the, you know, the volume in the room.  Because we have a little stereo effect going that works.

Evan Brand:  That’s cool.  Yeah, I’ve just used the HEPA filter.  I don’t know we’ve gotten the habit of it.  I–I think because we–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  That works good.

Evan Brand:  May–maybe we just moved in somewhere.  We wanted to clean the air and it–it just happened to be the perfect amount when we have the HEPA–air on medium.  It was the perfect amount, not too loud where you wake up with exhausted eardrums, but–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Evan Brand:  Enough to keep you asleep.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  I mean, when we have guests stay at our house.  People freak out like, “What the hell is that?”  It’s like the Martians landing or something.  What the heck is that?  Because it just sounds kinda weird, right?

Evan Brand:  Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  But yeah, just some white noise.  But I find that a lot of my patients for instance, they don’t sleep with white noise or something like that and they get woken up really easy.

Evan Brand:  Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  By–by an animal–

Evan Brand:  And especially–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Or by something. Who knows?

Evan Brand:  Or a train or traffic–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Evan Brand:  If they live in a super urban area.  You gotta block that stuff out.  You have to have a cool, dark, quite, blood sugar stable.  Little bit of exercise earlier in the day.  Little bit of brain usage, reading, writing, researching, talking.  What else?  There’s some other pieces we can add in to this thing.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah, so I really try to give myself 2 hours.  So like wind down time happens 2 hours.  If I wanna be asleep at 10:30, I’m gonna be winding down like on the couch just chillaxing at 8:30.  And that could be like me just all showered, ready to go, maybe take a little bit of lavender oil, put it behind my ears, behind my elbow creases or kneecaps.  It could be put in on my blue blocking sunglasses.  I like a little Netflix before bed.  I mean, I got a couple of shows right now.  I’m looking forward to the Walking Dead coming back on.  So I gotta give myself an extra half hour to 45 minutes before bed to stop that show so the adrenalin kinda winds down.  But I like turning my brain–I think that’s really important, just kinda–if you’re dealing with stuff all day like I start at, you know, 7:30 with patient stuff and videos and our podcasting and all kinds of stuff and I don’t stop ‘til 7:30-8 o’clock, 12 hours.  So I need to really add that–that–that relaxation, just mind numbing stuff to kinda chill out.

Evan Brand:  Yeah, I found myself even after that, doing 12 or 14 hours which I know is too much sometimes for both of us.  We just rely on our handy adaptogens to–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yup.

Evan Brand:  Make that sustainable.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah, exactly.

Evan Brand:  Trying to just read something that’s not geeky, like I literally maybe only have like one fiction book on my book shelf and it’s just straight non-fiction.  Nutrition stuff, brain stuff, neurotransmitter stuff, and so I’m taking recommendations for good fiction.  Although I just can’t get into fiction.  I feel like there’s so much non-fiction stuff, so many great things in the world that I wanna learn about that why should I delve into the world of things that are not real.  But–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, well, it’s like the old expression, right?  Truth is stranger than fiction so that kinda–that kinda sums it all right there.  But I agree, like something at nighttime can be really good that’s spiritual.  A lot of times I just get on my Audible and I’ll just have something going that’s pretty chill and I just keep my eyes closed and I just sit in the corner and just, you know, just listen to it while I’m–maybe 10 minutes before bed.  And then I use–

Evan Brand:  That’s a good idea.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  My Zen Frames before bed.  Those are phenomenal.

Evan Brand:  What is that?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Zen Frames.  It’s called MindFit Technology and it’s got specific wavelengths for the light so you wear these glasses and it has specific wavelengths that sync up on–on the light side to the sound side.  And it’s got almost like a-a meditative type of hypnosis program and I use various programs for recovery or you know, mindset and goals and, you know, gratitude.  Just lots of different programs for performance, everything.  Any kind of thing you could–you’d want.  I mean, they have like for natural birthing to stress to performance for athletes.  So I’ve used a lot of these different programs.  Obviously, not the birthing one because that–that wouldn’t make too much sense.  But use them all and they’re phenomenal.

Evan Brand:  I had something like that.  I had a–iDevice where it kind of does flashes to your closed eyes.  It was–I don’t think it was binaural beats but some type of sound thing and I felt so crazy when I got off of it that I returned it.  I was like, “Whoa! I can’t do this.”  It freaked me out.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah, I love the one I have.  I use the one MindFit Technology Zen Frames by Porter Vision.  We could put a–

Evan Brand:  Okay.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  We could put a link in it for Porter Vision on the podcast and if people want some more info, they can reach out below the podcast or YouTube video.  But I like that.  I use it every night before bed.  I’ve been using it for years.  When I’m physically seeing patients that’s a great way.  You know, we have it in the office hooked up to pull them out of the para–pull them out of the sympathetics and really kinda activate parasympathetic more–more frequently.

Evan Brand:  Yeah, so kinda like brain training.  A little bit like–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Evan Brand:  Neuro feedback in a way.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah, very much.  I mean, you don’t have the actual feedback part of it where–whether it’s–however they’re doing it.  But it’s–

Evan Brand:  Right.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Profound and I think visualization is super important because too many people are just sitting there, visualizing negative things all day and you gotta actually go in there and put the positive stuff because, you know, just like negativity, weeds grow automatically.  So you gotta actually go in there and put those positive plants if you will.

Evan Brand:  Yup, that’s great.  Shall we talk about some remedies?  Some–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Evan Brand:  Consumables.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah, I like that.  So off the bat, blood sugar and diet’s gonna be number one, right?  So that 4- to 5-hour gig with blood sugar and not skipping breakfast and obviously avoiding the alcohol before bed that can be devastating because alcohol shuts down the liver because the liver’s gotta just focus on detoxifying and not stabilizing blood sugar.  Not doing all the other things it’s gotta do.  So that can be a big one.  Alcohol can easily cause low blood sugar at night because of the reactive hypoglycemic spike.  So the blood sugar gig is gonna be important.  Timing of exercise, right?  Not too late, especially if you’re adrenally stressed, you won’t be able to flip the switch between the sympathetics and the parasympathetics, so getting the exercise a little bit earlier.  I’d say be finished before 8 o’clock at the latest, maybe even sooner, or switch to morning or afternoon if possible.  And then I would say really have maybe a little bit of carbs and protein and fat right before bed, an hour or two, if your meal is 5 hours.  Let’s say dinner’s at 6.  You’re going to bed at 11.  That’s 5 hours, maybe another little small mini-meal an hour or two before.

Evan Brand:  And watch out for caffeine, too.  Because sometimes people metabolize caffeine slowly.  I just got my genetic data back and it finally confirmed what I had already figured out that I’m a slow metabolizer of caffeine, so that could be an issue, too.  People think that morning or mid-day coffee doesn’t affect you.  It could.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah, absolutely.  Now on the supplement side, we can use adaptogens.  So when we see things like the excessive cortisol at night and sleeping, well, the first thing I go to is ashwagandha.  And you gotta be careful–ashwagandha if it’s not from organic sources can be loaded with lead and other crappy stuff, so you wanna make sure you’re buying organic, you know, independently tested ashwagandha.  That’s important.  But that’s a really good herb.  I like holy basil before bed.  I use it a lot in Tulci tea by Organic India.  They’re great.  Little holy basil before bed.  Some soluble–water soluble magnesium, either magnesium citrate or a Natural Calm or magnesium maleate.  We have some on the site we like and that works phenomenal to kinda get the–the parasymapthetics going and magnesium’s really just very relaxing, very sedating.

Evan Brand:  It’s amazing. You wouldn’t–you wouldn’t think magnesium could be so profound but like you’ve told me a few times, you just take a gram or so and you feel incredible.  I mean, it’s mildly–mildly sedating–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Evan Brand:  Almost.  Not–not incapacitating but it feels great.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah, some lavender, you know, behind the–the ears or in the elbow creases, etc.  That can be phenomenal.  Phosphat–phosphorylated serine can be great if we have elevated levels of cortisol at night.  That can be awesome.  Again, some of these remedies would be based off of lab tests, too.  So I’m giving generalities, but again, we specifically recommend things a lot of times based on clinical presentation but also labs, too.  So just throwing out some ones for the average person to check out.  Also 5-HTP can be phenomenal and we always combine it long-term with L-tyrosine.  So you wanna combine them together but again at night we typically favor the 5-HTP tend to be less stimulating and more sedating.  Although 15% pf the population have a paradoxical response and actually feel more relaxed with L-tyrosine before bed.  So you kinda have to fret that one out.  That could be a–throw you for a loop.  But 5-HTP a couple hundred milligrams before bed especially with B6 can be awesome.  Just make sure you combine the L-tyrosine in the first half of the day so you balance it out and you don’t create neurotransmitter deficiencies.  That’s a big one.

Evan Brand:  Yeah, I like passion flower.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yup.

Evan Brand:  I like matcha tea.  Now passion flower, it’s a–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Matcha.

Evan Brand:  GABA antagonist so passion flower over a long period of time in a higher dosage could downregulate GABA production so kinda like steroids, you don’t want to depend on them and tell your body to stop making GABA because you can make your problem worse, but I really like passion flower.  I like matcha.  It does have caffeine.  It does have possibly depending on the–the purity and the strength, maybe 40-80 milligrams of caffeine per cup.  So it’s that it’s kinda–it’s kinda lot for–for evening time.  But if you’re doing matcha as opposed to just regular green tea, you could add up to 40 milligrams of L-theanine which still is kinda below the therapeutic threshold.  You would probably say, too.  Like I like 100 milligrams of L-theanine but still I really like the calming yet mildly energizing effect of matcha and I can sleep perfectly fine on and I’ll throw a little bit of raw honey in that like a half teaspoon of raw honey and it’s just a great way to soothe myself to sleep.  I’ll also use a tea–trying to think of who it is–it might be the Yogi brand, if that’s even a brand.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Evan Brand:  I’m picturing a yellow box.  Oh, is it Yogi?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  That’s Yogi.

Evan Brand:  And it’s the honey lavender.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uh-hmm. Uh-hmm.

Evan Brand: And it’s all organic but–or maybe it’s–yeah, is it honey lavender?  And I think that one maybe even have some chamomile in it, too.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Uh-hmm.

Evan Brand:  Which also helps GABA–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yup.

Evan Brand:  And chamomile.  If you just take straight chamomile tea that will knock you out cold.  So I do use that for severe sleep issues.  If I’m just like super excited, somebody’s coming into town or a conference the next day or something like that. Chamomile tea is kinda the go-to one but I don’t use that every night.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah, I’ll use a lavender or a sleepy tea with some Tulci in there, that’s–that’s phenomenal.  That’s the holy basil.  And those are all some really good things.  With some people, if we get testing back, that they’re low in melatonin, I mean, we’ll obviously work on the underlying issues, right?  Why is the melatonin low?  But in the meantime, while we’re working on getting to the root, some sublingual melatonin can be excellent.  For some people that are waking up midnight, they may even benefit from some time-release melatonin and I try to start with a very small dose, probably 500 micrograms or 0.5 of a gram–milligram, sorry–0.5 milligrams.  I think a lot of people OD on the melatonin just too much.

Evan Brand:  Oh, totally!  Yeah, 3, 5, 10 sometimes.  That’s crazy.  No wonder you feel hung over the next day after taking that.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah, so I really try to work on the amino acid stuff more for a long-term approach.

Evan Brand:  Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And then you gotta figure out, you know, why is it–why are the amino acids burnt out?  Is there malabsorption stuff?  Some–some gut stuff?  Some stress stuff that’s causing it?  So you always wanna get to the root issue and we aren’t gonna go into that per se, but just don’t forget that.  That’s always in the background and always a–a given so to speak.  But the amino acids and the melatonin can be very powerful if used together with a comprehensive program.

Evan Brand:  Definitely.  Yeah, melatonin’s more crisis management, not something that you just heard and now you’re gonna go do it because you can throw yourself off and feel like crap if you depend on melatonin and get stuck on that.  It’s not fun to wean yourself off of melatonin if that–if that’s the term, the best term I can come up with right now.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Absolutely.  And also gut infections.  I see a lot of patients that are waking up middle of the night and gut infections are really behind the root of the issue because infections have opposite sleep and wake cycles than we have.  So the infections are really active up in the middle of the night, they’re hanging out, they’re–they’re doing their thing and they’re creating inflammation.  That inflammation creates a corresponding rising cortisol and that cortisol affects your blood sugar and your alertness and you start waking up.

Evan Brand:  Wow.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And we see that a lot.

Evan Brand:  So that would be the time to run the stool test then.  If you’re trying some of these things or you’ve contacted us and you have a program going, you’re still not getting the results, that may be the next underlying root cause is–is some gut bugs.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah, running a comprehensive stool test can make a huge difference.  We’ll see it on the stool.  We’ll even see like mildly elevated eosinophils on your blood test, right?  Eosinophils are a white blood cell that can go up with severe anaphylactic allergies but can also go up with parasites, too.  And we’ll see for instance on an adrenal cortisol rhythm, we’ll see people’s cortisol really high in the morning like, you know, either very, very high in the range or even above the range high and then we’ll see them bottom out throughout the day and a lot of times that’s a–a parasite pattern because the cortisol’s been jacked up throughout the night and then it spills in to the morning and now that these guys are kinda, you know, in their chillaxing mode if you will, hibernation, then the cortisol would drop then later in the day.

Evan Brand:  We’re gonna have to do a whole podcast on that because that is so fascinating.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah, isn’t that crazy?  But I’ve seen a lot of people their sleep get better once we start treating them for bugs.

Evan Brand:  Yup, that’s amazing.  And just because you live in the United States, it doesn’t mean you’re free.  I mean, it’s more common than you think.  You don’t have to go to a tropical place to get something like that.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah, I think the biggest separator between most functional medicine docs is a lot of functional medicine docs have a really good approach where they’re addressing diet and lifestyle and–and hormones and everything, but they’re missing the gut connection and it’s so easy because so many of the symptoms are extra-intestinal which means outside of your typical bloating, gas, diarrhea, constipation, etc.  There are things you would never ever connect to with a gut issue or gut infection.  And I’ve–

Evan Brand:  Yup, that’s coming up really soon.  That podcast–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Evan Brand:  We have to do that.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Evan Brand:  It’s gonna be a blast.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah, we’ll do some research on that one, but just, you know, think about it, right?  These gut infections, they affect nutrient levels because they’re, you know, they’re eaten up and they’re stealing your nutrients.  They’re creating malabsorption issues. They’re putting stress on your liver and they’re creating stress on your hormones causing hormones to go out of their natural rhythm.

Evan Brand:  Yup.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Makes sense though.

Evan Brand:  It does.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  So do you wanna kinda recap everything for the listeners?  I mean, I said it–I think if they hear it again, it’ll–it’ll sink even deeper.

Evan Brand:  Yeah, we definitely jumped a lot of different places today but it was awesome and worthy.  Number one, get the blood sugar picture going.  You gotta have the diet picture first. You can’t just jump straight to 5-HTP supplements and think everything’s gonna work, especially if you’re intermittent fasting and you’re doing CrossFit at 8 PM and trying to go to bed at 9 PM while you’re scrolling on your phone.  It’s not gonna work, so getting the diet picture, getting the blood sugar picture, getting a good dose of exercise.  I think that’s–no exercise at all–you know, walking is a great way to get exercise in.  You don’t have to do high intensity stuff.  Next I would say is the stress picture.  Get your stress under control.  Get your emotional stress figured out, whether you have a conflict going on with somebody.  Try to work on that.  If you need to go out in nature for a walk with somebody and try to hash out something, that’s a good idea.  Reducing your negative inputs if you’re taking the fast lane to work and you’re doing 30 miles an hour over the speed limit. You know, reducing that stress is gonna be helpful.  Next, dig a little bit deeper.  Contact us.  Get some testing run.  Get some gut testing run.  See if your energy is getting sapped and your sleep is getting disrupted because of some underlying gut bugs and infection.  See how your neurotransmitters are.  See if they’re balanced.  See if they’re imbalanced.  See which ones need help before you start tweaking all of the amino acid picture because you can definitely–it’s not going to destroy you or anything.  It’s not damaging necessarily to your health, but it’s just gonna delay your result if you start throwing things into the fire without actually identifying what’s going on first.  Lastly, just, you know, take a baby step.  Take one thing.  Take an Epsom salt bath tonight.  Maybe that’s your one thing that you apply and then you work on the other stuff tomorrow.  But do something tonight that’s gonna give you that deeper quality sleep so that you can perform better and be a better person in your waking life during the daylight hours.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Absolutely and I would just say make a deal with your spouse or partner or even just yourself.  Put your phone on airplane mode at 9 PM.  Put it on and get the–get the airplane mode going.  Have your alarm already set.  Have it already plugged in and ready to go so you’re no longer getting that stimulation.  Get the light turned down low if you’re gonna be watching a little Walking Dead or some Netflix like I do.  Maybe get some blue blocking sunglasses and you can sing that Corey Hart song from the 80s sunglasses at night. You guys know what I’m talking about. But that’s some great strategies right there off the bat.  Evan, anything else you wanna add in there?

Evan Brand:  I think that’s it, man. I think that was a–an earful for–for everybody today.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  That’s it.  Well, I’m gonna go put my sunglasses on a little bit early, I’m just–I’m inspired.

Evan Brand:  Sounds good.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Evan, have a good one.

Evan Brand:  You, too, man.  Bye.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Bye.



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