5 Tips to Ensure A Good Night's Sleep from Dr. D

Sleep is a panacea. Regardless of what ails you, a good night’s sleep can help. When we get into deep restorative sleep, we release potent, antioxidant rebuilding hormones known as growth hormones that regenerate, rejuvenate and recuperate our mind and body.  There is literally a science behind the idea of “beauty sleep”. Here are my top five things to evaluate when having trouble sleeping or looking to optimize your sleep:


1. Follow the Oxygen! Many people can miss sleep apnea and literally choke out their brain from oxygen dips. This can feel subtle or trigger waking in a panic. Although many fitness watches and rings do spot check oxygen (measure every 10 minutes), if you’re waking frequently, have your doctor measure overnight oximetry (a ring, finger clip or watch device that tracks your oxygen through the night). If you’re dropping below 90% O2, talk to your doctor. Remember, 1/3 of apnea patients are thin, apnea goes up with altitude living and post-menopausal women have more apnea. 


2. Follow the Fuel. The brain needs fuel to be happy, calm and relaxed.  Drops in blood glucose (sugar) known as hypoglycemia or high glucose that can’t get into the cells (known as insulin sensitivity / pre-diabetes and diabetes) result in a panicked brain that will wake. Stabilizing blood sugar with a balanced diet of healthy fats, healthy proteins and complex carbs are essential for sleeping well through the night. If doing a carnivore or ketogenic diet, ensure you have adequate ketones for your brain to feel supported.  If you are waking startled and your oxygen is steady, then consider using a CGM (constant glucose monitor) with your doctor to see what your blood sugar is doing in the middle of the night during sleep.  


3. Lights out and noise up. Light of any kind, but blue light in particular corrupts the ability of your pineal gland to release your melatonin, the hormone that triggers the release of those beauty sleep hormones. If you need a distraction for your brain, ditch the TV or IPAD and turn to white noise, an audible book, or a podcast without visual light that can help you settle in, forget the worries of the world and drift off. 


4. Moderate THC and Alcohol! Although alcohol and THC are helpful for many to fall asleep, they unfortunately both trigger waking later through their disruption of steady fuel. What goes up must come down and alcohol is simply fermented sugar, that spikes insulin and then triggers an exaggerated pull of your blood sugar into the cells resulting in hypoglycemia.   


5. Address Inflammation. A lot of older adults use Tylenol PM and/or Advil PM as these anti-inflammatories reduce inflammation in the brain which allows better cycling of melatonin and growth hormones. Unfortunately, regular use of NSAIDs (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs) like Advil, Aleve and Tylenol can damage your liver, kidneys and intestinal lining and should be used sparingly.  My favorite safe and long term anti-inflammatory is Blue Sky CBD isolate in the morning and midday and Blue Sky CBD/CBN isolate combination blends before bedtime. I personally use 75-150 mg of Blue Sky CBD Original tincture (1-2 dropperfuls per day) depending on workload, workouts and stress levels and one Blue Sky SLEEP gel at bedtime.  If you have trouble falling asleep, take one to two SLEEP gels 30 minutes before bedtime.  If you have trouble staying asleep, take one to two SLEEP gels at bedtime.