- in guest/interview , health by allan
How to fix your sleep with Diane Macado
Many of us struggle with sleep and the basic “tried and true” advice doesn't solve the problem. In her book, The Sleep Fix, Diane Macedo helps us get to the root cause and then gives us the tools to solve the problem and sleep better.
Let's Say Hello
[00:01:10.690] – Allan
Hello, Ras. How are you?
[00:01:12.830] – Rachel
Good, Allan. How are you today?
[00:01:14.820] – Allan
I'm doing all right. Things are starting to get there. We got the mirrors in. That was the thing I was really concerned about. The glass guy was sick. And so as a result, that wasn't happening. And so I had one of my Panamanian folks that kind of intervene and start asking people because she knows everybody. She lived on this island her whole life, I guess, for long enough. So she knows guys that work for him. And I think through her channels, she was able to get some idea of what was going on. So they scheduled that for Saturday and it's Panama. So they say they're going to be there at noon or 01:00. First they said, we're going to be there afternoon, like, okay. So I asked her if they have anything closer, like a gap or something, like, they're going to be there. And she said, yeah, they'll be there at one. I'm like, okay, Panama. So I know walking over there around 01:00, I'll get there. They'll get there whenever. And so about 1:30, I message and say, hey, is everything cool? And then a guy rides over on his bicycle and says, yeah, we're on our way.
[00:02:24.510] – Allan
We got to get the car transportation, like, okay. And then he leaves. And then about 20 minutes later because he said about ten minutes. Yeah, of course, ten minutes. Everything is about 20 minutes later, another guy shows up in the truck and he says to me, is it someone else here? Someone else here? And I'm like, yeah, he's on his bicycle. And he left and said ten minutes. And he was like, oh, they needed transportation. He's like, oh. And so then goes over there. Then three people show up with a truck with the rack that they needed. So there was some coordination snappiers, I guess, on their side. So they all showed up. The mirrors were down in ten minutes.
[00:03:03.570] – Rachel
[00:03:05.670] – Allan
Come no time at all to take them down. And then we got over to the other gym. It took him a little longer to put it back up. So something that shortly afternoon they were supposed to be there, 01:00 ended up being they shut up about 2: 30, ended up finishing around five. And then I put all the weights back. So it's one of those remove all the weights, move the rest, move everything out of the way, let them do what they got to do, then put all the weights back. And so my workout for Saturday was moving every single weight in the gym and then moving it.
[00:03:39.730] – Rachel
That's a workout, that's for sure.
[00:03:41.920] – Allan
If you want a good workout, just come join me at the gym on a cleaning day or.. It's a good one.
[00:03:48.280] – Rachel
That's awesome. Well, good. Nice to see that progress.
[00:03:51.370] – Allan
Yeah, we're getting close. We're getting really close. And a few other things can stop happening and other things could start happening. We'll be right there. So it's close enough now people are in they're working out. Now I can kind of pace myself and do a little bit here and a little bit there. There's no immediacy to anything I need to get done. So that feels a lot better. Kind of being past that.
[00:04:15.250] – Rachel
Good. That's good news. Good to hear.
[00:04:17.610] – Allan
How is the spring? Spring springing up there?
[00:04:21.310] – Rachel
I think so hopefully this will be the real spring and not the full spring that we just had. But over the weekend we had 20 degrees more snow and looks like it's all melted already. We should be seeing some 40, 50 deg, maybe even a 60 deg day this week. That's very exciting. So hopefully this will be the one that sticks. Actually, fingers crossed.
[00:04:45.370] – Allan
Why do people do that to themselves?
[00:04:47.770] – Rachel
I don't know. I've been wondering that all winter. And, you know, I am a Michigander born and raised here, although I had a lovely few years of living in Florida. But now only now that I've been back to Michigan, do I understand the whole Snowbird scenario. I think those people know what's going on and now I'm in on it.
[00:05:07.480] – Allan
Yeah. If you could do it, find yourself some place down south. The further south you go, the better for me, the better. I'm not a Snowbird. I'm just a bird.
[00:05:21.470] – Rachel
[00:05:22.060] – Allan
It's going to stay down here.
[00:05:25.490] – Allan
For sure. You got beautiful summer weather all year long.
[00:05:28.810] – Allan
Yeah, it's kind of interesting. It's really warm the last couple of days. It's just been yesterday was a little overcast, which was good because I did a little over 14 miles yesterday night. So just kind of getting my miles up to a point where I can be very comfortable that the stamina is there for what I need to do in August. And so I've hit my numbers. I'm right where I want to be. And then yeah, now it's starting on the really building grip strength and doing some other specialized things like that and some mobility. I really started this last week, started focusing on just adding some mobility work to what I'm doing.
[00:06:12.320] – Rachel
[00:06:13.270] – Allan
Nothing fancy. Just kind of the stuff I do with my clients. It's like, okay, if something's uncomfortable, ask yourself if it should be uncomfortable. And if it shouldn't be uncomfortable, then you need to do more of that.
[00:06:25.770] – Rachel
Sure. That's awesome.
[00:06:28.650] – Allan
That's me with the diagnostic of okay, if that hurts or feels uncomfortable, I should be probably doing more of that if it's not hurting me, injuring me. So that's been my way. And you're getting close to your peak.
[00:06:44.590] – Rachel
Yup, Yup. By the time this podcast airs, I should be very close to race day. So right now, I have just finished my biggest peak week, my busy week, and now I'm in taper mode. So we've taken the miles down a little bit, but not the intensity. A little bit of speed drills I think are in my forecast, but yeah, just winding it down to race day.
[00:07:07.550] – Allan
[00:07:08.120] – Rachel
[00:07:08.800] – Allan
Well, we've been talking about moving and sleeping and moving and doing this other stuff, but one of the areas that a lot of us struggle with. And so I always want to talk about this because I do think this is a missing element for a lot of people in that sleep. Are you ready to have a conversation about sleep?
[00:07:29.160] – Rachel
Sure. Sounds great.
[00:08:01.440] – Allan
Diane, welcome to 40+ Fitness.
[00:08:04.150] – Diane
Hi. Thanks for having me.
[00:08:06.470] – Allan
Your book is one of my favorite topics. I love sleep and I'm one of the fortunate people that I actually don't struggle a whole lot with sleep. But obviously, over the course of my life, I have done some things that in periods of time when I didn't sleep so well, I'm going to say I can appreciate it, but I really can't go that far because I know that sleep is so important and the people that struggle with it, you got to fix it.
[00:08:39.880] – Allan
And your book is called The Sleep Fix. Practical, Proven and Surprising Solutions for Insomnia, Snoring, Shift Work and more. I love the word practical. Yeah. So in the book, you really got deep into why this is such an important topic to you because you were doing shift work and because you already had some sleep issues. Do you mind taking just a moment to kind of talk about your story and why sleep became such an important thing for you to I'm not going to say conquer, but to address as you went forward in your career.
[00:09:19.170] – Diane
Yeah. And it's funny because when I was younger, I was not someone who really prioritized sleep very much, and that's sort of putting it mildly. So two old friends of mine who hear that, of all people, I wrote a book about sleep it's kind of hilarious to them, but I didn't really have sleep issues until my work hours changed dramatically, until I started working in early morning news. And because I now know that because I'm a biological night owl, that created a series of problems for me which triggered a circadian rhythm disorder and then ended up turning into insomnia, all because I knew nothing about how to actually deal with these issues, and all of that could have been prevented, which I know now. But of course I didn't know then. And so the kind of quick backstory is that for years I had difficulty sleeping, I had trouble falling asleep, I had trouble staying asleep, and for a while I just sort of dismissed it as well. That's just how I am and that's just how I'm built. And because I historically have been someone who didn't need as much sleep as my contemporaries, I just sort of thought that that was just an extension of how I am.
[00:10:35.890] – Diane
And now this is the reality now. I had trouble sleeping at night too, even when I wanted to. And eventually the problem got so bad that I couldn't ignore it anymore. So I started reading a lot about sleep and articles and things like that and trying every sleep tip I could find. But instead of getting better, I actually was getting worse. And the more I read, the more I read about how doomed I was that I wasn't getting the quote unquote recommended 8 hours, and that just made me more worried, which made me sleep less. And so eventually I went to my doctor and she prescribed Ambien, like so many doctors do, and convinced me to take it despite my hesitations. And for a while, ambien and was like magic to me. I would take this tiny little pill and in half an hour I was out, no matter what was happening. At one point my husband was throwing a Super Bowl party in the next room and I was still able to go to bed at six or 07:00 p.m., whatever it was. And so that for a while worked for me to just take ambien every now and then when I, you know, when I had a string of bad nights.
[00:11:42.010] – Diane
But eventually it wasn't just the occasional string of bad nights. I was relying on Ambien to sleep, particularly when I then switched and started a true overnight shift, which was when I came to ABC and I was working 11:00 p.m. Doing anchoring the overnight show World News Now. And then at the end of my day, I was doing Good Morning America and then I was coming home around nine or 10:00. Of course, now all jazzed up from having done Good Morning America. And now I'm trying to sleep, and it was just a recipe for disaster. So I became more and more reliant on that ambien to get the occasional respite from the horrible insomnia that I was suffering at this point. And with this came, I had terrible acid reflux. I had dry eyes. My mind felt really foggy. It was really hard for me to focus. I felt exhausted, like, drained all the time. But I also felt hyper, agitated, like, my heart was racing. Like, when you ever have too much coffee and then you just feel a bit on edge all day. I felt like that all the time. And I didn't necessarily tie all of that to my sleep, but I now know that it was.
[00:12:49.270] – Diane
And so I just felt terrible, and I wanted to limit the ambien twice a week. And so every, you know, two times a week, I would still look forward to those ambien days so I could get a bit more sleep and I could feel a little bit better. And then one day, I took the ambien, and nothing happened. I stayed awake. And so I waited two weeks because I wanted to make sure it was out of my system. And I tried again and again. Nothing happened. I laid in bed wide awake. And so when I called my doctor, her advice to me was to take more ambien. And I kind of decided right then and there that was not going to be the way forward for me, and I needed to fix this for real. So I got screened for sleep apnea. And once we ruled that out, essentially, I turned into a sleep nerd. And instead of reading the books about sleep that were on the best seller list or there were articles written in popular magazines, I dug a little deeper, and I started reading sleep textbooks and books that were written by sleep clinicians who actually treat patients.
[00:13:50.170] – Diane
And it was there that I found my answers. And I started implementing these things, sometimes with a practical twist, to adjust to my lifestyle. And I was shocked. Within three weeks, I was getting a full night's sleep in the middle of the day. And this was something one of the many things that I told that I was told was impossible. I was essentially told that if I was going to sleep again, I was going to have to give up my favorite foods, give up caffeine, give up alcohol, give up a bunch of other things, make these huge adjustments to my life. Oh, and by the way, quit my job and find a new career, because things like vanishing your phone from the bedroom can't happen when you work in news. And things like sleeping in accordance with your circadian rhythm certainly can't happen if you're an overnight news anchor. And I didn't want to leave my job. So this is a huge moment for me because not only did it mean, wait, there are other ways to do this, and it is possible to do this without upending your life. But I just kind of thought, and why isn't this the stuff that everybody is talking about?
[00:14:51.470] – Diane
Because it was so quick, it was so practical, and it was so different from everything else that I had been reading up until that point. And so I just decided eventually to write the book that I wish had existed when I was struggling. And I was shocked when I went out to the sleep medicine community who I thought were going to send me away and tell me, who do you think you are writing about this stuff? You're not a doctor. It's quite the opposite. They were so enthusiastic to have someone essentially serve as a megaphone for the messages that they have been trying to get out there for years, but somehow can't get it into the spotlight. And the nice thing about the relationship that I've developed with so many in the sleep medicine community now is they have such great information, but sometimes it's imparted in a way that's really confusing to someone who isn't a sleep expert because they are relaying this information to other sleep doctors. And so in a way, I was able to translate a lot of the stuff that they taught me into kind of plain English so everybody out there can understand and translate some of the science that they found into.
[00:15:59.740] – Diane
Okay, well, so how do we implement that for someone who has a busy life, who has kids, who works strange hours, how do we tweak some of these scientific solutions to be practical things that we can do at home? And that's how the book came together. It really was kind of an it takes a village sort of thing where I worked very, very close with many sleep experts who made this book possible. But I think the result is a really practical how to guide that helps people really get to the root of what's keeping them awake so they can find the right solutions for them.
[00:16:31.530] – Allan
I think you just hit on maybe one of the core things that was like the AHA moment for me was when someone says they struggle sleeping, you think, okay, well, yeah, you live in New York City. There's ambulances and police cars and people walking through this and doing that, and all these things are happening. The lights are on New York because it's 24/7 town. And so you say, well, yeah, of course, or of course, if you're working day shift, it's going to be hard to sleep. But in the book, you came back and said, well, no, there are many root causes for why someone would struggle to sleep or get good quality sleep, whether it's 9 hours or 6 hours or whatever they need. And you have to get to that root cause or root causes because you had multiple root causes for what was causing your issues with sleep insomnia and circadian. And you said you got tested for sleep apnea and some other things that go on. Can you kind of go through a few of the diagnoses that you would get if you actually went to a sleep doctor instead of buying a book that says, just make your room cold, get dark, and drink some tea. If you really want to get to the basis of what's going on, what are some of the diagnoses that they're going to see if they're talking to a sleep doctor?
[00:17:47.930] – Diane
Yeah. And I love that you're saying sleep doctor, because that was kind of why I started the book where I did identifying the problem, because many of us, like me, will go to our doctors, will complain about something unrelated to sleep that they won't realize is connected to our sleep. So they won't even ask about our sleep or we will complain about our sleep. But our doctors will very frequently assume, oh, okay, well, then you haven't told me, and I'll just write you a sleeping pill. But there are several problems with that. One, and this is not at all to detract from our doctors because I love my doctor still do. But she made this very common mistake that so many doctors do because they're generally not trained in sleep. The average four year Med school latest survey shows, spends an average of 2 hours in total, all four years covering sleep. And most of that anecdotally has told me that most of that is on sleep apnea, very different from, for example, insomnia or restless syndrome or the many other things you can have. So what often happens is we go to our doctors, we complain that maybe we're not sleeping or if they ask us to finally do and they prescribe us a sleeping pill.
[00:18:55.310] – Diane
But someone who, for example, wakes up a lot throughout the course of the night, they may have insomnia. They might also have sleep apnea, which is a breathing issue. It means you stop breathing throughout the course of your night and you just don't realize that it's the breathing issue that's causing you to wake up. And if you give someone like that a sleeping pill, it's just going to make the breathing issue worse. And sleep apnea is incredibly dangerous for a number of reasons. Your oxygen levels actually drop. It causes heart issues, risk of stroke, circulatory issues, blood pressure, I mean, you name it, it can literally kill you, not to mention the repercussions if you get behind the wheel of a car. People with sleep apnea can sometimes just fall asleep immediately because they don't realize how sleep-deprived they are. So the consequences of not being aware of these things can sometimes be quite dangerous. So I wanted to start the book by giving people just a basic knowledge of here are some of the common sleep disorders, some confusing aspects of them, and some red flags to look out for. And so I already mentioned two, insomnia is the most common, and that is essentially when you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep for no other explicable reason.
[00:20:10.490] – Diane
And it's often due to an underlying level of arousal, often triggered by things like excitement or anxiety, stress. All of those things kind of jazz us up. They power up our wake drive, make it hard for us to sleep. So that's when you go to bed, you try to sleep. It's the appropriate time to sleep. But somehow you're wide awake, staring at the ceiling, and you have no idea why, that is insomnia. Now, a circadian rhythm disorder, which I also had, can seem to manifest the same way. Where you go to bed, you try to sleep and you can't. But a good distinguishing factor, a way to distinguish between the two is if you go to bed on the weekends when you can sleep late or go to bed late, and you sleep fine on the weekends when you can do it on your time, then that's a good indication that is probably your circadian rhythm. That is the issue, not textbook insomnia, as I like to call it. And that requires a different set of solutions, because your circadian rhythm just means that your body clock wants you to fall asleep and wake up at different times than your sleep schedule is demanding that you do.
[00:21:13.030] – Diane
And so there are lots of tricks you can do to cut to make that adjustment. It's as if you're jet lagged every day if you have a circadian rhythm disorder. And there are lots of practical things you can do to work with that. But they are a completely different set of solutions than if you have insomnia and you can, like me, have both. You can have sleep apnea, which manifests in a very different way where you go to sleep. Most people with sleep apnea don't even know they have because they go to bed. They think they fall asleep fine. The next thing they know, they wake up in the morning and they say, oh, I got however many hours I need, I'm good to go. They don't realize that throughout the night they are stopping breathing. Essentially, often this happens because the throat muscles relax or your tongue muscle relax and the tongue falls back into the throat. Any number of things can cause it, but it closes the airway while you are sleeping and causes you to stop breathing for up to 10 seconds or for at least 10 seconds. And then eventually you'll often hear this in snorers.
[00:22:14.190] – Diane
They'll be snoring, and suddenly they'll kind of gag and choke, start breathing again, and eventually start snoring again. That is an apnea. And while it may seem like that person is staying asleep, that person will think they are staying asleep as well. All of those episodes are actually waking them up, so you're constantly being woken up throughout the course of the night just for such a short period of time, you often don't remember it. At the end of that night, you actually didn't get a solid night's sleep. And if that happens over and over and over again, you can end up severely sleep deprived. And that's on top of the other ramifications of the low oxygen levels that you're getting all night long because of those breathing pauses, which, as I mentioned, can cause all sorts of other health issues. And again, you can have both insomnia and sleep apnea. And that's often how you'll see people who think they have insomnia only insomnia because they're waking up a lot throughout the night. The issue is they have both. They have sleep apnea, which is causing these breathing episodes. And then because they have insomnia, once they have those short wake ups from the apnea, they fully wake up because their arousal levels cause them to go into a full wake up, as opposed to a regular sleep apnea patient who will not remember that brief wake up and go right back to sleep.
[00:23:28.440] – Diane
Restless leg syndrome is another big one, something I suspect that I have, though I never have gotten a formal diagnosis because lucky for me, it does not interfere with my sleep, but it is generally genetic. So often a parent will have it as well. In this case, my mother, it does interfere with her sleep. And the interesting part about RLS in our family and sort of illustrates why I describe it in the book is because my mother, when she read the first draft of my book, that was how she found out she had RLS, she actually called me and said, this thing that you're writing about, about the comfort sensation in your legs, I think I have that. And I asked her and I said, mom, have you ever talked to your doctor about it? And she said, yeah, that she went to her doctor and explained that often at night she will feel a discomfort in her legs that makes her feel like she has to keep moving them. It's like she can't settle down. And sometimes she also feels extreme heat sensation in her legs. And her doctor's response was to send her to get her leg scanned for blood clots.
[00:24:32.220] – Diane
And when they found no blood clots, they sent her home with a diagnosis of your legs are fine. But of course, restless leg syndrome is not going to show up in a blood clot skin. And so my mother has been living for years with restless leg syndrome, even though she did go to her doctor and did all the right things because of a lack of understanding of something like this. Whereas if that doctor did have even a basic knowledge of restless leg syndrome, she would have connected my mother's sleep issues and her complaints about her legs and thought, oh, this sounds like textbook case of restless leg syndrome, let me refer her to a sleep specialist or let me refer her to a neurologist. And so restless leg syndrome kind of feels like it's hard to describe, but it's almost like a mild ice cream headache in your legs or some other limb is the best way that I can describe it. And so it creates this uncomfortable sensation. And it doesn't just happen when you're lying in bed, but it will often get worse as the night goes on. And once you are lying down and then you just have this hard to describe sensation that you have to keep moving your legs in order to make them comfortable.
[00:25:36.240] – Diane
For some people like me, it doesn't interfere with your sleep. You then fall asleep fine, and nothing happens. But for other people, that whole song and dance and moving your legs around that night before you go to bed can actually keep you awake. And restless leg syndrome also has a cousin called periodic limb movement disorder, which is very similar. But those movements happen while you are sleeping. So people with PLMD often have no idea that they have it until a bed partner will tell them, hey, you kick in your sleep or you're punching or you're doing this or you're doing that. That is often how people will find out they have PLMB. And then there are parasomnia, which is things like sleepwalking, sleep talking, chewing in your sleep. This is when there's some issues going on during our REM stage of sleep, when we're dreaming, our bodies normally paralyzed. So parasomnia has often happened because that mechanism that paralyzes us is kind of malfunctioning for whatever reason. And so we're actually getting up, walking around, moving around in our sleep, sometimes acting out our dreams. And finally Narcolepsy, which people might think, well, I thought you were saying common sleep disorders, but Narcolepsy is much more common than people think.
[00:26:44.300] – Diane
And there are tons of people walking around right now with Narcolepsy who have no idea that they have it, because I think we've been programmed to believe that Narcolepsy is like what we see in the movies, where it must be someone falling asleep in their soup or something like that. But Narcolepsy can often manifest in someone dozing off in a waiting room or dozing off while they're watching TV. And we might think of those things as pretty normal. But if they're happening at times when you would normally expect to feel awake, if in the middle of the day you go to turn on TV or you go to sit in a waiting room and you're dozing off, something is wrong. And it could be that you maybe have sleep apnea and something is interfering with your sleep, you could have Narcolepsy, which can cause you to feel suddenly sleepy at different points of the day. You could have something called hypersomnia, which also manifests in a very similar way to Narcolepsy. You could have PLMD point being something is wrong. And so that is just one of the many reasons why you go and you should get tested when those things are the case.
[00:27:44.650] – Diane
And narcolepsy can be kind of especially sad because it's often something that starts in the teenage years. And so you'll have teens who, I interviewed Ginger Zee, for example, in my book, who is our chief meteorologist. And she was an overachiever. She was always about getting good grades. It was one of the really important things to her. And suddenly she was falling asleep in class in high school and started to think of herself as being lazy because of that. And we will often misbrand ourselves when we have sleep issues. And it will affect how we view our own identities, our self esteem, and how other people view us because they don't realize we're not lazy. We just have a sleep issue.
[00:28:23.230] – Sponsor
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[00:30:24.570] – Allan
and that's going to actually feed the next problem, which is the arousal state that you talked about. So within our bodies, we have a sleep drive, and I think most of us will feel it. We get up in the morning, and if we've slept well, we feel fresh, we get up, we go and we have our day. And we know that there are certain hormones that are happening that kind of spark us up in the morning and we're going. So we got a little shot of cortisol and maybe a couple of shots of coffee, and then we get going and we have this. Wait is we're awake. Our days are if someone said go back to sleep at 10:00 in the morning, many of us would maybe struggle to do that, maybe because of our circadian rhythm around 02:00, it's easier to take that nap. But we notice as we get closer to our bedtime, most of us will feel more and more drowsy because we have this sleep drive that we're building up again.
[00:31:18.530] – Allan
It's based on a hormone, I think you said, was it adrenisine adenosine or was the hormone that affects sleep drive? And so we have this, you call it like a seesaw teeter totter that basically, they're working against each other to help you sleep better. Can you kind of talk about how those two interact and why, even though I'm exhausted and need sleep, I find myself sitting lying in my bed, looking up at the ceiling, unable to fall asleep.
[00:31:48.510] – Diane
Yeah. So there are two systems that drive us to wake up and fall asleep. One is your circadian rhythm, which is essentially your body clock. It's just no matter whether you slept or not, your body is programmed to get certain weight signals, hormones at a certain time of day and certain sleep signals at a certain time of day. So in the morning, you'll get cortisol, which is like the slow release form of adrenaline, and a few other things. And at night, you'll get melatonin, which tells the body that it's nighttime and kind of starts the process for sleep. And what times you get those things is what determines whether you're a morning person or whether you're a night owl. And this is what makes us jet lag when we travel, because our body clock is still on old time, where now we're trying to sleep on new time, and now you're getting those signals at all the wrong times. Same thing that happens for shift work or anyone else with a circadian rhythm disorder. The other thing that's happening is you have your homeostatic sleep drive. And this is where I talk about the sleep seesaw a bit, because sleep drive is super straightforward.
[00:32:51.300] – Diane
It's like hunger, just the way the longer you go without eating, the more hungry you'll feel. And the more you eat, the less hungry you will be. Your sleep drive works the same way. The longer you go without sleeping, the more the chemical identity builds up in your brain. And adenosine is what makes us feel sleepy. And as we sleep, adenosine dissipates. So ideally, you want these two systems to work together so that we wake up at the time that our circadian rhythm is sending us those morning wake signals. Because we got a full night's sleep, our adenosine levels are very low. It's not nonexistent. And so we don't feel sleepy from the adenosine and we're getting the wake signals from our circadian rhythm. We go through the day, everyone generally has a dip in the middle of the day in their circadian rhythm. Then you get a little bit more energy towards the end of the day, and then at night, at different points of night, depending on what your chronotype is, whether you're a night all morning person, etc. Your circadian rhythm then takes this really big dive, and that is generally the best time to go to bed.
[00:33:57.880] – Diane
If you've been awake all day, your sleep drive will now also be nice and high, and so your sleep drive will drive you to fall asleep. And then your circadian rhythm, which is now taking this dive, will keep you asleep, even as that adenosine and sleepiness starts to dissipate because you are, in fact, sleep. And then toward the morning, your circadian rhythm starts to rise. And because your adenosine has now dissipated after a full night's sleep, you have no residual sleepiness from the adenosine. Your circadian rhythm starts to rise. It makes you feel nice and awake. You wake up refreshed and ready for the day. That sounds great, and that's how it works if it's working well. But of course, for so many of us, it's not working well. And so that's kind of why I wanted to walk people through the different reasons it might not be working well and some common ways to fix that.
[00:34:49.170] – Allan
Now, one of the things I think, that really messes with this for a lot of folks, and like you said a little earlier, is you start worrying about not sleeping. I've got to get up at 04:00, I've got to get up at 04:00, and here I am looking at the clock at 1:30 and I'm not falling asleep. And that whole process is creating an additional level of arousal. It's creating cortisol. It's actually pushing against your sleep drive and it can be enough that it actually keeps you from falling asleep or staying asleep.
[00:35:26.410] – Diane
Oh, yeah, it can be an incredibly powerful sleep killer, essentially what happens with many of us. And I think this is what common sleep advice sleep listicles even some sleep research misses, is there is this tendency to underestimate the impact that worry has on our sleep. And so if you keep bombarding everyone with, you need to get enough sleep, you need to get enough sleep. It's like, well, for those of us who are actually going to bed and trying to get enough sleep every night, that message is actually making me worse because now I'm just laying in bed worrying about, oh, God, they said I was going to be doomed if I didn't get enough sleep and now I'm really worried about that and that actually makes it harder to sleep. And here's why. When we feel emotions like excitement, stress, anxiety, worry, anything along those lines, the kind of stuff that makes your heart rate when it's up to a level ten, even when it's at a level five, it's still triggering something called arousal. And after a certain level, hyperarousal. And that is basically your fight or flight response. And so if you have those sentiments, it triggers this arousal or hyperarousal.
[00:36:34.910] – Diane
And that powers up your weight drive because it's the part of your body that's telling you to be alert in the face of danger. And that's really helpful if you have a predator coming at you or something else you have to be really excited for or you have to be really alert for not very helpful if you have to go to sleep. And so what many of us fall into the trap of doing is we'll have something any kind of an event can trigger a short term insomnia episode. And that happens to everyone at some point, right? Maybe you're grieving a death, maybe you're awaiting a potential promotion or an actual promotion, and now you're pumped about it. Or maybe you're worried about something that's coming down the pike. Anything can sort of trigger a short episode of insomnia. But we may tend to then make it worse and take a short of insomnia and turn it into chronic insomnia. Because one, we start to worry a lot about our sleep and we try to do all these things to fix it. And often those things to fix it because the root cause of our problems is this arousal.
[00:37:39.140] – Diane
Those things to fix it actually make it worse because they're making us fix it think a lot more about our sleep and start thinking of our sleep as being fragile, as something that requires a lot of things that need to be done and need to be done perfectly. And all that fixation just actually wraps us up even more and makes it harder for us to sleep. And the other thing we will often do is because we keep hearing about how doomed we are from all the sleep we're not getting. We try to make up for that sleep loss by sleeping and napping and going to bed early. And all that does is now it means when you're going to bed at night, your sleep drive is not that high because you haven't spent enough time awake that day. And so now it's even harder for you to sleep. And if you keep doing both of those things, this is where the sleep seesaw comes into play. On one hand, you have your sleep drive. On the other hand, you have your wake drive. If you are anxious about the fact that you're not sleeping or anything else that's going on, then that's going to power up your wake drive.
[00:38:36.940] – Diane
And if you've been trying to get sleep in, dribs and drabs, sleeping in, going to bed early, taking a nap. Now, your sleep drive is also low, and so your sleep seesaw is firmly planted in awake territory. And so to shift it back in the other direction, you need to do two things. You need to figure out how to lower that arousal level so you can lower that wake drive side of the seesaw, and you need to boost your sleep drive. The arousal side is a bit more complicated, right? Because if you've ever told anybody or been told, hey, just calm down. That doesn't really work. So this is where it will get very individual for people. Because what's relaxing to one person can be really stimulating or aggravating, even to somebody else. And I equate the two. If something is going to frustrate you or aggravate you, that is not going to be the right sleep solution. Because if you're frustrated now, you're stressed again and again, your wake drive is powering up. So that's why I hate the advice to just read a boring book, read an instruction manual, because for a lot of us, that's really frustrating.
[00:39:40.450] – Diane
Being bored is really frustrating. And if it's frustrating for you, even if it works in that day, long term, it's just going to give you something else to worry about in bed because you're going to think, God, I have to sleep tonight or I'm going to read that epic phone book again. So we don't want to do that. The technique that I liked for this and that many of the sleep clinicians that I talked to thought was kind of in a League of its own is something called constructive worrier. I like to call it a brain dump or a worry list. And essentially you just take a notebook, you divide the page down the center. Ideally, you do this before bed at some point, a couple of hours before bed, I cheated, and I did it right in bed before I got up to brush my teeth, and so on, sitting up in bed. And that worked for me. So you don't have to do these things perfectly, but you just take a page, divide it down the center. On the left hand side, you write down anything on your mind, just dump it all out on the page.
[00:40:33.070] – Diane
And then on the right hand side, you write down the very next step toward resolving that issue. And you don't even need to know the ultimate resolution. It's just the next step. So it could be calling someone who knows more about that issue than you do or doing research on it or whatnot. And if it's something that's hypothetical or that's out of your control, then you have to accept and move on. So write that down. Accept and move on. And when you run out of things to put on the page, then you're done. When I read about this, I was thinking, while ambien doesn't put me to sleep anymore, but this notebook exercise thing is going to but it actually did. And it works. And it works for a number of reasons. One, by giving your brain the opportunity to process your thoughts and feelings from the day before you get into bed. You alleviate the need to do it in bed because so many of us don't really give our brains that opportunity because we're on our phones any second that we're not actually having some kind of conversation. So we don't have a lot of moments to just kind of process.
[00:41:31.380] – Diane
So this gives our brain the opportunity to do that. One of the reasons insomnia is perpetuated is something called conditioned arousal, which is our mental autopilot in our brain starts to learn after we spend enough time awake and frustrated in bed. That bed is where we stay awake and we're frustrated. And it learns to do that when we get into bed. And it learns to make us anxious before we even get in bed, anticipating that, oh, God, I'm going to get in that bed, and I'm going to have to lay awake and have those horrible thoughts all night. And so by doing constructive worry out of consistently, we reprogram that mental autopilot feature to say, oh, this is where we're supposed to be awake and worry. Not when my head hits the pillow. And we often will get repetitive thoughts when we're experiencing this insomnia cycle. And that's just our brain trying to remind us to deal with these issues. And so if you write it down, no need for that reminder anymore. And then finally, the exercise itself gets you kind of focused on solutions rather than just ruminating on problems which so many of us get stuck doing when, again, we're in that insomnia loop.
[00:42:38.660] – Diane
So this technique, for me, after about two weeks, the most interesting part was I didn't even need to do it anymore. It felt like my brain was doing it automatically. And when I talked to clinicians once I started researching the book, they said, yeah, that's actually what we find, too. We generally tell our patients, do this for two to three weeks, and then you probably won't need to do it anymore. And so I now will keep I have my little notebook in my nightstand. And if I have a particularly stressful day, or if, for whatever reason, I wake up in the middle of the night and I feel wrapped up, I'll go in the living room, I'll make my list that usually calms me down, and I go back to sleep. But I don't have to do this every night anymore because it feels like my brain just got the memo. Head on pillow is time to sleep, not time to start cycling through thoughts?
[00:43:24.110] – Allan
Well, I'm on the Internet like everybody else, looking around, seeing what's going on in the world. And I saw this post from this guy, and he was pretty excited that he had given up most of the medication that he was using to sleep. And he listed off, like three or four of them, which I guess he followed the course of, well, you just need more you just need more. But he got to a point. He had started weaning himself off of these things, but he held on to one thing that he wasn't sure he was going to be able to kick. And that was alcohol. And I think for a lot of people, they realize, okay, this calms me down, this distresses me, if you will, and it helps me fall asleep. But then in the end, it's not actually their friend while they fall asleep. Maybe they're not getting the best sleep.
[00:44:10.830] – Allan
Can you talk about alcohol and why it's not necessarily the right answer for getting good quality sleep?
[00:44:18.710] – Diane
It's not at all the right answer for getting good quality sleep. I'm sorry to relay and I say that as someone who does still enjoy a drink, this isn't me saying and everyone should quit alcohol because I would be a hypocrite if I said that. But I used to also be that person who I didn't necessarily use alcohol as a sleep aid per se. I wouldn't come home and have a nightclub just for the sake of being able to fall asleep. But I have been guilty of having that extra drink at happy hour, knowing that it was going to help give me that extra push. And the crazy part is I knew that in a few hours I was going to wake up and feel horrible. And I'll explain all the reasons why that happened in a second. But even though I knew that, I still did it anyway because I welcomed that respite of having easy sleep, that period of being able to go to bed and just fall asleep and not have to think or worry about it and not have to stress over, oh God, these thoughts and I'm still awake and whatnot. Being able to have a break from that when you're going through it on a regular basis, it's hard to underestimate how tempting anything that routed that will be.
[00:45:26.270] – Diane
The problem is, as you alluded to, those effects are short lived. Alcohol does in fact, help us fall asleep. And it does a number of things in the body, like a little checklist that AIDS in that process. The problem is, as the night goes on, the opposite starts to happen. All of those positive changes it made to help you fall asleep, it now undoes. It's like it runs through the moon, like a Bull in a China shop. Your body temperature goes out of whack. A bunch of your circadian rhythm aspects go out of whack. The adenosine levels that it heightened in order to make you fall asleep now it draws them away. And so what will often happen is we'll fall asleep great. But then suddenly we wake up in the middle of the night. For me, it manifests in kind of an extreme way where I will often wake up in the middle of the night. I feel like my heart's racing, I'm sweating, and that's not even counting if you actually drank enough to be hungover, which is a whole you know, we all know most of us probably know what that's like every now and then.
[00:46:25.720] – Diane
Right. But I'm not even just talking about being hungover. I'm talking about the impact on just your sleep itself. Right. You feel dehydrated, and now you can't go back to sleep because you feel all wrapped up. For others, you may actually sleep through the night and wake up in the morning, but your sleep was still disrupted that night because you were probably in really light stages of sleep, which will often happen the second half of the night if you're sleeping under the influence of alcohol. And so for some people, you might not even realize how damaging that alcohol is being to your sleep. But if you were hooked up to a sleep monitor, you would see it black and white. There are a few things you can do to mitigate some of these impacts, and I go through them in the book, just really practical things. But ultimately, the only way to avoid the impact of alcohol on your sleep is time. And so the best thing to do if you're going to have that drink at happy hour, have it a little bit earlier, don't have the wine, maybe have the wine when you get home instead of having it with dinner at dinner is not going to give you enough time to process the alcohol.
[00:47:30.750] – Diane
But you want to give yourself an hour per drink, ideally so you can process that alcohol before you actually go to sleep, so that when you go to bed, you're sober and you can sleep through the night just fine. And so that's kind of what changed for me. It's not so much that I quit drinking, not that I'm a big drinker, but I didn't feel that I had to quit drinking in order to sleep well. But I now instead of using alcohol for its sleep as a sleep aid, I now take steps to try to avoid the impact of alcohol on my sleep, even if I am consuming it.
[00:48:06.590] – Allan
Now, a lot of the folks that follow me and I do too, will do fasting, will do low carb things like that. And what we talk to them about and coach them is okay, if you want to get a good night's sleep, you can load your carbs later in the evening instead of having them in the morning or during your lunch, have them a little bit later in the evening with your evening meal. That will probably help you sleep if you're having difficulty sleeping. So we know that there are certain nutrients and certain things, certain ways we can eat that are going to affect our sleep. And you had an issue with if you ate too close to if you tried to go too long between the time you ate and when you went to bed, you would have some issues. You talked about acid reflux. So there is a tie between our nutrition, when we eat what we eat, and potentially some supplements that help us go through the process of getting good quality sleep. Can you kind of cover that a little bit?
[00:49:00.700] – Diane
Yes. And so the timing of the meals part was a big thing for me because I had really bad acid reflux throughout a lot of my sleep struggles. But no one ever tied it to my sleep. So I didn't know that you were connected. What I did keep hearing was that in order to reduce acid reflux, you have to have more space between your last meal and when you go to bed. And so I tried eating 2 hours before bed. Then I tried eating 3 hours before bed. I slept worse, I felt worse. So I moved the food up even more because I'm thinking this whole time, well, the acid reflux is making me sleep worse, so I need to go longer without eating before I go to bed. And the thought process here makes sense because when your stomach is digesting food, it's using stomach acid to do that. And when we lay down, it makes it that much easier for the acid to travel up the esophagus, which is that feeling of heartburn that we get. And so the idea is you want to go to bed on an empty stomach so that the stomach isn't doing all that work with all the stomach acid, and you are less likely to have stomach acid travel up the esophagus.
[00:50:07.330] – Diane
The problem with these recommendations is some of us have a really hard time sleeping on an empty stomach. And the kicker is that sleep deprivation, lack of sleep can actually cause acid reflux. So here I was spending more and more time going to bed with an increasingly empty stomach to try to lower my acid reflux, to try to improve my sleep. And instead, because I have a hard time sleeping on an empty stomach, the more time I went without eating before bed, the harder it was for me to sleep. And that actually made my acid reflux worse. And so what ended up helping me was actually having a sleep friendly snack about an hour to 2 hours before bed. And as you mentioned, for me, I just tried to focus on what do I know that won't trigger my acid reflux is easy for me to make, so that if I wake up in the middle of the night and I feel hungry, I can snack on it easily. It will feel satisfying to me, but it's generally healthy and not going to trigger my acid reflux for me. I found Oatmeal was a great one, or just simple sort of whole wheat toast with a little bit of butter.
[00:51:20.030] – Diane
And that made a huge difference to me because the ability to have a little something in my stomach made it easier for me to sleep. And those sleep improvements actually helped alleviate my acid reflux. And it was only kind of after I fixed my sleep that I realized, oh, wait, I don't have acid reflux anymore. It's just not a problem. After seven years, I now just don't have it, along with many other things. But it was interesting for me that I had to end up doing the opposite of what I had been told for so long, because the ENTs that were advising me on how to combat my acid reflux were not taking into account that it was being caused by a sleep disorder. And so these things can sometimes be intertwined. And we have to look at the whole picture. And sleep is often a key ingredient in that picture. And in terms of the carbs aspect, there are a few different things going on. We often hear about tryptophan, right when you talk about Thanksgiving and think, oh, the tryptophan from the Turkey made me fall into that food coma. And tryptophan does.
[00:52:20.410] – Diane
Tryptophan turns into serotonin and melatonin. Serotonin makes us feel good. Melatonin makes us feel drowsy. It essentially tells the body that it's night time. But tryptophan can't turn into those things without reaching the brain. And because we have all these other amino acids in our blood, tryptophan has a really hard time reaching the brain. What helps tryptophan reach the brain is carbs. Carbs produce insulin in our body, and insulin parts the red sea of these amino acids so that tryptophan gets a direct route to the brain. And so tryptophan is very helpful to sleep, but it needs carbs in order to work. And so when we go a little bit overboard with cutting carbs, we can have a hard time sleeping. And that's why it's actually advised for people who have trouble sleeping to do the opposite of what many people think of when they're talking about weight loss. People sometimes think, I'll eat carbs in the beginning of the day so I can burn them off and then focus on protein the rest of the day. But if you regularly have trouble sleeping, it might be worth trying the opposite. You eat protein earlier in the day to build up the tryptophan in the body, because body will store that tryptophan.
[00:53:23.450] – Diane
And then at night you have a complex carb, which keeps your body sugar level but will still have this tryptophan releasing effect. And then that tryptophan can turn into serotonin can turn it to melatonin. It helps us relax, turns the temperature down on all that arousal that we're feeling, and helps us go to sleep.
[00:53:41.070] – Allan
Now another big one is magnesium. I actually take a magnesium supplement each evening before I go to bed and have really cool, lucid dreams because I get into a really good, deep sleep when I use magnesium. Can you talk about why magnesium is important for sleep?
[00:54:00.170] – Diane
Yes. Magnesium is actually nicknamed the sleep mineral, and the main function that it's thought that accomplishes what magnesium accomplishes for our sleep has to do with GABA, which is part of our brain, a chemical in our brain that helps to help slow our thinking down and it helps us fall asleep. Magnesium is also thought to help reduce cortisol, which again is what our arousal if you haven't found what arousal is triggered by. And it's kind of like the slow release version of adrenaline. So if we have a lot of cortisol, the stress hormone magnesium is thought to reduce that and so help us lower our stress and anxiety. And so by bringing all that down, you go back to the sleep seesaw, you're helping to lower that wake drive spot on the side of the sleep seesaw, which is going to help us to fall asleep. And interesting aspect of magnesium too is new studies are showing that magnesium is thought to help with restless leg syndrome and periodic limb movement disorder. So a lot of people who've been struggling with those ailments and have had a hard time finding an answer for some of them, just simply taking magnesium is enough to reduce it to a point where it's not a problem anymore or get rid of it entirely.
[00:55:13.950] – Allan
And within reason, because magnesium also does a few other things to your bowel.
[00:55:19.010] – Diane
Yeah, you can have digestive issues. And I want to preface I'm glad you said that because in the book I reckon I just lay out what kind of foods are rich in a lot of these things. Many people, I'm sure, will just want to go straight to the supplements. But supplements have their own downsides to them. So if you are going to incorporate any kind of supplement or pillow, you want to make sure that you talk to your doctor first. Because not only do you want to make sure you're not overdoing it, but the timing of when you take these things can matter. And also what other medications you're taking can also have an impact on all of this. So yeah, I can't stress that enough. Don't go popping pills because you heard it on a podcast. Please talk to your doctors and ask about how to strategize and take these supplements if you are going to go that route thoughtfully.
[00:56:02.910] – Allan
Diane, I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?
[00:56:10.500] – Diane
oh, I love that definition. One, obviously sleep. For me, it's been a complete game changer. And I didn't realize how bad I felt when I wasn't sleeping until I finally started sleeping and realized how much better I felt. And I thought, wow, this is how I'm supposed to feel all the time. So I'm not just saying that because I wrote a book on sleep, but I can't stress it enough that if you feel like your energy levels are bad or you have trouble falling asleep or you feel like you're sleepy all day long, then please address your sleep issues with a sleep specialist or whatever method you find work for you, but it makes such a huge difference in your health and well being and mental health in every aspect of your life. I think for me, healthy eating has been a big stress, particularly now because I'm guilty of not making a lot of time to work out at the moment, but just sort of telling myself I'm going to eat healthy doesn't work super well for me. So I love making recipe hacks and turning comfort foods that I love into healthy foods by making simple substitutes.
[00:57:17.260] – Diane
So I love to Cook. So that works for me. But I think healthy eating is a big pillar of health and a new one for me is periods of silence. I'm not big on meditating for no other reason than I just feel like I don't have time for it. And I know that's a terrible excuse, but it is what it is. But I do find time to have moments of silence now, something I never appreciated before. And I think it really helps me to just kind of center process the day. It gives me an ability to decompress and go through my thoughts in a way that I don't get you if I don't have those periods of silence. And I think that has helped my mental well being. But I think it's also helped my sleep as well because it's a little part of my evening routine that I didn't even notice until I wrote the book that as I'm making my sleep friendly snack, I do it in silence. And that's kind of when I process my day without even realizing it.
[00:58:16.110] – Allan
Great. So again, this book, if you have issues sleeping, this one really deep dives. It's not the listicle style book where you're just going to get ten things to do to fix your sleep. This is going to take you all the way to the root causes of what's going on. It's going to send you to a doctor, a sleep doctor if you need to. And it's going to explain a lot of the things that you've been experiencing because Diane did a great job researching this book. So, Diane, if someone wanted to learn more about you, learn more about the book, The Sleep Fix, where would you like for me to send them?
[00:58:50.250] – Diane
So I am very active on social media at DianeRMacedo, and that is on all platforms. And I'm theDianeMacedo on TikTok, which I just started posting on as well. And you can find out more about the book directly sleepfixbook.com.
[00:59:08.120] – Allan
Great. You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/531 and I'll be sure to have the links there. So, Diane, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.
[00:59:19.410] – Diane
Thank you for having me, Allan. I appreciate it.
[00:59:29.170] – Allan
Welcome back, Ras.
[00:59:30.670] – Rachel
Hey, Allan. What a great interview. This book sounds really helpful. Because we talk a lot about the need to have sleep. And I tell everybody that's an athlete with me the same thing. It's important to have sleep for your body to recover after doing hard things. But we rarely talk about how to accomplish that. And this sounds like a really detailed book.
[00:59:53.490] – Allan
Yeah. It's one of the things that I think a lot of people miss when you see a professional athlete and you're kind of like, oh, well, they just got themselves into really good shape, and that's how they're now able to be these tremendous athletes. But the reality is they train really hard, harder than most of us would ever be capable of doing because they've built up to such a volume of work that they need to do. At the same time, they also know that nutrition and sleep are the key points to making sure that they are able to perform again for their training, the hard training they're going to do the next day. So their lifestyle, in many cases, when they're on their work, when they're getting the work done, because they do take time off, they obviously need to. But when they're on, they're literally it's work and sleep. And it is at the beginning of this, I said, okay, I did 14 miles. Well, the whole expectation of my Sunday when I did that was 14 miles from home. Stop sweating, take a shower, take a nap. And the nap was actually still part of my training for that day.
[01:01:11.040] – Allan
It was all incorporated into a six hour window of time to get this thing done, to get my 14 miles done, to stop sweating, to take a shower and to take a nap.
[01:01:22.030] – Rachel
It's so important.
[01:01:24.070] – Allan
Now, here's the other thing. We do talk about sleep hygiene all the time, and it is really important for a lot of people. It might just be that sleep hygiene is all you need to do to have a better quality sleep. But for a lot of people, it's sort of like knowing that you have a broken car, there's a problem with your car, and you just wash the car. So you have this bright, shiny car sitting in the driveway that won't run because you're not addressing the underlying problem. And that's the diagnosis. That's what is actually really wrong with my sleep. Why am I not sleeping? And so many people skipped that point and they want the simple, oh, I just need a dark room, a cool room, a sound, neutral thing. And so they're focused on that, but they're not really solving the real underlying problem because they haven't gotten the diagnosis from it.
[01:02:19.270] – Rachel
Exactly. Diane said that some people don't even realize that they might have things like sleep apnea or that they're having insomnia problems or she had a circadian rhythm disorder, not to mention restless leg syndromes. I mean, there's so many different things that you could be diagnosed with, and each one of them requires a different treatment, a different idea. So getting to the real root cause of your fatigue or sleepiness or whatever, it's pretty important that you see the right people and maybe not just your general health practitioner.
[01:02:55.230] – Allan
Yeah. I mean, they're doing what they can do. And so you go in and they have a sleep problem. They can prescribe ambien. Yeah, they can and they do. And so if that's the route you go, that's the route you go. But to me, and I don't mean this, I think some people think it wouldn't be as serious. And maybe you can argue that, but if you had some warning indicators that there was a possible cancer, your general practitioner is not going to start treatment. Your general practitioner is going to send you to an oncologist, a specialist in cancer. And that's the expectations. And you know that because you see it happening. But with sleep, most of the time, we're like, okay, GP, I'm not sleeping well. It's like, okay, you're stressed or whatever. It's like, okay, here's something to relieve the stress or, okay, it's just a sleep problem. Here some ambien. So there's a pill. So it's if this, then that. And then if it works, it works. It's a practice, by the way, a medical practice. And so they're going to practice. But you should probably consider sleep as important as anything else, particularly if it's holding you back to sleep is a problem like you're eating well, you're exercising, you're doing what you can to manage your stress, and you're just not sleeping well.
[01:04:15.570] – Allan
That's the missing element. That's the thing that's holding you back. It's important enough to go see a specialist. You can do the sleep study and they can say, oh, yeah, you've got some sleep apnea here. You stop breathing this many times per minute for this amount of time, and they can say, okay, you need a CPAP, because that's going to help you breathe better. Or maybe it's not, maybe it's something else and they can start finding the treatment protocols that are going to help you. So while sleep hygiene is really important and it's one of those areas where I can say, okay, yeah, you need a dark room, you need a cool room. You need noise neutral. You need to make sure you have a wind down sequence. You need to do things to make sure that you're not geared up as you go into bed. So maybe just stay off on Facebook for an hour. Politics or whatever is going on today is going to bother you. The wars, famine, the disease, all those things are going to bother you and keep you awake. Well, cut them off earlier. What I found is I have almost no control over what happens in other parts of the world.
[01:05:25.330] – Allan
So my knowing about it on Facebook is like, okay, I can't fix this and I need to move on. So turning that stuff off finding ways to unwind that work for you. Lavender infused warm bath might be your thing. I don't know. But just finding those things because hygiene can matter. And if it helps you, then great. But in the end, if you need a mechanic, washing the car is not going to fix the problem. You need to get in there and see a sleep specialist, get yourself diagnosed. I mean, Diane had two issues. There wasn't a single issue. So she had tried to self diagnose this. She just said, well, it should work. Of course, I have a problem with my circadian rhythm because I don't get to sleep at night when everybody else does. And so she would have just really focused on that when she also had an insomnia problem. So her HPA axis, whatever's going on, the parasympathetic and the sympathetic nervous system was geared up when she got ready to go to bed. And it just wouldn't let her build up the sleep that she needed to the sleep. I forget what she called it.
[01:06:47.100] – Rachel
But basically adenosine hormone.
[01:06:51.920] – Allan
Which is basically like a sleep bank. It's like you're in that teeter totter seesaw thing.
[01:06:58.850] – Allan
it's not building up because you're keeping that adrenaline, keeping that core sale, keeping things going. It's not letting you build up the hormone that you need to be able to sleep. And taking anything might help you fall asleep, but it's not going to give you the restful sleep that you really deserve and need. So, again, go in, get diagnosed. It might be nothing. It might be a restless leg, and maybe a little bit of zinc in your diet makes that go away. Oddly, as that sounds, it could be simple as a vitamin deficiency. But a sleep specialist is going to have that information and be able to diagnose you properly to get you where you need to be. Because I value sleep so much more than just about anything else. And I've talked to doctors. Dr. Vu was one thrive state. If you're not sleeping, you can't reach thrive state. You just won't.
[01:08:03.040] – Rachel
[01:08:05.290] – Allan
As you're looking at your health. For many of us, for me, it was stress, really. I had to get out of the corporate thing to get rid of stress. But even when I was there, it's like I went to bed at 08:00 every night, and I slept until I woke up. Sleep was that important. Sometimes it was four sleep cycles, and sometimes it was six. I didn't set a rule other than, yeah, I know. I got to be at work at 09:00, so can't just have a 7th or 8th sleep cycle getting up. But it was never the same alarm. Get up, groggy. Wish I got more sleep kind of thing. It was okay. I slept really well. Good. And I'm giving myself the best opportunity to have a good day. And if you're not doing that, talk to a sleep doctor.
[01:09:00.410] – Rachel
Yeah, it's absolutely important that you see the right people and not just take the ambien, because that may not be the best answer for you.
[01:09:09.370] – Allan
It might end up being as if doctor says this short term, this would be a bridge to be the thing that you want to do. Great. But what Diane found was that she was becoming tolerant.
[01:09:21.770] – Rachel
Too tolerant. And it was a Band Aid. It was just a bandaid for her situation.
[01:09:28.810] – Allan
She got to stop the bleeding.
[01:09:30.510] – Rachel
Yeah. But she did see an expert and was diagnosed properly and found the right treatment for her. So that's the important part. It's just to see the right people.
[01:09:40.080] – Allan
Yes. And this book is laid out really well. She talked to a lot of sleep specialists about this topic. So she's literally going at it and say, okay, here's how you can know that what's happening is putting you on the right course. And then she does. Yeah. You're going to find all the sleep hygiene things in there, because for many of these, sleep hygiene is a part of it. When you get back from Mechanic, you still want it to be pretty and shiny.
[01:10:06.710] – Rachel
[01:10:07.300] – Allan
So it's not that you're not going to wash it to make it everything it should be. That's not going to solve the underlying problem. So address both.
[01:10:16.960] – Rachel
Sure. Well, the one tool that she mentioned right towards the end was to do a brain dump right before you go to bed and have a notebook and write down all the things that come to your mind. And that seems so practical to me in that moment, because when you're going to bed, sometimes you get fixated on what you need to do the next day, drive the kids to there and pick up the groceries, or you've got all these things to do and errands to run and people to call. And if you write it all down before you go to bed, then it gets out of your head and you're not thinking about it, dwelling at it, trying to fall asleep, worrying about how you're going to get all this done the next day. I just thought that was a really great tool. And I do love the idea of writing. I'm a big writer. I can't do a lot digitally. I got things I need to see it in writing. Sometimes writing.
[01:11:05.670] – Allan
Remember, my to do list is on Trello. Yes, digital. But I'll say, what do I need to do tomorrow? What do I need to do the next day? I literally have, like every day there's a to do list. I mean, for the rest of the year. For a whole year ahead.
[01:11:20.390] – Rachel
[01:11:21.110] – Allan
And so I literally know, okay, these are the things, and this is what I got to get done. So like, this call is the call. We're doing this recording. We do this on Monday afternoon. This is on my Trello board of the thing I got to do on Monday afternoons. And then what I'll do is as soon as I get off the call and I do a few other things I got to get done, I will literally move that to next Monday so we can have another call, and I do that. So everything that I need to do is on my board. And if I think of something while I'm supposed to say I'm sitting there watching some Netflix or I'm finishing up my day, I'll sit down and do that. What's my to do list look like tomorrow? And then what does my calendar look like? Are they actually agreeing with each other and saying, yeah, you can do both, you can do this to do list tomorrow? Or does my schedule basically say, Allan, there's just no way. And then at that point, I say, okay, I'm not going to overburden myself tomorrow.
[01:12:16.580] – Allan
I'll move things that can be moved. And it's amazing when you sit down and say, If I could only do three things, what are the three things? And then you look at those other things. I can do that on Wednesday.
[01:12:30.570] – Rachel
[01:12:30.860] – Allan
There's absolutely no reason I can't do that on Thursday.
[01:12:33.990] – Rachel
Yeah, that takes that level of stress out of that equation. You're not wasting time worrying. Like she said, worrying is such a big waster of time and energy. And the better you're organized with your calendar and the things that you need to get done, the less time you have to waste worrying about it.
[01:12:52.770] – Allan
And I try to do that before I even call it quits for my day. But long before I'm sitting there, I'm not going to sit down and start journaling at bedtime, grocery shopping and making a list that's going to have already been done. As soon as I'm saying I'm finishing up my day at 05:00, 04:00, whatever, I sit down and say, okay, let's look at my to-do list. What did I do today that I was supposed to do? What are the things that I thought I would do and then just didn't happen to? And then what do I need to do tomorrow? And even my workouts? It's funny because, okay, my workouts are on my schedule and in many cases are also on my calendar. So there's like a scheduled meeting with the boss I don't miss. But then sleep is okay. It's 09:00. Yeah, well, sometimes it's 7:30. And my wife says, what are you doing? It's like sleeping.
[01:13:53.710] – Rachel
Well, it's important. It's important to have a schedule. I think that goes into that circadian rhythm that she had. When your body is ready for bed, it's ready for bed.
[01:14:02.240] – Allan
Yeah. And then again, I don't have to worry about in the morning. I've got everything going. I don't schedule things in the morning other than my cardio work when it's cardio day. But there's nothing on my calendar in the morning before 09:00 for sure. So he says they want to do something before 09:00 it's like. Okay, hit or miss Panama time? I'll either be there.
[01:14:28.550] – Rachel
In ten minutes. I'll be there in ten minutes. I love that.
[01:14:33.470] – Allan
All right, well, anything else you want to talk about today?
[01:14:36.450] – Rachel
No, that was really good. That was a great book. I think I might need to read that one.
[01:14:40.800] – Allan
All right, well, let's talk next week, then.
[01:14:42.960] – Rachel
[01:14:43.870] – Allan
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