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Dr. Magryta: More on the importance of sleep

Dr. Magryta

Sleep is a most special event that we all need in order to live a healthy and long life. It may be the single most important event that we do daily.

Here are a few more quick notes on sleep taken from the Matthew Walker/Peter Attia podcast AMA 6 [https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#label/PEOPLE/WhctKJVRPKsFVbvjpZdcqWmLmHzJbJscrxzRpSHxnPvXxSTSxgkpVBXxlhGfLHZbNzQfGwQ].

1) Our bodies need to drop 3-4 degrees F before we can comfortably fall asleep. This can be induced by cooling the room down between 65-70 degrees. It can also be achieved by releasing heat through your extremities by taking a hot bath/shower or hot sauna.

2) Do not eat close to bedtime. Stop eating three hours before you plan to go to sleep. Avoid rapidly-digesting refined carbohydrates as they turn into energy quickly, raising core temperature, making it harder to fall asleep.

3) Do not exercise intensely 2 hours before bedtime as this will increase hormones like cortisol and adrenaline, which need to be low for you to fall asleep. Exercising earlier in the day is ideal to increase sleep onset later in the day.

4) Sleeping well is the most effective way to hack a great workout the next day, making exercise and sleep a bidirectional influence.

• Your motivation to do anything (especially exercise) is increased dramatically
• Peak muscle strength increases (in compound movements)
• Your ability to respire and expel carbon dioxide is improved the more sleep that you’re getting
• Likelihood of injury risk markedly decreased
• Your ability to even sweat and perspire is determined by how much sleep that you get
• The time it takes to reach physical exhaustion increases.

5) When you do not adequately sleep deeply and for a long enough time, your body receives a starvation signal that increases the hunger hormone ghrelin, and reduces the satiety hormone leptin.

Dr. Attia: “Overall, hunger levels go up, you start to eat more. Now, we combine that with this lack of motivation of exercise in all sorts of obesogenic directive territory. Eating more, wanting to exercise less. You’re burning fewer calories. That usually is why we’re starting to understand part of the sleep-dependent obesogenic equation.”

6) Cognitive behavioral therapy has a great track record for helping people that suffer from sleep disorders.

7) Bad sleep nights: “One of the mistakes that people will make when they are under-slept is they will try to sleep later that following morning, like trying to “get it back” if they can. But if you sleep later into that following morning, you’re not going to be then tired at your normal time that subsequent evening so you’ll be throwing off your normal routine. (Dr. Walker)

“In the case that you have to go to bed abnormally late one night:

• First, wake up at the same time
• Secondly, avoid the temptation for naps during the day. You build up lots of that natural healthy sleepiness, that’s the adenosine chemical. When you nap in the afternoon, it’s like just releasing that valve on the pressure cooker and you release some of that healthy sleepiness
• Finally, just go to bed at your normal time” (Dr. Walker)
Remember that memory, sporting ability, emotional stability, judgment, and decision making are all impaired by sleep loss, acutely and chronically. It is critical for all of us to remember how important sleep is to our overall function at school, work, in relationships and so much more.
When we sleep consistently well, we reduce 1) disease burdens and future risk, 2) fighting and emotional lability, 3) damage to our telomeres, 4) reduce infectious disease by maintaining a robust immune surveillance system, 5) obesity and inflammation, 6) increase memory.

Finally, from a United Kingdom program Dr. Walker says:

“They found that the implementation of four things actually added almost two hours of sleep to their kids:
1) Regularity: Bed at the same time and waking up at the same time
2) Removing all toys and electronics from the bedroom: turns bedroom into an environment that was queued up for sleep
3) Relaxing routine: building in some kind of relaxing routine (e.g., reading with the child before bed)
4) Daylight exposure: making sure that the child got sufficient daylight throughout the day”


There is so much more to share and it gets significantly deeper. Dr. Attia and Dr. Walker have provided some of the best information on this topic that I have ever heard or read. There is an entire section on how to reset your sleep time if you have difficulty falling and staying asleep.

Go to www.peterattiamd.com for a deep dive on this and many other great topics. No fluff here people.

Dr. M

Dr. Chris Magryta is a physician at Salisbury Pediatric Associates. Contact him at newsletter@salisburypediatrics.com

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