Watch above or listen to the full episode on youriPhone HERE.
Struggling to get a good nights sleep? Then this podcast is for you! Join us as Stu & Guy delve into the world of sleep and what top tips and hacks you can do today to begin to get the restorative sleep many people crave.
Over the past few years, Stu has been on a mission to get to the bottom of why his sleeping patterns were shot. After much research and N = 1 self experimentation he’s happy to say he’s hacked it. This podcast is about all those discoveries and how you can implement them into your life today.
For more articles on sleep, type in the word ‘sleep’ into the search field at the top right side of the page.
In This Episode:
Understanding what kind of sleeper are you
Why your room could be effecting your sleep patterns
Why you should reduce any blue light from electronic devices in the evening
Guy :Hi. This is Guy Lawrence of 180 Nutrition and welcome to today’s health sessions. Today, I’m joined with Stuart Cooke only. Stu, how are you?
Stu:Good. How are you?
Guy :I’m excellent. All the better for seeing you as always, mate.
Guy :I just put on a podcast a couple of episodes ago that the fact that we do two episodes a month. We interview awesome guests and bring them on so we can share that information with you as we interrogate them. What we’ve been discussing and what we want to do is bring in one more episode a month and discuss a topic that we feel we’ve learned along the way when interviewing all these awesome people and also like a Q and A style as well. If you do have questions for future podcasts, feel free to e-mail us through the website. Still, I’m going to pay you a major compliment now. Milk it. It doesn’t happen too often.
Stu:What do you say it doesn’t happen too often? It doesn’t happen at all. I’m ready. I’m sitting down. I mean that’s all I could do.
Guy :Ultimately, today’s topic is going to be on sleep, on getting a good night’s sleep and I think with all the guests that we have interviewed and everything that we’ve learned over the years, I still think that you’re probably one of the best qualified people to actually speak about this topic on the podcast. Now, think about that for a moment. For me to actually-
Stu:That’s a buildup mate. That is a buildup. Yeah, I hope I don’t disappoint. We’ve learned heaps along the way but, for me, self-experimentation and dabbling in all of these different avenues is the way that I have found that impacts the …
Guy :Exactly. N=1, right? I can vouch because I had to work with you when you weren’t getting much sleep. It was pretty painful but now, you’ve, I think, cracked the code to a degree especially on yourself. Let’s get into it. The first thing I want to …
Stu:I’m going to stop you right there.
Guy :Right. Go on then.
Stu:Before we [00:02:00] start, I’d just like to tell you that it’s a hot day in Sydney and I’m recording this podcast from home. It’s 10:20 in the morning. It’s already 35 degrees and I’m sitting in a sunroom. If I start to sweat, it’s not because of the questions. It’s because I’m very hot and sticky.
Guy :Or if you pass out.
Stu:Or if I pass out, yeah. It’s not because I’m tired. It’s not because I didn’t get a good night’s sleep. It’s because it is hot.
Guy :It is. I’ve just turned the fan off so it’s not going to affect the microphone.
Stu:It was noisy before, yeah. It’s all good.
Guy :I’m in the same boat but that’s okay. All right. First question to raise, mate, is sleep. How important do you think it is in everything else that we discuss on the health spectrum?
Stu:Personally, I would go as far to say that I think it’s the most important facet of our health. When we give our workshops and our clean-eating programs, we talk of health as pillars. You’ve got nutrition, exercise and mindset but sleep is the biggest pillar of all. It holds everything up. Without sleep, it almost doesn’t matter what you’re eating. It doesn’t matter how you’re exercising because you’re not accessing the recovery and restorative processes that happen overnight when we can rest, repair and wake up feeling energized and ready to go. Without sleep, we really, really do start to crumble.
Guy :Yeah, it is vital. The words hormonal and metabolism disruption spring to mind. That is a sentence I’ve pulled out to get ready for today. The other thing I want to mention is, because I’ve been writing a future post and I know this doesn’t apply to you but it will apply to many people especially if they’re just trying to lose a little bit of weight, that lack of sleep is a really good way to inhibit weight loss [00:04:00] essentially.
Guy :The questions we get all the time are, “How come I’m doing everything and I still can’t lose weight?” One thing a lot of people don’t look at is the quality of their sleep.
Stu:That’s right. Overall, from a health perspective, we want to reduce inflammation. I mean that’s the number thing that we want to try and reduce from a health perspective. If you’re not sleeping, you’re not repairing. You are not going to be reducing your inflammation. It’s just not. You’re going to feel crappy. You’re going to feel lethargic. Your mind doesn’t work quickly. You’re memory will go to pot, skin health, everything.
Guy :The next thing I want to raise, mate, which I know you’re big on is the different types of sleepers because there’s different problems with the quality of the sleep that you could have. I think they’re good to highlight first.
Stu:Yeah. We’ll just touch on those workshops again when we’re generally talking to a room of anywhere from 50 to a 100 people and I ask the question, “Who sleeps well?” Very, very few hands go up when I ask that question. Question number two, “Who has a problem getting to sleep?” Half the room. “Okay. Who has problems staying asleep? Who sleeps all the way through the night and wakes up feeling rested?” Again, half of the people. The other half of the people wake up during the night. Everyone seems to have issues. Very few people I know truly out like a light and wake up feeling amazing.
Guy :If I listen to this and you’re going to be in one of those categories, you’re struggling to get to sleep or you do fall asleep and then you just start waking up in the middle of the night for no reason. What would be the best way to hack the tips that you’ve learned over the years? Should we segment them, too, and start with the people or did it cover …
Stu:I think so. Some of them will cross over. I think we’ll just start [00:06:00] with the people that struggle to get to sleep in the first place. [inaudible 00:06:05], there are probably people that struggle to get to sleep and wake up during the night as well.
Guy :You get the shit sandwich.
Stu:Yeah, exactly. Let’s stop there because, I guess, from a sleepy-time perspective, we want to figure out how to get to sleep first.
Guy :All right. You were struggling with sleep big time at one stage and then you started delving into it. You followed the snail trail. It’s quite hilarious because I’ve seen you try pretty much everything.
Stu:I have. I’ve experimented with almost everything under the book. Everything. We’re touching a few things today.
Guy :What was the first thing you started to delve into?
Stu:This is a left field one as well.
Guy :I wouldn’t expect anything else from you, mate.
Guy :What is EMF?
Stu:Electromagnetic field. Essentially, what it is is the magnetic fields that we are surrounded by in a bedroom, for instance. It might be that you’re sleeping next to an alarm clock that’s plugged into a wall. You might have an electric blanket and not that I want to use that right now but that can plugged in. It could be a fan, TVs, wires running under your bed, things like that. All of these electrical devices …
Guy :That are being powered.
Stu:That are powered, plugged in are proven quite rightly so to generate an electric field and that electric field can interfere with our body’s electric field. Some people are much more sensitive to it than others. Some people, it doesn’t affect. This takes us back to when we went to a seminar many years ago and met a lady called Lyn McLean and she was from EMR Australia which I think is electromagnetic [00:08:00] radiation Australia. She’d written a book and I was just intrigued about this facet because everyone talks about food, exercise, mindset and stuff like that. She was the only lady that was actually speaking about something that I hadn’t heard of before and I didn’t know anything about. Anyway, we had her on the podcast. If you want to know a little bit more about her after this, head to the podcast and find out more.
Guy :It’s fascinating.
Stu:Very, very fascinating. After the podcast, we were lucky enough for her to come to my home because I had trouble getting to sleep and also staying asleep as well. She said, “Well, let’s just have a little look about how your home is set up, whether you’ve got any magnetic fields that might be interfering with your body, your sleep patterns and things like that. First off, I thought, “Okay.” You take it with a pinch of salt.
Guy :I remember the day she turned up like a ghostbuster. She had all these tools and instruments.
Stu:She turned up like a ghostbuster and I do have a device. I’ve got props today so it’s kind of cool. For everyone listening or watching on YouTube, I’ve got a few props to show you. She went around the house with a device called a Gauss meter which reads magnetic fields. Essentially, what she was doing was she was putting this Gauss meter. I’m going to show you. This is a Gauss meter right now. I’ll switch it on. It looks like that, 00.1. I’m okay.
Guy :There’s no electricity field coming out of you, mate, basically.
Stu:Not at the moment, just hot air. She wanders around our house like a ghostbuster, literally like a ghostbuster, waiting for this thing to light up and give readings. She went away and we had determined that the magnetic fields in my bedroom were a little higher than normal but nothing to be too alarmed about and essentially [00:10:00] went around the house and showed me that when she turned on the oven, this thing went through the roof. It has this huge magnetic field but we were kind of okay.
I thought, “Well, this is really fascinating.” I bought, I purchased a Gauss meter on Ebay. It cost me like 50 bucks. I was just playing around with it one night and I was just looking at different parts of the room to try and find the lowest readings because I figured, “What if I could move my bed into an area of the bedroom that has super low readings from a magnetic field perspective?” I was moving this thing around. Ideally, you want to try and get something under an 0.2 when we’re talking about magnetic fields. MilliGauss is the term.
It was about 7 o’clock in the evening. It was dark. It was in the winter. It was dark outside. All the lights were on and we live in an apartment lot, first floor. I was moving this device around, put it on my pillow. It was like an 0.1. I move it over to my west pillow, an 0.2. That’s fine. A little bit high. I didn’t tell her. It doesn’t matter. Then, I moved it down the bed, kind of where my abdomen would be and it shot out to 90. I just thought, “What? This is ridiculous.” I moved it to the right, an 0.2, an 0.3. Moved it to the left, got an 0.1. Moved it right into the middle, it’s like 90 and climbing. I just thought, “This is ridiculous.”
Then, I did a little bit of investigation and realized that … I went downstairs and in the foyer of the apartment, there’s this huge ceiling lighting rows with about four or five different lights coming on. At 7 o’clock, it automatically gets turned on, creating a huge magnetic field of 90 plus. Alarming, I guess, so I moved the bed. I moved the bed to the other side of the room, the [00:12:00] really high magnetic field on the floor well away from where I slept. It could be psychological, I don’t know, but I had a better night’s sleep that night and from that point forward, my sleep came up by 10%.
Guy :Yeah, there you go. That’s EMF, right?
Guy :My first question to you before we move on to EMR … I’m thinking, you’re thinking mobile phones, isn’t that right? Just a little [crosstalk 00:12:24].
Stu:Kind of, yeah. I guess touching on EMF, [inaudible 00:12:27] with everything in your room.
Guy :With that story in mind, this gentleman’s, “Shit. I live in an apartment.” What’s a quick fix? How can they test it? What would you recommend them do? Buy a meter?
Stu:First up, you can look at the electrical appliances in your room. If you’ve got a clock radio, a TV or an extension cable running under the bed, things like that, ideally, in an ideal situation, you switch these things off at night and you unplug from the wall. You pull them out so you are minimizing …
Guy :If you then understand, I guess, I’ll expect that this cable’s running down through the wall because that’s a classic behind-the-head probably feeding a light switch or a light outside.
Stu:Yeah, it’s funny you should say that. I remember we were at a workshop somewhere I can’t remember and spoke to a lady. She had seen the podcast of Lyn McLean and she said, “I’m really intrigued about this. We’ve just moved into a new home and my son can’t sleep.” He was 8 years old. He really can’t sleep. I told her the story in depth and said, “Just check his room carefully. Check to see what is on the other side of wall where he sleeps, things like that.” She sent me an e-mail a week later and said, “We realized that the fusebox for our property was directly behind the head of my son on the other side of the wall. We moved his bed, he sleeps again.” Again, some [00:14:00] people are really sensitive to it. Other people are not affected at all but it’s a strategy. If your sleep isn’t optimal, consider it.
Guy :Consider it. Okay. Take the messages, unplug everything, make sure there’s no power sources near you and if you want to go a step further … What’s the meter called again? Can you show them?
Stu:It’s called a Gauss meter. This is a Tenmars. I paid about 50 bucks for it. I got it on Ebay. Yeah, you can play ghostbusters with it.
Guy :Cool and go around the house.
Stu:Have a little look around. Incidentally, if ever I’m out in a hotel, away at the weekend, I’ll unplug the clock radio and I’ll unplug the bedside lights.
Guy :Yeah, I always do that to everything.
Stu:Before I go to sleep, I just do. It’s one of those things.
Guy :Moving on from that then, the other question we always ask when we’re doing a clean-eating workshop is who charges their iPhone at night, uses it as an alarm clock and then have it sleeping by the head? A huge number of people stick their hands up.
Stu:Yeah. There are two things that are happening there. One is EMF. It’s plugged into the wall and it’s charging so it’s creating an electromagnetic field. That’s EMF but EMR, it is also creating electromagnetic radiation because it’s talking to the cellphone tower. It’s just what they do. “I’m here and just checking you’re there.” It’s ready to take calls. That EMR can have impact on our health as well. It can interrupt the sleep. Again, another post on our blog, “Mobile phones making you sick”, things like that. There are strategies that you can do just to [crosstalk 00:15:51]
Guy :With the mobile phone, I do use mine as an alarm clock but what I do is I never charge it at night and I always have it on airplane mode. [00:16:00] Then, I always have it beyond my reach as well. When the alarm goes off in the morning, I physically have to move, get up and actually turn it off.
Stu:That’s right. Airplane mode, far better, super safe. You’ve turned it off. You’re not going to get incoming calls for one like in the middle of the night, disrupt your sleep. You’re not going to get text messages coming in but airplane mode, sure. If you’re going to use it as an alarm clock, do it. Hopefully, when you’ve got all these hacks in place, you won’t need an alarm clock because you’ll go to bed at a similar time, you’ll wake up at the same time. I don’t use an alarm clock and I wake up at the same time everyday.
Guy :Yeah, very late.
Stu:Yeah, 2 AM.
Guy :All right. While we’re on the techno stuff then, let’s just stay tech and we should go into blue light.
Stu:Yeah. Let’s go into sleep hygiene – creating a routine that gets us in the right mindset to sleep.
Guy :Yeah. With your age, too, it gets much easier as you get older because you just …
Stu:I just nod off phone conversations. That’s what happens. It’s one of these things. We live in a society now where we’re wired all the time. We’re constantly answering text messages, checking Facebook and social media. We’ve got e-mails 24/7. We multitask. We’re watching TV and we’re checking the iPhone, see what’s happening. We’re always on. We’re totally on all the time and that makes it really hard then to just switch off when you think, “Right. I’m ready for bed now” because your mind doesn’t switch off that quickly. It’s still racing.
Essentially, what we want to do is get into a sleep routine. Where mobile phone’s a concern, they’re not going away. I love this thing but I also hate what it does at the same time, given the fact that it’s always with us [00:18:00] to a degree, interrupting, messing with our free time, screwing up our sleep. Seven o’clock in the evening, this thing is off. It’s just switched off. Try and call me, forget it. Use the landline if you’ve got my number. That goes off and as much as it’s a kind of blue light, and we’ll get into that in a minute, I’m glaring at this screen and that’s interrupting with stuff and I’ll explain that in a minute, it’s mental stimulation.
Towards the end of the night, we want to decrease mental stimulation which is why people say, “Read a book. Listen to some music. Turn off the TV in good time.” Really, as part of this sleep routine, we’re starting to wind down. We’re starting to turn off all of the bright lights in the house. We certainly don’t want bright lights in the bedroom because we want to promote the sleepy hormone which is melatonin. Ideally, we want nice high levels of melatonin in the evening before we go to sleep because that helps us get to sleep and it’s really, really easy to disrupt melatonin. Blue light is one way of doing it and when we say blue light, it’s part of the spectrum of light. Blue light pours out of our iPhones …
Stu:iPads, our TVs, our laptops, bright lights in our apartment as well.
Guy :Probably the worst thing you can do is watch something while laying in bed, trying to get to sleep because you can’t sleep.
Stu:Even more so on your mobile phone because that thing’s streaming out light. If you cannot separate yourself from your mobile phone, you could do a couple of things. You could turn the brightness all the way down. Around 7 o’clock, if I’m checking a few things, my brightness is at zero. [00:20:00] I can still see everything fine. I just turn it back up in the morning. There is another hack that you can do if you really are attached to these things. We can wear blue light-blocking glasses, another prop.
Guy :You got them. Put them on, man. I brought mine, too.
Stu:You do realize that we look like a couple of geeks. It’s probably ridiculous, something like a Joe 90 or Thunderbirds, [inaudible 00:20:28].
Guy :You look ready for [inaudible 00:20:30].
Stu:It’s the most amazing-
Guy :Everything’s changed, color-wise.
Stu:Everything changes color and in the evening, it stops blue light into our eyes which apparently is the main receptor for melatonin. All we need to do is take a huge hit of blue light and melatonin just slowly decreases and it makes us more alert because we think it’s daytime, that kind of thing. Blue light. If I’m going to watch a movie, I’ll wear my orange glasses. You feel ridiculously calm 5 or 10 minutes after.
Guy :I thought you were going to just say you feel ridiculous, full stop.
Stu:You do feel ridiculous, comma, and really calm.
Guy :All right. There is one other option which if you using your laptop or your iPhone, if you don’t want to wear the glasses.
Stu:You don’t want to wear the glasses and there’s no reason not to apart from vanity. Yes, you can install a plugin and that’s called f.lux, F. L-U-X. It’s not one word. F. L-U-X and what that does is that adjusts the color palette, your screen color values on your monitor or your iPad. I haven’t found an app for the iPhone but I think there’s one on Android that you can do. It makes everything orange much like the blue glasses so you can continue to use it. While that’s a good thing, [00:22:00] that’s also a bad thing because you are still mentality stimulating yourself by using these things.
Guy :Yeah but I guess if you’re watching a brain-dead movie or something …
Guy :If you’re working …
Stu:If you’re working, do that. Wear your glasses. Switch off …
Guy :Sometimes, believe it or not, Stu won’t believe this but I’ll work back until 6 or 7 at night carrying the flag for 180.
Stu:Absolute nonsense. You’re probably some twisted, downward dog maneuvering in your lady’s tights.
Guy :I’ll use f.lux. It automatically adjusts as time gets on which is great. As it’s getting darker outside, it starts removing the blue light from it.
Stu:It does. You set your location. Currently, I live in Sydney, Australia and it knows. “Okay. It’s 7 o’clock at night. It’s going to be getting dark so we’re going to tone down those colors.” That’s a really good strategy.
Guy :It’s awesome. It’s amazing. I recon that’s a biggy. The other thing is if we then take that into where you actually fall asleep in terms of light, the one thing I want is obviously the darker the room, the better because that inhibits your melatonin production, right?
Stu:It does. I don’t want to go too crazy on caveman days but obviously, we’re surrounded by light and noise, interruptions. Even a street light pacing through your curtains onto your face can affect the body’s production of melatonin. Really, as dark as we can is ideal and as quiet as we can. Just talking about that sleep routine with light as well, if you’re a light sleeper and you’re awoken by noise, use earplugs, another prop.
Guy :I tried that and I struggled because it felt like all of a sudden, I was underwater.
Stu:Get used to it. Get used to it. This [00:24:00] would be right up there on the chart of things that have made such a difference to me. They do. I use these ones that are a little bit like Bluetech. They’re very squishy. They’re not like the build-us ones that are foam and you squeeze them. Then, they get fatter again and [inaudible 00:24:18]. I don’t find them to be very useful at all. These ones, I twirl them round and play really long and pointy, shove them as far in my ear as I can, stuff it all in. Yeah, it feels a bit weird. You put your head on the pillow and you can hear your pulse. Your whole body becomes your pulse but you can’t hear anything.
I’m a very light sleeper. I’ve got three young girls and all three, raising them. You’re kind of on tenterhooks. “Do I have to get up?” I’m a light sleeper but this gives me the edge now. I can sleep through stuff that before would’ve woken me up and I’ve had countless times where my wife is like, “God. Did you hear the neighbors? Did you hear the car alarm?” I just smiled and said, “I can’t even hear what you’re saying now. I can’t hear you. I’ve got these in.” It’s a strategy. Try it.
Guy :Do you wear an eye mask?
Stu:I wear an eye mask not during sleep but I have one by the bed. If for any reason I wake up at 5 o’clock, 6 o’clock, it’s that period where we’ve had enough sleep but we don’t want to get up. It’s getting to get light and you can see some light coming in because it’s so sunny out there. I’ll put the eye mask on and it helps. Sometimes, you get to these fancy hotels and for some reason, they don’t have curtains. They have these silly blinds and they don’t really block out very much light. Yeah, in that instance, I might slip an eye mask on. You’ll probably wake up and it’ll be around your neck.
Guy :Yeah, the darker the room, the better. Interestingly enough, I’ll just mention [00:26:00] because I’ve just moved. The new place we’re in has got these fantastic blinds that hug the side of the window, you pull down and it’s really dark. If I wake up in the middle of the night, I’m like, “Where the hell am I?” It’s just like a cave in there and I’d noticed the difference because I used to have that piercing street light creaking through. It makes a difference.
Stu:All of these things, it’s a sleep toolkit. All of these things might give you 5% extra sleep quality but those toolkits are critical and they all add up. When we go back to our point that sleep is the most important pillar for your health, then let’s do everything we can just to increase that sleep quality because you can wake up feeling jetlagged. I had a whole period of that where I was like, “I am so tired. My eye sockets hurt. They are aching I’m so tired.” I struggled to sleep in the days. If I didn’t need to try and catch up on sleep, it just doesn’t happen. You just can’t do it. You cannot do it. Everything you can do, yeah. iPhone, earplugs, [crosstalk 00:27:10].
Guy :So far, we’ve covered then the power points. iPhone by the head, just do not do that. We’ve also then looked up blue light. You’ve got the sunblocker glasses. You’ve got the f.lux. F …
Stu:F. L-U-X. Just Google that term. It’s free.
Guy :You can get the app for your phone, for your iPad, for your laptop, for your desktop, whatever it is. Got that. Then, moving into sleep hygiene. Then of course, blackening the room if you can. Earplugs, eye mask.
Stu:That’s right. Just tackle all the things that you think could be causing you a great … A lot of us in the city live in apartments. Apartments can be noisy and noise is something that could disrupt your sleep. [00:28:00] Just work on these things. If there’s light, noisy and [crosstalk 00:28:03], work to it.
Guy :Don’t worry about what you look like because a quality of sleep is way better than …
Stu:You’re going to look a damn sight worse if you haven’t slept very well. Work to it.
Guy :All right. Moving on, which hack do you want to tackle next?
Stu:Let’s talk about diet.
Guy :Okay. You could be listening to this and eating pretty badly, right?
Stu:You could be. You could be.
Guy :We’d like to think that our listeners wouldn’t be. They’d be dialed in to their nutrition.
Stu:Quite possibly. There are some minerals that can impact our sleep quality. If we’re deficient in things like magnesium and zinc, which we could be if we’re in a processed diet, not getting green leafy veggies, green smoothies and beautiful sources of fish, meat and things like that … You could be deficient in vitamins. One of the first things or supplements that your doctor, nutritionist, naturopath, health professional may suggest that you take is magnesium. It’s, “Well, have you tried magnesium?”
Guy :It is the most required mineral in the body, isn’t it? That’s the mineral we use the most, magnesium.
Stu:I don’t know.
Guy :It is.
Stu:It could be. You know more than me on this. Yeah, I don’t doubt it. With magnesium, like anything, food or supplement-related, there is a huge plethora of options out there. You’ve got citrate, bisglycinate. You’ve got magnesium stearate and a whole range.
Stu:You’ve got so [00:30:00] many of these. Which ones do we try now? Now, look. I’ve tried them all. I always look for fillers in my supplements. I just want to make sure that it’s not filled with all of these chemical nasties.
Guy :Pat it out, yeah.
Guy :Which type of magnesium do you take?
Stu:Magnesium bisglycinate. This is what I take. It’s the cleanest form that I could find. It’s actually really well-priced. No yeast, wheat, gluten, soy, milk, egg, fish, shellfish or tree nut. Those are the things that could just prompt inflammatory response in the body. If you’ve got an allergy to shellfish or wheat and gluten, stuff like that, you just don’t want that stuff happening in your body and I have tried almost every single magnesium supplement out there from the very cheap to the very, very expensive. This was very affordable and I just have a spoonful of that in water at about 8 o’clock or something like that before I go to bed.
Guy :Another thing that I’ve tried that I find effective, I’m sure you’ve tried it, is an Epsom salt bath.
Stu:Yeah, exactly, just not today. It’s too hot.
Guy :You should just brush it all over you right now. Your pores will probably soak it up.
Stu:Yeah, like rouge. [inaudible 00:31:28] just puffing my cheeks. That’s right. Another great way to get magnesium into your body which is really good. From a supplement perspective, I’ve dabbled with zinc, magnesium. This magnesium works really well for me.
Guy :I will add as well. If people are exercising a lot, they put more demands on their body. This is what I’ve come to conclusion with all the [inaudible 00:31:53]. That means they should be even more dialed in with their nutrition which doesn’t always happen [00:32:00] because ultimately, exercise is a form of stress, right?
Guy :I think you can accelerate deficiencies in your body if you’re exercising a lot and not being proactive to making sure you’re having enough magnesium, zinc, all the main minerals, vitamins and nutrients to recover, right?
Stu:All of the [crosstalk 00:32:19] is health recovery.
Stu:[inaudible 00:32:22] podcast with Mark Sisson and he came out with a stellar quote. I think it was along the lines of, “You don’t get …”
Guy :”Fitter and stronger …”
Stu:”Exercising. You get fitter and stronger recovering from exercise.”
Guy :That’s right.
Stu:If you’re not eating well and you’re not taking care of yourself, you’re not sleeping well, you’re recovery is going to be crappy and you’re not going to see the benefits of all this hard work that you’re putting in in the gym or out on the streets.
Guy :Yeah. That would be the main supplementation you’d say, the magnesium, right?
Stu:Look. Again, we’re so unique. If you’re really concerned that you might be deficient in anything, go and get a blood test and get your vitamin panels done. I take zinc as well. I had my last trip about a year ago to see a naturopath. I realized that I was super deficient in zinc. Really, really strange. I eat a mountain-full of sardines and these beautiful little fish that should help me. It’s the way that I am made up. I just supplement with that.
Guy :It’s good just to go and just get a bit of advice and get tested. You only have to do it once and then it could be the simplest thing though just by being deficient in a mineral or a vitamin. By just simply supplementing that, it can make a huge difference.
Stu:Exactly but if you don’t know, you can’t do it. We need a set point to measure everything that we do by. Yes, go and get a blood test. [00:34:00] It costs you next to nothing and you will know. Then, you can work on that and in 6 to 12 months time, get yourself another blood test and see whether what you’re doing is really working for you.
Guy :From that point, should we now move into cortisol, overexercising?
Stu:Let’s just touch on food. One last thing I’d like to say is another little strategy that I work on … Again, going back, everybody’s radically different. We had genetic testing done. Again, on the blog, you can read about it, all the results and what we had done. It was found out that I have something called a whippet gene – super, super fast metabolism and I cannot put on weight for the life of me. It means that I’m always processing, metabolism is always really high. I was waking up in the middle of the night about 3 o’clock quite frequently and almost like, “Bang! I’m switched on.” I’ve got a surge of cortisol, adrenaline’s high. I’m in fight-or-flight mode.
I listened to a great podcast and a couple of guys were discussing that it could just be that your body is running out of fuel. If you’re that type of person, you’re wired, you’re super active, you’re burning a lot of fuel, you might have eaten dinner at 6, 7 o’clock, comes 3 o’clock in the morning, your body might be begging for some more fuel unless you’re fully fat-adapted so you can start to-
Guy :We’ve mentioned many times that you eat like a horse anyway, right?
Stu:Without a shed of a doubt, I’ll eat at least twice what you eat. I cannot put on weight. I weigh 70 kgs, irrespective. I eat good food but lots of it. Before I go to bed, there’ll be a couple of things that I do.
Guy :Which you’ve been implementing more recently, right?
Stu:Yeah, over the last 6 months, again, just to try and get that extra [00:36:00] percent on my sleep quality. Last night, just a slice of smoked salmon and a spoonful of avocado. I’ve got protein and fat in there and that works really well. Alternatively, I actually boil up some quinoa and I mix it with coconut cream, put some cinnamon in there, mix that together and I’ll have a little bit of that before I go to sleep. Yeah, it helps significantly. When I don’t do it, the chances of me waking are much higher. If you’ve trained really hard that day, just think about getting maybe a few more carbohydrates in the evening. A lot of us now fear carbohydrates but that could be playing havoc with the hormones as well. Again, we’re all very different in body type. Some people just don’t need to eat after dinner. I do.
Guy :Yeah but I guess if they generally got a high metabolism and they can start to feel themselves going hungry … Some people don’t want to eat a heavy meal either before they go to bed. You could do a smoothie, I suppose, so it’d be liquid.
Stu:Absolutely. You could have a really beautifully nutritious smoothie. Get some nice fats in there as well. You could eat earlier. Like I said, I have a slither of smoked salmon. I mean that’s not heavy at all and I’ll have that half 9, 10 o’clock. A little bit of avocado and that just keeps me going. Experiment. We’re all different. You know how you feel. That just made perfect sense to me when you wake up and you’re on because your body says, “There’s no fuel. What am I going to do? Quick! Wake up! You’re starving.” Of course, [inaudible 00:37:44] but just something that worked for me. I’ve heard many people talk about it.
Guy :I do wonder as well because I know there’d be a lot of people that exercise quite a lot listening to this especially in the crossfit community. One of the other things we see quite often [00:38:00] is that people go right, “I want to start eating cleanly” and they start cutting out certain foods like grains or processed carbs and all the rest which is great. They contain a lot of energy but then they don’t actually eat enough food through the day to replace the energy that they’ve removed.
Stu:Yeah, so it can play havoc with your hormones especially cortisol. Cortisol is another one which is so critical to get cortisol right from a timing perspective in your body. Cortisol is our stress hormone and ideally, cortisol needs to be nice and high. It’s highest in the morning so we’re up, we’re ready. During the course of the day, it slowly pitches down in a graph, all the way to being at its lowest when we’re ready to go to bed.
There’s a cortisol and melatonin axis where your melatonin needs to be in sync with the way that your cortisol patterns are. Typically, when cortisol is really high, melatonin is really low. If we’ve got really high cortisol in the evening, maybe because we’ve just done a super crazy workout at 8 o’clock in the evening and you haven’t eaten so well during the day, then your melatonin is going to be low. Cortisol is going to be fight-or-flight as well. We’re going to feel wired. It’s going to be really hard for you to get to sleep.
Guy :I raise that as well because I’m going to push our 180 here for a sec, mate. I spoke to a lot of crossfit athletes because we’re just launching into the States and I wanted to get feedback from all the guys using the 180 Superfood Journal Australia. They all said the same thing. The guys that are really on top of their game with their nutrition and training were, “I can’t get enough calories in.” What they would do in [00:40:00] would probably have a smoothie which is easy, it’s liquid, in between the meals that they were eating. That could be two a day. Instantly, their energy rose because they’re now having enough clean nutrients to get them through the day and that’s going to affect the hormonal response, right?
Stu:If you’re actually in the gym, you’ve got to make sure you’re eating. That’s one of these things. People, “I’m going to go on a weight loss regime and I’m going to go so hard out with my high-intensity cardio or whatever I’m doing, pound the streets for hours, hours and hours. I’m going to restrict my food.” Chances are you’re going to affect your hormones in some way, shape or form. Cortisol being a stress hormone is one thing that you want to try and get in balance.
Just to give you an idea, whilst we’re talking about cortisol as well, timing, exercise and things like that, I radically changed the way that I timed my exercise. I’ll show you a little bit of a graph here for everybody that is on YouTube. Tell me whether you can see that.
Guy :Yup. You’ve got a green line going down.
Stu:That is your ideal cortisol profile.
Guy :What? The green?
Stu:The green. In the morning, nice and high. At 10 o’clock in the evening, this should be nice and low. Can you see what’s happening to me?
Guy :Yeah. If your listening to this in iTunes, basically think of just a simple graph and you’ve got a green line that’s gently making it’s way down and then you’ve got a black line that’s going in the completely opposite direction, almost vertical.
Stu:Yeah. I had a cortisol test. It’s a saliva-based test. It’s called wired and tired. I was super, super wired and super tired at night. I couldn’t get to sleep. I was just waking up at midnight and I was switched on. I just [00:42:00] realized for me that I didn’t clear cortisol very well. I was 50 times the limit at midnight than I should’ve been which is an alarm bell for your health. I pulled back on my exercise. I used to exercise 5, 6, 7, 8 o’clock in the evening and I pulled that through to mornings. With diet and a few other strategies, adaptogen herbs as well, things like that, I have addressed this and now feeling so much better.
If you’re training like a gun and you’re having problems getting to sleep, staying to sleep, you might think, “Well, if I’m doing that kind of 7 o’clock, 7 PM class, why don’t I try and do maybe the 7 AM class instead?” Just see whether that works because our cortisol levels typically should be much higher in the morning.
Guy :Another thing that springs to mind and often back is the complete opposite. There’s people that are not being active enough as well.
Guy :You could be one of these people that’s just spending a lot of time sitting down in your chair all day in front of the computer, commuting to work and there’s not a great deal of movement. Sometimes, you’ve got to get the body moving. You were talking about playing with the kids all over the weekend and you were really sore the next day because you were using your body in ways.
Stu:Yeah but I slept well. Again, you’re being mindful of how active you are. When we are active throughout the day, personally, I sleep better. With the smartphones, maybe there’ll be a free pedometer app that you can pull in, plug in. See how many steps your doing. See how much you’re moving. You could purchase one. Again, these things are 5, 10 bucks. Have a reference point. “How am I moving? When am I exercising? What am I eating? How is my sleep?” [00:44:00] All of these things. Do you find that if you do walk from the bus stop to work every morning or use the stairs up and down, is your sleep quality any better? Certainly, try and move because we’re so sedentary right now, sitting down all day. It just isn’t the way we’re supposed to be.
Guy :Okay. Moving on from that, we’re more from food to exercise. What about any herbs? Have you looked at anything like that that have helped [crosstalk 00:44:33]?
Stu:Yeah. Again, there are so many. Valerian root, you’ve got you’re teas, you’re chamomiles. You’ve got things like Ashwagandha, adaptogen herbs, all of these things. These sleepy-time teas, they can help. Caffeine, obviously, switch all that kind of stuff off after 2 PM ideally. If you like hot drink in the evening, I would recommend more of a sleepy-based tea. Chamomile is great. They’ve worked for me. I tried all the herbs under the sun. It’s only really the teas that seem to be that much of an effect. Again, we’re all very unique so you can try. I’ve tried all of these, even crazy herbs out there that you can hunt down the root of some crazy tree in the Amazon that’s supposed to make a wonderful sedative brew. It didn’t work for me. It takes a lot. Yeah, chamomile tea works for me.
Guy :Okay, fantastic. Is there anything else we’ve missed? Vitamin D is the one that I thought about.
Stu:Of course, yeah. Vitamin D is supposedly the master hormone, isn’t it? I mean it’s one of those things that many of us are deficient of right now because we’re [00:46:00] fearful of the sun, first up. Slip, slop, slap. “Get out of the sun. Oh my God! It’s going to burn you”, that kind of stuff. We do need it. I try and get 30 minutes exposure everyday to the sun if I can. I understand not everybody can do that but as long as you get out there and you get some vitamin D. Even around midday, I’ll get 30 minutes and then I will cover up. Just don’t burn yourself. Again, very, very important to get some vitamin D.
Guy :Vitamin D deficiency, it could play a role as well, right? Again, something you go to get tested in.
Stu:Yeah, get tested. See how you feel. It’s part of my strategy for everyday. I do everything I can to sleep well as much as I can. Hydration, I drink as much water as I can. Stay away from the energy drinks and things like that. They will not help you at all. They’re loaded with all these crazy caffeine, taurine and God knows how many teaspoons of sugar, up to 20 plus in some of these cans which are going to send you haywire. They’re going to screw up your hormones and certainly won’t do anything for weight loss. Just hydration, water, herb teas, things like that. People often think a glass of water wine before bed really helps you relax and wind down. Scientifically, it’s not the case.
Guy :Alcohol, I find a stimulant.
Stu:It depends. This glass of red wine before you go to bed, you feel really sleepy but it has been shown to inhibit the quality of sleep. You don’t go into the deeper phases of sleep that we need.
Guy :That’s what I wanted to mention. Now, this is an absolute useless tip because I had no way how to implement it anyway but what I did learn is that the main brain waves, you’ve got beta or high betas like when you’re overanalyzing, you might be worried and so the brain operates that. Then, you’ve got beta which is your awake state. Then, you go closer into alpha, [00:48:00] theta and then the deepest, delta. Do you like that? I’m just rattling this off. It is in front of me but nobody knows that.
Stu:I don’t know whether it’s true but I’m sure it is if you’ve done extensive studies.
Guy :For you to have a really restorative late night’s sleep, you need to do the full cycle right through down to the delta and back up. It happened to me a couple of nights ago because I slept all the way through but I always felt I was never really … Sometimes, I’ll fall asleep and I’ll wake up the next day and go, “Oh my God. Did I actually sleep?” I was out for the count. If you don’t go into the deep restorative sleep, you can actually sleep longer but still feel like crap because you’re not getting into delta which is amazing.
Stu:Yeah, absolutely. All of the things that we’ve spoken about today can affect that, can stop you from reaching that. We’ve got restoration happening in the body, detoxification, all of these pathways, clearance pathways to clear everything out and prepare us for the next day so we wake up with vigor and a spring in our step.
Guy :Exactly. If you want to sleep in all the way through but still feel like you’re not getting rested, it might not because you’re hitting delta.
Stu:That’s right. Sneaking glass of wine or two to calm down after that hectic day will inhibit that in some way.
Guy :There you go. That tip was valid. It wasn’t just good table conversation having dinner wine.
Stu:No, exactly. We’re to discuss it over a glass of wine. I would say there are a whole heap of these things. We’re going to get these transcribed for all of you that want to go through it and not listen to it. You can read it and pick out some tips. Find out what works for you. We’re all radically different but all of these things are part of my toolkit. The best night’s sleep are always my goal state.
Guy :Perfect. [00:50:00] That’s it. Let’s quickly recap for everyone and then we’ll say goodbye. All right. This recall is like the memory game now, isn’t it? It’s EMF, EMR.
Stu:Yeah, sleep routine stuff. EMF, EMR, mobile phones, electricity, stuff like that.
Guy :Unplug it all off, yeah.
Stu:Yeah, going into blue light, devices. Again, switch it off. Try and stop that blue light from interrupting your natural melatonin production.
Guy :Then, you could use the glasses.
Stu:Orange glasses, yeah. Joe 90, Thunderbirds.
Guy :f.lux, the app f.lux.
Stu:Pull f.lux, the plugin. That’s right. Nice and dark in the room.
Guy :Sleep hygiene.
Stu:Sleep hygiene. Again, quiet earplugs, try it. Eye mask, try it if any of those things are bothering you.
Guy :Yeah, clean up your diet.
Stu:Clean up your diet. Make sure that you’re hydrated.
Guy :If you don’t know what that means, there’s about 50 other podcasts you can listen to that’ll help.
Stu:Exactly, yeah. Hit the blog and the podcast. You’re right. You’ll certainly find that.
Guy :The eBook. I don’t know if you’d read that but I like it.
Stu:There is an eBook there. Again, we touched on diet, hydration. Make sure you’re properly hydrated, not through caffeine and energy drinks. Obviously, cup of coffee in the morning, great.
Guy :If you are a freak like Stu in terms of calorie consumption and you struggle to put on weight, then you’re struggling to get asleep, have that extra meal just before you go to bed. That can be, I don’t know, sardines like Stu said. Did you say sardines or was that salmon?
Stu:No, I like sardines for breakfast.
Guy :Yeah, right. Jesus Christ, [crosstalk 00:51:35].
Stu:It’s a twist of routine but I love it. Yeah, just mix it up. Get a little bit of fats, protein, a little bit carbohydrates. Figure out what works for you.
Guy :Exactly. Then, you could be overexercising.
Stu:You could be exercising at the wrong time.
Guy :Yeah. You could be undereating. We suggest like increasing the calories in between the meals and to do it cleanly.
Stu:Support your hormones.
Guy :Yeah. [00:52:00] That can be in the shape of whatever’s the easiest way to do it. We recommend the smoothies but that’s our biased self. Then, there’s underexercising.
Stu:Yes, get mobile. Just make sure that you are actually doing stuff. Then, we’ve got these [crosstalk 00:52:17].
Guy :Yeah, work at the sweat once in a while. Just get into it.
Stu:Yeah. I wrote a blog post about this and I think it was the sleepy-time one. No, it was the 5 unusual things that I do for better health or something on those lines. You’ll find it on the blog where I tell you about my, I think, 6-minute exercise routine. If you have that excuse, “I just don’t have time”, I’ve got a routine for you that will take 6 minutes. Bang! It’s a beautiful routine.
Guy :Revolutionize you.
Stu:Certainly, do something. If you haven’t got time to exercise, then drop us a line because we can tell you about all the things that you can do in under 10 minutes.
Guy :Just to get that response, right?
Guy :Then, there was the glass of wine a night inhibits the depth of the sleep through the brainwave patterns to get the quality of sleep that’s not restorative enough.
Stu:So many people. When I say so many, I’m thinking almost all of the people I know that drink wine have a nice glass of wine in the evening to calm down and get ready for sleep but science does show that it does the opposite. I don’t know how it makes you feel in the morning and whether it dehydrates you during the evening as well or when you’re trying to sleep. Maybe that can have an impact on your bladder and toilet trips during the night.
Guy :Yeah, that doesn’t help either.
Stu:A whole bag of things there. Great stuff to think about. Try them. Write a chart. “I did this. I ate this. My sleep quality was …” From naught to 10, give yourself a number and then at least, you’ve got a reference point [00:54:00] for all of the other things you try because you could delve into all of this stuff, you don’t know what makes the difference.
Guy :Yeah, that’s right.
Stu:One thing at a time, definitely.
Guy :Excellent. Anything else or you’re happy?
Stu:All I would say is please give us feedback. Let us know what works for you. If you’ve got any unusual hacks that do work for you, send it in. I’ll try it.
Guy :Yeah, send us an e-mail. If you’ve got any questions for a future podcast, send it in and we’ll cover them especially if we like the question, of course. If you enjoyed this podcast, leave us a review on iTunes, too. That will be greatly appreciated because we do read them.
Stu:I’m just looking at my face. Thirty-six degrees now.
Stu:Yeah, I’m still sweating.
Guy :Yeah, there you go. Everything would be appreciated. Cool. All right. Thanks for tuning in and thanks, Stu, for your words of wisdom.