#222 – Sleep Vs COVID-19 with Dr Michael Breus
3:20PM Apr 21, 2020
Dre Michael Brues
If you are looking for a 30 day reset, where you can dive into not only your health, but also taking a look at dropping body fat or increasing your muscle mass increasing your performance in the gym, or just in your day to day life getting a little bit more mental clarity then this program is definitely worth worth checking out. Like I said, it starts on the third of February. Ideally, you guys should be signing up at least that week before so you've got time to prep because you will need to figure out the amounts of foods you're eating head across the www dot the Chief life.com you can click into the little tab which is on nutrition tab and you'll find a little bit more information around what the 30 day fasting challenge entails. I look forward to helping you guys out on that program. Welcome to the Chiefs life Podcast,
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Guys and welcome to the G flat podcast. I'm Matthias Turner joined with Stacey letona. And we've got our Oh, I was gonna say Dr. Michael Bruce, you were our first of many slate doctors that we've had on our sleep professionals and I'd say that you're still our favorite.
Alright. Yeah, I love it. Thank you.
Exactly, yes, I third time podcast, which is great. And I mean, it's very relative to everything that's going on right now. And that's why we kind of got you back on board. And we actually had a podcast a few weeks ago, based on melatonin we talked about a little bit but I think we would like to pretty much focus this podcast around melatonin and really, what what we'll go to eventually is what Melatonin is doing for the Coronavirus or COVID-19 right now as well, but that's kind of down the track. So I think
to be fair, that relationship is complicated. Yes. Like it's not it's not a straightforward do this that happens type of thing, but I'm happy to go into for sure.
Yeah. And I think realistically what the overall talk will be about is optimal health really. And that's what we're always fighting for, for for our listeners, and I think that's really what you stand for as well. And so that's where melatonin kind of really comes into play. And I think really it just be talking about Yeah, getting into it. So I guess let's maybe dive into start with with what is melatonin?
So Melatonin is a hormone. Lots of people think it's an herb, they think it's some form of a supplement. It is a supplement, but it's actually a hormone. And so people need to be careful. I've written extensively about melatonin. And there's a lot of very interesting data on it. Now, some of the things I say maybe a bit controversial compared to some of the other folks that you've had on board and people who are you know, super diehard melatonin people but here are the basics right? So Melatonin is asleep regulator, not asleep initiator. Okay, so lots of people historically think oh, I take melatonin, melatonin. I would take a sleeping pill. So I just take it right before bed. I turn off the light and whammo, it's supposed to work. So nothing could be further from the truth. Okay, so all melatonin does melatonin doesn't make you feel sleepy. Melatonin tells your brain it's bedtime, right? From a circadian clock perspective. Yeah, that's what melatonin does. And it does it really, really well. And it's the hormone of choice for doing that. Now, to be clear, there are other hormones that can have effects on circadian rhythmicity. But Melatonin is really the main offender I guess, is the way you would say. But Melatonin is a hormone. And interestingly enough, it's not just produced in the pituitary gland, believe it or not, 95% of it, I think is actually produced in the gut. Melatonin turns out to be an amazing antioxidant. And so some people are using it for its antioxidant properties. There's some pros and cons to doing that. We can we can discuss that as well. Also, melatonin. To be fair is not debated. directly, at least here in the United States. So when we look at the dosing recommendations, if you look at the data that comes out of MIT, what you'll discover is between a half and one and a half milligrams turns out to be the appropriate dose for reaching plasma concentration levels in order to change circadian rhythmicity. That's the only thing that I actually use it for, generally speaking, is jetlag social jetlag, those types of situations. Or if I have somebody who's a senior, and their melatonin production has begin to decline. Right? And so that happens often I've got many patients who are above age 5055 into their 60s, and we discover, hey, melatonin production is starting to lag. They're starting to go earlier in earlier, you know, wanting to go to bed at you know, nine o'clock and then 830 and then from there like, Michael, what the heck's going on here? Like I want to stay up and watch, you know, Seinfeld, God said, you know, so sometimes we can move move them a little bit with that. I personally am not a fan of using melatonin and chill There's a lot of different data out there, some people are perfectly fine with it, I'm just going to be honest with you, I would not stick a hormone in a young developing female body, period, end of story. I personally don't like it women are born with the eggs that they have. And when you introduce a hormone, we just don't know I could be completely wrong. I could there could be absolutely no effects but to be fair, I'm not willing to get on air and and say, Hey, everybody go out there and use melatonin, you know, with your kids, because it's simply it's not the case. It's not It's not what I would recommend personally. Yeah. Also being said, One interesting thing that we've discovered here in the United States, which I was referring to just a second ago is that the dosages are incorrect on the bottles, really interesting study came out found almost 75% of the melatonin on the label, when they brought it into the laboratory to see actually how much was in there. 75% of the time was wrong,
meaning there was too much too little. It was a
little maybe you're getting it maybe you're not getting it so people really need to kind of think through that, also, you need to look at the sourcing for your melatonin, because remember, it's a supplement. And so at least here in the United States, the ability to create a supplement, I can make it in my garage, and I could sell it at the local health food store. And that would be perfectly legal thing to do here. So you want to look at purity standards of the companies that are creating your product. I mean, again, you're putting something into your body, and it's a hormone, right? It To be clear, 99% of the time, it's a synthetic hormone. Well, not 99 actually, depending upon where you get your melatonin, there are now organic sources for melatonin. You can actually get melatonin from plants, there are certain plants that actually create it and then there are certain ways that you can synthesize it in an organic fashion that can be very healthy and good for you. But the dosage again, that you're wanting to look for is somewhere between a half and one and a half milligrams if you're trying to move your circadian rhythm.
Yeah, so the common thought is that you have a high melatonin production of a nighttime when you're getting ready for bed and it's Just least in the morning, how do we test for for melatonin in the body? Like if you were unsure as to like you sign your older clients, how would you test for that?
So there are saliva tests, there are blood tests. But it all depends upon the timing of the test. Right? So that's the big gift, you know, thing that people forget, right? Because I'm a circadian guy. Like, I mean, I'm always thinking about timing. Yeah. But a lot of people are like, Oh, well, I can go to my doctor and get it tested. You can you by the way, you people can order tests online. I mean, there are saliva and blood tests, just make sure to record the time. And then you can have a comparison statistically, part of the problem also is for melatonin testing, in general, many physicians who are testing, they don't know and they don't really know and understand the test or the melatonin curve. So for me when I'm testing, I'm looking at a melatonin curve. And so to be clear, I don't test somebody once. I'll probably test them five or six times throughout a 24 hour cycle so that way I can I can plot and get a curve and really start to understand what's going on.
And is that like, is that big differences in the averages, like you look at the averages on someone's testosterone levels, for instance, and it's a massive scale as to what can be healthy. But realistically, what's it kind of looked like in the melatonin scale?
Well, you know, it's interesting, because when you look at the references, unfortunately, many of the references are not male versus female, and they're not by age, which is exactly what we need to be clear. So unfortunately, the ranges that we see are, are variable, and there's no real understanding as to why they're variable. So oftentimes, what I'm doing is I might take melatonin readings, let's say six times in a 24 hour cycle, and then I might wait a month, and then I might do it again and get some corroborating data. To be clear. If you're doing this and you're female, you need to time it with your menstrual cycle, because menstruation absolutely positively affects melatonin, as well as sleepiness there. I have some women who have a completely different bedtime, the week before. Their period and then a completely different bedtime the week after their period because their energy levels are different and their need for sleep is different so of course the melatonin
Well, that makes sense, right? Because it's a hormone so it's gonna be affected by the hormonal state. So
yeah, exactly. I mean this is not rocket science guys like it's not like I'm some genius over here and thinking this through it's just like these are the basics of medicine and kind of how we should be thinking about
so I remember when we've spoken to you before and you said one of the things that you would love everyone to do is to go to bed at the same time and wake up at the same time. So how does that fit in then with the periods causing changes in wanting to go to bed?
Absolutely. So so with with women in particular there I have that caveat of that week surrounding and and what I usually do is I interview them because some women have zero effect on their sleep. They're like, isolate them. I'm not any more sleepy or less sleepy the week before the week after, but there are some women especially women who suffer from BPD who have like really bad menstrual cramps and things of that nature where we have to To start to look at changing those bedtimes but you're right I am a consistent bedtime kind of person. But more so the wakeup time than the bedtime these days and I'll tell you why. The data on it is very, very consistent is if you wake up at the same time and you open your eyes and sunlight hits them. We were mentioning blue light before we went on that blue light turns off that melatonin faucet and that's what we want in the mornings. We just don't want that in the evening.
Yeah. And we'll dive a little bit deeper into that. I think as we go, something that we really recommend for people is in that first 10 minutes or 20 minutes or half hour of waking is trying to get outside if they can like
hundred percent and it should be within 15 minutes of opening their eyes. They need direct sunlight and water. Yeah, those are the two big things is room temperature water they should grab a bottle and they should walk outside drinking it and be outside let their dogs out that their kids play whatever it is to be fair wear robe. Okay, I learned this the hard way. Right. Your neighbors do not want to see you In your boxer shorts, getting sunlight in the morning, they shouldn't
be so noisy looking over Hey,
I live in I live in Los Angeles, I can literally lean out my window and touch my neighbor's house. Yeah.
Nice and close living. Excellent. So I mean, we told you about some of the benefits in the body. So I mean, it acts pretty much as a sleep regulator axes is a antioxidant. Oh, sorry. Right touch on that.
Well, I was gonna say one thing that people also need to understand is there are some cons associated with melatonin. So melatonin interacts with ACE inhibitors melatonin interacts with blood pressure medication, you need to be careful if you're if you're just saying hey, I want to take melatonin because I think my circadian rhythmicity is off. I want to try to sleep better. Especially if you have any type of cardiac situation. Call your doctor, talk with your doctor. Make sure it's okay because it can also interact with several of the medications not just the the cardiac situation in and of itself, which might be elevated blood pressure, but other cardiac medications, it may make them less effective. In some cases, it makes them more effective. So if there's there's a dance that needs to be played there. women who are pregnant should not be taking melatonin, right? Because you're going to influence the fetus. There's no reason to Yeah. So again, there, there are groups of people where Melatonin is probably not going to be a good option. And they need to understand that.
And that's obviously the synthetic forms that you're talking about all of these cons and when we were talking about it before and the dosages obviously. But how do you then improve your own melatonin production Arsenal, melatonin as he was saying, it is obviously a hormone that's released from the pituitary gland in the garden? How do we, how do we improve that?
So it turns out regular consistent sleep is arguably the best way to improve melatonin function and process so it's really about consistency. And so you led me to this already because you already said you like consistent sleep. Michael, tell us more about it. That's what does it really is. And it's really the consistent wake up time. And I mean, I know it's sucks. Look, I get it. If you wake up at 530 during the week, and you don't want to wake up at 530 on the weekends, I totally understand, shut up and do it anyway, because it's going to help, right? Like, it's going to actually help consolidate your sleep, it's going to it's going to jack the quality of your sleep. I've got patients now when I've got them on a super consistent schedule, they don't need as much sleep. Like they used to think they needed eight hours, I've got these people on six and a half hours and they're waking up naturally, without an alarm, they go to bed, they fall asleep in 10 minutes, they wake up six and a half hours later, they feel like a million bucks. Like, guys, this isn't hard. It's literally about consistency. And a lot of that has to do with melatonin really kicking off at a particular time. And you knowing what your crono type is to know when that time is to sleep at the appropriate time. That's really the secondary key feature is knowing and understanding your chronotype. Now you guys have had me on before talking about my book, The Power of when and those crono types. And so you apply those crono types and you start to understand melatonin
Yeah, so talking about someone like a bear who would maybe like to nap on a weekend then you would say, Hey, wake up every day, regular regular time and then have you nap just to catch up on that sleep if you feel you need it.
Now, I would say that, but I'm gonna, I'm gonna put a caveat on there. And that's currently during some of the craziness that's going on right now, which is COVID-19. napping is probably not going to be a great strategy for you. And I'll explain to you why. So what's happening is a lot of people are staying up until four o'clock in the morning binge watching TV, and then they're like, Oh, crap, I got to have work tomorrow if you have work, and what ends up happening is you don't have to shower, you don't have to drive and so you turn off your zoom screen, right? And you're sitting there in your bunny slippers in your pajamas and right at the top. Right, because you've slept so much up until that time and you you've changed your schedule, right? And so what's great about being quarantine is you can actually sleep based on your chronotype right Think about it. So all of a sudden you can have a very unique interest. opportunity. So instead of staying up late and four o'clock in the morning and watching whatever it is, you want to watch no one understand what your chronotype is, if you go to crono quiz calm or the power of win quiz calm and we've talked about these before on your show. Yeah, we get the time. Thank you. I appreciate it, guys. That's where you go. And once you can sleep based on your crono type, dude, everything gets better, huh?
That's super interesting. Very, very interesting. And I mean, you actually said that you've been busier than ever because of COVID-19. Pretty much like so many people are stressing and not sleeping well. So yeah, that's kind of is that the main thing that people are reaching out to you for because of this? Well,
it's interesting. So I've gotten three different types of requests these days. So one is, you know, Michael, what are some sleep tips that we can do to help our sleep in order to prevent contracting or to at least keep our immune systems functioning high? So I've got some great information for your listeners about that. I've got some people who say Holy crap, I'm so anxious. I'm having scary dreams. Now. What do I do about that? That's been a big topic. And then the third one, quite frankly, has been people who have actually contracted COVID. And they're like, what do I do now from a sleep perspective? Because your recommendations actually change if you contract the virus. So you want to do all three or which one do let's
dive in? Yeah.
Okay, so let's do all three. So, first of all, when you're looking at COVID itself and trying to understand hips, and by the way, I'm going to give everybody a link. And if you guys don't mind publishing it in the show notes, you can get all this information by going to this link and it'll have it all listed there for you. It's just www sleep doctor calm, forward slash sleep hyphen, pandemic. And they'll be able to see all it's a landing page. It's got all kinds of good resources for people, they'll dig it for sure. But when you start to think through like, okay, you know, what are some of the things that I should be doing? You know, like right now, there's a couple things that I want to identify for people. So number one, the 90 minutes before bed, give yourself a media day. Okay, nobody needs to know COVID statistics right before bed. Okay, because all it does is stress you out. Yeah, right. Do yourself a favor, there's actually data to suggest that if you do something that causes optimism or happiness before bed, you fall asleep more quickly, and you have more pleasant dreams. Interesting. So one of my big recommendations right now is a gratitude list now so and you can you can write it down, you can have it in your head, whatever it is that gets you there, but really thinking about the positive things that are going on, I get it, there are negative things that are happening, I get it, people are scared and unsure of what's going to happen next. However, that's not a valuable time for you to be thinking about that. And it's certainly not a productive time for you to be thinking I'm gonna
interject really quickly we've got a 30 day gratitude challenge so you guys can jump on that free Yeah, just go to the chief life comm click on the link all on the drop down menu and you'll find a 30 day gratitude challenge and it's just posting your three things. And most grateful for every day. And we've got a group that's running that people are posting every day. It's super cool just to see everyone posting their happy thoughts for the day. So
most people are doing it in the morning, because ideally, you know, they're not doing wake up before bed, but they might then just handwrite it or think of them again at night, as you're saying,
Yeah, and you could even send out the information to them and say, Hey, think about this at night, and then tell us in the morning type of thing, because what we'll see is it'll help it'll hopefully, positively affect their sleep. So that's certainly something that I talked about. So the media, if you will, the media diet 90 minutes before bed. Also, what's interesting is that 90 minute period of time, number one, that's when you would actually take melatonin. So if you are a melatonin user, you want to take it approximately 90 minutes before bed, if it's in tablet form, if it's a tincture, and in a liquid form, you only need about 30 minutes because it'll absorb it in a different way. And it will probably make it up there faster. The other thing you can do, by the way, at that 90 minutes is take a hot bath. There's a ton of data to show that if you raise core body temperature, the subsequent fall in the core body temperature makes people feel sleepy. And that can actually help people falling asleep. And by the way, it feels really good to take a nice hot bath before bed. Right? And guess what? Throw your bed partner in there too. I mean, again, there's nothing like this is the time for self care. This is the time to be aware of how your environment and how your actions are going to affect what's going on with you. So absolutely, positively use that time. You know, well, a couple other considerations. As I said before, keep your keep your schedule consistent, specifically your wakeup time. If you wake up at 630 during the week, I know it's thanks wake up at 630 on the weekends.
Well, think about the wake up time. What happens if somebody else in the house wakes you up before your wake up time? Right? Should you try to go back to sleep or is that like it's time to get up now?
It's not me it's the dog
is the person who wakes the person who's asleep own a firearm. I'm just so this is a very common issue. I've heard it a zillion times. But primarily it happens with people who are snoring. And so if you have somebody in your life or an animal that wakes you up on a fairly frequent basis, a couple of options that you have are, you know, earplugs, sound machines, things of that nature. And if you do have somebody that's next to you, that's snoring and you're fearful that they stopped breathing in their sleep, getting them checked for sleep apnea is going to be something that's going to be very important to do. And a lot of people are now noticing things about their bed partners that they never noticed before, because they're spending so much time together. So again, if you that snoring that's always been there. If all of a sudden you're noticing gasps or chokes for air, or it stops for a brief period of time and starts back up. You may actually be doing your bed partner a favor by identifying what's going on. Yeah, totally. Two other quick things and then we'll move on to the second topic. Now is not the time to crack open the wine cellar and drink The wine in the wine cellar, right? There's a really big difference between going to sleep and passing out. Right. And so, what which, it's so funny, but people are starting to drink wine now at one o'clock in the afternoon, right? And they're like, I'm done with the kids. You know, let's go grab a glass of wine. To be clear. I have no problems with people drinking, but you got to be smart about it. Right? So alcohol definitely affects your sleep. While it may make you feel sleepy, it keeps you out of the deeper stages of sleep. And it's a diuretic, so you become dehydrated because you start to pee, and then you're peeing right before you go to bed. Many people also don't know this, but sleep by in and of itself is a dehydrated event. So you actually lose through the humidity in your breath, you lose almost a full liter of water every night. So think about it like this. You drink a couple glasses of wine, you pee them out. Now you have this sleep event and then what most people do, they grab a cup of coffee, which is also a diuretic. And so what happens as we get on stuck on this hamster wheel of dehydration, and there's a million different studies to show why This isn't good for your overall body but there's quite a few to talk about sleep so be careful with the alcohol so my general recommendation is one drink wait one hour have one glass of water two drinks wait two hours two glasses of water three drinks the same and if you're drinking more than three drinks you've probably got an issue going on
it was also starts to create more of a stress response in the body then so it's becoming although it might feel nice on the brain is definitely becoming a negative effect on what's actually happening in the body as well. So I think it's good for women it's anything over two drinks can do that. And for most men, even two plus would do that as well. So yeah,
I I completely agree with that. And the data is very consistent with that as well as it goes from a relaxing to more of a myopic and in some cases, aggressive standpoint, especially for guys. And then the last one, that this is one that nobody seems to think about, but I think is important to mention is keeping your environment clean. You know, like we're spending a ton of time at home right now. And so we're bringing in dust and particulates and you know if we got the answer In the house, that kind of stuff. So make sure you're washing your sheets in super hot water a minimum of once a week, in some cases twice a week. Again, make sure you're using EPA filters on your air filters. And if you've got a humidifier, you probably want to use it. One of the easiest things that I've had most people do is once a day, walk around your house and open up every window and then walk around your house and close every window just to get some fresh air in there. Yeah, trust me, the whole house feels better for it.
The other thing I'd add to that is because your environment is making sounds nice, like putting on some music you enjoy and putting on some smells that you enjoy, like things like that, that a really nice for creating a great environment. Yeah,
no, not just completely agree with that. I think that makes a lot of sense. You're ready to move on to topic number two. Let's do it. So topic number two has to do with a lot of these crazy dreams that people are having. And we're kind of dovetailing a little bit with melatonin here because the oat when people overdose on melatonin, they get super vivid dreams and in some cases nightmares and that's one of the earliest signs of melatonin overdose. So number one If you're taking a lot of melatonin right now, which would be anything over probably one and a half to two milligrams as an adult, then and you're getting very vivid dreams, this may be the reason why you definitely want to scale that back. So that way you're not having that side effect. But the scary dreams makes sense to me. For a couple of different reasons right after 911, my practice spiked, I had more people who are freaking out after that, and trust me, I get it. I completely understand where people are coming from but the the anxiety is palpable, I think people are concerned because there while they may not be concerned necessarily for their safety or their health, they're concerned about their career, they might be concerned about family members who might be in situations where they can't control, occupancy and things like that. There's a lot of reasons to be stressed out right now. Now, granted, doing the little data diet and the gratitude list are going to be helpful before bed and I still recommend those along with the hot bath because it can be quite relaxing. But some things to really think about is distraction. Right? And so there's Nothing wrong with a little distraction. I'm literally the only sleep doctor in the universe that says it's okay to sleep with the television on. Right now I get it. You should be wearing your blue light blocking glasses. I've completely agree. But at the end of the day, if that's what helps chill you out, just do me a favor. Don't watch the news right? Now, certainly don't need that information. Watch an old episode of something funny. You know if that's your thing, or do you don't have to watch TV I've got some people they're breaking out old photo albums and looking at their kids when they were younger and having all those fun, pleasant memories before bed and guess what, they're sleeping better and they're dreaming better and it's working. So you know, setting yourself up in the right way to do it is not a bad idea. For some people I live in Los Angeles cannabis is legal. cannabis is an option for a lot of people, especially for turning off some of those thoughts. Now, to be fair, there are some people when they use cannabis, they actually get crazy dreams. So if you're one of those people that does that you need to be careful about the potency perhaps of your of your cannabis, because that can also be having an effect is that the same for
CBD oil sorry, not
so THC is is more of the psychoactive one CBD generally speaking has almost no psycho activity. So I'm not as worried about people using CBD during this time. In fact, CBD can be quite helpful more so for inflammation and pain, quite frankly than for sleep. The data that I've been reading on sleep says you need almost 200 milligrams of CBD adjusted before you really start to see a major sleep effect. And to be fair, CBD isn't the answer. It's CBN. So if you look at the constituents within the cannabis plant CBN, which is actually oxidized THC turns out to have a major effect on sleep and it's much more powerful and you need less of it. So for folks out there who are looking and going to dispensaries talk with your dispensary about any products that have CBN in them because they're more likely to have a somnolent effect. Other things that you can do if you've got a lot of crazy Dreams going on is talk somebody, if you have a therapist, if you have mental health issues, depression, anxiety, so on and so forth, during a time of quarantine is not a time to stop going to therapy. Now here's the good news 99% of therapists can do what they do online. So talk with your therapist and explain what's kind of going on for you. To be clear, people are not are dreaming about what's concerning them and what they're thinking about. So by changing the things that you're concerned with, and by changing the things that you're thinking about, you have a far greater likelihood just to quell many of these kind of scary dreams. Also, there's a technique Believe it or not, it was developed by a guy named Dr. Barry Krakow at the University of New Mexico, where you actually write out your entire dream. And what you do is at the end of it, you change it so that you're no longer the victim. You're the victor, right? So if you're having a dream that COVID is trying to get you, you know, then change that write it all out and change the ending to the point where you Now you're able to find, you know, the vaccine for COVID. Let's say in this particular example, then what you do is you read your prose four or five times before going to bed. So you read it with the changed ending. And over the course of seven to 10 days, it actually changes inside the dream.
That's so cool. So powerful. Super
cool. Yeah. And then finally, we talked about, you know, what do you do if you actually get COVID? And so, you know, what, what do we do there? So, historically, you heard me say, stay on your schedule, sleepier amount of time. If you get COVID, all bets are off, you need to sleep. Right? Remember, sleep is healing, right? That's what we do when we sleep. So your body's going to need extra sleep it and also by the way, if you feel like you're getting COVID, it's going to be good for you to go ahead and get some extra rest, right. So if you're starting to feel achy, if you're starting to get headaches if you start if you think you're starting to have a fever, these are all situations where number one, it's important to consider that you could have COVID number two, just increase your total Sleep time by a couple hours. This will be helpful. These are general recommendations that I've given for the flu historically, but to be fair, COVID is pretty close to a flu Yeah. Also remember to stay cool. Remember it's easier to be to sleep in the pool and so you know sleeping for example, without socks with your feet exposed and I'm telling many people it's actually makes a lot more sense to sleep naked these days because of the the your body's ability to thermo regulate is not hampered by you having clothes like you know, if you have plan on pajamas on and a down comforter and all this other stuff. It's easy. And then of course, changing your linens is something else that I'm recommending and and then in in cases where you are sick, the environment, the cleanliness of the environment turns out to be a massive factor. So if you are sick and you've got somebody who's hopefully helping you and taking care of you, you know, don't leave the tissues, you know hanging out on the nightstand type of thing. Like you need to get all that stuff out every single night. You need to have a clearing. You need to clean it off. You need to kind of sterilize the area. Make sure that it's that it's okay for you. And then also I'm telling people to use a bed wedge. So it's like it's just a little piece of foam, it looks like a triangle. But what it does is it actually elevates your whole torso starting at the at your lower back and actually lifts your whole body. And the reason that becomes important is because it helps with congestion, post nasal drip and things like that. And then finally, be careful do not take over the counter sleep medication when you've got COVID. So there's a lot of you know, there's the the pm medications, if you if you know what I'm talking about. Those are the ones that really are not the things that you want to be taking during this because they all contain Benadryl, which is an anti histamine and it's just gonna make you fuzzy and it might interact with some of the medications that could actually be helping fight the infection. So your body knows exactly what it should be doing during that period of time. It's probably sleeping. So just you know, let it do that.
So interesting. That's really cool. was a lot of really good tips. I thank you.
You bet and all of these all these Information is available for folks. At this website, which is the sleep doctor calm forward slash sleep hyphen pandemic. It's perfect.
And so talking about melatonin a little bit deeper, synthetic versus natural form, when you're having synthetic variations, does it respond the same? Five minutes?
Yeah. So it can it depends. So here's the thing is natural is always better than synthetic. I mean, that's just a fact. Yeah, um, just in terms of absorption rates, and your body's ability to accept it. I personally, when I use melatonin, there's a one particular company I don't get any money from them or anything like that. They're called herbal tonin. I'll get you guys the link for it. So we can put it in the show notes as well. It's actually made from seagrass and it's really good stuff. It's 100% organic. These guys have really gone the distance with it. I know the owners of the company because once I saw it, I was like, dude, tell me what you got. And I kind of dug into their science. But yeah, I would agree with If you that non synthetic or natural forms of melatonin are going to be great and grass isn't the only seagrass isn't the only one I mean, there's there's actually a decent amount of data looking at tart cherry juice having melatonin in it, but to be fair, you have to drink the tart cherry juice in the morning and you have to drink it in the app in the evening for it to be effective. And that's a lot of tart cherries.
Yeah. A lot of cobbled on the body to potentially
That's a sugar Yeah, exactly. And so Dobby into I guess COVID versus Noah tone a little bit more in some of the sciences coming out now because Melatonin is a is an antioxidant in the body and the one that works 100% compared to any other antioxidant in the body. What what are they showing that Melatonin is plotting against COVID
Okay, so it's complicated. And so I'm gonna I'm I can give you a super detail. So I've got some information that I'll send you guys that you can post if you'd like Yeah, but here's kind of the bottom line for it is Melatonin is both anti inflammatory and antioxidant which is great. But Melatonin is capacity to actually hold inflammation in check. And to believe it or not restrain immune activity is the reason why we're looking at it now. And you might be thinking, Wait a second, did you say restrain activity and hold inflammation in check what's going on? So what we've discovered is that melatonin can affect something called a cytokine. These are anti inflammatory cytokines, which are a body's natural response. And melatonin has actually been able shown to reduce these pro inflammatory cytokines. Michael, why would we want to do that we want inflammation to get to those spots to help fight the disease, right? Here's what happens with COVID is we get an overreaction. So our body actually that when COVID hits it, overreact and we get what's called a cytokine storm. What melatonin seems to be able to do is balance this cytokine response, which is very interesting. Now, to be fair, the only data that I've been able to find is in animal models, so I don't have human Data surrounding melatonin and COVID yet, I'm telling you that it's going to come out relatively soon. But the what we now see, again in the animal models is that the underlying pneumonia and lung damage that are you know, signatures of COVID is actually an exaggerated inflammatory response to the body's own immune system. And melatonin, at least in animals has been shown to help that specifically, there's a cytokine called n l r p three, let me repeat that n l r p three, and there's been one Italian journal that actually did have a human study in it, but I'm not convinced about it just yet. So again, things to think about. But melatonin appears like it may actually have a real possibility for us. And there's also an interesting theory going around about melatonin, which is that the reason that children are not getting COVID is because they're naturally super high in melatonin, which is kind of an interesting idea.
Yeah, definitely. I love that. That's really cool. I think we might wrap it there just based on the fact that your time is running out. So I'd like to say a massive thank you for joining us. For anyone who wants to check out any of Dr. Bruce's stuff it is the sleep doctor.com once again for the pandemic stuff in particular the sleep doctor.com slash sleep, hyphen pandemic. And I'll put that all in the show notes as well as linking to the previous episodes. We've done notes dives a little bit deeper into sleep cycles, your crono types it dives a lot into boosting your melatonin and everything before bed as well. sleep hygiene, sleep routine everything like that. So um, yeah, thank you very much for joining us.
Thank you for like knowledge bombs.
Oh, it's always My pleasure. I love doing your podcast. You guys are awesome. I love your enthusiasm. And I love your respect for sleep and having me on. So it's been my honor and pleasure to be part of this. Thank you.
Thank you so much.
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