Week 7: Deep Sleep

Feb 19, 2024 13:44:17PM

Getting adequate sleep is essential for physical and mental well-being. It is one of the most important factors for maintaining good health. A new study out of Georgia has found that having a consistent sleep schedule can help slow down the biological aging process. Popular neuroscientist and podcaster, Andrew Huberman, touts sleep as, “the foundation of our mental and physical health and performance in all endeavors.” Huberman says sleep is the best nootropic, stress reliever, immune booster, emotional stabilizer and more! 

I personally feel best when I get somewhere between 6.5 - 8 hours of sleep per night. I work best the next day when my sleep schedule is from around 10:30 p.m. to about 5:30-6:30 a.m. This consistent schedule is the sweet spot for me, but everyone is different. The key with sleep is to apply both day and night methods that will help encourage a more consistent sleep schedule as well as improve how you fall asleep, stay asleep and have both REM and deep sleep.

The question is, how can you get the deepest and most restful sleep that leaves you fully recovered and energized for the next day? First, to understand sleep we must look at the role our hormones play in the process. The two we want to focus on are cortisol and melatonin. It is also beneficial to look at how sleep impacts other hormones such as HGH, leptin and ghrelin. 

The important thing about the relationship between cortisol and sleep is timing. We will set ourselves up for better sleep when we are producing cortisol at the right time of the day.

Normal cortisol levels should peak around 6-7 a.m. and should be at their lowest around 10 p.m. Cortisol’s job is to get us out of bed and moving for the day. This is why it is best to have higher levels in the morning. What you don’t want is to have cortisol levels peak in the evening. Chronic sleep deprivation is correlated with elevated cortisol in the evening. The key here is to train your system to be in the right cortisol flow. 

One way to perfect this is to make sure to see the sunlight when you wake up. A few minutes of bright morning light in the morning tells your body to produce more cortisol and to suppress melatonin production. This will increase daytime alertness and focus. 

When we train, the body produces cortisol. Therefore, I find it best to work out in the morning to mimic my natural cortisol curve. I’ve found that working out too late in the evening spikes my cortisol and affects how fast I can get to sleep. 

Caffeine too late in the day is not a great idea either for the same reason – it can make falling asleep more difficult. 

Limiting screen time at night improves melatonin production in the evening. The blue light from screens keeps the brain alert, which is obviously not best before bed. If you need to work at night, try to set your screen to a warm color setting. Most electronic devices have a nighttime mode that limits the blue light. Getting in the flow of natural morning sunlight and avoiding bright screens at night will assist in creating a natural circadian rhythm. 

What you eat in the evening is also important for quality of sleep. After sunset, I focus on magnesium, tryptophan, serotonin and melatonin rich foods to encourage my system to start calming down and get ready for bed. For this reason, my dinner is primarily lean animal protein that is high in tryptophan, carbs like sweet potatoes or white rice, which increases serotonin levels, and good fats that help balance the meal so my blood sugar doesn’t spike. 

I love biohacking my sleep by making a deep-sleep tonic after dinner. Right now, I’m using a base of organic A2 milk which is loaded with tryptophan, and I make the most delicious peppermint hot chocolate with Lakanto’s new Peppermint Drinking Chocolate. Cacao is high in magnesium and the peppermint also has a wonderful calming energy. I like to add collagen protein and deep sleep aids such as glycine, l-theanine and inositol. I also take magnesium L-threonate on the side. This drink serves as a nice bedtime treat that tastes great and gets me ready to fall asleep easily. 

I avoid alcohol to improve my REM sleep, which is when we dream. Studies show that even one glass of wine can block REM sleep, and this is why we wake up feeling hungover – we did not get that deep REM sleep. This also brings me to HGH, leptin and ghrelin. These are hormones that are reduced when we have a poor night’s sleep. 

When we get deep restful sleep our pituitary gland releases human growth hormone. HGH is like the fountain of youth and helps influence our biological aging process. It improves skin health, collagen production, bone density and muscle density. It helps our bodies burn more fat and helps aid in recovery. When we do not get deep enough sleep, we do not release as much human growth hormone causing us to miss these HGH benefits. 

Leptin is our satiety hormone. One night of poor sleep reduces leptin levels and leaves us feeling so out of control with a pint of ice cream lying around, that we eat the whole thing. Ghrelin is our hunger hormone. Poor sleep increases this hunger hormone level by more than 15%, which will cause us to want to eat more sugar and carbs when we are tired. It’s probably best to have some sugar-free Lakanto options around just in case! ;)



Weekly posts published weekly on Wednesday, or catch up on all Crosby posts here


Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.