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Re-United with My Sugar Addiction…..

Post-Holiday Addiction

I think we have all faced this at one time or another, you visit an amazing place with phenomenal food and you trying everything insite because, hey you’re on holiday.

Many of you will know I have just come back from Melbourne and to those that have been to Melbourne, you will know that is world renowned for amazing food. As a massive foodie, it is fair to say I went a little overboard…. But no regrets because that is what holidays are for, expanding your horizons to new things, just sometimes that also means expanding your waistline at the same time. There is nothing wrong with this and I think we should all live and experience life but I have noted since coming home the true danger lies in coming home reunited with my old friend my sugar addiction. As I have stated in many of my previous articles this is powerful as a cocaine addiction, as it reacts in the similar fashion in the brain.

In realising the trap for myself I quickly realised that I will not be alone in this struggle, so why not share the strategies I will implement to get myself back on track. This document is for anyone looking to cut sugar, it doesn’t matter if you have been on holiday or not, just coming out of winter can be hard enough, as we tend to drift towards comfort foods

Cold Turkey

Just like any addiction moderation is not a good idea as “just a little bit” ends up as a “big bit” or “another bit”

Time to be strict, no more sugar for me for at least two weeks, so goodbye to my beloved chocolate, although I eat 90% dark chocolate it does still have a small amount, so that will have to go as well.

Two weeks strict no leniency and following this I will reassess and most likely be more liberal with good quality sources eg my dark chocolate (90%). The key focus is to break the habits of snacking.

 

I’m going, Keto

Those who follow me know that I am an advocate for keto when done appropriately for the right person, I have written extensively on it

I traditionally cycle in and out of keto depending on my training and racing schedule, but it looks like it is time for another solid cycle of Keto, especially with race season around the corner now.

Keto is one of the quickest ways to kick the cravings to a curb. However, it is always harder going into with re-established sugar cravings. The induction period can be tough as for any detox you are removing an addictive stimulant that you currently rely on. Your body doesn’t know what hit it, naturally, you begin to crave those foods more and begin making elaborate explanations and justifications to why you “need sugar” or “This is a good source of sugar” All this does is draw out the induction period. If this sounds like you and something you have tried and failed with before, the next couple of steps may also be challenging for the same reasons but don’t worry we have a solution for you! Check out the Exogenous Ketone section.

There is no one fits all approach

Not everyone needs to go full keto, high fat low carbohydrate (HFLC) will be sufficient and keto maybe to extreme for many. You need to keep in mind my baseline of carbohydrate intake was previously very low and I know I personally function best in this state with my performance goals. Everyone will function off varying amounts of carbohydrate. It is what Cliff Harvey calls “carbohydrate appropriate” so don’t feel like you need to go all or nothing. I would personally suggest starting HFLC and see how you go, re-assess and decide if you want to take it a step further to keto.

 

No Snacking

While on holiday it is easy to snack and graze on food throughout the day. Although our bodies are not designed to graze, this places a greater demand on our digestive system which in turn our body neglects other key processors.

Back from holiday is a great time to establish my new routine so no more snacking instead focus on 2-3 key nourishing meals.

 

Intermittent Fasting

For those like me who like to take it a step further beyond restricting carbohydrate and snacking and want optimal benefits. Intermittent fasting should definitely be considered as it provides your digestive system a greater opportunity to rest placing less unneeded external stress on your system

There are wide-ranging fasting protocols, that you can select from and to learn more read my previous posts but I think the key to any of the protocols that is often missed is that you should never suffer! Fasting is not about starving yourself it is about listening to your body and eating when hungry. As you become less reliant on carbohydrate for fuel and your body shifts over to primarily utilising your fat stores, as this happens you will naturally be able to fast for longer, but you should never push this adaptation phase, listen to your body and gradually increase your fasted window.

 

This is too hard! I Need a Helping Hand

If you are struggling with the above steps and you need a helping hand or just want to stay feeling amazing, look no further than Exogenous ketones.

Exogenous Ketones

Cravings and hunger catch us all off guard at one point or another but what if you could remove these while putting yourself into a fat burning zone (ketosis) while increasing mental capacity and clarity.

Sound good?

Exogenous ketones are the answer with an extensive list of benefits they are phenomenal from a performance standpoint but also a sugar addicts best friend as they detox the sugar. They are my specialist trick and often refer to them as the “catalyst for ketosis”. There is nothing as powerful in getting you through the tough times of induction period of keto or kicking the sugar addiction. Firstly because they taste amazing (even sweet) but because they remove hunger, craving and keep you performing at your best. Plus they are high in electrolytes which keeps the dreadful keto flu at bay.  

 

Out of Site out of Mind

When struggling with willpower which you most likely will early on, hide your treats. For some, this is not enough so I suggest giving them away or throwing them out so that your house is clean with no treats.

Accountability

Get friends, family, flatmates onboard. Let them know your plan and why you are doing it, ask them to keep you honest and on track, because let’s be honest we can justify anything, at least this way you will get an unbiased accountability.

Brush your Teeth

Danger time for me is following dinner, normally when I reach for the dark chocolate or go for seconds and then thirds when I am not even hungry. Brushing your teeth straight after dinner is a great way to stop yourself from eating

Join in the Journey: Stay Tuned

Join me as I re-undergo this induction phase and ditch the sugar and carbohydrate. I have my exogenous ketones ready to go and looking forward to being addiction free and back full of energy with no spike or crashes.

 

Science Behind Ketone Supplements

Part Two: For those like me who enjoy the science

After discussing the application and benefits of exogenous ketones in my last post, I want to dive into some science behind them and highlight the differences between various types to arm you with the knowledge to make the right decision.

What Are Ketones?

Natural, Clean Energy

Ketones are our fourth fuel substrate, they are clean-burning as they reduce the production of potentially harmful Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) inside cells. Plus they also clean up ROS produced from other metabolic processes.

Ketones have been shown to be preferable fuel for the brain over glucose as they aid in brain development. When ketones are present they preserve glucose for pentose phosphate pathway which results in ribose for DNA syntheses and NADPH for lipid biosynthesis

Before we touch on ketone supplements you must first understand the mechanism that defines the state of ketosis. Simply put, when your body is in a state of ketosis, ketone bodies are present in a higher concentration than normal (0.5+ mmol/L). I have discussed this further in the previous post

Three Ketone Bodies:

  • Acetate (Acetone): Is the least abundant, produced in much smaller amounts, and is usually exhaled through the lungs rather than being used as fuel.
  • Acetoacetate (AcAc): Is part of the metabolic pathway whereby humans make and use ketones, but it tends to be found in the blood at lower levels than BHB.
  • Beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) Is the most prevalent of the ketones. Due to far higher concentrations and existing outside the cell, compared to Acetone and Acetoacetate it is widely used to measure ketone levels.

Two Forms of BHB:                                                                

  • D-β-hydroxybutyrate: The right-handed version. 

“D” comes from the Latin dexter.

  • L-β-hydroxybutyrate: The left-handed version, lab-made ketones.                    

“L” comes from the Latin laevus.

D-BHB vs. L-BHB: Which is better?

There is currently a lot of controversy around which form is safest and best to use as a supplement form. One side argues the D-BHB is superior in enhancing mitochondrial function, whereas other evidence suggests a mixture of D & L is handled better and more beneficial for neurological diseases and cancer. L-BHB is thought to be a signaling molecule to reduce inflammation and has been shown to also convert a portion to D-BHB. Additionally, the production of D-β-hydroxybutyrate (right-handed) is a more expensive supplement to produce.

When measuring it may appear that D-BHB promotes higher blood ketone levels. However, that is because most commercial ketone measuring devices only measure D-BHB, not L-BHB.

To the best of my knowledge, there has not been a comprehensive study to truly determine if D-βHB is more beneficial than DL regarding general use applications, or value to the consumer from a financial perspective.

History of Ketones

Ketones are nothing new, it is just our understanding that has changed. beginning, in 1865 scientist discovered a molecule called acetoacetate in the urine of diabetic patients. Acetoacetate is a ketone or also known as a ketone body. Through discovering acetoacetate ultimately led them to identify BHB.

In identifying them, they began seeing BHB in high concentrations in uncontrolled diabetics (Ketoacidosis), thus leading scientist to label ketones as bad. However, as our understanding has grown this was shown to be short-sighted and to predominantly be a factor for uncontrolled diabetics patients.

Ketoacidosis is Not Ketosis

I know it sounds similar but they are the same.

Ketoacidosis or Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA) is a complication of type 1 diabetes mellitus. Associated with a dangerously high combination of ketones (much higher than ketosis) and blood sugars which makes your blood too acidic. As limited insulin is available for the cells to adequately uptake the sugar (glucose) in the blood to use for energy. Ultimately this can alter the normal functioning of internal organs like your liver and kidneys. It is a critical condition that requires prompt treatment as it is a life-threatening condition and often occurs quickly within as little as 24hrs.

DKA Ketone levels can increase up to 20-25 mM, which decreases blood pH, whereas a state of ketosis is determined as 0.5-3mM. With an upper threshold of 7-8 mM (e.g. during very-low-calorie Keto Diet and use of exogenous ketone supplements).

DKA is a predominantly a factor for type 1 diabetes but individuals with type 2 diabetes who have little or no insulin production, need to be careful as it can occur if not controlled.

Ketone Supplements:

  • Ketone salts: This is the form found in most ketone supplements available on the market. Ketone salts are a compound consisting of a mineral ion, such as sodium (Na+), potassium (K+), and BHB. Ketone salts are high in electrolytes; so they can aid replenishing electrolytes lost in urine while on the ketogenic diet.
  • Ketone esters: Ketone esters are primarily used in research and are not currently available to consumers. This form consists of pure beta-hydroxybutyrate or Acetoacetate without other additives.
  • MCT Oils: Medium chain triglycerides (MCT) doesn’t contain BHB but has been shown to moderately raise BHB levels. MCT’s require a greater amount of processing than other exogenous ketones thus taking longer to get into ketosis. Along with this, MCT’s are a more calorie dense which could be counterproductive for those needing to watch their caloric intake.

What Ketone Supplements do I use?

I personally utilise a mix of MCT Oils and Ketone Salts. I have used them for close to two years now and couldn’t imagine life without them especially the Pruvit (ketone salts).

My goal is performance and un-tapping my potential, I can’t settle for suboptimal, I want to always be performing at my best. Therefore, I use these supplements in many varying capacities from training and racing (triathlon), speeding up my recovery, to increase my mental capacity and clarity (ps. I am functioning on ketones as I write the majority of my blog posts 😉 ). Aside from performance end I also utilise Pruvit for longevity and to keep hunger at bay and extend my fasts so perfect for travel or when on the go with no good food insight or time, this gets me through these dangerous moments and keeps me functioning at a high level without hunger pains or cravings.

MCT Oils (Bulletproof or Melrose): I use this mostly when I need a little bit of mental and energy boost, but mostly to keep my hunger at bay. Plus sometimes to blunt the effects of those carbohydrate treats for me this normally means MCT Oil on my fruit salad. 

Ketone Salts (Pruvit): MCT is great but nothing compares with Ketone Salts, this would have to the biggest performance enhancing supplement I have ever taken, it is my rocket fuel!

Mixing Things Up:

I have traditionally taken each supplement separately until recently when I came across research stating the benefits associated with a combination of both Ketone salts (BHB) and MCT’s. This combo has been shown to further elevate the BHB response in the blood. Plus as it has a delayed gastric absorption it extends and sustains a higher elevation of blood ketone level over a longer period. The combination is looking extremely promising as it appears to be better than either ketone salts or MCT’s alone. Even better, it has been reported that it may remove the adverse gastrointestinal emptying effects of MCT oil that is often associate when MCT is taken on its own. However, further research is required to identify ratios and best application

Recently I have been playing around with my own ratios and I have introduced MCT oils into my staple long ride fuel of ketone salts and so far it has been great but I will keep you all posted with how I get on.

Why Pruvit?

Pruvit or Keto OS, which stands for “Ketone Operating System,” They were the first to patent to ketone technology, meaning they are most widely researched and used. Pruvit, is now one of the quickest growth nutrition based companies and has posted 400% year-to-year growth since its inception and is showing no signs of slowing down as it has recently moved into Canada, Asia, and Australia.

 

“I Need to Try Ketones for Myself!”

Flick us at Taylored a message and we can get you set you up with a trial.

[email protected]

Subject: Ketone Trial

 

Keytone Supplments: What is the Fuss about?

Ketone supplements or more technically known as ‘Exogenous Ketones’

Why All the Fuss?

The product has been shown to put you in ketosis in 30mins!

A profound statement when you compare to the time it takes to achieve nutritional ketosis through diet alone which normally takes around 2-3 days and potentially as long as 7 days! It is no wonder people are flocking to exogenous ketones. Plus with all the success stories it does not seem to be disappointing.

What is this magical state ‘Ketosis’?

When in a ketogenic state you produce ketones which simply put is your 4th fuel substrate so fat, protein, carbohydrate, and ketones. This state can be achieved by either restricting carbohydrate or by taking an external supplement such as exogenous ketones, that puts you into to this state and promotes production and use of ketones.

What does Ketosis Achieve?

  1. Weight loss
  2. Increased Energy & Mood
  3. Increased mental clarity & Focus
  4. Increased Performance (Mental & Physical)
  5. Better Sleep
  6. Faster Recovery
  7. Longevity

There are two types of ketones:

  • Endogenous ketones: Endogenous = ‘Endo’ = within. ‘Genous’ = origin.”                                                
  • These are ketones made naturally by the body through the process of ketogenesis.
  • Exogenous ketones:Exogenous = ‘Exo’ = external. ‘Genous’ = origin.”
  • These are ketones supplied to the body by an external source like a nutritional supplement

Application:

No doubt this sounds great but what are people using it for?

  1. Adaptation Phase: Keto Induction

Exogenous ketones are especially helpful for some getting started on a keto or high fat low carbohydrate (HFLC) diet because as you remove carbohydrate from your diet you will face two major challenges ‘Keto flu” and hungry/carbs cravings

  • Keto Flu: Adaptation to a ketogenic diet (keto-induction) can be associated with some unpleasant symptoms, this has been coined as “Keto Flu”. The symptoms associated have been shown to subside after 3-5 days and people report better energy and mental clarity afterward. However,

Exogenous ketones have been shown to be a viable aid in this induction period and avoiding keto flu.

How?

Keto Flu stems from a lack of sodium.  As you deplete your stored carbohydrate (glycogen), you lose 3-4 grams of water for every gram of glycogen (stored carbohydrate). Explaining the initial weight loss associated with ditching carbohydrates. Therefore, in this induction period, it is important to increase sodium (salt) intake to compensate for the loss of water and sodium to aid in retaining water loss. No need to stress, salt intake is not unhealthy like we have been fooled to believe. This is one way that exogenous ketones can help have they are packed full of salt it can aid in minimising this depletion and unpleasant effects associated.

  • Hungry/Carbohydrate Cravings:

The shift from carbohydrate can be difficult as you cut sugar (carbohydrate) it has been shown to reflect a similar addiction response to cocaine. Overcoming any addiction is not easy! The great thing is exogenous ketones can help with this as the increased satiety and remove cravings and instead of being bound to the pantry, hungry at all times, you end up finding that you will need to remind yourself to eat. This liberation from the need of continual refueling was one the most profound effect I personally saw.

 

  1. Weight Loss:

  • Calorie Restriction:

Yes, calories are important and no a calorie is not a calorie.

I personally recommended the approach ‘quality over quantity’, first as it is a more nutrient-dense plus for the purpose it will normally self-correct as you are more satisfied from good quality foods and will naturally limit calorie intake. However, to accomplish  weight loss goals you need to attain a healthy negative calorie balance and being in ketosis is one of the greatest methods in achieving this as mentioned above it curbs your hunger and cravings, liberating you from your need to snack and regularly refuel, resulting in you naturally extending periods between food and eating less at meal times and as a result you reduce your caloric intake which results in weight loss!

  • Lifestyle Buffer: When life gets the best of you, exogenous ketones are also great for keeping yourself on track. They are great for those who struggle with maintaining a strict ketogenic diet and find themselves slipping up, exogenous ketones will aid in buffering the effect of a slip-up, keeping you on track towards your goals.

Application: Take around and during the meal, to buffer response

 

  1. High Performers:

Perfect for any high flyers, always on the move that is either:

  • Time poor
  • Always on the road
  • Up in the air
  • In back to back meetings

Time poor and always traveling with back to back meetings doesn’t leave you much time to eat well, making it extremely hard to come across healthy options.

Dealing with a lot of high flyers, this is a never-ending question that I get asked as they gradually see a decline in their health as they continue down the vicious track. What if I was to tell you the solution is a small sachet that can increase mental clarity, focus, energy, mood while keeping you full till you have time to eat a nutritious meal. Obviously, we want to do our best to eat well but this aid will get you through the tough times, especially the tempting junk food found in conferences! With no insulin spikes and crash, so you won’t crave the slices and sausage rolls.

Especially helpful for those who fly a lot, it is well known how bad airplane food is. It not only tastes bad but because we lose taste buds in the air, they pack it full with sugar and sweeteners to make it palatable….. Instead, I say no to food and come prepared with a sachet of exogenous ketones to sip on and if long hall brings along my own healthy snack like macadamias. Ketones will also help with minimising effects of jet lag as another added bonus.

  • Productivity: Due to the increase in cognitive function and mental clarity, exogenous ketones are my biggest performance hack. Whenever I am under the pump or need to be productive you can guaranty I am sipping on some exogenous ketones.   

 

  1. Sporting Performance:

Performance cannot be forgotten exogenous ketones are like rocket fuel and amazing for all athletes from high intensity to endurance athletes.

The effects on athletes are phenomenal. Using them myself personally in training and racing across a variety of distances from sprint to Ironman Triathlon for the last year and a bit, I can personally attest to this. It is important to understand there is multiple applications to optimise sporting performance.  

  • Fat adapted (Metabolic Flexibility):

The ability to optimise your fuel substrate utilisation and tap into fat for fuel which has an endless supply of energy.  have to be one of the most powerful tools in training fat adaption as within 30mins they put you in a ketogenic state but also they help at keeping the hunger at bay allowing you to extend the fast. They are a great tool to use in the none key steady fasted sessions.

Can you spot my Keto OS Swiss Cacao

Training fasted? Fasted sessions are all about training your bodies ability to tap into your endless supply of fat stores instead of relying on external fueling of carbohydrate like a traditional athlete. You may think I’m crazy but I will often do a lot of my ironman training fasted, a couple hours on the bike followed by a run and then refuel afterward which could be a total of 18hr fast. However, important to remember this is a trained skill and fat adaptation takes approximately 3 months or so to train. I am never hungry or craving food and you shouldn’t be! If you are, eat! You should never suffer if so, you are playing with fire and will burn out due to excessive stress. Additionally, important to understand not all sessions should fasted, fast on steady-state training rather than high-intensity key sessions or longer sessions.

Application: Sip on full sachet across the session.

  • Recovery: The anti-inflammatory benefits of bringing in ketosis is not only beneficial for chronic health conditions but also your recovery from training and racing. Keeping blood sugar levels balanced you no longer get insulin spikes that are associated with an inflammatory response. I see the recovery component being one of the greatest underestimated benefits of exogenous ketones.

Recovery = Adaptation = Results

Drinking Keto OS while in my Recovery Boots in the middle of a big training weekend

Too many athletes neglect the recovery component, and in its place double down on training, putting themselves further in the hole and not allowing the body the time to adapt to training response. What if you could speed this process up and get back training sooner. Exogenous ketones will absolutely aid in a quicker recovery and are something I believe all high training load athletes need to consider. Maybe less important for sports which training frequency is low and have to recover but in sports like triathlon and especially sports like Ironman where you training 15-30hrs per week, most of the time on top of your full-time job, you really need to double down on recovery strategies as you are placing a significant amount of external stressors on your system. This needs to be balanced out!

Sleep is the most powerful component for recovery and exogenous ketones have shown to be effective in improving your sleep and I don’t think I need to explain the benefits of a good night’s sleep we all know the power that poses (For more information on the importance of sleep).

Application: Sip on half sachet before to get the benefits of alternate fuel source while training and racing and sip on the other half post session to promote recovery.

Or

Sip on full sachet post session across the remainder of the day to double down on recovery.

  • Endurance:

Want to go harder and for longer exogenous ketones are the answer! No longer in training do you need to rely on gels and blocks the wreak havoc with your Gastrointestinal (GI) system. Instead, you can fuel your training sessions on exogenous ketones. On most long rides I use ketones for fuel.

Fat Adaptation: Caveat

Although I have been discussing training low void of carbohydrate as much as possible when we race of looking to optimise performance it is a different story! We want to be metabolically flexible and race with the high amounts carbohydrate that our bodies can handle comfortably (Train Low Race High).

Why?

We want to optimise substrate utilisation, once fat adapted we can then utilise carbohydrate on race day/ race prep session (Test before the race!) to buffer our energy stores and give us the high octane fuel for those surges and sprints.

  1. Chronic Disease:

Chronic Health Conditions that might Benefit from Keto:

  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Cancer (glycolytic driven cancers)
  • Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
  • Epilepsy
  • Metabolic Syndromes
  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Dementia
  • Parkinson’s Disease (PD)
  • Autism spectrum disorder (ASD)  
  • Migraine headaches
  • Gastrointestinal conditions eg. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • Skin conditions eg. acne vulgaris, acne rosacea, eczema, and psoriasis

 

A relatively new area of application and with lives at risk it is an area that obviously requires a lot of research to ensure validity. Not mainstream treatment by any means. However, many people are now well aware of the effects of ketosis on certain conditioning, especially as it has been used as a clinical treatment for epilepsy since 1920. People, as a result, have begun self-supplementing with exogenous ketones to help aid their treatments.

Other Applications

These applications discussed above are only the beginning and as the growing body of literature grows, I believe so to will the number of varying application. I take many performance-enhancing supplements but nothing has compared to Exogenous Keytones so I am excited to watch this field grow.

 

“I Need to Try Exogenous Ketones for Myself!”

Flick us at Taylored a message and we can get you set you up with a trial.

[email protected]

Subject: Ketone Trial

 

Next Post:

Following on from this post I will take it a step further into the science behind Exogenous Keytones and highlight the differences between the various types to arm you with the knowledge to make the right decision.

The Most Restorative Sleep you will EVER have

Now it is time to bring sleep month all together. Over the last month we have discussed various factors and their effects on sleep. The final step now is to provide you with a resource full of tips, tricks and hacks to ensure you sleep like a baby again.

Design your Sleep Sanctuary

A bedroom should be a place to escape, unwind and sleep. It should not be your main ‘hangout’ place where you watch movies or get hooked on the latest netflix series. Even more importantly, your bedroom should not be another place where you do work.

The bedroom really is designed for two activities and should remain this way! The increase in leisure and work activities you do within your bedroom will promote a negative association with you, your bedroom and sleep. This combination will increase the likelihood of you having a poor night’s sleep. However, if you draw a line in the sand and keep the work, movies, social media at the door, you are setting yourself up for success and unbelievably good sleep.

My goal with this article is to outline the ultimate sleep sanctuary that everybody should strive for. The idea is to provide you with the tools and tricks to create your own sleep sanctuary at a low cost or higher cost if you really want to get serious. But these small changes and additions could be the most impactful investments you ever make to your sleep.

Creating the Perfect Sleep Sanctuary

The sleep sanctuary aka the bedroom, really the most important room in the house to get right. As mentioned above, you need to set yourself up for success. If it is not sleep or sex (sex has many positive sleep benefits) leave it out of the bedroom!

Below what you will find is a list of key things to include to promote a good night’s sleep.

 

Ditch Technology:

“BUT my phone is my alarm in the morning”

Simple buy an old school alarm clock (one that doesn’t emit light). There is no need for you to be surrounded by technology 24 hours a day. Try to make your bedroom a Tech-Free Zone! As discussed in an earlier post the EMF from your phone is causing more harm than good and is something you don’t want to deal with. Beside the EMF’s your body will have to deal with the bluelight from the phone screen.  This can be mediated with an app on the phone, such as FLux, which will extract bluelight from your devices (both laptop and phone). On top of this if you are really serious, like me, I would suggest changing your light to low blue light bulbs and investing in some blue blocking glasses to really full proof your exposure to blue light exposure at night.

 

Black it Out: Every sleep environment should be blacked out, there should be no light seeping through the window or the curtain. Obviously this is even more important if you are living in a city environment. There is some research that has shown that our skin is so sensitive to light that even if we wear an eye mask and shine a light the size of a pin prick on the back of the knee, it will disrupt/disturb our sleep.Therefore, any light seeping through the curtain or even a small flashing light from any form of technology (e.g. like a charging light or alarm clock) is going to greatly impact your sleep.

Target: Ideally you want to be able to extend your arm out in front of you and it should be dark enough that you should not see your hand.

 

Airflow: Crack the window!

First, check that your room is mold free and regularly stay on top of this! Nothing more important than this!

Stale air is the last thing you want in a bedroom, you want free flowing air. This free flowing air will promote the concentration of negative ions within your bedroom especially if you live close to nature. However, if this is not possible or ideal due to temperature or pollution from living within a city you want to look at investing in an ioniser. This will work to produce negative ions within your sleep environment and will help get you bouncing out of bed in the morning.

 

Essential oils

Essential oils are a great way to really create that sleep sanctuary with some sleep aiding scents. Aromatherapy has been used for years and is well recognised for its sleep aiding benefits. There are a wide variety of different oils associated with promoting sleep.

Sleep Aiding Oils: Lavender, Ylang Ylang, Clary sage, Jasmine

Don’t have a diffuser, no worries mix essential oils with a carrier oil (eg coconut oil) to topically apply to skin. Don’t apply directly as concentration is to high for skin and as for anything there can be too much of a good thing.

 

Plants

Plant are natural air purifiers and a great addition to any sleep sanctuary not only will they keep the air fresh they will also aid in decorating and livening up your room.

Examples Include: Aloe vera, English Ivy, & Sansevieria trifasciata (commonly known as Mother-in-Law’s Tongue). All of which are very low maintenance.

 

 

 

Mattress & Pillow

When talking about a sleep sanctuary the Mattress & Pillow combination cannot be skipped over. These two elements are  key component as discussed in previous post. In my opinion you can not go past the ECOSA mattress and pillow as it caters to all sleep positions and body types.

 

 

 

Sleep Aiding Gadgets and Strategies

If you really want to improve your sleep, then this next section is for you! I will provide some powerful sleep tracking and hacking tools, that will take your sleep to the next level.

 

Sleep and Performance Tracking:

Are you rested and recovered? What is quantifiable is measurable.

HRV has been shown to be one of the most powerful measures in identify and tracking excessive stress. It could be used to track mental stress or training stress such as overtraining etc. It measures this by calculating the time variation between heart beats.

Majority of tracking tools now utilise HRV and the tracking tool you choose to use is up to you and your budget. Like anything in this domain the more you spend the more you get. But you also don’t have to spend a fortune to get HRV tracking benefits.

HRV4 Training is a perfect option for the price sensitive person as all you need is the app (small cost: $15.99) and a newish mobile phone that has the capability to track through camera lense (most phones these days). This app is great as it combines with with subjective measures to get a well rounded picture. The app offers a pro-version with even more capabilities (less than: $50/Year). In my opinion whether go go on pro-version or not HRV is an essential measure for any high performing athlete or worker.

If you want to get serious, the Oura Ring in my opinion is the best personal sleep tracking device on the market! This company has managed to compress everything in to a ring! No, not a watch but a ring! The light sensor of the ring capture 250 samples per second for a constant flow of reliable data. The ring detects the pulse waveform and amplitude variation, and exact time between heartbeats. It is also equipped with a precise 3D accelerometer and gyroscope to track activity and it’s intensity. Finally, it also records body temperature and tracks it to the minute. These combined measurements provide a high power measure for tracking your current health status. It has phenomenal capabilities for such a small device and the new model coming out next month is now even smaller and more powerful. If you are passionate about sleep this is a device you need to check out! Also they have offered a discount of $50 US at check out with code “Taylored”

 

Body Temperature Regulation:

If the breathability of your new ECOSA mattress is not regulating your temperature enough and you run hot temperature like me, you can take it a step further and get yourself a Chili Pad. This will offer you the ability to set the temperature of your bed for optimal sleep quality. It even gives you the ability to individualise the temperatures to each partner’s needs. This has been referenced by many Kelly Starrett & Tim Ferriss as one of the most powerful sleep hacks you can implement.

 

 

My favorite Downregulation Sleep Aid:

When wired and tired with plenty on the mind and you can not seem to downregulate, that is when I use the Headspace Mindfulness App. This app not only aids in meditation practice and mindfulness but offers a great selection of sleep aiding sessions include my favorite 10 min sleep session that knocks me out everytime.

 

Noisy environment:

For those trying to get to sleep in noisy environments. Get yourself an app or device that plays White Noise or Water Noise both of which have been clinically shown to help you get to sleep.

 

Grounding:

Grounding or Earthing is the connection to the Earth’s natural negatively charged energy. Known to increase mood, decrease inflammation & stress, it is simple and powerful. The hallmark of grounding is its ability to achieve alpha brain wave state, which is seen in deep meditative states and in healing sleep states. There are many ways to do this, but the simple version involves you getting into nature and kicking off your shoes.

But with technology we can now produce this energy through PEMF (Pulsed Electromagnetic Field) Therapy & Electrical Stimulation. These are some of the most powerful biohacking tools with proven benefits. The Earthpulse, a grounding mat or grounding bedspread, is a PEMF therapy device that provides better sleep & recovery than ever before. It is not a cheap device but if you are serious about your sleep it is money well spent!

 

Wake up Fresh & Ready to Go:

Bounce out of bed with a Sunrise Alarm Clock. The Natural light alarm clock was designed for a more natural wake-up. The lamp emits natural light as an alarm to improve your ability to function in the morning.

Other alternative is phone apps such as Sleep as Android that wakes you up in lighter stage of your sleep cycle by tracking movement and noise, helping you wake up fresh in the morning. I am sure we have all felt the effects of the alarm going off while we are in a deep sleep, and well it really isn’t fun. This app also allows you to rate and track your sleep. Plus it is great if you want to see if you snore as it offers a recording function.  

 

Circadian Rhythm Hack

One of the most powerful things you can do for priming your circadian rhythm is morning exposure to sun (No sunglasses or sun protection if possible). This coupled with light movement such as yoga, some mobility or a walk. You will not only be energised for the day ahead but syncing the body clock to the sun.

But what if this is not an option?

Treat Winter Blues

We have discussed the powerful effects of bluelight in affecting your sleep, if utilised smartly it can be a great tool in establishing circadian rhythm especially when access to natural light isn’t easy. The Re-Timer is a tool that you can wear either in the morning or evening, depending on how you want to change your sleep. The light is UV-free and has been independently tested for eye safety to the international standard.

 

 

Sleep Enhancing Supplement

Magnesium is an important mineral and is necessary for overall health. Every cell and organ in your body requires this mineral to function properly. It contributes to bone health, along with brain, heart and muscle function. Magnesium is found in foods such as; green vegetables, nuts, cereals, meat, fish and fruit, so it is important that you aim to eat these foods regularly.

Magnesium is often the first supplement to be suggested for sleep, due to magnesium ability to activate the parasympathetic nervous system (down-regulation system). Therefore, deficiency in magnesium can lead to poor sleep and even insomnia.

Certain populations are at a higher risk of magnesium deficiency, including those people with digestive diseases. Issues with your digestive tract can cause your body to not absorb vitamins and minerals properly, resulting in various micronutrient (vitamins and mineral) deficiencies. Other people affected by this deficiency include diabetics, individuals with an alcohol dependence, older adults (many factors could affect this including current inflammatory state, disease, quantity of food intake) and athletes. It is recommended that athletes get sufficient magnesium to assist in recovery from large training loads

Dose:

Oral:

The Institute of Medicine suggests a daily oral dietary intake of 310–360 mg of magnesium for adult women and 400–420 mg for adult men.

Transdermal (absorbed through skin):

Often not thought of when it comes to supplementing magnesium but an Epson salt bath or a Float, which has a high concentration of magnesium, can be absorbed through the skin and bypass the gastrointestinal track. Therefore, these are great alternative methods if you struggle with oral supplementation. Additionally, you can get magnesium sprays, which are great to apply prior to jumping into bed.

What is the best option?

Yet to be conclusively defined. Transdermal does seemingly offer great potential but I think a combination of both may be best! Oral is easy to comply to on a routine basis where booking in for a float is often less frequent. My routine is a weekly Float coupled with daily supplementation of BePure new Magnesium.

 

Summary:

The ability to hack your sleep is endless and this is a quickly growing industry as we learn more about the power of sleep. Above is a my favorite sleep hacks and if implemented you will achieve the best most restorative sleep possible and feel amazing for it!

Sleep Month: How is your Sleep?

Sleep is the most important factor that underpins everything, if you are not sleeping you are sacrificing your health, well-being, longevity and performance (both work and sporting).

Being good at sleep is not like being good at sport or business, you don’t win any awards for being a great sleeper! Sleep is something that is traditionally private, until it being bad at it begins to seep into other areas of your life, such as when your health begins to decline or your focus starts wavering while at work.

Some will use lack of sleep as a badge of honor, stating that they can train, work, and be more productive with all the spare time gained from not sleeping. We all know these people that claim the amount of hours of sleep that they don’t have time for and that they function optimally with minimal sleep. In fact there is even a  “sleepless elite,” like Barack Obama, Dean Karnazes, Martha Stewart, and Marissa Mayer. Who claim to sleep only four or five hours a night. However, I would argue 99.99 percent of the time, they are lying to themselves. They are instead functioning at a suboptimal level and the cost of this is their health. Sure there is variance in optimal amount of sleep needed from person to person, but it is by no means this drastic.

The average night’s sleep today equates to approximately 6.9 hrs whereas in 1910 the average was 9 hrs! That is a substantial decline in a short period of time and we are paying for it!

Close to home in Australia a study published in March this year calculated the financial and nonfinancial costs associated with inadequate sleep for the year of  2016–2017 (US dollars). “The estimated total financial cost of $17.88 billion represents 1.55% of Australian gross domestic product. The estimated nonfinancial cost of $27.33 billion represents 4.6% of the total Australian burden of disease for the year.”

Chernobyl

If you cast your mind back to the disaster at: Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, The gas leak at Bhopal, The Zeebrugge ferry accident, The Exxon Valdez oil spill. When you do a little research, you’ll find that these and many other major industrial disasters have been directly linked to sleep deprivation. Therefore, the financial cost associated with lack of sleep has great potential to be significantly higher.

With the ‘24/7’ society there is no ‘off’ switch and with the increasing night time use of TV, internet and mobile phones this means adequate amounts of uninterrupted sleep is becoming increasingly compromised. With this paradigm shift to 24/7 society, we have more shift workers who are required to service the needs of our society. I am sure everyone knows someone that works night shift. This roster exposes them to significant circadian disruption which is likely to add to the growing financial cost of sleep deprivation seen at the workplace. Quite a scary thing to think about when a lot of the shift workers are those that work in healthcare. To put this in perspective 100,000 deaths occur each year in US hospitals due to medical errors and sleep deprivation.

 

University student sleeping in lecture hall

Sleep loss is happening across the population spectrum from children, students to adults. We are all affected. The table below from a 2004 study in America highlights children of various age groups and clearly identifies their lack of sleep, with many not even achieving the desired number of sleep hours. A study done with Auckland University students in New Zealand showed that a large number (39.4%) of university students where suffering from significant sleep deprivation symptoms. What was interesting and shocking from this study was that students were presenting with clinically significant levels of depression (~17.3% of students) and anxiety (~19.7% of students).

Sleep across a 24hr period (2004 America Study): 

Age Group Suggested (hrs) Average sleep (hrs)
Infants 14-15 12.7
Toddlers 12-14 11.7
Preschool 11-13 10.4
School aged Children 10-11 9.5

(Note: All sleep times are averages.)

 

Summary 

Hopefully this has started to highlight to you the impact of sleep and its importance. As I mentioned at the beginning, sleep underpins everything and if you are lacking in that department you are functioning at a suboptimal level and accelerating the aging process.

Stay tuned for the rest of the month of August as we provide you with the tricks and tools to hack your sleep and get you back to performing at your best.

 

References:

Adams, R., Appleton, S., Taylor, A., & Antic, N. (2016). Report to the Sleep Health Foundation 2016 Sleep Health Survey of Australian Adults The Adelaide Institute for Sleep Health.

Aurora, R. N., Collop, N. A., Jacobowitz, O., Thomas, S. M., Quan, S. F., & Aronsky, A. J. (2015). Quality Measures for the Care of Adult Patients with, 11(3).

Ferrie, J. E., Kumari, M., Salo, P., Singh-manoux, A., & Kivima, M. (2018). Sleep epidemiology — a rapidly growing field, (October 2011), 1431–1437. https://doi.org/10.1093/ije/dyr203

Hillman, D., Mitchell, S., Streatfeild, J., Burns, C., Bruck, D., & Pezzullo, L. (2018). The economic cost of inadequate sleep, (July), 1–13. https://doi.org/10.1093/sleep/zsy083

Report, M. W. (2011). National Sleep Awareness Week Unhealthy Sleep-Related Behaviors, 60(8), 2005–2008.

Samaranayake, C. B., Arroll, B., & Fernando, A. T. (2014). THE NEW ZEALAND, 127(1399), 13–22.

Smaldone, A., Honig, J. C., & Byrne, M. W. (2007). Sleepless in America : Inadequate Sleep and Relationships to Health and Well-being of Our Nation ’ s Children, 119(February), 29–37. https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.2006-2089F