This guest post was originally posted in February of 2015, based on personal experience provided by Dave Aprey, author and creator of Bulletproof products. I have since developed new articles and resources for Hashimoto’s that might be helpful for you. For the latest information on sleep, please visit the following:
Getting adequate rest is crucial for healing, but often people with Hashimoto’s will struggle with insomnia, unrefreshed sleep, blood sugar imbalances, and multiple awakenings throughout the night. I used to wake up drenched in sweat until I tried adding healthy fats to my diet, and going to bed before your second wind is a biggie for people with fatigue and adrenal issues.
Here’s some helpful information about improving your sleep quality from my friend, biohacker Dave Asprey.
Dave has put his Hashimoto’s into remission though biohacking and lifestyle changes and is a huge thyroid advocate. You can listen to a podcast we did together on Hashimoto’s.
The 9 Ways To Measure and Hack Your Sleep For Optimal Rest and Health
By: Dave Asprey
Quality sleep is one of the most important variables to improve your brain function, longevity, and performance in all aspects of life. We all know this, but so many people have trouble getting quality sleep. If you’re struggling with getting enough rest, I’ve come up with 9 ways for you to measure and hack your sleep for the best performance.
1) Track your sleep quality
Often when people are having sleep trouble, they don’t know what’s going wrong. That’s why I recommend you start by using a sleep app like SleepCycle on the iPhone. This app simply requires you to put your phone on your mattress under your top sheet and set the alarm. It will then track your sleep patterns and quality using the microphone on your phone.
It’s best to do it for at least a week so that you get a sense of your baseline sleep quality. Once you’ve tracked your sleep, you’ll have all the data you need to hack your sleep. This will ensure that what you’re doing is working and allow you to make adjustments along the way based on how you’re feeling when you wake up and what the numbers are telling you.
2) Wake up at the top of a sleep cycle
As we sleep, we go through different cycles. When you wake up at the top of your sleep cycle, you’ll feel great whereas when you wake up in the middle of a deep sleep, you’ll feel groggy for hours. SleepCycle can also solve this problem. It will act as an alarm clock and wake you at the top of a sleep cycle instead of letting your alarm jerk you awake when you’re in a deep sleep. This will leave you feeling more refreshed and awake all day.
3) Fill up with fat at dinner
Fat is a long-burning fuel for your mind and body. Grass-fed butter, animal fat, and coconut oil are all good choices, but extra concentrated MCT oil is my personal favorite. The shortest length fats of MCT oil are converted into ketones that are immediately used as fuel for your brain, and MCT oil also helps you burn body fat while you sleep. I’ve noticed that I think faster and more clearly the next morning if I have 1-2 tablespoons of MCT oil the night before with dinner or even right before bed.
4) Prime with protein
Our bodies use protein for muscle repair and immune function. The muscle repair happens at night during deep sleep, so you want to make sure your body has all the raw materials it needs at night to heal and grow new tissue. The problem is that most forms of protein are not well digested before bed. A lot of protein powders and even most sources of animal protein take a lot of work to digest and can leave you with a heavy feeling during the night.
Too much protein also raises an alertness chemical in the brain called orexin, which can disrupt your sleep. The solution I recommend is taking 1-2 tablespoons of hydrolyzed grass-fed collagen peptide before bed. Hydrolyzing the proteins makes them more digestible, so they don’t cause the problems listed above.
5) Turn down the lights
For at least a half-hour before going to bed try to avoid bright lights. Dim your office lights if you absolutely must be working this close to bedtime and kill the unhealthy florescent ones. Don’t stare at your TV, iPhone, or iPad until you’ve dimmed it all the way, either. Even five minutes of white light from a screen shuts off your melatonin production and can wreck the quality of your sleep, so it’s best to avoid screens in the evening entirely.
6) Don’t exercise near bedtime
You should not exercise for at least two hours before going to bed unless you count restorative yoga and breathing exercises as exercises. Exercise is highly energizing and raises your cortisol levels, which interferes with sleep.
7) Don’t drink coffee past the afternoon
Coffee puts your mind in an amazing place where you become more productive and perform better. However, you need to let your mind rest after its high output performances. In general, don’t drink coffee after 2:00 PM or at least 8 hours before bedtime, whichever comes first.
8) Go to bed before your second wind
There is a window from 10:45 and 11 p.m. or so when you naturally get tired. This moves a little bit based on the season. If you don’t go to sleep then and choose to stay awake, you’ll get a cortisol-driven “second wind” that can keep you awake until 2 a.m. You’ll also get better sleep when you go to bed before 11 p.m. and wake up feeling more rested than if you’d gotten the same amount of sleep starting later.
9) Bring down your stress
Perhaps the most common reason people report not being able to sleep is that they don’t know how to clear their minds and stop worrying. Deep breathing exercises like Art of Living, pranayama yoga, and meditation can do wonders for helping your brain shut down, recuperate, and prepare for another day of Bulletproof high performance
Don’t let poor quality sleep hold you back any longer. By taking advantage of these tips, you should have the energy you need to finally feel Bulletproof.
Dave Asprey is a Silicon Valley tech entrepreneur who spent 15 years and $300,000 to hack his own biology, losing 100 pounds, upgrading his IQ, and lowering his biological age. He runs the No. 1-ranked iTunes health podcast and The Bulletproof Executive blog about using biohacking to increase human performance — and he invented Bulletproof Coffee.
You can find more about biohacking, the art of changing your environment and your biology, so you perform better in his book The Bulletproof Diet, and also on The Bulletproof Executive website, Facebook, and Twitter.
Note from Izabella Wentz, PharmD
Through the use of real foods, dietary fats, targeted supplements and Dave’s other “hacks” -as described in The Bulletproof Diet, a person can really transform his/her health. I personally feel my best (sharper, happier, calmer) eating the high-fat diet that Dave recommends in his book.
I’ve recommended this type of diet to clients, and many have also reported feeling calmer, happier and have lost weight, without feeling hungry or unsatisfied. Additionally, Dave’s suggestion of using fats like butter, ghee or coconut oil or MCT (I use coconut oil or MCT) in conjunction with caffeinated beverages has allowed me to have caffeine without the unpleasant crashes. I posted info about The Bulletproof Diet to my Facebook page the other day, and one of the readers posted that she was in remission from Hashimoto’s thanks to the Bulletproof diet 🙂
***Biohacking is the practice of using various interventions to improve one’s health. One of the keys to successful biohacking is tracking your interventions and results to determine if the change you are making results in an improvement.
When I was trying to get my Hashimoto’s into remission, I developed “The Thyroid Journal” a tracking tool to test the impact of the various interventions I was making.
Wishing you all the best on your journey,
PS. You can also download a free Thyroid Diet Guide, 10 Thyroid friendly recipes, and the Nutrient Depletions and Digestion chapter for free by going to www.thyroidpharmacist.com/gift. You will also receive occasional updates about new research, resources, giveaways and helpful information.