Why Sleep is Essential For Performance - David Shirazi

pain podcast sleep Jul 10, 2021
Mark Struczewski, David Shirazi

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David Shirazi is a dentist and acupuncturist with a focus on pain and sleep, and he discusses the science behind why sleep is so essential for performance.

His website

UNEDITED TRANSCRIPT

Mark Struczewski
This is the Mark Struczewski podcast. David Shirazi is a dentist and acupuncturist with a focus on pain and sleep. And he discusses the science behind why we sleep, and why it's so essential for our performance. David, welcome to the show.

David Shirazi
Hi, thank you so much for having me. It's exciting to be here.

Mark Struczewski
I'm glad you're here. Because I remember when I started my journey in productivity way back in 2011, and I thought it was all about calendar apps and to-do lists. Now I understand the importance of getting not just sleep, not just any sleep, you have to get quality sleep. And that's what we're going to talk about in the show today. One of the things I learned from Matthew Walker's book, why we sleep, it's your body loves consistency, it doesn't want to go to bed at 10 o'clock, and then nine o'clock and two o'clock in the morning. It wants to go to bed at the same time every night and get up at the same time every day. Yes, that means the weekends, that means that vacation. So why don't you talk to us about First of all, why it is so important for us as human beings to get quality sleep.

David Shirazi
Excellent question. And I want everyone to just preface everything that we're talking about in the context of survival. Okay, so and evolution. So we get the four stages of sleep, right, we've got stage one, which is alpha, which is just resting physical rest. Stage Two, it's a little bit deeper rest, it's not that much of a big deal, we actually don't know the most about that one. That's the one we know the least about. And then we have stage three, which is delta, where we get almost all of our growth hormone, right. And after we're done growing, we need growth hormone to repair. Okay, and literally, almost 100% of our growth hormone comes from that one stage of sleep. And then we have REM, where we do our emotional processing or memory consolidation. And now we're finding out that we have a lymphatic system in our brains, and it clears out the beta-amyloid plaques out of our blood vessels during REM. So just getting enough sleep and getting you know, because we do the cycles, five or six cycles a night, you know, 123, REM, 123, REM etc. And the big the first half of the night, we do more of the 123. And the latter half of the morning, we do more of the REM. That's why we kind of wake up in the morning, remembering our dreams because we're doing the most amount of dreaming in the early hours in the morning. And the body likes consistency because it's, you know, our brain has a circadian rhythm, which sunlight tells it Okay, it's time to wake up. And dark. This is like, okay, now it's time to sleep. Right? And that's the thing again, survival, our brains use our you know, gets information from the photons of light from our eyeballs. And the brain cannot decipher a photon of light from an iPad or an iPhone, or a computer screen, then the sun. So when we're on it, it confuses us about well, when is it actually bedtime?

Mark Struczewski
That is so true. And I'll tell you about what I do for my bedtime routine in just a minute. But one of the things that I was astounded by I don't know if I learned it from Matthew Walker's book or some other sores. But when our brain is in one of the levels of sleep, and you probably know the answer to this, our brain actually shrinks, which allows the brain to purge the body, the brain of all the toxins. And this can't happen if you're awake. Can you talk about that?

David Shirazi
Well, to the extent that I know. So just as we're talking about in REM, where our lymphatic system, cleans it out, it dumps it into the cerebral spinal fluid, which then gets pumped and then you know, filtered, you know, through the blood. Eventually, when we're upright, and we're walking, we can't have a moment where we're, you know, our brains are shrunken, and therefore not a full capacity. Because again, it's about survival. Right? I mean, you have to think I mean, no one ever told us that you have to lay down to go to sleep, we just automatically lay down, right? And having our brains go into this state this. What's the hibernation state eight hours every day. If I mean, just to get an idea of how important it is, think about this, in the context of evolution and survival. When survival was risky, I mean right now, the risk is way less than when, you know 100,000 years ago, 50,000 years ago, 1000 years ago, and back then there was a real danger from animals. And predators and other humans and etc. in the dark. Right. And still, evolution said sleep is so important. We will paralyze you for eight hours out of every day in the dark while you're lying down. Okay? Because you need it so badly. It is genuinely. Yeah. And it is genuinely without, you know, without trying to make clickbait or anything like that. It is more important than diet and exercise.

Mark Struczewski
Alright, you know, I know what you're saying is true, because I've done my research. My mother is 76 years old, she has late-onset Alzheimer's. And I had an opportunity to talk to her neuropsychologist night because her mom died of Alzheimer's. Mom's gonna die of Alzheimer's unless something else gets her. And I asked him, I said, Is there anything I can do? And he said, diet, exercise and sleep. Because that's the same thing. Every doctor has been telling everyone since the beginning of time.

David Shirazi
Okay. Did they say what about the diet though? This is the part that's gonna get me upset if they didn't say it.

Mark Struczewski
He said processed foods. The diet sodas, the Coca Cola and the ice creams. Your body needs fruits and vegetables. That's what the body needs. So if you're eating McDonald's breakfast, lunch and dinner and you're having cupcakes and you're smoking cigarettes and all that stuff, that is not going to be conducive to health.

David Shirazi
Okay, so generally speaking, that's true. But if they actually told you all that in the context of your, you know, late on stage, Alzheimer's mother, that's malpractice. Okay? you're someone who has Alzheimer's or beginning Alzheimer's needs to go on 100% ketogenic diet. Okay, if you look it up, Alzheimer's is sometimes called type three diabetes. It's so sensitive to sugar. Okay, and we must not have any of it. Okay. Heavy metals are also another concern with that. But having a rich fatty diet like coconut oil, my father had the same thing. And this was something I struggled with him with his wife, my stepmom, I kept telling him like, Listen, give him plenty of coconut oil, no sweets, no sugars, not even fruits, even though it has fiber, leave it alone, give him the ketones, and she was an excellent cook. I like just keto. And she couldn't do it. Like, you know, she had these habits, these belief systems that, oh, he might get a heart condition if we give him too much fat. It's like, you know, he's old. He's in his late 70s. He doesn't. But concern is not getting a heart attack at this point. Right. But concern is a degenerative brain. So we need to support that we need to switch the brain from going off of glucose to going to ketones. And there is data on this. It's not like I saw my suggestion. You know, this is what the evidence is showing.

Mark Struczewski
Well, the body doesn't need sugar. I mean, there's been so much written on that. And yet the sugar lobby says that Americans should have 25% of their diet made up of sugar. Your body does not need sugar. I agree with you 100% on that, but I'm not a nutritionist. I'm a productivity expert. So I want to pivot back to getting ready for bed because this is something a lot of people don't do, especially in the age of 2021. We all have our iPhones and iPads and Macs and so what I do, and I'll be completely honest, I don't do this every night, because that would be a lie. And I don't lie on my show. So I will tell people I try to do this more often than not, I turn the TV off or on eight o'clock. And then I will go read a print book. next to my bed I have a 40 watt yellow light ball, not the sun color. It's a yellow light ball. And I will read and my body knows when I sit there reading a print book. It knows Okay, it's time to go to bed. I don't have any other lights on in my house. The house has already been cooled down with the air conditioner, and I'm getting ready for bed. That's how I set myself up for sleep. And when I do that I sleep better than if I don't if I if I have a discussion, a heated discussion if you will with my wife, or something else happens like recently we had fire fireworks on the Fourth of July, people were firing fireworks on July 3, July 4 and July 5, and that disrupted my sleep. But I used to get worried when I didn't get a good night's sleep, which causes you to lose more sleep. So I'm just like, okay, I never go to sleep tonight. And I'll get a good sleep night The next night but I think when people are not realizing that you've got to say yourself up. Because everybody talks about the morning routine, you also need to have a bedtime routine

David Shirazi
as well more important than the morning routine, in my opinion. So we have a, there's a term in the industry called sleep hygiene, things we do to prepare for bedtime, you know, as you said, for consistency. So I think what you're doing is great. If you want to do a little experiment on yourself, if you get some high-quality, blue blockers, we try those orange glasses that block the blue light. If you wore that, if all you did was put those on, in addition to what you're doing, you actually get used to it pretty quick. In the beginning, everything was orange, and you know, yellow looks pink and all of that, but you get your eyes adapt pretty quick. If you did that, I would imagine you would sleep that much harder. Right? Because you're further telling your brain okay. It really is. Deep late at night I should be sleeping Hark. Yeah. But so so and do it before you start watching TV. Like pop it on. Okay, you know what, and how it even goes, I wouldn't even go further and say avoid news. Right? Like all the local news channels, Fox News, CNN, Ms with all of them, avoid them all, because they're all bad news. Right? There's very little positivity in it. They worry people about things we have almost no control in. And it makes people very anxious. So you know, just, you know, if it's pertinent, you'll get an email or a friend will tell you or you'll it'll get repeated enough that you find it somewhere. So, as you said, a dark room is huge, you know, the blinds are covered, right? It's dark. Cool, as you said, you're doing that's excellent. Making sure that your bedroom is only used for sleeping and sex, nothing more. Okay, so no eating, no family discussion, let alone fight you know, that room and no work, you know, no laptop on the bed, clacking away because again, you're training your brain that this little zone is no longer is also a workplace. And that's not healthy.

Mark Struczewski
One of the habits I picked up a long time ago, when I used to live in apartments for years, you know, no one gets out of high school and buys a house. You live in apartments. And I cannot. I remember back in the days, the apartments, people coming and going all hours or playing the TV too loud. So I started using oscillating fans. Now I've gotten to the point now that I do not like rooms that are completely quiet and have no air moving. So even when it gets cold it does get cold here in Houston in the wintertime for a couple of weeks, I will have the oscillating fan, the ceiling fan on really low just to keep the air moving. When that happens, I feel better. I just have that I don't know if the phobia I just don't like air being still. And plus even though I live in a home, if I don't have anything on I can hear what's going on outside maybe a plane flying over a police car, or you know something. So that works for me. Now, if you're used to silence by all means, don't start having white noise, I go to a hotel, I have to have a white noise app on my phone. But that's really good advice what you told us because if you are not setting yourself up for sleep success, you're not going to get a good night's sleep, you're going to wake up tomorrow, you're gonna be tired, you're probably gonna hit the snooze bar, you'll be running around with like a chicken's head cut off all day long because you didn't get enough sleep. And it could all be prevented by setting yourself up for sleep success. Now I will tell you, I have a saying I tell my clients and my listeners to stay informed, not obsessed. So there's one source I watch for news. It's only available four days a week. And I don't watch for bad I watch it like five o'clock in the afternoon. So I know what's going on. Okay, but I don't check. I don't I'm not on Twitter anymore. I don't check the news and a lot of times, because it's all about we're all going to die and the Martians are going to take us over and the sun's gonna explode. How are you supposed to go to sleep? When you just hear that news? So I think it's okay to check in on the news and know what's going on. But don't like to watch it for seven hours a day. You find one source that you trust, don't watch it before bed so you know what's going on. So someone goes, Hey, have you heard about the pandemic? You shouldn't go pandemic? You know, that's a silly example. But I think the problem is people they leave the news on and people told me this. They leave the news on the background for background noise. Why don't you put some classical music on that be much better for you.

David Shirazi
I wholeheartedly agree. I mean it that's the difference between having the news on and having classical music on To me is the difference between getting an amazing massage versus being boiled and acid. Okay? It's such a dichotomy. It's not even a consideration. Like, I would never consider leaving the news on it. It is, it is so toxic.

Mark Struczewski
I've had to train people loved ones in my life, they'll say, guess what happened? I said, Okay, does it? Is this gonna affect what I do in the next hour? The next day? Okay, is there a satellite gonna fall on my head? Is there a plane gonna crash on my house? Because let's face it, everybody got wrapped up about the election? Okay, it doesn't matter who's in the White House, I still have podcasts, to do clients to code. And so I tell people I don't want to know, I don't want to know, okay, I do my new source. Because I know if people keep telling me to do here to here, then as I sit down to read my book, number one, I can't focus because I'm worried about what they said, how's it gonna affect my life, and I try to go to sleep. And I can't focus on sleeping. I tried to do gratitude. All because these people told me to hate to hear to hear. I don't want to know that. So I try to train people who I love around me, Look, I don't want to know, go talk to those people over there about the news. But I don't want to know it. Because I know how it makes me feel.

David Shirazi
Yeah, and many indigenous cultures, don't have a word for stress. It doesn't exist. I once went through the Yucatan. And you know, how I was blessed to have a tour of just, you know, a rural family. You know, they had didn't have any doors, they had a chicken running around, they stopped in hammocks, they had a wall where they, you know, on the floor, where they burn firewood to make their dinner every night and the wall was black from all the foot. And so we asked them ago, do they have stress? Do they know what stresses are they okay. And, and he asked her and the mom said, Well, you know, my son, my son left to go live in the big city. And I haven't heard from him in a couple of years. So, you know, I guess the worry word would be maybe worry. Right. But she had that that's what she had to think about when she had to think about stress. That was all she had. It was great. I was like, This is wonderful, right? And then you know, we get worked up about things. I mean, you know, the other aspect of it is if I can go on a slight tangent is media has now made it has normalized, getting offended at the pettiest things, instead of allowing people to be personally responsible for their own feelings, personally responsible for their own life. They've now pandered to the lowest common denominator of insecurity and said, Okay, yes, you're offended out over 10,000 people, you were offended by what this comedian said. You know, we need to put you on CNN as you can talk about how your feelings were hurt. And it maybe took you an extra five minutes to fall asleep that night. Yeah, you know, it's like, so it's like, it's this artificial world.

Mark Struczewski
Well, it's interesting to me as you're on Facebook and Instagram and Tik Tok like most other people are, but when I come across something that's negative, I just swipe it. I don't want that negativity. Because negativity doesn't just make you feel bad in the moment. It affects your productivity, affects your mindset, it affects your sleep. And so I really caution people, be careful who you're listening to, whether it's a podcast, what you're watching on TV, who you're following, what books you're reading, because all this stuff goes in your subconscious mind. And then it may pull it out at two o'clock in the morning and you're tossing and turning, you can't figure out why. So be very careful what you allow in your brain.

David Shirazi
Yes, yes. Be the guardian of the temple of your soul. Absolutely. I wholeheartedly agree with that. And I'll tell you something, you know, my focus, as a sleep expert is on snoring and sleep apnea for adults and children. Right. But as much as we know the negative effects of snoring and sleep apnea, especially in children. The one aspect that seems to not be talked about very often is something called an arousal in our sleep. That is technically when we're in those two stages like Delta or REM. We get kicked out let's say from a barking neighbor's dog, for example. We get kicked out of it and we go into stage one or two Which is lighter sleep for 10 seconds or more. Okay, that arousal, while we were needing a critical health measure meaning growth hormone or mental-emotional brain processing is what causes the majority of the problems that we have from sleep disorders, the inflammatory markers, so for example, it's, it's well documented in the literature, that sleep apnea can cause hypertension, that sleep apnea can cause type two diabetes. And we can say the word cause, you know, we because, you know, usually medicine, you have to just act like you don't know where it came from, right. But we can say it was a cause. Because oftentimes when we resolve it, the type two diabetes goes away, hypertension goes away, the depression and anxiety goes away. Whether we call it site, if you ever want to do a literature search, you would look up sleep apnea and psychosocial disorders. But we actually see there was a huge study at of JAMA, you know, Journal of ama, they did, I think, on 1400, patients, aged 30 to 60. They had the measure how depressed they were right on a scale of from Yeah, I have some, you know, sad thoughts from time to time to I think about committing suicide every day. It's called the zens depression scale. And, and they did sleep studies on and lo and behold, they found the severity of their sleep apnea was 100%, overlapping with the severity of their depression, and it just depression, sleep apnea were together. Right. And then, of course, in follow-up studies, they'll take patients that have known sleep apnea and depression, who maybe didn't want to take the medication or what have you. And they'll resolve it with either c pap or an oral appliance, which is what I do. And they'll start saying, You know what, I don't feel those sad thoughts anymore. And I don't I'm not as anxious as I once was. And so we know it, it balances our autonomic nervous system. Sleep is so just important.

Mark Struczewski
I took Tony Robbins has a thing called Unleash the Power Within and I went to this virtual event, June 3-6. And I heard something they're not said by Tony, it was by one of the other speakers that really alarmed me because I've done a lot of research on speaking. He says you only need if you're healthy, you only need four to five hours of sleep. And I'm like, when I heard that I turned to my wife. I said, you know, I've read a lot of research on sleep. No one says, four to five hours. All the experts say seven to nine hours. And I was stunned when they said it because this is like, like, 50,000 people are watching this. I'm like, are you kidding me right now? No, yes, sir. Some people can get by on less sleep. But neuroscience is saying seven to nine hours. What do you say? Well,

David Shirazi
That was he in that conversation? I wasn't there. Although I've taken that course before that weekend before in person. did was he talking about meditation?

Mark Struczewski
No, he was talking about your ability to get four to five hours of sleep, he should get out of bed excited and raring to go. And I'm like, not what, four to five hours? There's no way there are some outliers probably. But every research I've seen they said seven to nine hours is the magic number. I've never heard anyone other than this guy. Say four to five.

David Shirazi
Yeah, so it really is nine hours. And the reason we know it's nine hours is that is what has been recorded before the invention of the light bulb. So before we had street lights and etc. I mean before like light bulbs we had little lanterns that we kept inside the house and they were a little flicker of light it was much light at all. So nine hours is really what we need and you would think cuz you know city life and modern life is so stressful compared to the way it was I would imagine a minimum of nine hours in today's time if we can get away from the light that's why I keep stressing those blue blockers the own and so I agree with you that we need you know that you know high numbers four or five is not enough. The only rare exceptions would be people that meditate like, like professional meditators, if I can use that term, people that can go into theta like the same like a monk-like among people that state is the same wavelength as REM. Oh, okay. So REM being so important if you could meditate and get into theta for a good 30 minutes or more, you would need less sleep.

Mark Struczewski
I'd not heard that. That's very fascinating. Yeah. Yeah, it is. It really is. Well, as we wrap up the episode here, is there anything on your heart that you would like to share with our listeners today?

David Shirazi
Well, just everything we talked about, I thought was great. I mean, getting enough sleep and make sure it's quality sleep is important. You know, we talked about earlier about those arousals with like the noisy neighbor's dog. A much more common issue is having a bed partner that snores or has sleep apnea. Right? Like I can't, I coined the term. Secondhand snoring, right? And, and actually, the Cleveland Clinic did a study on it. And what they found was they started off with 1100 patients did the husband and wife in bed and let you know, just for ease of conversation, you know, my anthropomorphizing let's say was the men that had the sleep apnea, right? Obviously, some women had a two and the men didn't, but let's just say, generally speaking, the men had it. And the women didn't have it. And the men who had sleep apnea, they had 27 arousals an hour associated with their app. Well, the bed partner had 21 arousal an hour with no sleep apnea. Wow. Right. So of the 1100 patients, they whittle it down to 150. That stuck with the seatback. Yeah. And they didn't do follow-up studies on the wives, but they questioned the wives and said, how have How are you sleeping? And how is how are you doing overall, now that your husband has a CPAP machine and has his sleep apnea is under control? And they would say, Oh, you know, my headaches are gone. My mood is better. My appetite is better. And their whole lives had improved that because their sleep had improved by not having the noisy bed partner.

Mark Struczewski
Wow. That's That's amazing. That's, you know, we talked about a lot today but that last part is really stunning. So Dave, where can we go to find out more about you and the and the find out the dent you're putting in the universe?

David Shirazi
Yeah, so really the best place is my website tmjla.com Two offices, and the website has this sort of information and has podcasts and things like that, that you can look for. For info. You can find me on Facebook, you know, TMJ and Sleep Therapy Center of Conejo Valley, or TMJ and Sleep Therapy Center of Los Angeles. And we have a lot of, you know, literature and information and things that people can look up for themselves. Or if they just want to get in touch with us and find out like, you know, what can I do? Can I get a sleep study? Can I treat it with an oral appliance? Can I get orthodontics on my kid? You know, that sort of thing?

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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