Sleep Deprivation & Insomnia – Some Helpful Tips (hopefully)


*For Informational Purposes only*

Everyone I know is struggling with sleep at the moment, oh and me too – a little. Wake up for a pee and can’t get back off to sleep…

sleep

Chronic sleep deprivation can result from or result in (confusingly) depression & anxiety, and obviously takes its toll physically too.

Here are some quick tips – I hope they help

Magnesium For Better Sleep

First thing I would try – high dose magnesium. There is a lot of research on how it is beneficial for anxiety generally and also sleep.

It can also help to treat some of the physical symptoms that can occur as a result of sleep deprivation including inflammation and depression.

Magnesium glycinate is good if you have problems with your stomach at all – as other forms of magnesium can make you a bit loose in high doses.  There is a drink you can make with magnesium citrate if you don’t like tablets.

Not sure of the level of research supporting their use but epsom salts definitely work too, but just be mindful of dehydration – fighters use epsom salts for weight cutting. There are also magnesium sprays.

Minimise Blue Light Exposure From Computers & Mobile Phones

Try not to use your mobile after 8pm (or 2 hours before bedtime) and look to get a blue light filter or browser plugin for your computer – like Get Flux.

Lavender Oil For Relaxation & Sleep

I’ve personally never tried this one (just ordered some though), but there is some research on this to say it helps + a load of good Amazon reviews which is always (overly) convincing

This review of scientific research on lavender oil and sleep concludes:

Early results appear promising but they should be viewed with caution. More scientifically rigorous and adequately powered trials are needed to investigate the true effect of lavender oil aroma inhalation on sleep.

Listen to White Noise or Waves

Waves works for me, white noise makes me see really mad colours (when my eyes are closed), which is cool but not especially helpful. I’ve tried to use this video for meditation several times, and each time I fall fast asleep before the end.

Meditation For Sleep

If you can get passed the voice (non-judgement being an important part of meditation!) then this track is helpful…insomnia seems to be associated with ‘many thoughts’ and overthinking, so mindfulness and meditation is a difficult, but obvious path to follow

Other Supplements for Sleep

People like supplements for sleep (including me) as its a quick-fix – not a criticism, it’s just easier…especially when you’re knackered –
Melatonin – I don’t know too much about this to be honest, apparently there are safety concerns, more info here – https://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-topics/melatonin-and-sleep/page/0/1

Bali Kratom, Kava Kava & Phenibut – All 3 are highly effective, but I can’t vouch for their legality since the psychoactive substances ban – whereby everything except caffeine, nicotine & alcohol that is psychoactive was banned.

Kava Kava – listed on examine.com as the most researched ‘supplement’, with robust evidence for treating anxiety. It’s also great for sleep, but there’s concerns over liver toxicity. Certainly don’t mix with alcohol. It’s an ancient drink used by Pacific Islanders for thousands of years.

Kratom is another ancient herb which has become controversial. I first read about it on the Forbes website and it had a positive write up, but it’s since been scheduled in some states in America – which people are up in arms about because thousands have been using it to treat PTSD, depression and pain. Some strains make you sleep, some make you happy and alert. More info here.

Use of phenibut is probably best kept to a last resort. Phenibut was invented for Russian cosmonauts to tackle anxiety and enhance focus during space flights. Phenibut is so effective that unfortunately, it’s quite addictive for some people and the withdrawals are pretty bad. Use once a week max (or just don’t bother).

See also GABA and 5 HTP

Tackle the Cause of Poor Sleep

If your lack of sleep is due to stress, then I’d suggest tackling this from both the physical and mental ‘angles’.

A very quick overview of this (I’ll do a seperate blog post at some point)

  • Have a read up on gut health and mental health – then see if you can make some key changes to your diet, like adding fermented foods and cutting out sugar. “All disease starts in the gut” Hippocrates
  • Tackle overthinking with regular meditation
  • Exercise. Yoga for example, can provide the benefits of being physically active & also the major mental health benefits of building social relationships. The actual exercises are great for getting rid of physical tension and it’s a kind of a moving meditation too.
  • Take an ‘adaptogen’ like ashwagandha or rhodiola rosea
  • Avoid omega 6 and supplement with omega 3 (preferably fish oil, which contains EPA)
  • I’d personally recommend reading a number of books, or listening to them on Audible – The Chimp Paradox, The Happiness Hypothesis, anything on Stoicism, Be Here Now (quite hard core), 10% Happier by Dan Harris and it’s a bit hard going but The Power of Now is good if you can get your head round the grandiose writing style. Reading definitely helps, for example in the book “Man’s Search for Meaning” it ‘talks’ of how prisoners of war survived Nazi concentration camps with a sense of humour and by providing a sense of meaning to their survival.

Better Sleep – Quick Tips & Hacks

Apologies for using the word hacks….but to summarise:

  • Try speaking with a Doctor
  • Supplement with magnesium
  • Supplement with an adaptogen like ashwagandha
  • Try listening to some ocean-waves at bed time.
  • To minimise exposure to blue light – try get flux on your computer.
  • Make sure your bedroom is completely ‘black’. Any light at all can mess with your sleep quality.
  • Try Lavender Oil – add a few drops on your bedding
  • Look at supplementing with omega 3 and avoiding omega 6; meditate and exercise.
    Exercising in a class has the added benefit of building social relationships, which is highly correlated with being ‘more happy’.
  • Don’t have kids

If you’re still struggling to sleep – see a doctor…and research kava kava – remember there’s some concern over liver toxicity though

Good luck

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CBD Brothers – CBD Oil Review


I get pretty constant headaches, including a pain down the left side of my face and jaw. I have a couple of symptoms of an overactive immune system – IBS (unless my diet is perfect and dairy and gluten free) and a bit of eczema.

I also get a very stiff back and neck at times – which in turn is what probably gives me a lot of headaches – I guess the combination of wrestling and working at a desk over the years hasn’t helped. I also get mild anxiety, nothing major compared to some of my friends, more of an annoyance.

After doing some research on Reddit.com and Google Scholar, I decided to give cbd a try.

I found the Medipen pretty effective for headaches, but wanted to try the actual oil in a different format. CBD brothers had good reviews on Reddit, so I bought from their website…

Brilliant Customer Service

These guys are very professional and answered my email about dosage, even though it was already on the FAQs on their site.

I bought 10ml of the blue edition cbd oil.

cbd brother review

Effective For Muscle Tension

I find this very good for my neck and back.

It’s just very ‘calming’. I took 1 drop 4 times a day. Hold under your tongue for 3-4 minutes. You want it to absorb in your mouth and gums, not swallow it.

One thing about the CBD Bros packaging – it was a right bast*rd trying to get the dregs out of the bottle it comes in.

I find the liquid that you put on your gums and mouth, is about as effective as vaping a ‘medipen’.

CBD Does Not get you High

In case you were wondering! It just makes you feel more relaxed. If you take too much you will sleep for a long, long time!

It is often used to treat epilepsy, depression & anxiety and IBS.

It is so effective for so many ailments and diseases, because it has strong anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation of course, being the pre-cursor of many diseases, including cancer.

I’m not sure of the mechanism behind its relaxing effects, but obviously that’s why it so effective at treating Parkinson’s, epilepsy and autoimmune problems.

Please read more about the mechanism behind the benefits of cbd oil here. My vague layman’s explanations are pretty poor at best…

Is CBD Oil Legal in the UK?

If the distributor has a license.

If the cbd oil contains any, even trace elements of THC (which is psychoactive) then :

“a Home Office licence to import this substance – or a preparation containing it – would be required, irrespective of the proportion of THC in that preparation. In addition, there may also be a requirement for a Home Office domestic possess [sic] and supply licence.”

Source

If it is illegal, it’s probably only because it’s so effective that it would make lots of pharma drugs redundant.
It treats cancer, Parkinson’s IBS, acid reflux, anxiety, depression, the list goes on and on! It’s an all-in-one treatment. Incidentally, THC, which is not in cbd oil (in very large amounts anyway), also has medicinal properties.

Is there any Research Backing the Health Claims of CBD Oil?

Plenty, take a look on Google.scholar.com

For inflammatory bowel disease

Cannabidiol in Inflammatory Bowel Diseases: A Brief Overview

“For years, its activity has been enigmatic for gastroenterologists and pharmacologists, but now it is evident that this compound may interact at extra-cannabinoid system receptor sites, such as peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma. This strategic interaction makes CBD as a potential candidate for the development of a new class of anti-IBD drugs

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ptr.4781/full

 

For epilepsy

The case for medical marijuana in epilepsy

“Charlotte, a little girl with SCN1A-confirmed Dravet syndrome, was recently featured in a special that aired on CNN. Through exhaustive personal research and assistance from a Colorado-based medical marijuana group (Realm of Caring), Charlotte’s mother started adjunctive therapy with a high concentration cannabidiol/Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (CBD:THC) strain of cannabis, now known as Charlotte’s Web. This extract, slowly titrated over weeks and given in conjunction with her existing antiepileptic drug regimen, reduced Charlotte’s seizure frequency from nearly 50 convulsive seizures per day to now 2–3 nocturnal convulsions per month. This effect has persisted for the last 20 months, and Charlotte has been successfully weaned from her other antiepileptic drugs.

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/epi.12610/full

 

For social anxiety

Neural basis of anxiolytic effects of cannabidiol (CBD) in generalized social anxiety disorder: a preliminary report

CBD was associated with significantly decreased subjective anxiety...These results suggest that CBD reduces anxiety in SAD and that this is related to its effects on activity in limbic and paralimbic brain areas.

http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0269881110379283

 

CBD for every ailment under the sun

Clinical endocannabinoid deficiency (CECD): can this concept explain therapeutic benefits of cannabis in migraine, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome and other treatment-resistant conditions?

Migraine, fibromyalgia, IBS and related conditions display common clinical, biochemical and pathophysiological patterns that suggest an underlying clinical endocannabinoid deficiency that may be suitably treated with cannabinoid medicines.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18404144

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Fitness Infographic


A fitness infographic from Monster Supplements – I actually created this when I was working for a marketing agency and doing a campaign for them.

 

fitness infographic

 

4 minutes of Exercise can Produce Significant Benefits

I’d also like to add – for those put off exercise due to time, that you don’t need a lot of time to gain significant benefits from exercise.

In fact, research has shown that doing 2, 4-minute bouts of high-intensity exercise per week, can benefit markers of health, such as blood glucose levels.

In fact, the 4-minute bouts of interval training, include a total of one minute’s rest!

For example:
On an exercise bike
You would complete one 20 second sprint, then rest for 10 seconds,
then do another sprint for 20 seconds, rest for 10.
Repeat until the 4 minutes is complete.

This is known as a Tabata interval.

You don’t even need an exercise bike, you can do them with bodyweight squats.
You can try press ups, but they are extremely difficult to do for the full 4 minutes!

More information on these ‘Tabata intervals’ can be found on the BBC website here.

You can download an app, or use a Tabata timer on youtube to complete the intervals.

One Set Training – Takes One Minute or Less Per Bodypart

In addition, a lot of research shows that one set of resistance exercise is as beneficial as doing 3. So even if you can only do one set of press ups and one set of squats, every other evening, that’s enough to gain or at least maintain muscle mass.

More information on one set training can be found here.

Some ideas for working out at home can be found here.

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Joe Rogan Experience #901 – Dr. Rhonda Patrick – Broccoli sprouts, glucoraphanin & sulforaphane


Inflammation Can Cause Depression

In studies whereby inflammation was induced with an injection of inflammatory cytokines, people with ‘normal levels’ of wellbeing and happiness, began to feel depressed.

The depression tended to be offset by consuming large amounts of omega 3 (2g of EPA), which has strong anti inflammatory properties.

Garlic Rules

Eating garlic with fish such as tuna, can help alleviate / get rid of the mercury contained in the fish.

Remember to chop garlic around 20 mins before eating it to activate allicin.

Mercury is contained in higher concentrations, in larger fish which are higher up in the food chain. For example sword fish, shark, etc contains high levels of mercury.

Broccoli sprouts

Are very good for you because of the sulforaphane content. Sulforaphane forms when the vegetable is crushed or chopped.

sunflower-sprouts-info-how-do-you-eat-the-sprouts

Sulforaphane is contained in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts or cabbages.

Broccoli sprouts contain the highest amounts of Sulforaphane. You can buy the seeds and make your own.  The supplements you can buy are expensive and some that have been tested only contain very low amounts (a lot less than what is claimed on the label).

Dr Rhonda says the broccoli sprouts are more potent once they are frozen. She actually feels like she’s had a coffee after adding them to a shake.

Sulforaphane improves autistic scores by 34% – more information on the NHS website here.

Sulforaphane is very potent and effect at slowing down and preventing cancer cells from spreading.

Sulforaphane is a very potent anti-inflammatory. It activates a pathway called NRF2

Bone Broth & Hydrolysed Collagen

Both are great for healing injuries.  There appears to be quite a lot of research to back this up:

Efficacy and tolerance of enzymatic hydrolysed collagen (EHC) vs. glucosamine sulphate (GS) in the treatment of knee osteoarthritis

EHC  (hydrolysed collagen, brand name Colatech®) showed superior improvement over Glucosamine Sulphate in the SF-36 Questionnaire in the Physical Health Index – which measures pain, swelling, range of movement.

You can read this particular study here – but there are a number to be found on Google Scholar

bone broth

bone broth

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Supplements for Stress & Anxiety


I’ve noticed a recent pattern –

Any middle aged bloke with nice teeth that I meet and get talking to; always asks me about dealing with stress and anxiety. With this in mind,  I thought I’d make a blog post to meet the apparent demand for this information.

Diet, Diet, Diet & Exercise

You can’t ‘out supplement’ a bad diet.

Consider cutting out sugar, deep fried foods and vegetable oils.

Consider eating more organic vegetables, fermented foods like sauerkraut, oily fish and inflammatory foods like turmeric.

Exercise is required for physical and mental health.  Everyone knows that though, so I’ll get into what supplements you can take for a less than perfect quick-fix.

z1mxiv1-imgur

Magnesium

There’s a lot of research on magnesium supplementation and anxiety & depression.

Case histories are presented showing rapid recovery (less than 7 days) from major depression using 125–300 mg of magnesium (as glycinate and taurinate) with each meal and at bedtime.

Study here

I’ve found magnesium citrate good for muscle tension around my shoulder and neck.

 

CBD Oil

Yes, I’m on the bandwagon. Not sure what’s going on with the legality of none-psychoactive cbd oil, but you can still buy it from medipen and cbd brothers.

Buckets of research support the use of cbd oil from everything from IBS to migraines. It’s because it is such a powerful anti-inflammatory; I think.

Nate Diaz Vape Pen

CBD Won’t make you Dopey – Blows to the head will

Kava Kava

Kava, is a psychoactive drink, enjoyed in Hawaii and the Pacific Islands.

It’s amazing for anxiety, again with shed loads of research to support it.

It’s illegal in many countries due to the unknown impact on the liver. I also feel like sh!t the next day after drinking some strains of kava – some are more sedating than others.

chimpanzee-718273_960_720

Fish Oil

Fish oil is great for general health, possibly due to the potent anti-inflammatory properties of EPA – a specific part of omega 3.

Some recommend higher dosages for treating depression and anxiety, up to 9g per day.
More information here.

Adaptogens

Adaptogens are herbs and foods that help your body adapt to stress.

They include ashwagandha, rhodiola rosea and ginseng.

Adaptogens are herbs that are actually very good for you, even in some cases linked to cancer-prevention (to a certain extent).

 

Phosphatidylserine

One of my favourite supplements, it also works as a nootropic with most people – helping you think more clearly. I swear it also helps my eyesight too.

It is said to reduce cortisol levels, which is how it reduces stress.

There is quite a bit of research behind this supplement –

Influence of phosphatidylserine on cognitive performance and cortical activity after induced stress (2008)

The main finding of the study was that chronic supplementation of phosphatidylserine significantly decreases Beta-1 power in right hemispheric frontal brain regions (F8; P < 0.05) before and after induced stress. The results for Beta-1 power in the PS (Phosphatidylserine) were connected to a more relaxed state compared to the controls.

Before taking Phosphatidylserine, make sure you get the soya version, not bovine and research any impact on cardiovascular help if this is a concern.

 

Hope that helps, start with a good diet as a base of ‘wellness’ and then try one of the supplements or foods from the list above

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Free Weight Loss Book – pdf


Free weight loss and exercise book –

Disclaimer
*Only undertake a diet and exercise regime after speaking to your doctor*

The Weight Loss Hack

Download the Word document:

free diet book

 

or Download a pdf here:

free diet book

 

For more in-depth information about nutrition, please take a look at my other ebook – here

 

**Diet & Exercise only after speaking to your doctor**

 

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Earthing / Grounding for Health & Recovery


grouding

 

Interesting scientific paper on this:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3265077/

 

The research done to date supports the concept that grounding or earthing the human body may be an essential element in the health equation along with sunshine, clean air and water, nutritious food, and physical activity.

 

Apparently, it’s all to do with the vast supply of electrons found on the surface of the Earth.

Earthing / grounding is correlated with better sleep and reduced pain – as a result of either walking barefoot outside, or just sitting barefoot outside.

 

The graphs below show cortisol levels before and after grounding.

Subjects were grounded during sleep on a specialised mattress –

graphgrounding

Image Source

 

How does this relate to combat sports?

Good question –

Recovery.

Recovery is often the limiting factor in terms of training load.
Anything that reduces cortisol levels and potentially increases energy levels is a must for mixed martial arts fighters.

It’s easy to do as well, just eat outside when possible, with your bare feet on the floor

 

 

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