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How Runners Can Sleep Better And Recover Faster

by RunnersConnect: Coaching Community, Running Experts, Inspiring Runners, No Fluff Blog
March 15th 2023

Are you getting high-quality sleep on a nightly basis? If you’re one of the 67% of Americans that report frequent sleep issues, perhaps, you’re not but you’re looking for answers.

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My name is Matt Dillon and this is the run to the top podcast. Hello, fellow runners. I'm your host, Finn Melanson. And this is the run to the top podcast, the podcast dedicated to making you a better runner. With each and every episode, we are created and produced by the expert team of coaches at runners connect dot net where you can find the best running information on the internet as well as training plans to fit every runner and every budget. Are you getting high quality sleep on a nightly basis? If you're one of the 67% of Americans that report frequent sleep issues, perhaps you're not. But you're looking for answers in this episode of the run to the top podcast, sleep expert, Matt Gallant from by Optimizers joins the show to discuss lifestyle and environmental factors that prevent a good night's sleep daily protocols you can adopt to course correct and sleep better research around why improving sleep quality is the most important biological optimizer? How runners specifically benefit from improved sleep quality, tracking sleep cycles and why all sleep isn't created equal and much more.

If you're curious about the state of sleep research and the simple actionable steps you can take to dramatically improve your sleep quality as well as the quality of your training and recovery. Tune into this episode. I'd also like to introduce you to a new sponsor of the show Timeline. Nutrition Timeline has developed a groundbreaking product called Mid Top Your that actually revitalizes your mitochondria which creates energy in nearly every cell in your body. Later in the episode, I'll explain the science and how you can get a sweet discount. Matt Dillon. Welcome to the Run to The Top podcast. Great to be here. So I think we're gonna have a pretty interesting wide ranging conversation connecting the dots between why sleep is so important, especially within the running community. I like to always set the table in these conversations with a better understanding of why you're so interested in this topic. Um your connections to all of the solutions out there and uh just what you know about the topic and how it can help runners. Yeah. So I've, I've worked with pro athletes NHL and then a and you know, there's, there's no one more exciting to work with it.

I have given some, some guidance, a few uh long distance athletes as well. So excited to be here and share, share things that work and sleep is one of those things that just will improve anybody's life, whether you're a pro athlete or it's a normal human being that just wants to improve their health. And yeah, I had two different health crisis with low levels of sleep, low quality sleep. The first one was in my twenties, I was a workaholic working about 80 hours a week. Plus I was training twice a day. I was recording an album, was studying marketing and I decided that it would be a good idea to try to sleep less thinking that my body would adapt like it does to exercise. So I started cutting back my sleep 15 minutes every few days. And then when I got down to four hours and change, I crashed, I burnt out. It took me about two months to recover. Read a book called Power Sleep by James Moss. And that book really set me straight.

Talked about the benefits of sleeping 8 to 9 hours a night. So I started doing that, but I didn't realize the importance of sleep quality. Fast forward about a decade. I'm tracking my sleep using zero, which was a predecessor to the O ring or ring came out and it shows I'm only getting 0 to 15 minutes of deep sleep. So I'm sleeping 8 to 9 hours a night. I'm waking up dehydrated groggy despite sleeping 8 to 9 hours. I get my testosterone tested. It's the lowest it's ever been my body fat index of scans, the highest it's ever been. And I just had that eureka moment and realized like the number one thing I could do was to invest in my sleep. So since that time, I've spent about $45,000 on pretty much any device, mattress sleep molecule that I thought had a chance of improving my sleep and been transformative. You know, I've been able to take my deep sleep from 0 to 15 minutes to averaging over 90 minutes tonight.

And my rem has been 2 to 3 hours a night for the last several years. And you know, the thing about great sleep is it just transforms your day. Like really to me, your day starts when you go to bed. I know that's kind of a weird paradigm shift, but you're laying the foundation down for your body and for your brain to have a great day. So that's, that's my, my sleep Christ stories in the Internet shell. Excellent introduction. There's a couple interesting things you said there. I think further on in the conversation, we will get into the discussion around how not all sleep is created equal. I love the fact that you were willing to experiment on yourself to such great lengths as well. Um And I think there were a lot of listeners out there that resonate with your journey and a lot of them have probably reached this inflection point where they want to make a change. And they're going to take a lot from this episode, I think to further set the stage, there are probably a lot of folks listening to this that have read the book Why We Sleep by Matt Walker?

Great for great book. But for folks who are just getting started on this sleep quality journey, can you set the stage for why this has become such a pressing issue in society? Like in addition to what you've dealt with personally, what what other factors are at play here that are, that's created such like a Yeah, I think it's just some unintended consequences of modern technology. And obviously I'm a futurist. I love technology and sometimes there's things that that happen that are not biologically optimized. And one of the big ones, obviously, light lights a major potential sleep disruptor starting from people not getting enough light in the morning again. Andrew Huberman is an incredible job really popularizing that idea and it's so critical because essentially if you get light in your eyes within 30 minutes ish of upon awakening, you're starting a timer, circadian timer in your brain that will make you feel more tired 14 to 16 hours later, then the major one is really not managing the light before bed.

And obviously, if you, if you don't do that, you're a lot of people will tend to not want to go to bed. I'm one of them like for me, like as a major stimulant. So I'm not managing light, I can stay up to till 234 in the morning. And I think people that are night owls tend to be, I think more sensitive to light. It seems so. Um certainly the case for me. So all you need to do is about 90 minutes before bed. You've got a few options. What I do now is I just dim all the lights in my home, right? Some people use salt lamps, which is, you know, great for ambient lighting and you can, of course, if you got a dimmer on it, you can control the amount of lumens, which is a great way to manage light. Some people like like wearing blue light blocking glasses, that's another option. So you got a couple of options when it comes to just managing light. But if you do that about 90 minutes before bed one, you'll notice you're gonna feel more tired and you're gonna want to go to bed, which is great and your body is going to produce more melatonin, which is really the main thing because if you're not managing light, you're not gonna produce melatonin and you're gonna miss out on really high quality deep sleep.

You're gonna miss out on the whole hormonal cascade, including growth hormone which tends to occur very early in your sleep cycle. So it's really critical again to manage light. And then when you're in bed, you want to be in an absolute pitch block environment where you literally can't see your hand because your skin, yeah, I used to go to sleep mask back when it was getting horrible deep sleep because wearing a sleep mask, the problem was there was still light, you know, coming through the top and the bottom of the curtains and your skin has photo receptors has been shown in research that that will also disrupt your melatonin production. So to me, it's all about doing everything you need to do, including ingesting the right molecules to maximize your natural melatonin production. And that's how you get great sleep. It's one of the ways sounds like light is one of the most important or the most critical sleep disrupters. For a lot of folks. Can you go through some of the other sleep disrupters that might impact folks like cortisol adrenaline, um temperature, stuff like that.

Yeah. So the other big one again, I'll use myself as a case study here to start with. But light and heat were my major to sleep disrupters. So I live in Panama. Obviously, it's a human environment and I was running air conditioning. So I was running an AC, it's like 65, Despite that, I was still sweating so much underneath the sheets that I was losing 3 to £4 of water every night. And obviously, as a, as a runner, you know how critical hydration is and even 1% dehydration will severely impact your health and your cognitive capabilities and all kinds of things. So I was waking up dehydrated. I think that was really amplifying the grogginess and when it comes to deep sleep again, which tends to happen really early, you need to be cold. Like if, if your body is overheating, you will be very compromised when it comes to getting good quality deep sleep.

So the only thing that's really worked for me when I travel, I'm gonna be traveling this week. For example, this is my biggest pain point when I go to hotels is I don't have my chili pad. So chilly sleep is a company that produces a little thin layers that go underneath your bed sheets and you can control the water temperature that goes into this, this this thin layer. And it's a game changer. I mean, for anybody that has a hot metabolism, whether you're lifting a lot of waves, you have a lot of muscle mass or a woman in, in pre menopause or menopause. That device will transform the quality of your sleep. I know there's sleep aid as well. There's, there's a few devices that help. So that that's a major major key. Um I will chill my bedroom like 23 hours before I go in and I just walk in. It feels like a almost like a fridge and feels great and that's, that's critical. So that's probably the one of the biggest sleep disrupters for a lot of people.

Next is pressure points. So I don't realize that if you're a side sleeper, especially you will get blood flow constriction in your shoulders or if you're a woman with wider hips or larger legs in your hips and legs, if your mattress is not good, and that will cause you to toss and turn throughout the night, which will obviously pull you out of deep sleep, pull you out of rem sleep. So if you're a side sleeper, I strongly advise that you use a memory foam mattress and I strongly advise you use one from a company called the Sentia. I spent like six months researching mattresses and was the one I selected because it doesn't off gas. A lot of the memory foam mattress companies will produce using a bunch of different oils and petroleums and you're gonna get about six months of off gassing. So essential has different densities and the pro tips on selecting the right mattress for you is the wider you are the heavier you are and the shorter you are, you need, you need a softer mattress if you're lighter, taller and narrower than you need a denser mattress.

So essentially has all these different densities, including a custom made one which is the one I have this would they recommend for athletes. So you can really customize the different zones based on your body type. Probably one of the simplest things to avoid because it will almost universally destroy everybody's sleep quality is not eating 3-4 hours before bed. I say three hours is the minimum cut off. Most people will get better sleep if they don't eat like four hours. And I've had a lot of people tell me five hours is even better. Few reasons for that one is body temperature. So when you eat, if you track your body temperature in real time, you'll notice your body temp goes up about half a degree to one degree Celsius after a meal. And obviously most people that eat steaks have had the steak sweats. Right. And that's because the thermic effect of protein is significant. So if you eat a massive protein serving, especially again, stakes, things like that, you'll, you'll notice a pretty significant spike in body temperature.

And the other one is blood flow. So for your body to cool down, it needs to push the blood flow to your extremities. And obviously, if it's, if your body is focused on digestion, a lot of the blood flow is going to be around your digestive system. So, yeah, not eating is a really, really big one. There's a couple of things you can eat like before bed. Um That my opinion are, are fine. One of them is carbohydrates like just carbs. And the reason is it increases serotonin. So I found that like eating half a cup of berries or an apple, something that's relatively low glycemic before bed tends to improve sleep. And again, the mechanism there is, I think the serotonin boost from the fruits improves melatonin production. Serotonin is a precursor, which means it's a building block for melatonin and then amino acids as well, things like are fine gabbas fine.

These amino acids will get digested and absorbed within 30 to 45 minutes. So those are, are fine. You talked about cortisol. There's a classic saying which is like every hour you sleep before midnight is worth two hours. Is that true? It's true from the standpoint that if you go past your optimal sleep window, your body is going to produce cortisol. So for example, let's say your target bedtime is midnight and you go to bed at 1:00, your body at that point has missed its deep sleep growth hormone window and you won't get it back that night. So let's talk about Corona types because this, this is where I think the, this cliche this saying is a little bit inaccurate. I think people have different prototypes. I've been a night owl since I'm a kid. I think from an evolutionary biology perspective, it makes sense that people have different prototypes.

If everybody was wired to go to bed early and the Klan got attacked at night, they'd be screwed. And same thing if everybody was a night owl and everybody was sleeping in the morning would be a major threat for attacks in the morning. So that being said, of course, you can shift your clock and the way to shift your clock is to get light in your eyes in the morning. You can use Melatonin for a couple of days to reset your clock. But the point is if you want to be as consistent as possible for your bedtime, and the key is again, make sure you don't go past that, that window. Um You will compromise your deep sleep when you do that. So that's, that's a major one that everybody can do. And then probably the one that people that really, really struggle with sleep suffer from the most is hyperactive beta brainwave activity. So I've done about eight weeks of neurofeedback. And again, if people don't understand brain waves, this, this might not land, but your brain has several different brainwave bands that it shifts from throughout the day.

And most people struggle with sleep are stuck in a beta brainwave zone, which means that it's a very fast range and your brain is always producing electricity. And when you have hyperactive beta brainwave activity, your brain is just going, going, going and it's very difficult to stop thinking, it's very difficult to stop mediating. Now, fortunately, I mean, first of all, anything you can do, you know, from a mindfulness practice perspective to slow down your brainwaves is a great idea. Some people, you know, meditation, taking a warm bath, you know, journaling, you know, there's a great exercise that I learned from one of my mentors, which he suffered from a D H D called brain dumping. And all he would recommend is grab a book and a pen and start writing every idea that comes to your brain until there's nothing left. Sometimes it takes five minutes, sometimes it takes 15 minutes. It doesn't matter. You just keep going until you've dumped your ideas and your brain relaxes as soon as you, you kind of run out of ideas, you've captured it on paper, your brain will, will start slowing down and again, anything you can do to, to shift your nervous system Because obviously, there's a very strong correlation between sympathetic response and beta brainwave activity.

So when your brain, when you're nervous systems and fight flight freeze, you're stressed, you're gonna have more beta brainwave activity. So if you can shift your nervous system, you'll tend to slow down your brainwaves. There's a couple of molecules that will actually lower beta brainwave activity. One of them is is Pharma Gaba. It's, you know, we've tested pretty much every form of Gaba on the market. It's incredibly effective. And if you look at the clinical data show that it decreases beta brainwave activity significantly. And the other one's L thinning, which is one of my favorite sleep molecules in general, is derived from green tea is great because it will produce a relaxation response without creating drowsiness, which is awesome. When you combine the two, it's even more powerful. Stress is a common factor that affects everyone in today's fast paced world leading to various health issues, including heart problems, inflammation, obesity and mental illness. And while most people focus on finding relief through meditation or trips to the spa.

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In fact, clinical studies have shown that 500 mg of Euro within one of the main ingredients in my top, your can significantly increase muscle strength and endurance with no other change in lifestyle. Mid top, your comes in powder form to mix into your favorite smoothie protein powder. If you're looking for a great 12 punch of muscle support or soft gels, improving your mitochondria is one of the best things you can do for your health. And with mid top, you're from timeline nutrition, it has never been easier. So when you go to timeline, use promo code, runners connect for 10% off plan of your choice. That was an excellent summary of some of the factors disrupting sleep. You know, I'm a side sleeper myself. And that's news to me that you can experience blood flow constriction around the hip area, the shoulder area, those are both key areas in the kinetic chain for runners. So I took a note there. Um and I think you kind of went into the details of what's at stake, but I kind of want to go down this rabbit hole a little bit more because a lot of folks listening to this show, they are runners, they have a pretty consistent exercise practice.

They're kind of exceptions to the sort of this sedentary lifestyle that's also sort of an epidemic in our society. So can you talk maybe specifically to a running audience about what's at stake when you are either depriving yourself of sleep or just missing out on certain cycles like deep sleep rem sleep, stuff like that. Yeah, here's the truth and the truth is the more you train, the more recovery you need and you need to match the amount of recovery to your exercise demands. So obviously most long distance runners have a tremendous amount of, of stress load on their bodies, both from a volume perspective and an impact perspective while they're running. And if you're not getting enough recovery, and I'm, and I'm using recovery here and sleep being like one of the most important things, but let's just start with recovery in general. Your body's going to break down, you're not going to be maximizing your adaptation response.

So, you know, again, when you're doing any sort of exercise, the magic in the adaptation and the adaptation occurs when you're maximizing and optimizing recovery in general. And again, sleep being the number one thing. So the formula that I learned, um and again, this is from, from pro athletes and some pro athlete trainers is eight hours plus one hour for every hour you exercise. And of course, you know, Serena Williams and lebron James have become famous for some of their sleep stories for the amount of sleep they're getting because, you know, the their team knows the critical illness of that. And you know, it's just true like the more you train, the more you need to sleep in general. And again, it's not just sleep quantity but sleep quality. So all the things we're talking about will truly optimize your the recovery you're getting while you're sleeping. So I think that's, that's the main thing.

I mean, just to share a couple of shocking stats about the impact of literally one bad night of sleep. So the first one which is we're gonna be going through this, this upcoming weekend. So during daylight savings time in the spring, when we lose an hour of sleep on, on average the next day, there's a 24% increase in heart attacks and during the fall, it goes down 21%. So that's a 45% swing from when people lose an hour versus when they gain an hour. One of the other major issues. Uh And by the way, I was, I did a podcast recently with ultra distance runner and he told me he had one bad night of sleep. He's using a C G M C G M is a constant glucose monitor for those of you that don't know what that is. It allows you to track your, your blood sugar throughout the day, all like 24 hours a day. And he showed me that one bad night of sleep, he looked prediabetic the next day.

So your blood sugar response is going to be severely compromised from literally one bad night of sleep. Obviously, if your blood sugar responses compromised your ability to utilize glucose. And you know, because when you're talking about long distance running or any sort of long distance activity, your ability to utilize glucose and utilize fats is critical. So these pathways get compromised and obviously, it's going to impact performance. So whether it's just the adaptation or the or the performance itself, it will be compromised if you're not getting enough sleep. One thing you said there was that for, you know, you want to get eight hours of sleep baseline and then for every additional hour that you exercise during the day tack an hour onto that. And that's super interesting to me. So I guess what I'm wondering is, if you make the time for that total window, let's say it's 10 hours because you did two hours of exercise on top of the eight you need. If you don't set an alarm, will your body naturally make the time for that and get you through those 10 hours in the night.

So if back to power sleep, they were doing some really interesting research on, you're putting people in absolute pitch block environments and that's the only way you can, you can see how much sleep you really need. So again, if you're in a bedroom and you got even just a little bit of light coming through, uh it will tend to wake you up. So I mean, maybe not as, as wake you up as fast as if you got like coming through through the windows and some people like that, some people actually like sleeping with no current because they love waking up with the sun. And there's nothing wrong with that if you're going to bed early enough. But the only way to truly know how much sleep you need is to be in a hyper optimize sleep environment because again, these sleep disrupters will tend to wake you up. Um So it depends, I will say this, I think that some people need a little bit less sleep.

Some people are nappers. So when I say like, let's say 9 to 10 hours, that's the total amount of rest you need. And a nap is fine, non sleep, depressed is also very restorative doing that a couple of times throughout the day. If you're a bit tired is great. Um You know, going for a float session, I'm a big fan of sensory deprivation tanks. That's incredibly restorative, right? Very, very restorative. Um Some people find meditation, restorative. So I think, you know, when we talk about recovery is the totality of all of that. It's the sleep plus anything else you can do throughout the day to, to relax your nervous system to shift to parasympathetic and allow your body to rejuvenate itself. So again, all of that, it adds up to the total that you're shooting for. If you were to create a hierarchy of the most important recovery modalities out there and just overall categories, let's just like nutrition is a part of it.

Meditation is a part of its sleep. Where does sleep rank on that on that pyramid? Is it, is it the highest point? Yeah, it is. There's no doubt about it. I mean, that's where there's so much biological magic that's occurring. So again, just, just to kind of give people the basics, the deep sleep cycle, which is again, typically very early on is where your body produces a lot of growth hormone, which is incredibly restorative and rejuvenating for your body. And then rem and rem is happening throughout the night. But typically there's a big burst of it later in the evening. Is where there's a lot of memory consolidation, emotional processing that's occurring. So again, if you're compromised on any one of those, you will be compromised the next day, whether it's physically or mentally, mentally. When we talk about mood, a lot of the mood is happening while you're sleeping, your neurotransmitter formation, whether it's serotonin, dopamine, gaba, etcetera, it, what's going to allow you to be the best version of yourself the next day?

And obviously, if you're, you don't have enough of these critical neurochemicals, your run is going to be compromised. We were talking earlier in the conversation about how not all sleep is created equal. It's important to prioritize or just pay attention to the various sleep cycles in a night of sleep. And I'm wondering if you can talk about that a bit more. And then also it makes me wonder like because this is, we're realizing this is so important. Does that mean that like every single person in society that people seem to this show, should they all be tuned in from metric standpoint, wearing like the ordering the whoop strap stuff like that? Yeah. So first of all, All sleep trackers that are not an EEG are about 60, accurate. Why? Because they're using secondary metrics. The primary metric if you wanted to get accurate sleep data is you need electrodes on your brain, on your head, on your skull. So unfortunately, there's no longer any direct to consumer device that I'm aware of.

There was one a few years ago called Dream D R E M and it pivoted to becoming a research only company now. So those are good. I'm a fan of all of them. I've been using the ordering since V1 and it's a really good device and, and really where it shines the most, which is really critical for any athlete is the readiness score. So the readiness score which is looking at hr V your heart rate, how fast your heart rate drop while you were sleeping, your body temperature, those are direct measurements of how healthy your nervous system is. And when you see your score crash, there's something going on, either you're overtrained or your body's fighting something, some sort of infection virus, et cetera. So the readiness score is an amazing data point and the sleep data is good. It's like measuring body fat, like I've used pretty much every body fat measurement device technology that's ever been created from underwater, weighing two decks, askance to skin fold.

And as long as you're using the same device and you're seeing improvements you're improving, right? And the exact number doesn't really matter. Um so typically you want to shoot for about 90 minutes plus of deep sleep and two plus hours of rem if somebody's getting those numbers, they'll tend to feel really, really good the next day over the last few months, you've heard me talk a lot about athletic greens and how adding a greens supplement to my routine has been a huge difference for me this year. Well, athletic greens has released a big update to the name of their flagship product. The athletic Greens we love is now called A G one. And that's one of the reasons why I love them so much. They are always reviewing the latest research to improve their formulas and you know, research is something we pay attention to a lot here at runners connect with that said, we still get a few questions about how green's supplements work, how to take them, how they taste, etcetera.

And one big question we get a lot is is taking a green supplement the same as eating whole fruits and vegetables. The simple answer is yes and no. A G one dehydrates the fruits and vegetables and then grounds them into a powder. So you still get the same vitamins and minerals and you absorb them about equally the benefits of a green supplement compared to whole foods are convenience, not having fruits and veggies, potentially spoil and variety. Now, that's not to say taking a greens supplement replaces whole foods. Instead think of them as a convenient insurance policy that also provides variety. You can even add them to protein or fruit smoothies, which have become my favorite delicious post workout routine on weekends. So if you're someone who struggles to get in all the fruits and veggies, you need or who wants to get more consistent but always falls off or you end up finding tons of fruits and veggies gone bad in the fridge. A G one will make it all simple and delicious. So if you want to try them out and get a special bonus of five travel packs and a year's supply of vitamin D head to athletic greens dot com.

Backslash R T T T I know you'll love how easy it will be to finally be consistent with your fruit and veggie intake. So again, give it a try at athletic greens dot com backslash R T T T. Okay. So I want to talk about supplements as well and there was one thing I think I've heard you talk about another podcast and that it's, that runners shouldn't necessarily supplement with Melatonin, which I think is interesting because there's a lot of folks that I just know in my personal life and if they're having sleep problems, they just make the association with that supplement and they go to it and they use it. And so I think this would be an interesting topic to cover, which is, you know, why, why has Melatonin gotten this reputation for being a solution? But as it turns out, it might not actually be the best recourse. Yeah. So first of all, Melatonin is the most popular sleep supplement in the world. If you look at the data, if you look at the research on Melatonin, it's very good at helping people fall asleep and that's it.

So in terms of actually improving sleep quality, you know, improving other sleep metrics, it doesn't really do a great job. Some people myself included have a genetic variant that causes us to wake up two or three hours earlier when we take too much Melatonin. So for me, Melatonin was never a solution. I do use it when I need to wake up after say five hours because I have to catch a plane or something. So I'll use it as a hack to wake up earlier and feel better. So that's the one time where I'll use like half a milligram. So when we were formulating our sleep supplements, which now we have several, I was looking at how much Melatonin does your brain produce while you're sleeping? And it's 10-80 micrograms, which was surprising to me because, you know, even a few years ago, people started talking about using 350 micrograms, which is lower dose, but that's still a hyper dose compared to what your brain would, would normally naturally produce.

So we started playing around with Melatonin dozing. And we found that even for myself, if I do, let's say 60 micrograms, like anywhere from 40 to 80 micrograms, I don't get that wake up side effect, which again, that, that's that range of 40 to 80 micrograms is what your brain would naturally produce. So I'm a much bigger fan in general for any sort of supplementation to try to optimize your own natural production, whether it's testosterone or in this case, Melatonin, if you can give your body the building blocks that it needs to create the target molecule and then of course, give it all the co factors and co factors. What they do is they transform these building blocks into other things. So for example, magnesium is an incredible building block for serotonin. And serotonin is an incredible building block from Melatonin P five P is a bio active form of vitamin B six.

Incredible supplement in general. And it helps convert more magnesium into serotonin. And we just proved in our lab, we have a lab with 20 full time scientists, chemists, biologists doing nonstop experiments that the P FI P increases the uptake of the magnesium in red blood cells. We we knew that magnesium breakthrough has been our best selling supplement for the last few years. And we knew that there's this incredible synergy occurring because people are getting results from this blend that they just can't get from other magnesium blends. And yet we settled on magnesium license because it has the best data on sleep. But any form of magnesium will typically improve sleep on some level, there's some other great sleep minerals. So potassium was probably the most surprising one. I mean potassium is the molecule of hydration. That's how I have always seen it.

And being a guy that's primarily on ketogenic diets and have been for almost 30 years. I learned many years ago that I needed to up my potassium dosage. And most people have a sodium to potassium imbalance. Most people consume a tremendous amount of sodium. Nothing wrong with that. And especially if you're using Himalayan salt sea salt, you're getting all kinds of trace minerals, which I think are also incredible co factors for all kinds of things. But the issue is most people are not consuming enough potassium. But when I looked at the sleep data on potassium, I found some really interesting research on odd mutant flies. And what they found was that potassium quiets down neurons and sodium excites them. So that means that sodium will turn on your brain. So it's a great idea in the morning to, to put some, some salt in with your coffee. If your coffee drinker or with your water and drink that because now you're going to be getting again, mineralized coffee or mineralized water.

And then as the evening comes, there's a salt called new salt. It's a potassium chloride salt. You can use that for your dinner and then the potassium as well. And sleep breakthrough will help. The other benefit of potassium for sleep is that it can help minimize bathroom trips while you're sleeping. And the reason is when your sodium to potassium balance is off, you're going to go urinate a lot more frequently. So if your potassium is optimized. You will tend to hold on to your water more and just need less trips to the bathroom. So potassium is a really big one. Calcium. So we use calcium citrate, calcium improves rem. And it's also a co factor for trip to fan to convert into serotonin, melatonin to trip to fan. Again, that's the amino acid well known for, you know, helping people fall, fall asleep or make them feel sleepy. It's very prevalent in in Turkey, for example.

But again, the calcium is what can convert that trip to fan into serotonin and then zinc, zinc. In another amazing mineral for sleep, it will help relax your nervous system and it's a co factor for melatonin. So all those minerals are in sleep breakthrough, which is our sleep formula. We talked about Gaba. So Gaba is really the molecule of chill and a lot of people that struggle with sleep are Gaba deficient. So for those people, especially, you know, supplementing with Gaba can be transformative for their sleep. And an L thinning again, really quiets down the brain relaxes you without causing drowsiness and will help you fall asleep. And then finally, glycerine, which is another amino acid. So, glycerine is probably one of the most powerful amino acids in general for health. I think most people are severely deficient in glycerine. There's a couple of really cool things that glycerin does for sleep. One of them is it helps lower body temperature by pushing blood flow to your extremities and probably my favorite benefit.

And almost everybody who uses sleep breakthrough will report this. If you don't get enough sleep, if you take glycerine the next day, you're gonna feel a lot less tired. And that's what the research showed. So again, if you're sleeping, you know, if you have a child or for whatever reason, you get enough sleep, the glycerine will help you feel a lot more refreshed the next day, which is absolutely awesome. You listed off a couple interesting uh nutrients, their potassium zinc, glycerin, magnesium. Um It makes me actually there. I want to talk about sleep protocol in general for a second because I saw a tweet, you mentioned Andrew Huberman earlier in our conversation. He, he had a tweet a couple days back where he just lists out his optimal 24 hour sleep cycle protocol and you mentioned a couple of them sunlight within 30 minutes of waking, avoiding bright light at night. Um keeping the room cool, no alcohol, no caffeine past two PM. But he also and I bring this up because he mentioned a pigeon and three in eight as three other supplements to consider taking.

Can you speak to those in terms of their impact on sleep cycles and whether in your opinion, they're worth taking as well? Well, we talked about absolutely. Um yeah, Magnesium three and 8 crosses the blood brain barrier. It's a great magnesium. So, you know, I'm, I'm a fan of three and eight um without getting into, Well, without throwing shade. We, we didn't want to do business with the people representing that molecule for ethical reasons. But um it is a great molecule. So again, magnesium 38 rocks and Epogen. And yeah, we, we tried playing with it. We, we did about 55 prototypes of sleep breakthrough and we didn't find that it was in combination with the other things, adding anything to it. So the way we formulate is we were big fans of synergy. We try to create combinations of ingredients that creates a one plus one equals 10 scenario. And you know, sometimes you, we got to the point where we were trying to add more and more things and it was just not improving the formula at all.

Sometimes it was even making it worse because, you know, sometimes you create so much synergy that you start getting counter active for negative responses. So yeah, by itself for some people probably works really well. But yeah, in our formulas, we decided not to use it. Well, I feel like we, we've covered a lot of good ground in this conversation. I do want to talk about by optimizers in just a second. But the last question I have for you, is there any other important information about sleep or protocols around sleep or solutions for better sleep that we might not have covered that you think would be important for runners listening to this conversation to put on the radar. Yeah, some other things that worked. Um I'm gonna get some more high tech expensive things here. But you know, if you have a Nano V, you know, the pro versions about 15 grand, you can run that for about 90 minutes before bed. You'll, you'll shift your nervous system significantly helps repair DNA.

There's a device from an Australian company called Alondra E L A N R A and what it does, it creates these hyper charged oxygen molecules negatively charged. And there's some interesting data coming out more and more on these i anizers. And I do notice that you feel better the next day. So you can, you can kind of sleep with that in your environment. Um You know, if you're living in the country like where there's, you know, you can open your windows and get fresh oxygen while you're sleeping, I think that's a sleep enhancer as well. Obviously, if you're in the city that's not viable because of the noise and the light. But yeah, those are, those are ways to kind of optimize your air intake, so to speak. And of course, using an air filter is a good idea as well, especially for the city. There's actually one more question. I, I didn't want to forget this one. A lot of runners and I think this is just a function of being an athlete in general.

The night before a big competition, people lament the fact that they just don't get good sleep and I'm wondering if you can speak to, um, whether there are ways to reclaim some hours of sleep the night before a big competition or if athletes should be prioritizing the lead up and just sort of accepting that, you know, the night before a competition, it's just not going to be good. Well, you hit one of the best strategies which is to go right to acceptance. I mean, I think all of us have nights where we're overly stimulated. There's cortisol, the beta brainwave activities, hyperactive and we know that okay. I'm, I'm gonna probably lose a couple of hours of sleep. My sleep is not gonna be that great and the best strategy psychologically is to accept that because as soon as you start fighting it and being stressed about it, you're just amplifying it. So the sooner you can go to, hey, like I'm gonna get the best sleep I can.

And it's, it's also realizing that it's normal that you have this big competitive event and your brain is just thinking about it. So there's the sooner you can go to acceptance, the better you'll be um doing all the things we talked about. I mean, if I was an athlete, I would try to go to a sensory deprivation tank if you have access to it probably the night before to really help shift your nervous system um and, and try to get as best to sleep as possible, but it's normal to have, you know, more beta brainwave activity, more stress responses the day or the night before show competition. Excellent. Well, Matt, this has been an awesome conversation. I do want to talk about your company by optimizers for a second because you are directly addressing a lot of the issues and the solutions that we've talked about here today, you mentioned Magnesium Breakthrough, one of your products earlier. But if you don't mind, I'd love for you to go through um just in more detail, what you offer and how you address the sleep crisis.

Yeah. So on the sleep side, we have two formulas that we strongly recommend you give it a shot. But all of our products are covered by 365 day. No questions asked, money back guarantee. So if they don't work, you know, every penny back magnesium breakthrough is Been a game changer for me and for hundreds of thousands of people that have tried it sold over 1.2 million bottles of it. It's just a life changer. It really is. And for athletes, the critical thing for anybody who's doing a lot of endurance work is that you are sweating minerals. So you need to be constantly replacing minerals. Your your mineral utilization is far greater than a normal person. So obviously, sodium potassium magnesium are all critical And sleep breakthrough has been our new formula that we've worked on for over a year. It's, it's awesome. I use it every night again an hour before your target bedtime, take two scoops and you'll feel it within about 30 minutes and then you go to bed and get some much improved sleep.

A couple of other products that we have that I think can help runners. One of them is mass times, which has been our best selling enzyme formula since 2005. Um If you're consuming a lot of protein, which obviously you should be consuming some protein to help recover from all your workouts. It's a game changer. It's the strongest protein digesting formula on the market. That's how we designed it. And then the last formula would recommend for any runner is blood sugar breakthrough and blood sugar breakthrough. And maybe you're thinking, well, I don't have any blood sugar problems. My fasting glucose is awesome and all that. Sure. However, it's also designed to help increase glucose utilization, help optimize all the glucose pathways. So it's designed to be used by athletes as much as it is by people who are concerned about their blood sugar. So a lot of athletes have been using blood sugar breakthrough and you'll notice that get more energy, the glucose is optimized to kind of drive glucose into the muscle tissue.

So if during a race, you're consuming any sort of glucose, you know, the gel packs or something like that your body will be able to, to use up that glucose faster and better and get a better result from the glucose you're using. So, I think those four products should be on anybody on any runners list to give it a shot and you'll probably notice some significant improvements. Awesome. Mat. Well, this has been an excellent conversation. We'll make sure to link to all of those products in the show. I believe we also have a discount code for listeners as well. Um We'll also maybe I'll talk with you offline. We'll grab any interesting literature or stuff from your blog that summarizes what we talked about today. But thank you so much. I personally learned a ton and um I'm excited to see our listeners take action as a result. Yeah. Thanks for having me. It was a great conversation. Thanks for listening to the Run to the Top podcast. I'm your host, Finn Melanson. As always, our mission here is to help you become a better runner with every episode.

Please consider connecting with me on Instagram at Wasatch Finn and the rest of our team at runners connect dot net. Also consider supporting our show for free with a rate on the Spotify and Apple podcast players. And lastly, if you love the show and want bonus content behind the scenes, experiences with our guests and premier access to contests and giveaways, then subscribe to our newsletter by going to runners connect dot net back slash podcast. Until next time. Happy training.

How Runners Can Sleep Better And Recover Faster
How Runners Can Sleep Better And Recover Faster
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