Sleep cycles, Slow-Wave Sleep, Epsom salt baths & Magnesium
Jennifer Marie’s Update
A week suffering from a sinus infection and fevers pushed Jennifer Marie to ask for antibiotics. Thankfully, she feels a bit better.
This marks the first symptomatic infection in the 18 months since Jennifer Marie transitioned to a ketogenic lifestyle. This shift within her body boosted our immune system and suppressed inflammation and sickness!
Jennifer Marie’s ketones are at 0.5 and blood sugars have been as high as 114. Those higher numbers showed up when her body fought against that invader inside her sinuses. Illness requires more energy for white blood cells, heart, bowels, brain, and lymph system. When a virus or bacteria invades, a signal of danger ripples throughout our body. Cortisol is our danger hormone. When we feel scared, or sense intrusion of a critter, cortisol rings the alarm to produce extra energy as we prepare for the fight. Cortisol commands the liver to release stored glucose. Up rises our blood glucose. Down fall our blood ketones.
FIX the ILLNESS and INFLAMMATION with FASTING
Our bodies fight invaders. Fueling your fight with ketones gives you an advantage. That advantage surfaces in the strength of your immune system. Ketosis decreases inflammation. What does that really mean? Tiny spaces between cells fill with extra fluid. It may only be a sliver of moisture, but it matters. This added grime slows down cellular repair and communication between cells. Ketones will drop when you have an infection. The signal of cortisol splashes glucose into circulation and ketone production slows to a crawl. Don’t fear. The protective advantage came from the weeks of low inflammation and increased fat-fuel-body. During the moments of attack from outside critters, your body will need glucose. The rise in sugar and cortisol sucked inflammation into a very healthy, “dry” environment. Patients with chronically elevated insulin endure the cellular grime day in and out. Fueling with high-carb eating floods them with a constant bath of insulin. Elevated insulin keeps that thin layer of fluid creeping into the tiniest of spaces throughout their body. Drop the carbs and the insulin will follow. Only then does the body let go of that chronic inflammation. Insulin resistance links patients to slower healing, slower communication, and less energy. When my keto-adapted patients fall to the invasion of an infection, I recommend they FAST. This pushes their system to use the stored glucose in their liver and muscles as well as limiting the concurrent swelling caused by the invasions. Hippocrates, the Grandfather of medicine, said: “But to eat when you are sick is to feed your sickness.”
John’s Keto Recap
John’s chronic pain syndrome held our attention again this week. Use of prescription pain meds helped him manage his pain in the past. Off those prescriptions he struggles with the return of his back pain. A shot of whiskey settles the pain some nights. Recently he finds himself using that antidote more often.
Our pain resets each night when we sleep. A special part of our sleep called stage 4 or delta slow-wave sleep pulls our brain into the deepest somber. When we use alcohol, opiate medication, or drugs that act like these types of chemicals as a sleep aids, our brains fail to achieve that deep, restorative sleep.
The pharmaceutical industry took the alcohol molecule and created sleep aids that act a lot like alcohol. I call these look-alikes Booze-In-A-Pill.
WHAT IS BOOZE-IN-A-PILL?
If I want the booze to last in your brain for 5 days, I’d give you Librium.
If I want the booze to last in your brain for 3 days, I’d give you Valium.
If I want the booze to last in your brain for 2 days, I’d give you Klonopin.
If I want the booze to last in your brain for a day, I’d give you Ativan or Xanax.
All of these prevent you from the deep, slow-wave sleep. Whether you drink your alcohol or take it in a pill, your sleep fails to sink to the reparative phase of sleep. This ages your brain, worsens your memory, and crabs your mood.
ALCOHOL STOPS KETONE PRODUCTION
Alcohol is a third fuel in the body. Glucose, ketones and alcohol churn through the mitochondria to produce energy. Alcohol slips into our cells, and then into our mitochondria. When we burn the alcohol, we stop burning glucose and ketones.
Last we I prescribed a medication to help reset John’s sleep cycle and restore his pattern of sleep. This process is only possible if he is not using alcohol.
The medication resets their sleep. The brain will use different neural pathways to shut down.
The key FIRST STEP to this sleep protocol: clear your schedule for the days following this “reset med.” As a police officer, we selected the part of John’s schedule where he was off duty for 3-4 consecutive days. Perfect.
NEXT: Family – put your game face on. What does that mean? That means the supports system surrounding John needs to help me. When John is sleeping, let him sleep. Don’t disturb him. If he needs sleep during the day after taking this medication, let him sleep. Do not inhibit this master plan by assigning him a “honey do” list on the days following this sleep-reset-medication.
I instructed John to take the first dose at 5 PM on Thursday night. John fell asleep at 6:30 pm, much earlier than is typical. Knee pain woke him up five times. John’s pain flared in part because of the lack of alcohol. The first day without his usual “helper” and his brain was a little stubborn. I’m sure the cravings for his normal sedative played a part in these multiple awakenings the first night. He returned to sleep despite those awakenings thanks to the power of my prescription medication.
John awoke at 7 am. Jennifer followed my instructions by encouraging him to go back to sleep. He did. More sleep from 8:30 to NOON!!
The lack of agenda allowed John to take full advantage of this powerful medication. This amount of sleep after such a prescription is NORMAL. His brain was ‘hungry’ for healthy sleep. The nerves in charge of that deep sleep were re-learning how to work. The sleep cycle will reset!
The second day John felt groggy and just kind of “existed.” Jen reached out to me with John’s update. She shared his frustration that he was just not feeling right. I encourage her to trust the process. Hang in there.
Day 2, Saturday, was tough. John’s mood was crabby. This was out of character for John. He felt incredibly tired and angry. He was irritable and wanted to throw in the towel on this experiment. I strongly encouraged him not to do that. John took two pills again on Saturday night, the third night of the protocol.
John awoke on Sunday morning with an abundance of energy, joy, and lack of pain feeling refreshed! BAM! That’s the power of sleep. Most patients don’t need 2 pills 3 consecutive nights to reset their brain. The ones that need this extra help usually have been fighting a poor sleep routine for years. John’s history of working the night shift as a police officer contributed to his stubborn sleep settings. The use of alcohol in recent weeks did not make this transition any easier. Reversing the dependency on alcohol to fall asleep can trap folks into a cycle that depends upon the alcohol to sleep.
The results achieved in this three day power-push compare to similar sleep patterns seen at 6 weeks of sobriety. It took a little longer for the medication to kick in. Once the brain starts getting deep sleep, there is a pulse to when the brain will shut down. This reset will greatly speed up John’s journey to reset his sleep pattern.
First night ketone reading 0.9 was and glucose 92.
Second night ketone reading was 0.6 and glucose 112.
Sleep is critical to heal. From pain, to cancer to grief recovery, quality sleep predicts the speed of recovery. If sleep is not restored, alternative methods to numb the physical or mental pain take over your life.
ONE MEAL PER DAY
I asked John to fast to get to a ratio of 40 as a goal over the next six to eight weeks. He was feeling frustrated, but I encouraged him to just stay keto and focus on his sleep and some delicious keto lasagna made by Jennifer Marie.
In addition to sleep training, magnesium is critical to restoring and resetting our brain. As my patients come off of an addictive substance, an environment of calm helps. One slick trick for an instant calm is a magnesium float. Turn EVERYTHING off and practice CALM while soaking in a hearty dose of magnesium. The epsom salts produce pulls water out of John’s knee where he is having pain. This old remedy from your Grandmother provides relief from many swollen allments.
NEXT STEP FOR JOHN
I have asked that he continue to take one pill per night as his pain and mood are improving. I will continue to monitor his progress and support his improvements. John’s response has been very helpful. and I am very hopeful that he is well on his way to recovery.
Have you read my book yet?
Anyway You Can is an amazing resource to guide you on your ketogenic journey.
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