Participants: Margot Marshall (Host), Dr. Eddie Ramirez
Series Code: HL
Program Code: HL000018A
00:15 Welcome to "Healthy Living!"
00:16 I'm your host Margot Marshall.
00:18 What is the price of a good night's sleep?
00:22 A marketing analytics firm projects the sleep industry
00:26 could reach an astounding 32 billion dollars this year
00:30 in the United States alone but that's just the dollar figure
00:35 not the cost to our health.
00:36 Dr. Eddie Ramirez has many proven sleep solutions
00:40 including a surprising one from a recent research paper.
00:44 Stay tuned!
01:22 Here to talk to us about sleep solutions is Dr. Eddie Ramirez
01:27 who travels a lot going through many time zones.
01:30 In fact last year, he visited 25 countries, yet managed to
01:35 avoid jetlag.
01:37 Welcome Eddie! Thank you very much.
01:39 You have our full attention.
01:41 Yes, this is a big, hot problem today.
01:45 In the clinical consultation, I see many patients
01:49 that complain that they have issues with their sleep.
01:54 So if you're one of those, I invite you to go and get a
01:58 piece of paper and a pen as you will be getting
02:01 some very important information today.
02:04 In fact, I have even had people in the airline industry
02:09 like air attendants come to me and say, "You know, what's
02:11 your secret, you know, can I do what you are doing?"
02:15 I mean, just recently I had a television interview in Norway,
02:21 flying from America and, I mean, I flew coach and got off
02:28 the plane and went to the studio
02:30 and recorded a few programs there, you know.
02:32 So I know that if you understand the principles, you can
02:37 also be able to implement this in your own life.
02:41 Even if you're traveling through different time zones
02:45 and your body clock - I mean that's major!
02:49 I mean, a lot of people have sleep problems when they
02:51 don't do that - just ordinarily they have sleep
02:54 problems functioning (That's right) but you even
02:56 managed to get good sleep when your body clock
03:00 should be telling you something else - so very, very
03:03 interested to see what you have to say about this.
03:06 So the key here - it's going to be a very important substance
03:10 that your body secretes that is called "melatonin." Okay.
03:16 So the melatonin is going to be the important substance.
03:19 And see, we know by research papers that melatonin is
03:24 so important for healthy living.
03:28 In fact, it has been called the most powerful antioxidant.
03:34 That's impressive! We hear a lot about antioxidants.
03:37 Yes, people pay a lot of money for this antioxidant,
03:40 and this other one and they neglect their own melatonin.
03:44 So we're going to learn today how we can
03:47 optimize that melatonin.
03:49 Melatonin also helps decrease ageing because melatonin
03:55 plays a special role during the night
03:57 to repair your organism.
04:00 So every night that you are sleeping, that melatonin
04:04 has been acting repairing your body and so forth.
04:09 Also, there is some interesting research that suggests
04:12 that melatonin may help us fight certain cancers as it has that
04:18 antioxidant activity in the body.
04:22 Well that makes sense because that's what antioxidants do,
04:25 so, yes, this is sounding better and better!
04:28 And also we know that it may help decrease blood pressure
04:34 and also may improve immunity.
04:38 That's why every person needs to learn to have optimum levels of
04:45 melatonin so that their health can be improved. Excellent!
04:51 I used to be in the hospital and doing rotations and so forth
04:56 when I was in medical school and I remember I would get
04:59 in the conversation with some of my attending physicians
05:02 and I would tell them, "Look, what kind of
05:04 hypocrites are we, you know?"
05:05 I would be doing this 36 hour long hospital duty,
05:11 and I would tell them, "Here we are trying to help people
05:15 and here we are killing ourselves, you know,
05:18 in the process."
05:21 I had that knowledge when I was in medical school and that's
05:26 the reason why there was not a
05:28 single night I spent the whole night studying.
05:31 See, melatonin will also help you retain information,
05:36 so if you have a lot to do, if you are a student
05:40 or you have that type of work that is labor-intensive,
05:44 instead of cutting corners and staying in late,
05:48 what you need to do is you need to go to bed early
05:51 and wake up early, and in that way you get
05:54 that amount of melatonin.
05:57 Okay, so you're saying that melatonin is produced more
06:02 in the pre-midnight hours.
06:05 In the early hours exactly!
06:07 In fact, research showed that before midnight you're
06:12 going to get one of the highest amounts of melatonin.
06:17 That's the reason why if you go to bed at 10:00 or 9:00
06:22 and wake up early or if you go to bed at 1:00 or 2:00 a.m.
06:27 and you still sleep your 8 hours, you still don't feel the
06:31 same because you have lost most of the melatonin of the night.
06:35 And this is a fascinating quotation that was written
06:39 more than 100 years ago, we can see that quotation
06:42 on the screen and it says:
07:00 So as you can see, there is an important timing issue here.
07:08 So you need to learn to go to bed early, maximum 10:00 p.m.,
07:13 9:30 wonderful, 9:00 fantastic!
07:16 And what about if you went before that or is that?
07:20 That's right, those days that you feel very tired and that
07:25 you feel that you need more rest, what you should do
07:31 instead of staying late, in the morning sleeping you're
07:35 literally wasting your time, I'll tell you why in a minute,
07:38 you need to go to bed early and in that way, you will get
07:44 more amount of melatonin so that your body can be
07:49 repaired adequately and you can function correctly.
07:52 I know, as I talk to patients, some of these patients like to
07:58 go to church and so forth, and if you are staying in bed
08:04 late and cutting corners, you're actually not
08:07 getting that benefit.
08:09 You're tired - go to bed that that weekend a little bit
08:13 earlier and in that way, you will get your
08:15 proper amount of melatonin.
08:17 Right, so the hours before midnight are the
08:21 important ones. Those are the important ones!
08:23 It's not enough just to have the 8 hours but when you do it.
08:28 So let us examine a little bit of how this melatonin
08:32 is produced so that we can understand how to
08:36 optimize this melatonin.
08:38 Yes, this is something we need to know.
08:40 The first step that we need to learn is a key word
08:45 called, "tryptophan."
08:47 There are many amino acids form the protein - think
08:53 about them as the Legos.
08:55 You know how there are Legos that are square, circle, long,
08:58 so forth, in the same way there are different amino acids - the
09:03 combination of amino acids compose protein.
09:06 Well, one of those amino acids is called "tryptophan,"
09:10 and tryptophan is essential for you to have good melatonin
09:16 in your body - let me tell you why.
09:18 Tryptophan, when you eat the tryptophan, combined with
09:24 bright light generates something that is called "serotonin."
09:29 If you are that type of person, and I know there are many
09:34 because depression is a huge problem here in Australia.
09:38 If you're listening to me and you're that type of person
09:40 that goes to bed and then wakes up at 2:00-3:00 in the
09:45 morning and you cannot go back to sleep, I can tell you
09:51 you probably have a deficiency of melatonin
09:54 secondary to low serotonin in your brain.
09:58 So let us understand how we can optimize that.
10:02 See, tryptophan is not just because you read in the
10:06 ingredients, nutritional facts, that this food has tryptophan,
10:12 that is not enough.
10:14 You need to get your tryptophan from a plant source.
10:20 See, animal products are rich in other amino acids
10:26 that look like tryptophan - they are not tryptophan, they are
10:31 an amino acid but chemically speaking they are similar
10:36 to tryptophan.
10:37 So the issue is this - in your brain very little tryptophan
10:43 actually can make it through.
10:45 So if you are eating your tryptophan of animal
10:50 product sources, you're sending all these competing
10:54 amino acids and very little tryptophan in the first place
11:00 was coming in, but now these competing amino acids
11:02 try to also go in there - so they end up going in the brain
11:06 instead of the tryptophan as they need to pass
11:09 through the blood-brain barrier.
11:12 Also, that little door that you have to put that tryptophan
11:17 inside your brain is dependent on insulin.
11:23 There needs to be a little bit of insulin spike in
11:26 order for that little door to function.
11:28 Animal products don't give you that insulin spike while
11:33 plant-based foods give you that insulin spike
11:40 that will help that tryptophan go inside the brain.
11:44 That's the reason why in our very successful depression
11:48 program, you actually can increase that tryptophan amount
11:55 to the brain because we switch all of our patients
11:59 to a full plant vegetarian diet.
12:02 If you're interested in the topic, just Google the word
12:05 "Nedley and hypothesis," this is a whole paper
12:10 that I wrote about explaining our hypothesis.
12:13 Okay, that's very good.
12:15 This is one more reason - you know you've done a number of
12:17 programs with us and all kinds of reasons why a
12:20 plant-based diet is helpful and now we're finding
12:23 it's helpful for sleep - so that's another reason
12:27 to go for the plant foods, excellent!
12:29 So people are asking, "Okay, so which plant foods have some
12:35 good sources of that." Tryptophan, yes.
12:37 Among the foods that you can easily acquire, the king of the
12:43 tryptophan is actually "tofu," very high in tryptophan.
12:48 If you don't know how to use tofu, just go to the internet.
12:51 There are so many recipes there - tofu has that
12:55 characteristic that it can acquire sweet, it can acquire
12:58 a salty taste - it can acquire different tastes
13:03 depending on what you put on.
13:04 So tofu, things like pumpkin seeds; things like beans,
13:12 wheat flour, walnuts; things like linseed - these types of
13:20 foods are nice and rich in this tryptophan so make sure
13:24 that you're eating them especially if you are
13:27 having problems sleeping.
13:29 So we said we need two things:
13:31 #1. You need that tryptophan inside your brain.
13:33 #2. You need bright light.
13:35 So what I want you to do, if you are having trouble
13:39 sleeping, I want you to wake up at the time that the sun
13:43 is coming up and you go outside and expose yourself
13:48 to sunlight between 30 to 45 minutes.
13:52 So what I suggest to you is, why don't you go for a walk?
13:56 See, it may sound mean but in our depression program,
13:58 we have the key of every single one of our patients,
14:02 and when the morning comes, if they didn't sleep enough,
14:05 they may say, "Oh, I want to stay longer in bed."
14:08 No! that's not an option.
14:10 We go, open those doors and we put our patients to expose
14:15 themselves to bright light,
14:17 and in that way, they get that benefit.
14:19 There was an interesting study that showed that those people
14:22 that say that they're "night owls," they put them
14:26 in a tent far from a city and suddenly every single
14:32 one of them became a morning person. Is that right?
14:36 So that is actually not an excuse. That's interesting!
14:39 That's fascinating, isn't it?
14:41 So they changed from owls to fowls. That's right!
14:46 So especially older people, yes.
14:49 So how long would that take?
14:51 In a matter of a couple of days,
14:53 the person becomes a morning person and I can
14:55 tell you from our patients that come to
14:57 our depression program...
15:00 You put them in a tent outside. Laughter.
15:02 What we do also, if you don't have access to the bright
15:05 sunlight of the sun because of work and so forth,
15:09 I would encourage you to get a medical grade bright light
15:13 which you can expose yourself from 30-45 minutes
15:17 early in the morning and in that way,
15:19 you can accomplish that.
15:20 If you still are having trouble after doing that,
15:23 get yourself a second dosage around 3:00 to 4:00 p.m.
15:28 another 30 minutes and this is something you can take it
15:30 to your job and put it there as you are working
15:33 and so forth, and expose yourself to that bright light.
15:37 So, step #1. Tryptophan plus bright light.
15:40 That will increase the serotonin that will make you
15:43 feel good throughout the day.
15:45 Now, melatonin - I need the other opposite which is
15:50 darkness - melatonin is only secreted when we
15:55 have complete darkness.
15:58 So make sure your room is completely dark.
16:03 That's going to be the key to generating enough melatonin.
16:08 So you're really resetting the body clock by
16:11 getting up at the right time and then going to bed
16:14 at the right time and the tryptophan and the bright light
16:18 are actually helping to reset the body clock. That's right!
16:19 And make sure also you have enough vitamin B6 and in
16:24 things like, we call it in America "peppers,"
16:29 you guys call them "capsicum" here in Australia.
16:33 Okay, that's a very nice rich source of vitamin B6,
16:36 and veggies in general are good sources.
16:40 And also make sure that you're eating enough calcium, okay?
16:45 Many of the modern substitutes for milk -
16:48 soy milk, oat milk - many of them have enough calcium
16:53 there, so make sure you are drinking some of these,
16:56 that's part of the equation.
16:57 So you need to have that darkness and you need to have
17:03 That's the key - every night at the same time,
17:06 you need to go to bed including the weekend.
17:09 Many people unfortunately on the weekend,
17:12 they move that program and no wonder on Monday
17:15 they feel horribly terrible.
17:18 We have a term for that, it's called, "Mondayitis."
17:21 Okay, Mondayitis or blue Monday we call it, that's right,
17:24 in America, yes. Yes, probably the same thing.
17:26 So it's really caused by interrupting that regularity.
17:31 In fact, I published a research paper and it's going to
17:36 be coming out in the Journal - "Obesity Review,"
17:39 and we can see it on the screen.
17:41 In this paper, we were showing how regularity in eating
17:46 and sleeping improves the mood, and not only that,
17:50 it has a positive effect on the weight of the person.
17:56 So this actually helps to lose weight, makes you feel better,
18:01 and your depression actually decreases dramatically
18:05 once you get into a regular program the whole week
18:08 including the weekend.
18:11 Also, there are many...
18:13 Can I say something? Yes, go ahead.
18:14 That's such a big thing as depression is the single
18:19 greatest cause of disability worldwide. That's right.
18:22 Also, the case in Australia, just to be able
18:27 to get your sleep sorted out is tremendous. That's right.
18:32 So this is really, really important.
18:35 And again, if you're interested in the topic, go on Google,
18:37 those key words, you know: "Nedley depression Ramirez,"
18:42 and you will get that paper that we published.
18:45 It's open - anybody can read it on the internet. Yes.
18:48 Also, there are some melatonin killers - please avoid
18:54 these things if you want to have enough melatonin.
18:58 And we can see those factors that interfere with melatonin
19:04 on the screen.
19:05 Stress - that's why you don't sleep good
19:07 when you're stressed.
19:09 Caffeine - horrible habit for melatonin and longevity.
19:13 Alcohol - also and Tobacco.
19:17 You're saying there that alcohol can cut it back by 41%.
19:21 That's right! That's massive.
19:23 Many people, they say, "I need a little drink so that I
19:26 can relax and I can sleep." Mistake of mistakes!
19:31 Please don't do that.
19:33 When you do that - yes, you may sleep, but you cut down
19:37 your melatonin and don't repair the body properly.
19:41 So you need to remove those factors from your lifestyle.
19:46 That's why before going to sleep, it's better to change
19:50 your thinking and so forth into
19:52 a more positive type of direction or read the Bible,
19:58 do something peaceful - turn on to your 3ABN.
20:01 On the air, that's good, say that again. Laughter.
20:04 So you can get something wholesome that would put your
20:08 thinking in the right direction.
20:10 And be careful also with bright light in the night.
20:15 We said, you need bright light early in the morning,
20:18 but not at night!
20:19 Cell phones, computers and many other big sources of light,
20:24 they need to be decreased or eliminated ideally
20:28 before you go to bed.
20:30 If you are that type of person that needs to use a computer
20:34 before going to bed or your cell phone, you need to
20:38 install a filter program.
20:41 The one I usually like is called, "FLUX."
20:48 It's free, you can install it; the computer will know when
20:52 the sunset occurs and it will block the blue light
20:56 which is what blocks the melatonin in the night.
21:00 So hours before going to sleep, that program needs to kick in.
21:06 It is a huge mistake to wake up in the night and read
21:09 your messages - you're just shooting all these lights
21:12 to your eyes and the body says, "Oh, it's time to
21:15 wake up, let's wake up!"
21:16 And no, you know you want to sleep, don't do that.
21:19 That's actually one of my secrets
21:21 as I travel across zones.
21:23 You need to be disciplined, so when it's night
21:27 as you're going to be crossing night, you need to
21:29 put something in your eyes, block your eyes.
21:32 Even if you are not sleeping, the fact that you are
21:37 blocking your eyes, it's doing some melatonin in your system,
21:41 and you need to be disciplined.
21:43 Don't take it off when they offer the food and so forth.
21:46 Do you eat in the middle of the night?
21:48 No, so why are you eating in the middle of the night
21:51 when you're in a plane ride?
21:52 So if it's night, the food passes by - you ignore that.
21:57 And that's one of your secrets from the jetlag.
22:00 No caffeine and no alcohol, those things will block
22:05 my melatonin and will make me feel horrible the next day.
22:09 I don't think you have alcohol any day, do you?
22:11 That's right! Laughter.
22:13 As I understand the physiology of this, I avoid alcohol
22:17 like leprosy, myself.
22:18 And I always sit on the window seat - the reason why
22:24 is because as the day comes, you know if you sleep enough
22:28 you make your calculation that you get a good 6-7 hours
22:32 in the plane - the first thing I do is I open my shade
22:37 and get myself that bright light that will help shift my
22:43 time zone to the new zone.
22:45 So those three things you do when you're traveling -
22:49 When you're coming into a country and it's night in the
22:53 country, you cover your eyes so you're basically getting the
22:55 darkness (That's right), you don't eat because it's not
22:59 the time to eat (That's right) in that country.
23:00 Eating will block melatonin, that's right.
23:02 Oh, okay, eating and, okay. That's right.
23:07 So that's why 3 hours before going to bed,
23:09 you need to have your last meal.
23:11 So you cover your eyes for darkness. That's right.
23:13 Then you don't eat or drink anything. That's right.
23:15 And you sit by the window so that when the sun
23:19 is coming up, (That's right), you have control
23:20 of the shade and you can change it.
23:21 You may drink water, it's fine, but don't drink anything else.
23:25 That will cause digestion that will block melatonin and also -
23:29 I was just going to say, if you're a pilot or a flight
23:34 attendant, that's something that maybe you do have to be
23:39 doing things through that time, but some of it
23:41 maybe you could work. Yes.
23:43 And if you are taking blood pressure medication
23:47 like beta blockers, make sure you talk to your doctor
23:52 about melatonin.
23:54 Beta blockers - those medications that end in "lol,"
23:57 "metoprolol, atenolol, and these type of medications
24:02 block 99% of your melatonin.
24:06 So a wise physician that prescribes this medication
24:11 will also give some melatonin for the melatonin
24:15 you're going to be blocking.
24:16 I don't advise taking melatonin just by itself unless you
24:20 really need it - I'd rather encourage you to optimize
24:24 the level of your melatonin so that you can sleep better.
24:28 Also, if you're taking more than 3,000 micrograms of B12,
24:35 that also can block your melatonin.
24:38 Be careful not to take too much vitamin B12, and also
24:42 medications that are long-lasting like pain
24:49 medication long-lasting - we don't like to use those ones.
24:52 Medications for pain that
24:56 release in long-time, they also will block that.
25:00 Okay, slow release medications for pain.
25:03 There's another published paper I recently presented in
25:07 a conference; in fact, I got an award to one of the
25:10 best studies presented there.
25:12 Why don't I get you to say that to us?
25:15 And this one had to do with lavender oil and sleep. Okay.
25:20 So lavender oil orally in capsules, we found out that it
25:26 helped not only with anxiety but also with sleep.
25:29 A little side effect that we found was that if you take
25:32 too much, you may get a little bit of heartburn and so forth,
25:35 but just to be aware of that.
25:38 How much is the right amount?
25:40 Yes, you would want to take 2 or 3 of those capsules
25:44 about 3 hours before going to bed and it may
25:48 have that beneficial effect.
25:49 We also have some herbs that can help - we can see those
25:52 on the screen and you can find some of these herbs here
25:56 in Australia: chamomile, hops, lavender and valerian.
26:02 There are research papers that show the effectiveness of these
26:08 herbs in helping improve your sleep.
26:13 Well that's fantastic, lots and lots of good suggestions there.
26:17 Do you ever need to take any extra melatonin despite
26:20 all your best efforts?
26:22 No, I don't ever take melatonin - I make sure
26:26 I generate my own and believe me, I sleep good, you know.
26:30 I sleep good.
26:31 And you look as though you slept well and, you know,
26:34 you've been doing some traveling just now.
26:35 Because you need to be disciplined!
26:38 And that's what I tell people, you know, sometimes
26:39 you are with shades there on the plane
26:41 and so forth and you are unable to sleep,
26:43 you still need to stay there.
26:45 The worst thing you can do is to remove them and start
26:48 watching the little movie they have in front of you.
26:51 You are putting bright lights through your eyes. Yes.
26:54 You are going to interrupt that.
26:56 So what I suggest to you is if you are having really
26:59 problems sleeping, why don't you tap into
27:03 spiritual resources.
27:04 And I want to share with you one of my favorite verses
27:07 and you can see it on the screen, Proverbs 3:24.
27:22 Oh isn't that lovely!
27:23 And that is, it's beautiful and I think spirituality
27:26 is often overlooked.
27:29 Well it's just something we can tap into and that we can
27:32 benefit from and I just don't think we always realize this.
27:36 One of our recent patients, we loaned him a bright light
27:41 and the person had not slept in years and he said,
27:47 "You know, I'm not giving you back this light,
27:50 I'm using it from now on."
27:51 So you can experience that if you wish.
27:55 Yes, okay, well that's been fantastic Eddie.
27:58 Many of those things you've told us are just so valuable.
28:02 People will probably want to watch them again and you can
28:05 do that and I hope that you will enjoy sound and
28:10 restorative sleep - a good quality of sleep to add to
28:13 the quality of your life.
28:15 So if you want to watch our programs on demand,
28:17 visit our website, that's 3abnaustralia.org.au
28:21 Just click on the watch button and we'll see you next time.
28:25 Thank you very much.