Dr. Gabrielle Lyon is a board-certified physician and completed a combined research and clinical fellowship in Geriatrics and Nutritional Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis. She completed her undergraduate training in Nutritional Sciences: Vitamin & Mineral Metabolism at the University of Illinois.
Dr. Lyon is a subject matter expert and educator in the practical application of protein types and levels to health, performance, aging, and disease prevention. She has continued to receive mentorship from Dr. Donald Layman, Ph.D., over the course of two decades to help bring protein metabolism and nutrition from the bench to the bedside through her concept of Muscle-Centric Medicine®.
Her clinical practice services the leaders, innovators, mavericks, and executives in their prospective fields. Dr. Lyon works closely with the Special Operations Military assisting with establishing protocols for early detection, education, and treatments for cancer and toxic exposures.
In this episode, we discuss:
😴 Sleep and skeletal muscle
😴 Offset physical implications of sleep deprivation
😴 Importance of skeletal muscle
😴 Importance of sleep and muscle mass
😴 Blood sugar and sleep strategies
😴 Eating before bed and sleep
😴 Endocrine effects of exercise
😴 Understanding the impact of environment
😴 Sleep alliance and relationship connection
😴 Wake-up routines and circadian alignment
😴 The connection between sleep and muscle
😴 What we could learn from Gabrielle’s sleep-night habits?
😴 Save the date: Dr. Gabrielle Lyons is set to unveil her groundbreaking book, "Forever Strong: A New, Science-Based Strategy for Aging Well," on October 17th, 2023.
🧠 If you “Can’t Turn Your Brain Off” at night… https://magbreakthrough.com/sleepisaskill
🎢 If you're waking up at 3 a.m. & suspect your blood sugar...
I drink 'Good Idea' before a meal that I KNOW I'll likely spike from since it has been shown to reduce glucose between 20 & 30 percent!
Good Idea Code: SLEEP10
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Welcome to the sleep as a skill podcast. My name is Mollie McGlocklin and I own a company that optimizes sleep through technology, accountability, and behavioral change. Each week I'll be interviewing world class experts ranging from doctors, innovators, and thought leaders to give actionable tips and strategies that you can implement to become a more skillful sleeper.
Let's jump into your dose of practical sleep training.
Welcome to the. Sleep is a skill podcast. Our guest today is Dr. Gabrielle lion. And this was a super exciting podcast for me to be a part of. And I think you're going to really enjoy the information that we get into. We talk about how muscle mass can affect your sleep results, as well as some late breaking information from the Galveston Institute that could change how you think about a poor night of sleep and how it's going to relate to your lineup at the gym or not going to the gym.
So we're going to dive into all that and so much more. But first I want to share with you a little bit about our guests. So Dr. Gabrielle Lyon is a board certified physician and completed a combined research and clinical fellowship in geriatrics and nutritional sciences at Washington university in St.
Louis. She completed her undergraduate training in nutritional sciences, vitamin and mineral metabolism at the university of Illinois. Dr. Lyon is a subject matter expert and educator in the practical application of protein types and levels to health, performance, aging, and disease prevention. She has continued to receive mentorship from Dr.
Donald Lehman, PhD, over the course of two decades to help bring protein metabolism and nutrition from the bench to the bedside through her concept of, quote, muscle centric medicine. Her clinical practice services the leaders, innovators, mavericks, and executives in their perspective fields. Dr. Lyon works closely with the special operations military, assisting with establishing protocols for early detection, education, and treatments for cancer and toxic exposures.
Now, as always, if you have any questions about some of the topics we discuss in this podcast, please don't hesitate to reach out to me. You can always reach us at team at sleep is a skill. com. And we'd love to have you sign up for our newsletter. All of those things and so much more can be done at sleep is a skill.
com. Now we're going to jump right into the episode, but first a few words from our sponsors. The CDC reports that more than one in three Americans are sleep deprived and it's estimated that sleep related issues like trouble falling asleep, staying asleep and sleep disorders affect around 50 to 70 million Americans.
This is problematic because as you all know by now, if you've been listening to this podcast or on our sleep obsessions newsletter, please sign up if you're not already signed up. Or are part of our program, sleep is strongly tied to our metabolic health and over time, poor sleep can contribute to the deterioration of metabolic health.
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Now again, that's V S M dash sleep as a skill at checkout. And you can also check out our online store at sleep as a skill. com here at the sleep podcast. We're all about enhancing your sleep and a cornerstone of that journey often revolves around stabilizing your blood sugar levels. That's precisely where good idea steps in.
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Now invest in better sleep and in turn in a better, more energized life. As we head into the fall and vacation season winds down, i. e. a time when late nights, irregular eating habits, and indulgence tend to become the norm, it's time to get back on track with our health and, of course, our sleep. Just a quick interesting fact about sleep to mention, drinking more than two servings of alcohol per day for men and more than one serving per day for women, can decrease sleep quality by 39.
2%. A sleep foundation survey reports, not even mentioning all the indulgent food and late night effects that often come along with it. And as we know, sleep is the key to your body's rejuvenation and repair process. It controls hunger and weight loss, hormones, boost energy levels and impacts countless.
Other functions, a good night's sleep will improve your wellbeing much more than just about anything else I can possibly think of on the planet. You know, I'm biased, but gotta say that. And sleep is your major to focus on as we head into the fall season and hopefully beyond. And that's why I recommend that if you're going to start taking some supplements on your sleep, often magnesium is a great place to begin.
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This special offer is only available at magbreakthrough. com forward slash sleep as a skill. I will also include this in the show notes as well. And welcome to the sleep as a skill podcast. It is my honor today to introduce the amazing and really revolutionary Dr. Gabrielle Lyons. Thank you so much for taking the time to be here.
Yeah, you got it. Thank you for having me. Ah, so again, this is an ongoing challenge for me, but particularly I know in this interview of how to squeeze the mountain of knowledge that you have in your zone of genius into this, you know, short little podcast. So we're gonna See what we can do. And then, of course, provide all the ways that people need to follow you, get your book, all the things, because there's only so much we can squeeze in.
So we're going to do our best. All right. So, Gabrielle, if you can just sort of begin with a little bit of our understanding of how you became this expert in this area that I think has been overlooked for so long and how it relates to sleep. Yeah, I, first of all, I love this question because when we think about sleep and we think about medicine just in general, it is, it should come to as no surprise that most physicians and physicians that go through training get no sleep, right?
So this is part of the. medical culture. I practice a kind of medicine in which I termed called muscle centric medicine, and it's this concept that skeletal muscle is the largest organ system in the body and really determines everything about how we age. which is incredibly fascinating. We think about muscle right now.
Many people think about muscle as it relates to kind of bro science and being jacked and tan and wearing a little skinny tank and doing curls. But skeletal muscle is Really the primary organ system and again, it is an endocrine organ system that will help combat and is the root of many of the diseases of aging that we see, including Alzheimer's, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity.
These are diseases that have a very strong origin in skeletal muscle decades. Before they appear in our own lives, or hopefully not in our own lives. Yes. And that's really, um, the fundamental hypothesis and principle by which I teach and lecture and treat my own patients. Uh, so important and just, I think you particularly as a spokesperson too, especially for women as well and across all genders, so important for us to begin to have this message of now how not only this can impact certainly our biology, but our psychology and the experience of life as a whole and longevity.
And I know you speak about your concerns on frailty and what this can mean over the span of a person's life. And really interestingly how, of course, this can impact things like sleep. So really curious what you see there, how you kind of bridge those two topics together, how you think about it. Molly, I was so excited to come on and share some emerging data.
And this is out of the Galveston group. And, um, I just had one of the, the head researchers on, her name is Emily Lance, and we were talking all about sleep and muscle. Sleep and skeletal muscle. Amazing. Um, from a very obvious perspective, we know that in order to recover from activity to recover and build muscle, people have to sleep, right?
That makes sense. Totally. Did you know that, for example, In one 24 hour period of sleep deprivation, there is an incredible impact on muscle protein synthesis. So muscle protein synthesis, which is a, what we consider as a biomarker of skeletal muscle health is blunted. Alarming. How does that translate?
Right. So how does that translate? When you think about that, then you begin to understand that if you cannot stimulate skeletal muscle, you will not be able to protect it. One night of sleep deprivation will impact muscle protein synthesis to a degree where we'll see clinical outcomes. And that is really important.
Wild. Yes. I saw Thomas DeLauer speaking to this and some of his thoughts on how you might mitigate when, of course, all of us will have some rough nights of sleep, travel, stressors, kids, what have you. And how can we One, in the times where that happens, what can we do to be mindful of that? Would that affect kind of our macro intake on the following, on the subsequent day?
Ways to think about that. I don't know if you have any thoughts on that. It's very new. Okay. Fantastic. Absolutely. And I want to, I also want to mention again, this This, there's going to be some new emerging research out of the Galveston group talking about muscle protein synthesis, which for the listener is this idea of incorporating amino acids into skeletal muscle for the outcome over time of building and maintaining the health of skeletal muscle.
Sleep. The idea that sleep can impact this is somewhat novel. So it impacts it on a molecular mechanism, meaning it will become more difficult to build muscle. It will become more difficult for muscle to respond to nutrients potentially over time. And what kind of nutrients does skeletal muscle respond to?
These amino acids. dietary protein. I'm sure you've heard all about it. And that is really important to understand. Now, some of the other evidence suggests that during periods of sleep deprivation, which, you know, we don't hopefully get into, but if you were that there is potential, it can be offset by some more high intensity training.
For example, we see that in the military. Those guys that go through hell week, they go through days, five days, four or five days of sleep deprivation. One way to offset the physical implications of sleep deprivation is to bump up their training. See, this is the stuff that I love. So, one of my latest sticks that I've been on is my concern that in the realm of sleep, so often, there's kind of two approaches that we often hear from practitioners.
It's CBTI, which certainly a lot of effectiveness, a lot of impact, and yet, It's one modality. And then we'll see, okay, go get a sleep lab, get a sleep study and see if you have some sort of undiagnosed sleep disorder. And then beyond that, sadly, one of that's kind of where it often ends for many, many practitioners of how you can improve your sleep.
Now, what you're speaking to is this whole new realm, a new way of having some power and agency over our sleep and really on the ground, the practical takeaway of how to think about it. What can we do? in those times where we have been up against the wall and our sleep is not, you know, kind of looking like we might like it to every so often.
What can we do on the short end, but also the means and the underscoring of prioritizing that. Okay. So, so we see that we might want to, on those occasions, then bump up our training the following day. Don't skip your training. Don't. It is. Let's say you go through a period where you are under a deadline and perhaps you're not sleeping and you're going through periods of or at least a day of sleep deprivation.
The natural inclination would be to not train during that day. You're too tired to train. I would say don't do that. So how do we think about this for the Do that. Right. When, and so for what about for those people that will say, all right, well then what about cortisol overload? We've got to be sensitive or thyroid and these like concerns, right?
How do we think about that? And then is there a particular way that you think about that following days training that might be different than the person that's saying, Oh, I go to SoulCycle, I go to CrossFit. Is there a different way that we would think about that and break that down? Yeah, you're talking about an acute experience, whether it's a 24 hour or maybe it's a week versus chronic.
Sure. Whether it's over three months of a period of time. If your back is up against the wall and you're in a period of an acute push, so I have a medical practice, I have a concierge medical practice, I take care of innovators, mavericks, warriors, really, uh, incredible individuals, and they all go through cycles, cycles of maybe it's a one or two day push, or maybe it's five days, and then, you know, again, moving to chronic behaviors, and then you Obviously, sleep deprivation as a chronic behavior is not good.
We know that. We see that in the Alzheimer's literature. We see that in body composition, blood sugar regulation. However, A short term response of cortisol, for example, not sleeping, you know, we see this with night shift workers. I've seen it on myself with the glucose monitor. Do not use the short term perspective of increasing cortisol for a day or two days as a reason to not leverage skeletal muscle to help counterbalance the environmental stressors.
Ugh, preach. This is a whole new paradigm. This is so, so important. And so breaking down a bit more on the why for the importance. So for the people that say, oh, muscle, I mean, what's the big deal? If you can just help kind of redefine why this is such an important component of well being. Skeletal muscle is everything.
There's two major components. There's the science and the medical component. And I'm going to lay that out for you. Sure. And then there's this very interesting phenomenon. There is a mental component. Skeletal muscle is currency and it is currency that cannot be bought, sold or bargained for. No amount of Botox is going to fix muscle.
Yes. Muscle is currency that must be earned. And who you become through the process of earning skeletal muscle is, uh, a whole separate conversation and something that's really critical. And that can't be overlooked because it's the only organ system that has that, um, patch on its shoulder is this concept of, of being able to be earned.
It's incredible when it comes from the medical perspective. So if we're thinking about what is the medical aspects of why skeletal muscle is so important. Number one, glucose disposal. Glucose disposal, where your carbohydrates go. If you have, if you eat a meal that has high carbohydrates, high glucose, it has to go somewhere.
The storage place for that is skeletal muscle. Amazing. Really critical. Skeletal muscle is your site for glucose regulation, glucose uptake. Why does that matter? Because we know over a period of time, elevated levels of blood glucose, the definition of that, something we all know, it's diabetes. Yeah. Yeah.
Yeah. Which is so interconnected with poor sleep, poor sleep results. So seeing so much more of this bi directional relationship with this ethos that you're speaking to. There is a very strong bi directional relationship with skeletal muscle and sleep, especially as it relates to blood sugar regulation, cortisol, body composition.
The pinnacle of those things are, is skeletal muscle. is exercise and sleep. Yes. Exercise and sleep. The organ system that it's affecting is skeletal muscle. And again, it's a bi directional conversation. So skeletal muscle, again, glucose disposal. And just from a sleep perspective, we know that when you don't get enough sleep, we do see elevated levels of blood glucose.
We see elevated levels of insulin, elevated levels of cortisol, all of which can also be blunted by having appropriate skeletal muscle.
So the impact, for example, the impact of lack of sleep, which again, we don't want to do, but one way to buffer this is to have a healthy skeletal muscle system. So crucial. And, you know, I was just at an event with the DOD and they were really underscoring the importance of sleep. sleep in their new upcoming approaches of what they're really prioritizing for the active military active lines of defense.
And one of the things that they were speaking to is the challenge when they're up against when they are seeing their people really having to undergo extreme sleep deprivation and any part they're pulling at the strings of trying to find what can help support these individuals in these really acute situations.
And so in your estimation, one of those factors is going to be that prioritization of that muscle mass ongoingly. Absolutely. Yeah. And, and they would agree. And I, I, they would, they would also agree. So that, that's one aspect of skeletal muscle. The other aspect of skeletal muscle is it's your amino acid reservoir.
Okay. If you get sick, if you are in a highly catabolic state, your body pulls from skeletal muscle, which is incredible. It's the body's, it's body armor. Absolutely. And in your estimation, I know this is kind of a controversial topic, but Then the protein sources for individuals that are then saying, all right, so where can I get my protein from?
Is there the particular types of protein that you would say, or you have very, do you have concerns on plant based diets and how that would show? I know that's a, I know that's a big topic. I do, as a matter of fact, and by the way, uh, eventually I'm going to not be talking about protein anymore once everybody has.
I'm teasing, but once everybody has a great foundation of it, I'm, we're, we're not going to even talk about it. We'll be done. We'll be retired with that. Until that, then you have to mention the idea of how we support skeletal muscle, how we support skeletal muscles. Now to to even three ways if we throw in sleep, but really through dietary protein, high quality dietary protein and resistance exercise.
Yeah. Dietary protein has this whole controversial aspect to it, which is pretty interesting. Again, I've been, I didn't mention this, but I have trained professionally in nutritional sciences for seven years and have been involved and mentored in 20. It was never this controversial. It has only, we have only seen an uptick in the controversy of animal versus plant based proteins.
I would say in the last maybe seven years as the internet and as social media has really taken on a different voice, unfortunately, um, I think that there's a lot of agenda Involved in that is again, why we're seeing that more, but just from a very fundamental level, there's high quality proteins and lower quality proteins.
High quality proteins are proteins that are closest in makeup to us as humans. Those would come from animal sources like beef, chicken, and chicken. Thank you. Uh, whey protein, eggs, fish, things of animal origin and lower quality proteins come from sources like plants. Could you use plant proteins, uh, in an adequate way to stimulate skeletal muscle?
You could. But again, one way to really think about. A macronutrient protein is also as a food matrix. Uh, high quality proteins have iron, zinc, B vitamins, selenium, there's all kinds of things that ride along with the, um, the messenger of this protein, of the source of this protein. And I think that that becomes very critical to understand.
Absolutely. And one of the things I highly suggest that people get on your newsletter and certainly jump on the upcoming book. And one of the things with your newsletter is that 30 grams kind of recipe breakdown, a 30 grams of protein and how to get that in throughout the course of your day to up level this amount of protein.
And certainly in those times when we are dealing with some struggles with our sleep. How can we support this whole process to get sufficient protein to build that muscle? And so that would be kind of the guiding principle for people around 30 grams. That would be a great, a great place to start. And you do have a newsletter.
If someone was wondering, how do I get 30 grams? What does that look like? Right, right. We have a 30 G's uh, recipe newsletter. 30 grams of protein is a great place to start. Let's, let's talk about dietary protein as it relates to sleep, please. Protein is made up of 20 different amino acids, nine of which are essential.
Of those essential amino acids, they must come from the diet. What's so interesting about dietary protein is each of those amino acids have diverse biological roles. What does that mean? That means, for example, this is a sleep crew. So if we think about phenylalanine, phenylalanine is a precursor for dopamine.
Tryptophan is a precursor for serotonin. One of the things from a very practical aspect, prior to bed, your last meal prior to bed should be a combination meal. So you are not waking up in the middle of the night with lower blood sugar. Mm. That specifically look like that could be 30 grams of dietary protein plus 30 grams of carbohydrates and maybe 10 grams of fat as a meal, um, four hours before bed.
We have seen that that kind of feeding strategy helps people sleep through the night. Your thoughts on the kind of Band Aid before bed when you know, people will say, Oh, my blood sugar is all over the place. So have some raw honey, have a spoonful of almond butter, something before bed. What are your thoughts?
And does that kind of fly in the face of I know we're talking about Dr. Satchin Panda and the timing of our foods. What is your take on that? I think that, again, clinically, I do, we do see reactive hypoglycemia. Sure. Which means that your blood sugar drops in the night, you might wake up and you might wake up hungry.
If you can front load your calories, I think that that's best. So I agree with, with Sachin, if you confront those calories, I think that that's best. And then being mindful of correcting that, um, reactive hypoglycemia before bed. Do I think that honey would be my strategy? No, because the unbalanced macronutrient would not be ideal.
You will get a rise in blood sugar and a subsequent drop in, in blood glucose. You're going to be hungry. But if you have a combination meal, and again, we've collected this data over time and in the clinic. And we see that those individuals do much better from a reactive hypoglycemia standpoint and sleep through the night.
Another strategy is glycine can definitely help improve sleep. So glycine is an amino acid that, uh, typically I don't recommend individual amino acids unless we are recommending them for a very particular reason. And glycine would be an opportunity to take that. You could take that before bed and it will help you sleep.
Absolutely. I know you said you don't like to make that individual recommendation, but there are particular candidates that you see for glycine. I think it's very safe. Yes. So anyone with a long term, absolutely. Yeah. And again, it is super, super easy to utilize. You know, glycine is particularly rich in meat, but again.
Eating that before bed may not be the best strategy because it can affect, I know you talk all about circadian entrainment, eating before bed, the data shows that it can affect sleep architecture. That's why I don't recommend eating necessarily right before bed, but using something like a supplemental glycine can be helpful.
So brilliant. And I know I'm hopping around on a couple key topics that I definitely want to cover with you. My other question I'm really curious your thoughts on is when we talk about circadian entrainment and the timing of things. Timing being so important to our circadian health and then our sleep wake cycle.
How do you think about timing with exercise? I know you are the exercise guru getting us in. I don't know about that, but I, I actually quite frankly, you know, it's so interesting. I. The data would suggest quite possibly later on in the day, but I, I have not seen that clinically those individuals that get up so that, you know, if you look at some of the circadian data, they might say that between two and 4 p.
m. is the best time to work out. Right. I don't actually agree with that. I have from a clinical perspective. Yeah. I have seen that individuals that push that window, a few things happen. Number one, they miss that workout. Yeah, bring the heat of the intensity of training that needs to be brought to get the outcome that they're looking for.
Um, again, obviously you don't want to train too close to bed that can affect your stress hormones. I think that we see that, but. Yes, so I believe that training number one, whenever you'll do it, is great and being consistent and not too close to bed. But again, do I think that there is an ideal window, like a 2 to 4 p.
m. window? I, I, I understand what the literature says. I have not seen that translate. I just have not. Oh, so helpful. And with that, do you have any asterisks for that of having people test for hormones as far as if they're dealing with really high cortisol in the morning? Any concerns about them as far as timing there?
Or do you feel like by bringing in this consistency by building that muscle mass that things will kind of balance out over time? Any way of thinking about that? Yeah, I frankly I do. Number one, your cortisol should be high in the morning. Yes, right. We want that cortisol pulse, right? With so important and underestimated.
Okay. And then any concerns about like sky high or anything there? I mean, you got to look for reasons as to why that is. Yeah. Is your cortisol high because you're having low blood sugar during the night? Why are you having elevated levels of cortisol? That being said, there's a Uh, do I think that you should then not train in the morning?
No, I think that if you potentially your cortisol is too high, do you need to jump into a cold plunge or are there other modalities that you need to use? Figuring out a strategy and staying consistent with training exercise is the most potent Needle mover out of anything that it has on the body's homeostatic mechanisms.
It influences nearly all systems again, because of the way skeletal muscle works. When you contract skeletal muscle, it is this endocrine organ. It release mo. It releases molecules called mykines that travel throughout the body. They affect the brain, they affect the liver. The input of exercise and the physiological adaptation, there is nothing more potent that exists.
Um, so making sure you are doing that is, is really, really critical. You're such a wealth of knowledge. It is so hard for me to even, like, pull us back on more questions, so I think what we can do is shift over to understanding how you're managing your own sleep and what we can learn from you and how you're practicing, because I know you've got a big life, you're doing big things and traveling and all that.
I have two little children, right? And uh, marriage and all the things that are going on. So I think people will be very interested to hear what does it look like for Gabrielle Lyon consistently on how she's managing her sleep. And our first question for everyone is always what is your nightly sleep routine looking like right now?
If you want to bring in travel, you're welcome to, but just what might be worthy. I am going to talk you through what I do on a typical day and then what I do on a travel day. So like this month, I travel most of the month. Unfortunately, I traveled to LA for 24 hours and again for LA on Sunday. So I'll be home for two days.
Then I'll be gone for a week and come back home for a week and then traveling again on a nightly basis. The lights are low, starting at seven o'clock. Lights are low starting at seven o'clock. And for context, I have a two-year-old and a four-year-old. It's very little. Those bedtime is eight o'clock.
Lights are down, everything is low. Bedtime is eight o'clock. Now that means we have a very standard routine. Take a bath, read a book, have some whey protein. I'm not joking. We swap that out for milk. Love it. We lay down. They chill out. Now the. The next thing that happens is I will do about a half an hour of work before I shut down my electronics.
And I know people are saying, put your phone away, don't do all those things, but basically I'm up early and I'm working a lot. After they go to bed, I'll do from 8 to 8 30, probably another half an hour to an hour of work. By nine o'clock, I will shut that down and I'll read. Very low light. Um, very dim.
I'll read till about 930. Is that a physical book or Kindle? No, it's a physical book. Beautiful. Love that. It's a physical book. Next to my um or on my nightstand, I've wax earplugs and the eye mask. Yeah. And full blackout sheets or um curtains. Yeah. Crucial. Yeah. So, um that is what happens and then bedtime is 10 o'clock.
That's it. Even if I would, even if, so I will let work be undone to hit that bedtime. And I try to keep the bedtime within 20 minutes and wake time also within 20 minutes. Oh, that's great. And such an underestimated part of our sleep is that consistency and regularity. So the fact that you're taking that seriously, so many people just fixate on the duration, but forget the importance of regularity.
So during the week is pretty easy. Now let's talk about travel. Let's talk about this LA trip. I, um, had a very early flight and I choose to do the early flights because I know no matter what, I don't sleep before the night I travel. I do not get good sleep in the hotel the night before I travel. Um, typically tossing and turning.
I know this about myself. Instead of scheduling work to be done on the plane, I plan on sleeping. Got it. Okay. Not ideal. Yeah, but I, this is how I've been able to navigate it. I plan on sleeping again. Um, I typically don't get great night's sleep in a hotel. I had to, if I need to be up, you know, if it's an eight a.
m. flight and you're in L. A., you're waking up early to make sure that you get to the airport on time as, as I'm sure you well know. Yeah. Um, I will sleep with an eye mask and no earplugs in the hotel. Oh, interesting. Why the no earplugs? Because you have to, this is the, again, um, so we are a military family.
My husband and I do think that when you are traveling outside of your home, you do need to be aware of your environment and be aware of your environment no matter what. And that, and I know that that's maybe not a typical discussion on. This sleep podcast, but understanding the environment that you are in will also impact your sleep.
When you are home, it is very calm. You know exactly where everything is. You know how you are navigating that external environment. When you are traveling, whether you know the hotel or not, you still have to be able to be aware of your environment and it's, it's a foreign environment. Absolutely. First night effect.
Yes. Yes. I plan when I get on the plane, I knew that I'm gonna be sleeping. So interesting. I love it. Real quick aside, which I have never asked anyone, but do you do, uh, in the hotel rooms, any of those kind of next level kind of safety parameters, putting the coat hanger on the lock or any of those things?
You do. I actually travel with a, um, so I usually stay on the lower floors. I always know where my exits are and I always travel with a very small carbon monoxide detector, but love it. Okay. Yeah. Awesome. Do you have a particular brand that you use or anything? I wish I knew what it was now, but someone could find it on Amazon.
We have a whole bunch. Yeah. And you travel with those things. I love that. Amazing. And you said one of the lower floors you like to be on. I also think that is a big mistake. I think that people end up staying in these higher floors. God forbid that there's an emergency is going to be very difficult to get out.
Stay with, you know, between floors three to five, maybe seven. See that's interesting because from a sleep perspective, you know, just from the purely Oh, dark, quiet environment, you might go up higher to avoid the, you know, clubs downstairs or whatever. But from that safety perspective, and that forward thinking that if then logic, that's really, really a smart add on.
I appreciate that. I mean, I know that that's not, I know that that's probably not a common disgust. I think that's important because so many people that safety perspective, you can't sleep if you don't feel at ease and to have it that you've taken every possible step to set yourself up powerfully. Um, I think that's very wise and I've not heard that once.
So thank you for that. And then also the unusual aspect is know yourself. Thank you. Know that, again, you said that first night effect, I mean, I don't sleep great in hotels. I know this. Which, from a Darwinian perspective, is probably a good thing. You're going to survive in the tribe, you know, because you're on alert in that new environment.
Why? So then you need to think, okay, so what, where else am I going to be able to add in sleep? And I know that there's no overcoming certain sleep debts, but again, how can you design your travel around that? Brilliant. Oh, so important. Okay. And I'm so glad you already hit the what's on your nightstand question.
And then I also have books on my nightstand. You mean books? Yes. The physical books. I love that you're bringing the physicality into that. Uh, what type of lights do you use for that to illuminate? So obviously we use red lights, dim lights. So there's a company called cozy where we use those amber lights.
And then I have another little. plug in, which is, I don't even remember the name, but it is, it kind of, um, the way that it shines, it's almost, it, it looks like a rainbow. So it's, it's just very low colored light. Interesting. Or candlelight. Yeah, there's studies out of NASA on utilizing candlelight and its impact on melatonin production.
So I love that you pointed that we actually had a cohort member that recently a little bit ago found red light pens. I don't know if you've seen these, but that was actually new to me. So it's almost like you turn on, click the little button on the pens and then it will shoot out this little red light at the end.
So in case anything's on your mind and just to kind of get that out, then you can have a little pad of paper. red light pen and just kind of just brain dump that out such a small thing, but seemingly, yeah, it's actually made quite the impact on one of our cohort groups available on Amazon. No affiliation.
And I also want to share something else. So my husband is a former seal. Yeah, he is now a surgical resident. And so he gets zero sleep. Truly, and it's something to be proud of. It's just again the way that it is. Sure. That is, so sometimes he's up at four and so his alarm will go off, the lights will go off, it's a whole thing.
Um, and this is going to be a hard decision I think for a lot of the listeners is if you have a partner that you know is going to be getting up early. Yeah. Over an extended period of time that actually impacts the other individual's sleep tremendously. Huge. So we will put him in a downstairs guest bedroom.
So his call days, his very early 3. 45, 4 a. m. wake ups, he's downstairs. Oh, that's so important. You know, one of our actually the most listened to episode we've ever had is with Dr. Wendy Truxell. If you've seen her work, so she is an expert in couples in sleep and many things in sleep, but that's one of her areas of expertise.
And she is trying to rebrand the old sleep divorce to be a sleep alliance. And not all the time to your point, it's kind of it can depend on what the schedules are, what have you, but creating a sleep alliance and bringing that communication into our relationships and that can include kids and what have you and animals and pets and anyone in the bed.
And then bringing that alliance factor in and how we can create that, that's actually going to make the argument that that could improve the connection that we have as a relationship because now we're well rested. We have a good plan and then bringing in other pieces of tech to on the times where you want to see, can we have a hybrid?
Can we still have the person in the bed? Can we use the whoop vibrating alarm? Can we use the, if we use eight sleep, the. mattress topper, the vibration alarms on there, if those work in certain situations, or there's absolutely the times where your steps make all the sense in the world to separate to get the best, you know, sleep and then we'll feel better together, uh, when we rejoin.
Brilliant. I love that. And that was a hard thing. It was a hard conversation because of course, if he's working so much, he wants to hang out and, and spend time with the family. Um, because our little ones, we have a very difficult time keeping them in their own bed. Yeah, absolutely. I get that. Well, good.
I'm so glad to hear that you and also that you're sharing about this because it's so many people don't reveal some of the ways that they've set up workability in their lives and actually can improve their relationships and their results for high performance living. So that's fantastic. Love that. And then your mornings, what might we see in that kind of?
Falls over into what you're sharing about for your husband and his wake up routines. What might we see in your wake up routines that are really important to you? Uh, we are up and we are in sunlight immediately. Both the kids too. Ugh. We are up and we are outside. We are up and we are outside. I don't work with kids at all.
You know, that's a whole other world. And yet I feel like this is so crucial. This kind of leading by example and impacting the environment for children as well. So that's a whole family is doing this kind of circadian aligned living. That's brilliant. So do you do that when you're traveling as well? I do.
I do. I mean, when I can, so for example, if it's dark outside as it was yesterday when I left to get to the airport, but yes. Brilliant. And also, the more time you can spend outside, the better it is for circadian alignment. The other thing with the kids is the more time that they can spend outside or outside of artificial light, the better.
Absolutely. I know we tend to think that this is something distinct for adults or that there's a whole other set of sleep training for children. And yet there are certainly obviously different considerations. the circadian component for all human beings as diurnal creatures. It is so crucial for us to bring us all on that journey.
So love that. Amazing. And our last question would be, because I know we already hit the nightstand one. Our last question would be, in your experience so far in your life, what would you say has made the biggest change to your sleep game? Or said another way, biggest aha moment in managing sleep? Either one.
Well, I think the biggest thing is. If brain function is a priority, you have to figure it out. You have to figure it out. For the longest time, I would work versus get sleep. And just brain function doesn't, it's not as sharp as it should be. So that was a big moment is that if you really want to produce at a high level, you have to be able to protect that cognitive capacity.
And for you, is part of the aspect of that cognitive capacity, the certainly of course prioritizing sleep and really having a good plan around that, and then in the hierarchy or the order of the ways you're thinking about that, bringing in the muscle component, protein, are there other things that you really put into that bucket?
Well, definitely training. So obviously getting outside, navigating your environment well, getting outside, spending as much time as you can outside. Training is a non negotiable and throwing in some kind of high intensity interval training. There's a lot of push to lower cortisol and stress less. I think that's a bad idea.
The body was forged through hard work and the body is adaptable. Uh, everything doesn't have to be perfect to be effective. And just assume it doesn't have to be perfect to be effective. How do we leverage somewhat of a chaotic, uh, world and put ourselves up to the challenge to become adaptable? So those are things that I, I, I think that there's a lot that we like to think about food and sleep hygiene and.
And again, these multiple inputs, but I would leave the listener with the idea that we were designed to become resilient. The only way we become resilient is if we put ourselves through opportunities of challenge. So, so wise, we had, um, a sleep anthropologist on the podcast. It's probably one of my more cited podcasts just from a fascinating perspective that they put aura rings on many members of the Hutsa tribe in Africa and kind of one of our best examples of modern day hunter gatherer tribes and the amount of movement that was happening from these individuals is just astounding.
The amount of activity that's occurring and just a quick asterisk or quick question for you. One of the ethoses that I've been kind of playing with lately has been something I'm calling WW, weights and walking. So I'm curious if you endorse this thinking or, you know, do the prioritization because, you know, with activity and movement for so long, we might've thought, well, you know, you're going to sign up for that marathon, you know, run those miles cycle, et cetera, et cetera.
Do you think that the, if we harken back to hunter gatherer days, it's The argument appears that it might be likely that we lifted heavy things and we walked a lot. Do you agree that those are two primary things that we could prioritize or is there more to it? I do. I think that we should be able to lift heavy things.
I think that we should be able to be strong and persevere. And also we have to be able to exist and navigate the real world. That means. If you have to pick up a child or pick up a friend, you should be able to do it. If you have to move something around, you have to be able to become functional in your environment and have capacity and capability within your environment.
I also think sprinting some kind of high energy out for short periods of time is a valuable skill to have. Being able to carry heavy objects is a very valuable skill to have. Being able to walk with load. is also very a very valuable skill to have. When we think about exercise, oftentimes we do speak and think about an adaptation, whether it's zone two training for mitochondrial health or cardiovascular health, all of that is important.
I would say and challenge individuals to think what is the purpose of the action that I'm doing and how can that translate over to a real life situation and that that is also really important. To close out, one of the things I've heard you speak to is one of the things I was left with, and just for the listener, that I've gotten the sense that part of your passion and, you know, the sense of it is very clear, you're a woman on a mission.
And what I've been left with is, it feels like part of what forged that passion is part of your formative years of seeing people at the end of their life. And if you could just share a little bit, uh, real quick about that. Yeah, I would say that being a physician is not particularly easy and being a physician with a big heart is not particularly easy and you see a lot of pain and suffering and a lot of death.
I did my fellowship in geriatrics, which is defined as end of life, 65 and older. There are sections to that, which are palliative care, which are cognitive and memory. issues. Um, I ran part of the job as a fellow is to run a cognitive and aging clinic. I had nursing home rounds on the weekends and it is very real.
Nobody gets out of here alive and there's a lot of suffering at the end of life. And it impacted me so much, you know, after the 30th person that you're sitting next to and you're witnessing death. And that's just the 30th person, so, right, like, you know, there's thousands of, of patients over time, how they live in the middle of their life really dictates these outcomes.
I was not, I was very reluctant to join social media and very reluctant to speak on these things for a long time. And finally, there becomes a, there's a tipping point that if you have a capacity to do something and you're sitting. Behind the scenes, knowing that you're not contributing in a meaningful way to things that are being misinterpreted and misspoken, then you're not living up to the responsibility of being a good human.
And in this health and wellness sphere and this influencer world, there's all this conversation about being vegan and plant based and just doing this type of exercise. And I'm not on a mission. To impact those people, you can have your own kind of, uh, like, yeah, right ahead. Who I'm fighting for is I'm fighting for the people in the middle.
I'm fighting for the people that are so confused by all the information out there and they don't know what to do. I actually, someone, a couple came up to me in the airport yesterday and they said, you know, Gabrielle, you really changed our life. They were in their 60s and they said for the longest time we were vegan and we were trying to be healthy and we all got really sick and you know, we started listening to your message and this importance of protein as we age and they just said, you know, they're on their way to a ski trip.
It just changed everything for them. So that's why I do what I do is to fight for the people in the middle, to fight for the people that are confused and don't have a trustworthy source. Again, I've been at the bedside of those dying individuals and it's, it's unacceptable. It's unacceptable to not go to bat for them.
Wow. So important. So moving. And I'm so grateful that you have really taken this on with power and, and clearly the world is responding to your message. So many people want to hear what you have to say, and I so appreciate you taking the time to share this here. for those of us who are showing up on a podcast called the sleep isn't skilled podcast.
It's likely that many of the listeners are struggling in some capacity, particularly in the area of peace of mind, the ability to lay their head on their pillow and fall asleep with ease. And your message is absolutely going to change people's lives in so many ways. So thank you. Thank you. Thank you. And how can people follow you, learn more, stay in the conversation.
This is so cool. See this book back here. This is the first time I've seen it. So this is a hard copy book. I haven't even, I just pulled it out again. I just got back into town. Forever Strong took two years to write. It's coming out with a Simon Schuster imprint. Comes out October 17th. It is very well researched.
There's tons of references. It will tell people exactly what they need to eat, how they need to train. It will take them through everything, the importance of muscle and just rethink a paradigm. Of how they can operate in their own life. It's not about what you have to lose It is truly about what you have to gain I'm, so excited to share this book.
Yeah You guys My website dr. Gabrielle onion. Um, i'm very active on instagram I have a podcast called the dr. Gabrielle lion show. I have a youtube I'm on twitter. I have a great newsletter. We're actually having an event in Austin in January, which is really cool. You can find out more information after you get a copy of the book and all the things.
I'm very excited and I really appreciate your support, Molly. Oh, well, thank you. And we're going to be pushing this out as to all the people that are struggling with sleep to get this message out of how muscle can play a role in that conversation. I think so many people just have no clue the connection there, just even on that issue alone, but then the ripple effect into their entire experience of life.
So Thank you, thank you, thank you, and excited to follow your rising stardom. It's just incredible and so much more to come. So thank you. Thank you. Thanks for having me. You've been listening to The Sleep Is A Skill Podcast, the number one podcast for people who wanna take their sleep skills to the next level.
Every Monday, I send out something that I call Molly's Monday Obsessions containing everything that I'm obsessing over in the world of sleep. Head on over to sleep as a skill.com to sign up.