Dr. Jill Carnahan is Your Functional Medicine Expert® dually board certified in Family Medicine for 10 years and in Integrative Holistic Medicine since 2015. She is the Medical Director of Flatiron Functional Medicine, a widely sought-after practice with a broad range of clinical services including functional medical protocols, nutritional consultations, chiropractic therapy, naturopathic medicine, acupuncture, and massage therapy. As a survivor of breast cancer, Crohn’s disease, and toxic mold illness she brings a unique perspective to treating patients in the midst of complex and chronic illness. Her clinic specializes in searching for the underlying triggers that contribute to illness through cutting-edge lab testing and tailoring the intervention to specific needs.
Featured in People magazine, Shape, Parade, Forbes, MindBodyGreen, First for Women, Townsend Newsletter, and The Huffington Post as well as seen on NBC News and Health segments with Joan Lunden, Dr. Jill is a media must-have. Her YouTube channel and podcast features live interviews with the healthcare world’s most respected names. She co-authored the Personalized and Precision Integrative Cardiovascular Medicine Textbook and is set to release her prescriptive memoir through Forefront Publishing in 2023.
A popular inspirational speaker and prolific writer, she shares her knowledge of hope, health and healing live on stage and through newsletters, articles, books, and social media posts! Patients and fans alike are encouraged by Dr. Jill’s are encouraged by her science-back medical knowledge delivered with authenticity, love and humor. She is known for inspiring her audience to thrive even in the midst of difficulties.
In this episode, we discuss:
😴 Slumber parties and sleep
😴 Abstainers vs Moderators
😴 Importance of quality sleep
😴 Mold and health issues
😴 Symptoms of mold exposure
😴 Mold and its effects
😴 Integrating Science and Faith
😴 Mindset and reversing ALS
😴 The benefits of Epsom salt baths
😴 The impact of sleep tracking
😴 Adenosines and Sleepiness
😴 EMFs and sleep disturbances
😴 Managing sleep and problem-solving
😴 Ways to follow and connect
😴 What could we learn from Dr. Carnahan’s sleep-night habits?
😴 Dr. Jill’s book, Unexpected is now available. Check out here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1637630956?ie=UTF8&*entries*=0&viewID=&*Version*=1
😴 And More!!!
🧠 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
🎢 If you want to track your blood sugar for an affordable rate, that ships internationally AND integrates with Oura…
Veri Continuous Glucose Monitors Code: VSM-SLEEPISASKILL
The information contained on this podcast, our website, newsletter, and the resources available for download are not intended as, and shall not be understood or construed as, medical or health advice. The information contained on these platforms is not a substitute for medical or health advice from a professional who is aware of the facts and circumstances of your individual situation.
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. My guest today is Dr. Jill Carnahan, and she is your functional medicine expert as she calls it. Uh, and is also known as the mold expert among many other things, as she really acts as more of a detective in understanding what's going on with people's health that of course, in this conversation could impact our sleep.
So a little bit about our guest, Dr. Jill Carnahan is, again, your functional medicine expert, a dually board certified in family medicine for 10 years and in integrative holistic medicine since 2015. She is the medical director of Flatiron Functional Medicine, a widely sought after practice with a broad range of clinical services, including functional medicine protocols, nutritional consultations, chiropractic therapy, naturopathic medicine, acupuncture, and massage therapy.
As a survivor of breast cancer. Crohn's disease and toxic mold illness, she brings a unique perspective to treating patients in the midst of complex and chronic illness. Her clinic specializes in searching for underlying triggers that contribute to illness through cutting edge lab testing and tailoring the intervention to specific needs.
Featured in People Magazine, Shape, Parade, Forbes, MindBodyGreen, First for Women, Townsend Newsletter, and the Huffington Post, as well as seen on NBC News and health segments. Dr. Jill is a media must have. Her YouTube channel and podcast features live interviews with the healthcare world's most respected names.
She co authored the Personalized and Precision Integrative Cardiovascular Medicine Textbook. and has just released her perspective memoir through Forefront Publishing this year. A popular inspirational speaker and prolific writer, she shares her knowledge of hope, health, and healing live on stage through newsletters, articles, books, and social media posts.
Patients and fans alike are encouraged by Dr. Jill's science backed medical knowledge delivered through authenticity, love, and humor. She is known for inspiring her audience to thrive even in the midst of difficulties. And certainly all of us can keep that in mind as we are navigating through some of our challenges around our sleep.
So I think you're going to really enjoy our conversation today. And as always, if you have any questions about some of the things we discuss on this podcast, don't hesitate to ever reach out to us at Team at sleep is a skill. com and at sleep is a skill. com. You can take our free sleep assessment, sign up for our weekly newsletters that have been going out for over five years.
Every single Monday, we've never missed a Monday. And we respond to every single email that comes through. In response to both that newsletter and anything that you might reach out to us around, we really, really value your interactivity and want to make this a community of people that are looking to prioritize and up level their sleep to up level their life.
Now we're going to jump right into the podcast, but first, a few words from our sponsors. The C D, C 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 Sessions 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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Using Vari allows me to experiment not only with food, but workouts, stress management, and of course sleep and see how each choice is affecting my blood sugar in real time. It allows me to see which habits to keep and which I should consider dropping. It can be a challenge to measure which interventions are working.
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They're giving listeners an exclusive 30 off your purchase using code VSM dash sleep as a skill at checkout. Now, again, that's V S M dash. Sleep is a skill at checkout. And you can also check out our online store at sleepisaskill. com. Here at the Sleep is a Skill podcast, we're all about enhancing your sleep.
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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. Uh, 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, but not just any magnesium supplement.
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Mag breakthrough. com forward slash sleep is a skill. You can enter code sleep as a skill for 10 percent off for any order. This special offer is only available at mag breakthrough. com forward slash sleep is a skill. I will also include this in the show notes as well. And welcome to the sleep is a skill podcast.
I am so grateful that our guest today has been able to take the time to spend a little time with us on the topic of sleep. Dr. Jill, thank you so much for taking the time to be here. And I know you've got a lot of things on your plate right now, a new book and all kinds of things rocking and rolling. So I really appreciate it.
Thank you, Molly, for having me. Sleep is like my favorite topic in the world, so I am excited to be here. All right, well, we're already such twins in that case, so this is gonna be fun. All right, so having said that, yeah, if you could just share a little bit about your background and, and how it came to be that sleep became one of your favorite topics, how you think about it in when you're working with people, just help us bridge that gap.
You've got it. So I'm going to go back to when I was in eighth grade and slumber parties were the thing, right? Um, so I was that girl, seventh and eighth grade. And you know, it's funny cause back then it's all about your friends and if they like you and don't like you and all that, I don't want to go back, right?
Yeah. Slumber parties, being invited to the cool girl slumber party was such a big thing, right? And so, but guess what? My mother knew this and I learned very quickly when I would go to the summer parties and stay up all night, I would get sick. I would crash. I could not function. I was not, you could stay up all night.
And I always wonder like, what's wrong with me? Why am I not like these other girls? And so I'd be the one who fell asleep at 2 a. m. and they'd freeze my bra, you know, like the silly stuff that happened. Amazing. Yep. And then, and it was so embarrassed. And so, and then I, I mean, for a while I just wouldn't go, but.
Realizing way back then, um, that sleep was critical and what I realized really quickly was whether it's alcohol, drugs or sleep or habits or life hacks for me, I want to perform every day. Optimally. I want to like great energy. I don't want to compromise for mediocre for anything, right? And so I want to have my brain being so sharp and clear, my productivity being so great, my mind, my joy level, my euphoria being like natural high with no substances.
From very, very early on was, Oh, Jill. I mean, literally in seventh grade, I realized, Oh, if I don't sleep a good night and it doesn't have to be even eight hours, like seven and a half, seven hours for me is fine. Even six and a half sometimes. good deep restful sleep where you wake up feeling refreshed. I could perform better.
So from a very young age, I realized, Oh, this sleep thing is a big deal. And that was before I went into medicine. Before I knew anything about health, I knew as a seventh grader that sleep was the thing that was going to allow me to be successful. And so ever since then I've been Fortunately, I sleep well, but I actually will talk today.
I can't wait because I have very deliberate practices because I would years ago. I don't have now a good event at 9 o'clock, but there was a period of my life where I'd get up at like 5 AM and go to bed at 9 or 9 30 invite me to like a hockey game that started at 8 30 PM like, sorry, I can't go because that interrupts my sleep.
So I have my whole life deliberately, um, hacked my life around great sleep. And that started way back there. I love that you set that up and frame it in that way. And let me check in with you because I am very similar and sometimes people come back and say, well, that's too rigid. Why prioritize it like that?
Live a little. What are your thoughts on kind of that potential pushback where people will say you're missing out on something? How do you think about that? Molly, I love your questions. We're going to have so much fun this hour. So I have learned that there are abstainers and moderators in life. And this actually helped me even with patients because I'm an abstainer.
I actually don't want to waste my energy making decisions. So if there's a rule like I don't eat gluten, I never, ever, ever have to think about do I have that bread? I don't eat that bread. I just like, I don't eat gluten. I don't smoke. Do I have a suit? I don't even think about that as an option, right?
This is my identity, which means I will do whatever it takes because I don't have, I don't want to make a decision about, do I stay up late tonight, do I drink a little extra alcohol? No, because it affects my sleep. And when you're an abstainer, it just makes life easy. Now, out there listening, you're going to have some moderators because there's both types.
If you're a moderator, you're not, this isn't going to work for you and you're going to be the ones questioning. Molly and I'd be like, why are you so strict and rigid? If a mom reader needs that 10 or 20 percent cheat time, they need to have a little gluten, they need to have an all nighter, they need to have a little excess alcohol once in a while, and they actually live and survive better when they don't have such strict boundaries because they want the freedom, they want that ability to do this.
For you and I, we've learned that if, if we have these rules, number one, it makes our life easy. It's kind of like, Uh, CEOs of some of these companies that wear black t shirts and jeans and that's their uniform. They pull their whole closet out. They don't ever have to make a decision about what they wear.
Take away their decisions about certain things that really matter to you. To me, it just frees me up and frees me to live life fully, but that's because I'm an abstainer and it's easy for me to just have a black and white rule and then I don't have to decide. So again, for the moderator, it won't work and they're the ones questioning us, but I'm an abstainer.
It really works well for me. Oh, that's amazing. I'm so glad you put it in. I actually haven't heard a single person on this podcast describe it like that. I think it's a great way of thinking about it because so much of what we speak about on a Sleep as a Skill podcast is ways to support our sleep and it's all well and good to hear all these things, but if we're not practicing and don't have ways of Thinking about it and how to empower ourselves and know some of our personal tendencies.
I think then we're just, you know, not necessarily setting ourselves up for success. So really well said. So now it sounds like this is part of a cornerstone of how you think about health and wellness, certainly for yourself. And it sounds like it extends to how you interact with your patients. So if we can begin there as well, so people coming into your domain, they're looking for support and their health and well being and it sounds like sleep is a part of that conversation.
How are you thinking about how you're helping to support people with their sleep? Yes, I have a medical clinic near Boulder and I do practice medicine and so yes, I see patients and this is um, one of those things when I'm asked. Asking them their history. You know, where did you grow up? How is your health?
When did things change? And always, always in that conversation is, tell me about your sleep. And my questions are typically, do you wake up feeling refreshed? Are you able to fall asleep quickly? Do you get interrupted during your sleep? Uh, do you have restless sleep? Do you get up to urinate at night? Do you, and all these questions around the sleep, do you sleep with a partner?
Do you have a dog in the bed? All these different things. Um, because first of all, we just ask, if someone says, I sleep great, I wake up refreshed, my energy is 10 out of 10. We don't usually go there because they probably have pretty good habits, right? I would say 80 percent of my patients have some sort of difficulty with sleep or fatigue during the day or waking up on refresh.
So they might think they sleep well, but the proof is in the pudding because during the day they're fatigued or they're falling asleep at the red light when they sit in a traffic or some, some evidence. that maybe the sleep is not adequate. So then what do we do? Well, I would just say this is why for me personally, but I know they cannot heal their body, whether it's an infection and autoimmune disease, a chronic fatigue issue, um, uh, even a cancer or something more serious, their body will never truly heal if they don't get good sleep because our detoxification, getting rid of chemicals and mold exposure and heavy metals.
Happens when we sleep more than any other time, our brain consolidates memories and makes new connections and allows us to plan and program and even have ideas and creativity. All that is. Hinges on is hinges on a foundation of great sleep. So I know as a medical doctor, if I don't start by helping them find ways to sleep better, nothing I do, no amount of supplements or IVs or vitamins or protocols will overcome the lack of sleep.
Uh, preach. Yes. I could not agree more. And I love that it sounds like you're having that as that foundation before even embarking on the supplements and all those other things. That's exactly what we find in the practical application of this is often people want the reverse. It's tell me the drug, the gadget, the what have you.
So, are there particular types of patients that you specialize in and what are the kind of predominant sleep concerns that you're seeing when people are realizing that sleep is a part of their problem? Yeah. And I just want to mention, we can go into this deeper too, but you mentioned meds and supplements.
There's a lot of things you can do, but in my experience, um, I don't know of any medication that actually... Creates the true value of sleep without. How can I say this? The medications all induce a sleep state and can induce a better like they can be perfect for a time. I have no problem prescribing medications, but I don't know of any form of medication that truly gives you the kindest restful, restful sleep and deep sleep and REM that a good night's sleep without medication would do.
Right. So I, I use meds. I prescribe meds. I, we can talk about them and they're all to help you get to sleep if you're not sleeping. But I want to say that's not the answer to truly restorative sleep because none of them mechanistically will restore the true amount of deepening and REM and all the things that we need.
So that's just framework there. Even though. And no shame if you need a sleeping med. There's nothing wrong with that. But I just want to say, and then second of all, what kind of patients? So I deal with the complex chronic people who've been a lot of other places and maybe not gotten help they needed.
And at the core, I do a functional medicine or proceed, even though I'm a medical doctor and MD. Um, so I'm looking for root cause. So I tend to see people who have chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, autoimmunity, gut issues, unexplained other symptoms, neurological issues. And at the core of this is typically a toxic load.
So mold exposure, heavy metal exposure, chemicals, um, burdening the body or infectious burden, maybe a hidden Epstein Barr reactivating mono or, um, Lyme disease or co infections, Babesia, Bartonella, Ehrlichia, or other types of things, or just autoimmune immune dysfunction. So the cords like these inflammatory things, and it relates to sleep because many times the innate immune system, if it's overactive, COVID taught us all about the immune system because we saw this virus triggered innate immune inflammation.
And all of a sudden we all realize, Oh, that's what that looks like. Well, that's been going on for decades before COVID in the patients that I see is immune and inflammation. Often that will literally be like a chemical. Trauma in the body. And so the sympathetic system is overactive and people have a hard time falling asleep.
Certain infections, like obesity, a part of their prototype is insomnia, anxiety. So sometimes I actually ask questions specifically to diagnose an infection that's causing sleep disruption. And there's anything else in between. But there's often these connections between underlying inflammation, um, autoimmune dysfunction, immune uh, chemicals, or.
The HPA axis, which is thyroid, adrenal, male and female hormones, and all of these things can play into good sleep or poor sleep. So I'm constantly assessing whether it's through lab values or just questions in the clinic. What piece is causing your sleep dysfunction? And then I'm going to that cause to try to remedy it so they can sleep.
Oh, wow. So I feel like you're the dream doctor that just so many people would love to have on their team. There's a lot of things that you addressed like you just shared, but it sounds like one of the things I gathered is that you also really have the expertise in mold. Is that correct? It sounds like you can help support in all these areas and sounds like mold is an area too that you really double down on.
Is there, are there things for you to that you've seen as We think about mold and sleep, sleep and mold. How do we kind of look for symptoms if we suspect that part of our sleep issues might be mold derived? So, yes is the answer. I am a mold expert by accident. This is how my life has been. I won't tell you the whole story, but 25 years old, in medical school, I got breast cancer with a young person.
It's a deadly diagnosis, and I was able to get through, get treatment, survive, and overcome. Six months after I got out of chemotherapy, radiation, I had lost all my hair. I was just through cancer. I developed Crohn's disease, which is an autoimmune disease of the gut. So then I became the gut expert, got through that, was doing really well, and really, I'm completely in remission from Crohn's and free of breast cancer.
So, Wow. Congratulations. But now, then I learned my soul's journey as a healer is to experience and understand and then teach others and help. So, 2013, a massive flood in Boulder, um, unbeknownst to me, there was water damage in my office. It became very moldy. The next year, I got really, really sick from toxic mold.
So, once again, I had to learn it just to save my own life and. Accidental, I say, because I didn't choose to understand mold through experience, but I did and became a mold expert to help other people. Um, mold is insidious. And so many, many people come in and say, I'm having cognitive difficulty. I'm having memory issues.
I'm having brain fog. I'm having unexplained fatigue and exhaustion. I'm having massive. hormonal dysregulation, breast tenderness, heavy, painful periods, irregular cycles, infertility or men, low libido weight gain around the middle, um, all kinds of things in those realms, thyroid dysfunction, adrenal dysfunction.
Um, I'm having, I cannot sleep. I'm like, you know, wide awake at night. exhausted during the day. My circadian rhythm is shifted. Um, I have new autoimmune disease. I don't know why, but I'm having joint pain. I just got diagnosed with lupus or, or I just got diagnosed with Hashimoto's thyroiditis or some other autoimmune disease.
Or, um, I'm having inflammation, skin rashes, mast cell issues, um, allergic, uh, histamine driven, uh, heartburn. So all of those things I just mentioned could be symptoms of mold. And what's insidious is we could be in this Beautiful studio right now, and it looks beautiful. I don't see any mold on the walls mold often hides under the floor in your basement in your crawl space in your attic behind a wall.
And so a lot of people are actually living in the mold environment. The mold behind the wall is like the fire. This putting off smoke. Smoke is like the mycotoxins that it puts off. Those are smaller than viral particles so they can get into everything and they can go right through walls and into our lungs and into our bloodstream.
And people are having effects from those mycotoxins. One of the things in particular is it causes an, uh, PTSD in a way, it actually chemically triggers as we inhale the mold, um, mycotoxins and HPA axis kind of fight or flight. So whenever someone is in trauma or fight or flight, they often see that in their sleep, see it reflected in their sleep because if we're constantly sympathetically overdriven in fight or flight, our body can't rest and relax.
And we truly can't fall asleep unless we feel safe in our body because going to sleep is actually a very vulnerable position. Right. We're actually very vulnerable to attack. And if you think of, you know, years ago, a caveman kind of person, when they would go to sleep, you know, someone being maybe the cave guardian or there'd be whatever thing that, that would make them feel safe.
But the truth is our body is designed to be alert for danger. And if we perceive a danger like mold in our environment, we didn't even know it, but we can't fall asleep because our body thinks it's a threat. Wow. Okay, so for so many people just even one hearing or seeing themselves in some of that symptom list that you itemized for us that can be so helpful because it might spark this realization that maybe this is part of what I might be dealing with.
If someone's then saying, which I've definitely experienced a number of people that if they've been dealing with sleep issues and other health concerns for a certain period of time, they're tired, they're overwhelmed, they've been to tons of doctors and it can occur as, uh, well, what am I going to do about it?
Or, you know, if it is, there's just almost this learned helplessness. So curious if you can help us unpack, like, what would be some of the things that we could do to support this? Does it have to look like some long, expensive, just journey with no end? What have you seen for people if once they get this diagnosis that they're dealing with mold?
Great question because you're right. Mold is one of those things that I often, just because I've done this for many, many years and know it well, as I hear the history, I will hear things I'm like, Oh, I wonder if there's mold. And then I'll test and I'll see like mycotoxins in the patient's urine. So I'll start to know, Oh, I think there's mold involved in this case.
Yeah. That's great. convince the patient or to talk to them or ask questions, a lot of times there's resistance. And just for the same reasons you mentioned, it can be overwhelming. Mold itself creates an overwhelm in the system. So you're already feeling overwhelmed. So your ability to think through logically and feel like there's an easy solution is already a little impaired.
But the truth is mold is a hassle. It's usually It can be expensive. It can be difficult to fix. So what I would first say is there's one question I always ask that starts us on this process and that is, have you traveled, maybe gone for seven to 10 days? Have you gone camping? Have you gone away from your home or environment for a period of time and ever felt a lot better?
And some people Can't tell, but there's a lot of people, Oh yeah, you know, I went to California last year for a month. I spent there and I felt so good while I was there. I walked on the beach every day. And of course, part of a vacation is feeling good. So it could be that, but very frequently, or I'll say, when did you last feel good?
And as I look back, they'll be like, Oh yeah, 2017, we started building this house. And before I started working on that house and before we moved into that house, I felt really good. But ever since I've been in that house, Oh, and my And my son, he's always getting colds and flus and he's never well. Oh, my daughter, she has this like dark circles under eyes, you know, start to tell me the story and it's all happened since they moved into that house.
And you guys listening can even think about, has there been any changes since you've moved to a new environment? Cause that's always a clue and it could be mold, it could be something else, but environment is huge for health. And if there's a time and place change, or if you go camping and you're staying in tents on the ground, you feel amazing.
That's a clue. That's a clue that something in your typical environment when you're not camping could be causing ill effects. Now there are EMFs, there are, um, you know, radon in certain areas, there are chemicals, there's natural gas, there's, so there could be other things besides mold, but mold is a big one because it affects about one in four homes and workplaces in the U.
S. Wow. Okay. So helpful. And for now, anyone listening that is like, I need someone to kind of guide me like you and yet maybe they don't have the finances available or they're dealing with some sort of barrier. I know you have a new book out that I'm assuming can also help even just get in this conversation as a place to begin and then maybe venture into working with someone.
Certainly. Are you taking clients? I meant to ask you that actually, before we hit record, but. I do have a very long wait list, but I have a nurse practitioner making new clients, so. Okay, amazing. All right. Well, so I know certainly you're in high demand, so if people wanted to begin with reading your book, can you tell us a little bit about that and what that might address?
Sure. And thank you for mentioning as it's called unexpected finding resilience through functional medicine, science and faith. And really whether you have any religious beliefs or not, it's more about right brain, left brain science, faith, um, these dichotomies, even intuition versus analytical mind. It's more about taking this and bringing it together in order to see.
And I frame it around my journey because I've been through breast cancer and Crohn's disease and mold related illness. But there is a whole chapter on number one, my journey through mold so that the reader can see themselves and get hope because if I can overcome all these things, so can you. And so number one motive of writing this book is to give people hope.
But there is. Practical tools built into every chapter what to do if you find mold what, and, and literally what testing to do, where to find resources, where to find remediators, how to, um, start healing, what kind of to take, so really, really practical things in the sidebars. So yes, grab a copy of the book if you're thinking you might have mold, because I have had so many readers who got the book, they weren't even thinking about mold, but they're reading through that chapter, it's called Transforming Toxicity, and they're like, Oh my goodness, this sounds like me and the like, you know, email or text or go through social media and say, Dr.
Jill, I read your book and I realized, oh my gosh, I have a mold exposure and they started that pathway. And for me, that was the goal is like, not everybody can see me, but I can get that word in that message out that there is hope. Um, and one more thing specific to sleep since we talked about going on vacation or going to other places.
Sure. Sleep is affected by, like, for example, you're not sleeping at home, you're not doing well, but you go on vacation and you sleep perfectly, that's, again, that's, sleep is a huge indicator of overall health. So I would take that seriously as to what is in my environment. And it could just be the stress and you're on vacation, but often it's bigger than just being away from the workload.
It's actually the physical environment. So take that into consideration because that might be your clue of how to get sleeping at home. This is the hardest thing. If you live in a moldy home that has massive mold exposure, there isn't once again, no amount of supplements or protocols or programs that will overcome that toxic exposure.
So it doesn't mean you have to leave everything and walk out of your house, but you usually have to figure out how to fix that problem because it is the biggest, it's like the elephant in the room. If you're not And that's it. You have to deal with that mold in your home before you'll start sleeping again.
Ah, so wise. Yeah. And you'll see people, unfortunately, going down these tunnels of, all right, maybe if I get a whole supplement stack and binders and this and that. And to your point, it's really can actually save people energy, time, money, all those things by getting a clear plan that actually makes sense.
It's tested, tried and true. And I love what you said too, but the mindset piece and the. Face because actually it's something that we haven't heard as much about on the podcast and which is kind of crazy because we do see, you know, when the thing that comes to mind is my husband, his dad is dealing with ALS right now.
And so we've had a few experts in the realm of ALS. On the podcast and there's as of right now, last I saw documented cases of reversals were somewhere in the realm of around 55 to 60 something cases total of reversals and they're trying to like mine for what in the world is happening with those few people that have been able to reverse such a wild disease.
And so far, there's not a lot that's been able to be a through line, but mindset has emerged as a bit, you know, faith, religion, community, a sense that, you know, maybe there's something to learn out of this experience. And it's that I'm getting the sense that throughout your journeys and the things that you were up against with your health, that you certainly seemed to have taken that growth mindset approach and then how to bring that to your patients, which so powerful.
Molly, thank you for saying that because truly at the core of this book, we're all terminal, right? Like eventually, I mean, that's kind of our existence. And so if you don't have some sort of thing that is, you're passionate and that then gives your life meaning and purpose. And again, this can be regardless of religion.
I haven't have a strong faith, but I am so open to everyone else's views out there. Sure. What you bring with that is, and even like Dan Buettner with the Blue Zones, he studied all of these areas where there's the most amount of centenarians, people who live over a hundred. And one of his core things that he sees over all cultures, all backgrounds, is this sense of deeper meaning and purpose.
And like you mentioned, connection to humans. The biggest fan and I think at the core, again, better than any supplements or medications or surgeries is the human connection and meaning and purpose. And I'm always trying to bring that message because those things transcend our lowly existence of life and the difficulties.
And if we have that mindset, then we can look at. really difficult things like my cancer and say, Oh, wait, this gave me a depth of understanding and compassion that I would never have without that. It was a teacher and it was helpful for me, even though it wasn't fun. Ah, so well said. Oh my goodness. Okay.
Well, clearly we could go down the rabbit hole more on all of these topics. And I'm curious what we might learn from how you are now managing your own sleep, given What is clear we began this conversation with your own appreciation prioritization of your sleep. So we do ask four questions to every person that comes on the podcast.
And the first one is always what is your nightly sleep routine. Now I know you've got a book and you've got all these things happening and you know lots of excitement. So I'm sure things ebb and flow. Although you did mention it sounds like you're pretty good with kind of creating these that's workability for yourself.
But what might we see with your nightly sleep routine right now? Yeah. So it's interesting. I want to mention, cause you might have listeners in their twenties and thirties or forties and fifties. I'm in my forties and it has changed back in the day, um, during medical school and some of those times I was crazy.
It was like sleep when you can, but I did archives it. And then in the like early working days, it was like that. I literally go to bed at 9 PM every night. But I'd be an early riser and I get up and I do the high intensity workouts and I do all that. That was the stage of my life when I had really high cortisol and then in my 40s and menopause hit and things shifted.
And so I have much lower cortisol in the morning, lower hormones overall. And now I actually am much more of a night owl. So I actually get some good productivity between seven and 10 PM. So I usually wind down between nine 30 and 10 and I am sound asleep by 11 at the latest, sometimes earlier. Right. Say I want to give compassion to yourself as a listener because we go through different stages.
And even though I'm very, very strict about my protocol, I'm not rigid in the sense of I've shifted over the years to accommodate my hormonal state, my cortisol state, my stress state. And lately I have, I did a documentary a year ago. I did the book. I did a bunch of projects and it was crazy life, but I still protected my sleep and my regimen, but it shifted and it shifted a little later.
And then I would sleep till maybe 6, 6 30 instead of five. Yeah. So it shifted and just being kind of, I never ever do the high intensity anymore. I go walking, hiking and much more with my body now, there's room for shifting for within your physiology, my routine. So I am very, um, stringent about having my Epsom salt bath.
That's the one thing, even if I'm traveling, I'll order from, you know, one of the delivery services to have Epsom salt delivered to my hotel room. And I do try to find hotels with a bathtub or an Airbnb because I love that ritual for me. And there's studies that show not only does the Epsom salt go into your skin, it brings in some magnesium sulfate and that's a wonderful detox agent.
Um, you can add essential oils if you want. Usually I just use plain Epsom salt bath or Epsom salts in the bath. And the big old bags that you get from like Costco or Sam's Club, they're like six pounds. I use a half a bag. I use a lot of salt because I want that secretion to actually drive that into my system.
Heavy salt bath and that warming of your body and they've been showed with castor oil packs and liver warming that it actually causes your body to it's almost like turns on the air conditioner in your body because as our body starts to cool down for sleep, we sleep better. So I. My thermostat down during the day.
It's like 72 or the windows are open. I don't keep it super cool, but always before I go to take my bath, I turn it down to between 66 and 68 and even in the winter, I am keeping it really cool. So number one is keeping it cool. Number two is Epsom salt bath. Number three is magnesium. I take a load of magnesium at bedtime.
Um, number four is a weighted blanket. This is pretty. So weighted blankets you can buy anywhere now online and they minus a 20 pound organic cotton, a glass bead weighted blanket. And that is a nervous system signal of safety. And I love sleeping under my weighted blanket. And that really tends to put me into a deep sleep.
Now I also track this because I'm a scientist. And I want to know what's working. One of the things that I didn't mention that I don't do every night, but that has induced the greatest amount of deep sleep is my PEMF mat. So if I do 20 minutes on the Schumann frequency, which is the earth's surface kind of frequency, um, that will induce if I'm not sleeping as deeply.
But my goal every night is to get 25 percent deep, 25 percent REM and most nights I do. And the neat thing is when I do that mat and I can, I can sometimes go as low as five and a half, six hours, which isn't a. great time frame for the studies as far as our need for sleep. But what happens is my body's so efficient that I still get like one or two hours of deep end REM in that short amount of time and I become more efficient.
So what I've done hacked over my lifetime is how can I once in a while have five or six hours of sleep, but still get the exact same amount of refreshing sleep. And that's important too. Oh, amazing. So great. Well, first off, I love the to the hotel having the Epsom salt delivered. I had not heard of that one before.
And I love that. That's so great, especially for a lot of our people that are traveling a lot. And I love the amount that you're using too. I think a lot of people just might put in a little tiny bit. Yeah, exactly. It's like now we are putting a lot in there. I know I have mugs in mind of just like mugs, mugs, scooping it out.
Yep, totally. And then my other question for you too is, is there a type of the PMF map that you prefer or no, you know, affiliation or anything, but just, is there any call outs that are things for people to look to? Years ago, they were like 20, 000 and they weren't affordable for every person. So I never had one.
I wasn't in that realm. I mean, there's many out there higher dose. I've loved and I have one because it's really affordable. Like anything, it's still a, it's about 1, 000 for the full one and about 500 for the travel version, which works just as well, but it's somewhat affordable compared to 20, 000.
Totally. Do you travel or maybe you might've said this, sorry if I missed it, but do you have the travel one too and bring that along or I do. So the real one, if you show right down to the floor set, uh, it looks like, Oh, sure. Yeah. That is, it's my black mat covered with a really pretty white blanket that's soft and comfortable.
And then the travel one is a little shorter. It actually sits in a chair, so it would have two pieces that just fold. And it's about 12 pounds, so it's still heavy to take. But there's been a few times when I know I need to have that. I will travel with that. I'll throw it in my shuck luggage and it's relatively travelable.
The other one is very heavy, so it's not very packable. But either way, that is to me, um, the reason I'm, I'm so profoundly attached to that in a way is because I saw the data and what it did was it increased the deep sleep and it increased the deep sleep. Even if my total sleep hours were very diminished, like I have had with that mat five and a half hours of total sleep and gotten two hours of deep, like 60 percent deep, which is insane.
That doesn't happen. So I wake up feeling just like I got eight hours of sleep. So wild. So I love that you're bringing in the data. So how are you tracking your sleep? Are there particular wearables that you like? Yeah, I have the Oura Ring, which is probably most people have nowadays. Totally. Yes. Same.
Yeah. All of our clients are required to use the Oura Ring. So then we just have tons and tons of data and you're able to start to pull out like what works, what doesn't work. So I love that. Fantastic. And I love that you called out the temperature piece, another big driver for supporting great deep sleep.
So, so fantastic. It sounds like you've got that routine dialed in. And what on the flip side might we see in your morning sleep routine? We say that purposefully with the thinking that how you start your day can then therefore impact your sleep. 100%. And I love that we can talk about this because I have some good science on this as well.
Our, uh, coffee hits adenosine receptors. Adenosines make us feel sleepy and no matter whether you drink coffee or not, your cycle of adenosine is going to be lower in the morning and then start to fill receptors towards the evening. And that's one of the signals as well as lowering cortisol, increasing melatonin.
But adenosine is one of those signals that makes you feel sleepy and some people don't have that. And so of course they have trouble falling asleep. And I'm talking about this in morning because one of the hacks is getting bright light in my eyes immediately upon wakening within the first 30 minutes before coffee.
will actually naturally lower that adenosine because if you just wake up and go straight sleepily to your coffee pot and you're like trying to get the coffee out and you don't have the bright light and then you drink the coffee right with like five or ten minutes of waking up, you're blocking the adenosine receptors, but your adenosine load is still there.
And so as soon as that coffee wears off, you're going to feel more sleepy. But if you flip that and whether it's natural bright sunlight, which is ideal, or I have a bright lamp in case of the winter hours when it. six a. m. it's still dark and I'll turn in the in the winter months I'll put that on immediately upon waking and I'll sit there in my chair for five or ten minutes or longer with that bright light before my coffee because I know I'm going to lower that adenosine so that then the coffee can still do its job but it won't have to work as hard and when the coffee wears off I won't feel sleepy because I've already lowered it with natural lighting and there's a deep correlation with bright light in the morning and good sleep at night so I'm actually hacking the night's sleep by getting that bright light in the morning.
So great. I love that you have that routine around that. I know you mentioned that in the past in those different seasons of your own life, that period of time when you're waking up early, maybe do high intensity training, all those things, that's something you see with a lot of patients when they're coming your way and they're loading their mornings with a lot of that intensity.
Is that kind of a place that you might begin for them to maybe reexamine the types of fitness that they're doing at certain times and the coffee and just the timing of things? Yeah. So more and more, I think just our American society do more, be more, get out there, whatever you know, fasting, all these wonderful things are all good.
But I think especially women, let me speak to you women, cause I'm a woman. Yeah. Thank you. We tend to, um, if we have. So in that period of my life, I had very high cortisol, and by going out and doing high intensity interval, I was actually raising my cortisol in an already high cortisol, high stress state.
I was actually heavier than working out way more because I was increasing that cortisol. And when things shifted, I realized that the, the, the four early forties, I started shifting to. Yeah. Yeah. Well, hiking, walking, gentle, restorative movement. I still do free weights. I still do these little mini workouts, but it was never high intensity.
I actually lost percent body fat and got into the best shape of my life. I always say when I stopped working out because what I was doing is I was exacerbating that high cortisol in those period of my life when it was high. Now I have more normal or lower cortisol, so it fits better to be more gentle.
But in kind of shifting and being kind to myself and not pushing myself, so many women wake up and say, I have to work out. I must have this mind thing, I have to work out and it's actually doing them more harm than good. So awareness now, it depends where you're at. If you're really low cortisol, you do something different and you actually definitely don't want to do the high intensity, but if you already super high cortisol, you do that, you raise your cortisol more, you're never going to lose weight.
It doesn't work that way. So true, and I appreciate that the different seasons that people are at in their lives, the different considerations they might have for hormonal things that they might be dealing with. So really, really important that bio individuality. And then the third question would be what might we visually see in your space on your nightstand or proverbial nightstand if you're traveling and taking on all these things that you're accomplishing?
What might we see in your space? Yeah. I'm going to grab some and show you really quick. Oh, I love it. Yay. I love a good show and tell. This is called the... Oh, yes. I have one of those too. So I love it. That just neutralized some of the EMF in my space. It gives me a good frequency here. And I have one in my bedroom and I have one here in my office because I have a lot of wifi.
So EMFs are a very hidden cause of sleep disturbances and most people don't really know what they are. They're just not really thinking. So I mean, first thing you want to do is turn off this cell phone. Um, at night. Is that a safe sleeve or one of the EMF? Exactly. Yeah, me too. Yeah. Um, yeah. So you want to turn that off or turn on airplane mode because that is actually your biggest risk of EMF.
Second, if you really have sleep issues, turn off your router at night. Yeah. Um, it's really bad. I've had, I had a building biologist come to my house and measure on my body voltage at night in my bedroom. It was 3000, which is really high. As soon as we turned the breaker off in my bedroom, it went to 300.
It's like, Oh, now, fortunately. I am not that affected by EMF. I still sleep really well, so I haven't, but if someone's having trouble, check EMFs, have a building biologist come in. You can do, get a meter yourself and the basics are turn off your cell phone at night or put it on airplane mode, including Wi Fi, including Bluetooth, including a signal.
Um, second would be turn off your router at night and make sure it's not by the head of your bed. Make sure there's no Electromagnetic thing like a baby monitor, a cordless phone, a cell phone or router in your bedroom at all. And then, um, I even found my wireless speakers are huge emitters because they're getting nice fidelity signal.
So EMF is a big deal. Um, at my nightstand, I have my magnesium, I have my probiotic, I have my, um, I have some hormone drops, um, just to support hormonal health. And I have my somabetic, um, in there and, um, I have no speakers that are wireless. I turn off my cell phone. Um, I have my weighted blanket that I sleep with, um, and in general, it's a dark space.
It's a cool space and it's a low EMF space. Those would be kind of the core. So good. I love it. You called it the building biologist piece. We've had a couple building biologists on the podcast and one test my home and I'm clear other providers do this too, but they'll even have remote options. So if maybe it's outside of your budget, you can still have the remote sessions and then they'll kind of bring you around on the zoom and or you'll bring them around the zoom.
And kind of identify certain key things that we might want to hone in on, especially in the bedroom space. So wise. And then the last question would be, what would you say has made the biggest change to your own personal sleep game? Or said another way, maybe biggest aha moment in managing your sleep?
Well, this is just a neat pearl that definitely has to do with sleep, but it's actually even bigger than that. And back in medical school, so kind of like the slumber party analogy, when I was in medical school and even in undergraduate, and I was doing really hard degrees, bioengineering and then medical training.
And All of my colleagues would pull these all nighters. So they would like study all night and then the next day they go and take the exam. And I realized pretty early in my educational career that if I would write before bed, um, either study one piece of paper on the physics exam or, um, or you can do it.
I have a problem in my life and you think of that problem and you imagine maybe a solution or maybe you don't know the solution, but you just kind of give that to me to the divine. Go to sleep and your subconscious will work for you while you sleep. And I learned every time I did that with an exam or a problem.
And I basically, I, I, I, before bed there was no worry about it. There was just this knowing that I knew I had within me everything I needed to know and it was already there. It was just a matter of bringing it up. Or if it's a problem that I was thinking about before bed. It wasn't in a worried way. It was just like, I have this issue and I can't wait to see what my subconscious and the divine come up with while I sleep.
And over and over and over again, I'll either wake up with a dream if it's a solution, or I'll wake up in the morning just like knowing what to do. Or if it's an exam, I wake up and I just have that information readily available. And there's something really beautiful in that delta time right before sleep, that if we're thinking about a problem, we're thinking about an exam, we're thinking about a relationship.
Our body and mind will go to work for us while we sleep. And I have used that over my decades of life to hack life. And so often I'll wake up with just a knowing of a, or even if it's like a decision, sometimes it's a decision of yes or no to this relationship, to this job offer, to this thing. And if I kind of lay it down at bedtime in that Delta time, when I'm right in the time before sleep, it's kind of a hypnotic state.
It'll go into my subconscious and I'll wake up with that. answer. So that's not a true sleep hack, but I think it's probably. important information I could give to your listeners. Ah, that's amazing. A hundred percent. And I haven't had a single person speak to that. And I think that is so important given that now the first, you know, frontline approach to sleep issues is supposed to, at this point, be CBTI, cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia versus, you know, sleeping pills or what have you.
And there's lots of nuances and other thoughts on that. But point being. If given that one of our primary tools to support sleep is psychological in nature, I think you're touching on something really, really powerful. We can't divorce our psychology from our results with our sleep. So that is so wise.
And then to your point, it's even pans out to the experience of your life, directions you might take, and just allowing yourself that coupling of that, those different changes in our brain state to support choices that we might make or clarity. Really, really wise. Wow. Okay, so I'm clear that people listening are likely going to want to know more about some of the ways that you're approaching health and well being and of course sleep.
So what are the best ways for people to follow you? Tell us about the book, all the things that, all the ways they can interact with you. Thank you. Well, you can get this is the book and you can get your own. Yes. Okay. And for anyone listening, we're holding up our, our mutual book copies. Exactly. Dr. Jill's book.
Amazing. Yeah. It's read unexpected. com and you can get it anywhere you want, but if you go there, there's a bunch of free bonuses and gifts and things you can get just for ordering the book. Um, you can find me at jillcarnian. com and there are decades of articles on some of the things we talked about today on my website.
site. There's podcast episodes. Everything is there. It's all free um and then my social media Instagram is a great way to kind of connect and follow. I do all my own media as far as if you have a message or something or want to connect. It's Doctor Jill Carnahan on Instagram. So brilliant. Well, thank you so much for taking the time.
People are going to love your book. I've been loving this. It's so much value in here. So really, really just appreciate that you took the time to write it, put it into words for those of us who are looking to have that support to support having a great health and wellbeing and as well, that includes our sleep.
So really, really appreciate it and hope for more to come to follow all that you have to release for us. That's really, really exciting. Thank you so much, Molly, for having me. What a fun conversation. Awesome. Thank you. 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.