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Dr. Kirk Parsley – How to supercharge your sleep

Commander Divine talks with Dr. Kirk Parsley about sleep and how to make sure that you are getting enough good quality sleep. Former Navy SEAL, Dr. Parsley has helped military and civilian employees that battle sleep deprivation and chronic problems alike achieve better rest and a better life.  Learn how you can too in this episode. Visit Dr. Kirk Parsley at this website here. DocParsley.com

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Show Notes:

Mark: Hey folks, Commander Mark Divine here from Sealfit headquarters in Encinitas, California, and coming at you with our weekly podcast. I’m totally stoked to have Dr. Kirk Parsley with me who’s a former SEAL and teammate of mine. Kirk Parsley is a specialist in sleep, nutrition, recovery and a whole bunch of things that are really important to use as athletes and warriors so enjoy the show and get your pen and pad ready because we’re going to learn a lot of things that may not be obvious to you.

Before we start, I would also like to remind you that if you’re listening to this on iTunes and you have not put your email into our email list, then go to sealfit.com and drop your email into the opt—in form there because that’s how you’re going to stay up to date on the latest TV episodes, podcasts, and my blog and all that kind of stuff as well as any offers that we release just to our tribe, so it’s a good idea to do that.

All right Kirk, great to hear from you, I’m stoked. It’s good catching up before this call and really nice to know that you’re really trying to dive into trying to help people solve some of these problems or some of the issues they have in some of these areas of sleep, nutrition, supplements, hormonal balance, all that kinda stuff which is just a dizzying amount of information out there and it’s hard to know where to go.

Dr. Kirk Parsley: Yeah, well thanks for having me on. It’s always a pleasure to chat to your community. Anything to do with the teams is something near and dear to me, so always happy to jump in.

Mark: Yeah, we have a lot of spec ops candidates, military athletes, first responders, you know, bunch of folks of that ilk who are using Sealfit or the mental toughness principles. And you know what? Obviously… let’s start with sleep. The challenges for sleep differ for a younger operator than it does for an older operator but generally the bottom line is if you’re not sleeping well every night you’re seriously degrading your performance aren’t you? You know, do you have any metrics on what happens when you don’t get good sleep?

Dr Parsley: Yeah, absolutely. So the biggest and what I just did my TED talk on and the biggest obstacle that you run into with sleep is the same thing that you run into when you start trying to coach people on nutrition or exercise. The number one complaint, “I don’t have enough time, I can’t do that with my schedule,” so a huge part of it is just getting people to value sleep and that’s literally what I spend most of my time doing. Once they start drinking the Kool-aid and they start buying into that idea, the results become obvious to them. The one caveat of sleep that you don’t have to deal with in just about any other kind of coaching is that there’s no subjective experience of sleep. If I coached you to sleep well, you really don’t know if you were successful or not.

Mark: But you can certainly feel it the next day.

Dr. Parley: Yeah, but you start feeling the benefits, so when I throw out to people it’s like one night of short sleep decreases male libido by 30% and a short night of sleep is six hours right about two hours less than you need, and you can see there’s great data that you perform like you have a blood alcohol level of about .05, that’s with being awake for about 18 hours you stay up for a full night, your performing at .08 to .1 which is like being drunk. Your insulin sensitivity crashes. There’s a great research article done with healthy young college students. Gave them short sleep four nights in a row, did their blood work every day. By the fourth day, their blood work was consistent with an obese diabetic. And how many Americans sleep six hours a night?

Mark: Quite a few I’d imagine.

Dr. Parsley: Quite a few. In fact, the average American sleeps 6.5 hours per night right now. And we know… there’s day-to-day markers, like a lot of us think about… Even guys our age, right? They walk, they tell you every time I walk in a room I can’t remember where I am. I just feel like I’m getting old. And I’m like “Dude, you’re forty-five years old. That is not old. You should not be experiencing mental decline. But what happens when you’re sleep deprived is your working memory crashes, your will power crashes, your insulin level spikes, your insulin sensitivity goes down. You’re ability to use your prefrontal cortex which tells you, “hey here’s the consequence of the action I’m about to take, here’s the most likely consequence,” that goes away. You have an impaired frontal cortex. It looks a lot like ADHD so cognitively, you’re screwed. It decreases your endurance, it decreases your single rep, anaerobic power and it increases your risk of injury.

I just did a really big adolescent lecture. It had some great data that basically the difference between sleep 6 hours a night and 9 hours a night is about a four-fold increase of injuries in athletes, and that’s… this was a young group, but most sleep research really is adolescent research cause it’s mostly done on college students which still qualify there. But something so simple that people just don’t think about, and you’ve probably experienced that in your life time you know the guys who come in and workout at five am everyday tend to be the guys who get injured more often than the guys who really carve out the optimal time of the day for them to be working out.

Mark: That’s amazing. And kinda scary. If we’re averaging 6 and a half hours of sleep but we need seven and a half to nine… Where do we go from here? Holy shit, I mean that’s incredible.

Dr. Parsley: Yeah, and as I said earlier, that’s my biggest challenge, right? I really have to get people to reprioritize their lives and say, “you know what, you might miss being able to spend thirty minutes on Twitter or you might miss that television show that you like to watch at night or whatever that one thing is. Or you might actually have to stop work a little earlier than you want which is the biggest problem with executives. But the evidence is overwhelming that you will perform better, so much better with the sleep that you’ll make up for the extra time in bed. So if you short yourself an hour of sleep so that you can do an hour of work the next day, you lose about an hour and fifteen minutes of efficiency. So you’re in the hole fifteen minutes and you’re wrecking your body. And then we know over time it’s just ridiculous. Over sustained time of sleep deprivation, the numbers are just insane, and I won’t try and remember them all off the top of my head, but I mean, unquestionably, your risk for cancer is hugely higher, your risk of heart disease and stroke and of course any inflammatory disease and diabetes and obesity… All of the things that everybody worries about, the biggest problems. Something a military study found is that you’re nine times, right, 900% more likely to commit suicide if you’re chronically sleep deprived. And that’s just like a no-brainer. It’s like, if it’s that important… And then, something we found in the adolescent research, every child who becomes depressed, or every adolescent that becomes depressed, you would be able to find their sleep deprivation before their depression started. So, is that cause and effect? Absolutely not. But it’s such a strong correlation that it’s definitely something you should be considering.

Mark: Okay, so we’re probably not going to change society’s patterns and our beliefs around sleep overnight, but we can guide those individuals who are motivated, which is what we’re doing in this call.

Dr. Parsley: Exactly.

Mark: Let’s just say you do have a wake-up call. You’re just kinda like that chronic fatigue syndrome or your utterly exhausted or your just starting to really… fuck up. What’s the first place to start? You just going to stumble in to your doctor and say “Doc, I’m not sleeping,” or, you know, what’s your experience with clients in terms of just… what’s the wake-up call and where do you… what’s the first thing that you ask them to do?

Dr. Parsley: Yeah, so, I always start with labs obviously because my patients are coming to me in a physician relationship. I don’t think that’s absolutely necessary. If you wanted to do that people could come to my website and… which is supposed to launch this afternoon so by the time this podcast goes out I would expect that it’ll be up, and I’ll have… there’s a list of the labs that I run and why I run them and they can try and get their docs to do them if they wanna go that route but, you know, the first thing to do is just do all of the sleep hygiene stuff first.

So that means completely blacking out your bedroom and that means, you know, like underneath a ship at night kind of black, right? That type of absolute blackness. You wanna do that, you wanna get rid of all the electronics in your room so even if there’s no lights on there’s speculation about the possibility of electromagnetic frequency pulses waking people up. you wanna make sure that your bedroom’s cool, which is hard out here in San Diego, a lot of people don’t have air conditioners, but we know the ideal sleep temperature is 67 degrees Fahrenheit, which most people are not keeping their houses that cold. So you keep your room cold, you make your room totally dark, you decrease all the light going into your eyes, at least a couple hours before bed. You quit working at least an hour before bed. You have a glass of water for every alcoholic drink that you have and preferably have no alcoholic drinks within a couple hours of bedtime.

And you set your alarm clock twice, you set an alarm clock to tell you when to go to sleep so you don’t go past that time. The number one thing is just like with exercise, people have intentions. They set the plan, you know, “I’m going to go to bed at ten o’clock,” but then at ten o’clock there’s just that one more tempting thing. “I’m going to respond to this one more email, I’m going to do this one more thing.” but you set yourself an alarm clock that says I’m going to bed at ten, so at nine o’clock, I stop everything and my alarm clock goes off and reminds me. And it can be on your phone, or whatever, but it reminds me, it’s time to start the bedtime routine. And you start slowing down, you start relaxing, if you take supplements, you do all of that. You get yourself ready for bed, you know, you make a ritual out of it. And then you just go to sleep, and then you get as close to that eight hour mark as you can.

And then you just see how you feel each day. And if I can get people to sleep for two weeks, I don’t ever have to convince them to sleep again. Because what most people find once they sleep really well for a while is that they forgot what it felt like to not be sleep deprived. The research has shown—this is probably the most disturbing challenge—the research has shown when you take people who are well-rested, which you usually have to well-rest them first, so usually have to spend three weeks getting their sleep debt paid back, then you take people who are really well rested and you shorten their sleep by two hours a night and you do testing on them the next day, any kind of testing, depends on what you’re interested in, and they’ll do worse. But the first three days or so they’ll tell you they did worse because they know that they’re tired and they’ll say “I’m really tired, and I did worse.” By day three or four, most people feel like they’ve adapted. It’s just like one beer, you say I probably shouldn’t drive, two beers, you say yeah, I know I shouldn’t drive. After four beers somehow it becomes a good idea to drive again. I’m fine, right? And it’s the same kind of phenomenon, so you’re self-awareness is actually diminished by sleep deprivation, and so you think you’re doing fine. And it’s not until you get sober again, and you get rid of this sleep drunkenness, that you go “Oh my God, I am so much more clear, I am so much more alert, I am such a better driver.” Like, the traffic accident rate for high school kids, because almost all high school kids are sleep deprived because of phase shift, the traffic accidents, if you push start times back for one hour in a high school, which starts at 8:30 instead of the national average which is 7:30, you decrease traffic accidents by 168% in a single year.

Mark: There was another study that came out this week on sleep in schools so there seems to be a little momentum to push start dates a little bit later.

Dr. Parsley: Yeah, there’s actually… I don’t know the name of them, I knew them a couple months ago, I just recently learned about them, there’s actually a D.C. lobbying group that’s pushing this really hard, and they’ve teamed up with a couple of university professors, sleep researchers and they’ve done some pilot studies on schools, and the thing that really shocked everybody they did it on some private schools I think in Pennsylvania they did eleven or twelve schools. They pushed their start time back, you know, the private schools had more flexibility. They pushed their starting times back, then they looked at markers like performance and disciplinary problems and absenteeism and illness and all that and all of that stuff got better. But the thing that surprised them is out of the eleven or twelve schools they did this with, every single school in every single sport had the best record they had ever had.

Mark: No kidding.

Dr. Parsley: Yeah. I was even shocked by that. I thought, yes it’ll definitely improve, but just saying… that’s a pretty strong metric right there. And I don’t know how much better, I mean, was it one extra game or whatever? But who really cares, I mean it’s better. That’s your goal as an athlete is to be the best athlete you can be, why wouldn’t you do everything you can do? But, you know, we have this frenetic world that tells our kids “you need to take AP classes and learn the violin and to speak Chinese and play two sports and, you know, do an internship in the White House if you wanna go to the school of your choice,” you know? So it’s hard to get parents to back off, and it’s even harder to get the parents to get their kids to back off.

Mark: Right. Fascinating. yeah, cause your right. If you could just slow them down and get the sleep and narrow their focus on a few more important things, then their performance and their happiness and their overall success would go through the roof.

Dr. Parsley: Yeah, and we know that from the SEAL teams right? We don’t try to be the best at everything, we try to be really good at everything, like we want to be proficient at everything, but there’s a few areas that we’re going to make sure we’re the best in the world at. And our kids need to do the same thing. We need to get rid of this…and the adults too, we need to get rid of this, you know, the Donald Trump myth of sleeping four hours a night and performing at his peak.

Mark: That’s a crock.

Dr. Parsley: If that happens, you’re the only guy, right? Every time we do clinical research it never comes out to be true. I’m not calling anyone a liar, but we’ve never found any evidence of that in a laboratory. There are a few people… I mean, there’s obviously the standard deviation, not everybody needs exactly the same amount of sleep, and not everybody needs the same amount of sleep every night, but seven and a half hours is a really firm number for anybody over 25. Especially males because males finish development later. Any teenager and twenty something it’s closer to nine hours a night.

Mark: So, here’s a question now, obviously just not taking the time or having the time is probably the biggest culprit, but there are other culprits obviously for not getting sleep. Nutrition is probably a good one, maybe lack of exercise or too much exercise is another one. And these things leading to, you know, probably the biggest culprit being hormonal imbalance. And so, can you… let’s talk about how nutrition, exercise affect hormones and how that effects sleep.

Dr. Parsley: Yeah, all right, so that’s… all right that’s a great path to go on actually. I like that. So, we’ll start with nutrition, cause nutrition is really… conceptually the simplest thing to talk about. There’s conflicting evidence, and sorry there’s just too many research papers out there for me to read them all and analyze them all and tell you which one is the most accurate. There’s conflict between whether you should eat more fat before bed, or more protein before bed or more carbohydrates before bed. You know, so that’s, that’s an argument I won’t weigh in on, other than to say, carbohydrates effect insulin more than anything else. Insulin is the master hormone.

My suspicion is that carbohydrates are probably the worst thing. If you have acid reflux and that’s causing you a lot of problems, fats are probably a really bad thing for you. Protein is probably the safest thing because it has some insulin effect and a long window of nutritional density that’s lasts a pretty long time, so that’s probably what I’ll say for, you know, before bed. Which is a common question that I get, you know, should I eat before bed, how long before bed. You should eat to where your GI system is really comfortable before you go to bed. That’s where I’ll leave that. And I think proteins and fats would be the area to hedge towards, carbohydrates not so much.

Now the other side of nutrition is the inflammatory aspect of nutrition so you start talking about the inflammatory aspects of nutrition you get into all of the typical things that you hear about, things like gluten, things like casein, things like lactose for the lactose intolerance, you know, prolamins, different antigens in the food. So you know, my advice there again is not a straight and narrow path. I work very individually with my patients depending on what their preferences are and what their performance goals are. But basically, a low inflammatory diet, which is basically something in the realm of paleo type of diet template. Not saying everybody has to go on the paleo diet, but you get rid of the things that inflame your body, you get rid of the stress response.

Inflammation is a stress response. If your body is feeling stress from your mind, or from your GI tract or from your over-exercised muscles, it manifests itself in the same sleep problems. And then to go back to the stress issues, just the cognitive things, there is no exact recipe for being stressed. We all have a different stress threshold.

But if you’re living your life in such a way that it’s causing you to be anxious and stressed and have a lot of anxiety, you’re running at a higher adrenal level. So you’re secreting more cortisol, more epinephrine, more norepinephrine. All of these things are wake promoting hormones. These are the things that are ordinarily keeping us more and more awake with our environment. As our environment becomes more intense we have more of these and if they go all the way to the highest point they can go we call that fight or flight.

The exact opposite happens when you sleep. When you go into deep sleep, you have almost no adrenal hormones, and that’s when you’re secreting growth hormone, and that’s when you’re secreting testosterone, and that’s when you’re repairing your damaged muscles. Your heavily exercised muscles I should say. Then you’re repairing damage to tendons, ligaments and active tissue. You’re fighting off infections. All of that’s happening in really deep sleep with almost no stress hormones. So if you’re running your own stress, you screwed yourself, cause when you try to go to sleep, even if you do sleep eight hours, your time spent in deep sleep won’t be the same. So that has to be balanced.

Exercise, good and bad. You talk about overtraining. Again, over-training looks almost just like excessive adrenal stress, because that’s where you get your reserves, right? When you’re doing Crossfit… when you’re doing something like “fight gone bad” the last two rounds of that, you’re running off of 100% adrenals. Your muscle fuel is gone, like you’re cranking this off of adrenaline. You do this routinely, you do this excessively, you do all this over-training. Probably distance runners and Crossfitters are the two biggest categories of problems with this. They have this chronically inflamed state which looks just like a chronically stressed state. Physiologically you run into all the same problems.

The flip side of that is an appropriate amount of exercise is really good for sleep. And by appropriate it just means that you aren’t pushing yourself to where you’re so exhausted that your body can’t recover and you’re in this chronic stress state, and you’re not going so soft that you’re not really building up any “sleep pressure.” When you exercise, I’m sure you know you break down the ATP, right, and ATP goes down to ADP and eventually it just becomes adenosine. And adenosine builds up in your brain, and the more adenosine in your brain the higher the sleep pressure, and this is different than the circadian rhythm thing. This is actually shutting down your neocortex like the big brain that makes you smart. It’s actually telling that thing, “Hey shut up, quit thinking about stuff. We need to sleep.” And if you don’t build up the adenosine, that’s one of the natural things to help push you to sleep. And then it makes it easier to have excessive stress hormones because you don’t need as much stress hormones to keep your brain going because you don’t have any adenosine slowing it down.

Mark: So how do we know what is the right amount of exercise. I mean, most people have a sense of how much food to eat cause your body tells you. But what about exercise? How do you know if you’re over-fatigued? Just the feeling of being over-fatigued and not able to sleep? Cortisol racing through your system at night?

Dr. Parsley: Well, so there’s a couple of ways to do that. I lectured at PaleoFX and saw a lecture from a guy name Jim Laird. Big trainer. And he had a really great slide for it. He had this guy he’d been working with who was a little bit sweaty, a little red—he just looked a little fatigued. And then he had another picture of the typical Crossfit scene. Everybody laying on the floor in a puddle of their own sweat, panting, with their eyes closed. He’s like, all right, this is too much. You can do this occasionally. If you do this every day, you’re going to break, right? So there’s a little bit of a common sense test in there. But what I would tell people is to be fastidious with tracking your workouts. If your performance gets worse from your previous workout and you know you pushed yourself. You went in there and you did a hard workout. You gave it all you had. If you don’t get better the next time you do that workout, you’re probably over-training. You’re almost certainly over-training. Unless there’s an infection going on or something like that. But all of the things being equal, you should be getting better, and either that can be measured by how quickly you recover, that can be measure by how much time it takes you, it can be measured by how much power you put out, or how much weight you lift. Whatever your metrics are. But you should be getting better every workout. Squeezing out one more rep, doing a second faster, averaging a lower heart-rate, recovering faster.

Heart-rate variability would be, I would say… the most scientific, user-friendly kind of thing that you could do. So you can go to the full extreme and work with somebody like me and pull all your lab markers and we can test how much lactose is building up in your muscles while your exercising, you know, you can get into all this super-crazy, finessed kind of workout, but something that’s available to anybody. Get yourself a jawbone or fitbit or something. Track data on your cell. You know, look at the correlations between the days you have really good workouts and you feel really good and how much you sleep. But if you want to take that to the next level, get a heart-rate variability monitor, I think there’s apps on iPhone for it. And if your heart-rate variability is high then you aren’t well rested. So if you see three or four high days in a row, you’re over-training. Assuming that you started with some pretty good numbers, right? So you’ve done mindfulness training, you’ve done relaxation techniques you’ve dialed in your life to where you think you’re doing the right thing or pretty close to the right thing. Start tracking that heart-rate variability and if you get worse all through the week and then you take the weekends off and then Monday your heart-rate variability’s back again. Back down again. That’s where you know that you’re over-training. That’s what I’d say is the most user-friendly thing that I would say is scientific enough to hang your hat on and say “I’m 90% sure I’m over-training at this point.”

Mark: That’s interesting. I definitely have noticed, when I got into Crossfit, and when I was doing those high-intensity metabolic conditioning WODs five days a week that that definitely led to, you know, over-training syndrome and burnout. So, you know, variety is the spice of life, right?

Dr. Parsley: Exactly.

Mark: Okay to do those a couple times a week, maybe three. If you’re training up for the Crossfit games, ramp them up, and then go to the games and then back down after that. But, I found a good variety between strength training, you know, which is much more slow, using that different energy pathway, and then endurance training, and then that kind of in-between high intensity interval training. You just balance those, and ebb and flow with them, works really well.

Dr. Parsley: Yeah. And the more fit you become, the more HIIT the better you’ll be able to do it to a certain point. And if you are really dialed in, hormonally, metabollically, rest-wise, stress-wise you can probably get away with three highly intense periods per week. But again, I would only do that, like you said, if you’re peaking for an event. And one of the… I think the misunderstood concepts of Crossfit is that these guys are really never peaking. I mean, a few of them are shooting for Crossfit games, but most of them are going in and trying to PR every day. Or every week. And the world just doesn’t work like that. So, what I found with my clients is if I’m starting with a really, really out-of-shape guy, I insist that they do nothing but walk for a couple of months. You know, I just… I want you to walk from here to there and we’re going to get this much walking in and then you can walk faster and then you can walk with the weight vest or add some hills in your walk if you want. And that… you gotta hit that baseline. And if you’re not there, there’s no sense in doing any sort of high intensity thing. And then you add one day of high intensity training.

Is it John Little and Mark McGruff? I think it was McGuff, a doc that wrote “Body by Science.” They talk about the research they’ve done with high intensity training, and the vast majority of professionals that don’t have a job around athleticism or fitness, the vast majority of those people can only handle one intense period a week. Like, one intense training day a week. And then they can do some really slow stuff, they can do some skill stuff. They can do some moderately intense aerobic stuff, you know, mix it up. But it takes people, in their book I think they said, I might be misquoting this, but I want to say that it was somewhere around a year for most people they worked with before they could go up to two high intensity workouts a week. And that’s people that are taking it pretty seriously. They’re kind of shaping a large part of their schedule and their life around fitness.

Mark: Interesting. So you know, we’ve kinda been going for a little while here, and I don’t wanna go for too much longer. I know you’ve got things to do, and I wanna save something for next time.

Dr. Parsley: Yeah. And we don’t wanna bore everybody to death.

Mark: I’m not bored, man. I could talk about this stuff all day.

Dr. Parsley: The listeners are just dropping off. Every time I throw out a chemical name you’re losing fans.

Mark: We’re down to one listener. Anyway, let’s talk about supplements. Just gimme the down and dirty on supplements. I take a little melatonin cocktail and something called nighttime recovery, and I’m waiting for your sleep cocktail which has been forever, so you need to tell us about that. But what should we be doing if we need a little bit of boost at night.

Dr. Parsley: Yeah. So what I… my favorite thing to do with supplements is to not take them. So take as few as possible. There’s reality though—there’s ideal and there’s reality so how good your diet is determines if you need anything else. But if you just want to talk about sleep you look at things that lower adrenal function. For all the reasons we talked about earlier. But if you want to lower your adrenal function, the main way that that happens, what creates that circadian rhythm, that people know about, that up and down, kind of ebb and flow thing with adrenal function, melatonin is the end product of that, right? So melatonin shuts down adrenal function, but like any hormone, and melatonin is a hormone, even though it’s sold over the counter, any hormone that you take, your body is going to quit making. And anything you take excessively, your body’s going to quit responding to it, so if I give you 500 mg of testosterone every week, you’re going to quit making testosterone, and your body’s going to quit responding to testosterone to where you might as well only be taking 100 mg a week.

Melatonin’s the same thing, so I like to keep people really low dose. From the time the sun start’s going down until the time the sun starts coming up in a hunter gatherer world without external lights and electricity and all that, your brain will produce about 300 micrograms or 1/3 of a milligram over that entire period of time. So if you go and take a 5 mg melatonin, you do the math. You’re fifteen times higher than you should be. And it’s all coming right now. It’s going to shut down your sensitivity to it, and it’s going to shut down your production of it. So melatonin’s good, but keep it low. Sustained release is better. You can get that from compounding pharmacies and you can get a sustained released capsule that releases two or three hundred micrograms over twelve hours, and you take that a few hours before bed. That works great.

Vitamin D3, you have to have vitamin D3 to make melatonin, so if you are vitamin D3 deficient or magnesium deficient, either/or, you won’t be able to make enough melatonin on your own. Which will make you dependent on the supplement. So, that can be handled somewhat through nutritional things, you can look at really seratonin promoting foods help make melatonin, because melatonin is made from seratonin.

And one of the things that happens that I didn’t really talk about is when you’re running around with excessive adrenal function, and you aren’t sleeping well and your body’s trying to shut down your adrenals for really deep sleep at night, it’ll steal your seratonin to make more melatonin, to get you into a deeper sleep. But then you know what happens when people have low seratonin, they become depressed. And they become moody, and now you become lethargic, and now you don’t want to work out, and now you become worried and anxious and you’re having a hard time sleeping for other reasons.

You know, look into seratonin promoting foods, but it’s really just common sense it’s the same sense stuff that’s good for everything else. There’s more specific ones, certain greens have more promoting effects for that. And then, if that doesn’t work it’s worth looking into deficiencies, it’s worth looking into maybe a B12 deficiency or folate deficiency or for a woman an iron deficiency. Some of those type of things will also, not only affect the neurotransmitters, it will also affect the inflammatory stuff that we talked about that gets in the way as well. And you know, that’s the thirty thousand foot view. If they really want to geek out and they want to do more then there’s an endless number of supplements that you can add in the morning to raise adrenal function and you can add in the evening to lower adrenal function. And these can get expensive and laborious, but I was just start with the simple things, Magnesium, vitamin D3 a touch of melatonin if you need it.

Mark: Blood work will indicate what you’re deficient in right?

Dr. Parsley: Yeah, yeah. So just go see a good functional medicine doctor who’s going to look at you from a health optimization standpoint as opposed to a disease standpoint. Most western doctors if it falls between 300 and 40,000 and that’s the normal range then they don’t care where it’s at in that range. Cause they’re looking for disease. But if you go to a good functional medicine doctor or naturopath or something they’ll look at what is the optimal level of this for you, your age and your group. And really what I try to do with my patients, I like to work with them until their lab printout if I gave them to another doctor would tell them that that guy is 25 years old. So that’s kinda what I shoot for with everything.

Mark: Well that’s cool. So, you know, people are gonna want to learn more. You mentioned earlier that your website is launching hopefully today.

Dr. Parsley: Yes, this afternoon is the plan.

Mark: What’s the URL on that?

Dr. Parsley: DocParsley.com

Mark: So go check it out folks, I’m sure the doc will have great information up there. I’m sure you’ll have a blog you’ll be writing?

Dr. Parsley: Yeah, it’s a little weak right now, but you gotta start somewhere. You could spend about half an hour on there reading and you’d probably have read everything. But yeah, I’ve linked to some other podcasts and my TED talk. And I’ve put some links to other people’s talks that I like and links to the people that I get information from, cause I’m not an expert in everything, so I defer to different people.

Mark: Well, so I imagine you’ll do consultation and you have coaching and everything and you have that information on your website.

Dr. Parsley: Yup, yup.

Mark: So people if you’re having trouble, if you’re really suffering from sleep issues then reach out to doc and see if there’s a way that he can help you out. It’s utterly critical to get this dialed in. I often say the foundation for living a good life is what we put in our body, the food we fuel ourselves with, sleep, and training. And on top of all that you can build a pretty solid life.

Dr. Parsley: Yeah. And on top of that, your Unbeatable Mind stuff is the other aspect that I’d add to that. You have to be able to control your thoughts, emotions and mind to be able to relax yourself. Yeah, the mindfulness aspect of it. You get those four things in order you live the dream, but none of that comes in a pill. You’ve got to do that work.

Mark: Looking for the pill. That’s a weak mind right there. All right. Awesome. Thanks so much Kirk. Thanks so much for your time. I look forward to the Unbeatable Mind retreat in December where you’ll be giving a presentation that I’m sure will rival your TED talk.

Dr. Parsley: I look forward to that to. Hopefully it won’t be raining this year.

Mark: It was crazy last year, wasn’t it?

Dr. Parsley: Yeah, but a good event. I look forward to it. I look forward to hearing the other lectures.

Mark: Thanks for your time. I’m sure everyone else who’s listening appreciates it, and will reach out if they need some help and we’ll talk to you soon.

Dr. Parsley: All right, thank you Mark.

Mark: All right folks, we’re going to move on. Until then, train hard, stay safe, have fun and hooyah.