"A good laugh and a long sleep are the two best cures"
- Irish Saying

Everyone, at some time in their life, has either had difficulty sleeping or has had to miss sleep for some reason or other. Daily, restful, restorative sleep is one of the most important things for your overall health. Best of all, it’s something you can take charge of and improve on your own.

According to the National Sleep Foundation:

  1. 48% of Americans have occasional insomnia while 22% have insomnia every night or almost every night.

  2. 63 % of Americans say they do not sleep enough.

  3. Approximately 15 % of adults between the ages of 19 and 64 report sleeping less than six hours each night during the week.

Sitting for extended periods of time, especially while using electronic devices, as well as lack of exercise are significant causes for most sleeping problems.

Typically, you need 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night. Six hours or less can result in decreased alertness, depression, increased risk of chronic disease, skin problems, weight gain and a 12% increased chance of mortality (shorter life span). An exception is people with a variation of the DEC2 gene. If you have this, you’ll be able to function normally with about two hours less sleep. Interestingly, more than nine hours sleep is also associated with increased risk of chronic disease and a 30% increase in mortality. However, hardcore athletes and manual laborers often require more sleep for more complete recovery and performance.

The primary reasons you need sleep are to allow undisturbed time for your brain to organize new information and store memories; to clean up cellular debris and to give your body time to repair itself. These essential functions require isolating your brain as much as possible from its environment, especially light and sound. More about how to do this later.

Common problems resulting from lack of sleep and what may result:

  1. Decreased immune function - More frequent, longer lasting illnesses?

  2. Difficulties with heat or cold regulation - Less tolerance, more sensitivity to heat or cold?

  3. Imbalances in appetite and blood sugar regulating hormones - Hypoglycemia, diabetes, weight gain?

  4. Gastrointestinal problems - Poor digestion and/or elimination? IBS, Crohn’s, etc.?

  5. Increased inflammatory hormones such as interleukin and C-reactive protein - Auto-Immune dis-eases?

  6. Increases in stress hormones such as catecholamines and cortisol - Cardiovascular dis-eases, high blood pressure, skin problems, etc.?

  7. Depression, Irritability - Increased personal relationship problems at home and/or work?

  8. Fatigue - Low energy; never seem fully rested, get tired easily, etc.?

  9. Memory loss - Forgetful more often; Alzheimer’s, etc.?

  10. Decreased ability to concentrate and learn - Cannot seem to stay on task; hard to focus, etc.?

  11. More rapid aging - Why hasten it?

  12. Decreased physical performance - Weekend warriors, amateurs and professionals?

Some people have said, "Trying to read this all at once put me right to sleep."
Feel free to skip the following detailed explanations and go directly to the section entitled:
“How to Improve Your Sleep and Circadian Rhythms”

Daily (Circadian) Rhythms

NOTE: For help with any unfamiliar or confusing words, See "Explanations" Below.

Humans have about a 25 (not a misprint) hour internal clock. It resets every day with exposure to daylight. This circadian rhythm is linked to regular cycles. Bodily functions vary according to these rhythms. Some of these include:

  1. Blood pressure

  2. Hormone production and release (e.g.cortisol, melatonin, serotonin, etc.)

  3. Intestinal activity

  4. Performance (e.g. coordination and strength)

  5. Pulse

  6. Reaction time

  7. Temperature

If you’ve ever taken a long-distance flight, you’ve probably experienced problems re-acclimating to a new time zone. Difficulty thinking and sleeping are the most common side effects..

What Happens throughout a Typical Day? (Times are Approximate, of Course)

6 am: Your body releases:

  1. Cortisol to turn on your brain and body. If possible, go for about a 15 minute walk for sunlight exposure to naturally start your circadian rhythm. Alternatively, you can boost your cortisol levels with coffee (See “How to” 2. C. Below) or adaptogenic (Homeostatic - Balancing) foods, herbs and teas such as Amla (Indian gooseberry), Astragalus, Ginseng Ashwagandha (Indian), Eleuthero (Siberian) or Panax (Asian)], Green and Holy Basil Tulsi) tea, Maca root, Mushrooms (Cordycep and Reishi), Rhodiola rosea, Shisandra, etc.

  2. Vasoactive Intestinal Polypeptide (VIP):

    A. Increases heart contractions

    B. Widens blood vessels (vasodilation)

    C. Starts liver glycogenolysis to naturally increase blood sugar

    D. Relaxes smooth muscles (6-8:30 am is the best time for a bowel movement)

    E. Increases ghrelin (Hunger Hormone). Eat breakfast to also help reset your circadian clock and cut food cravings later in the day.

6:45 am: Greatest increase in blood pressure

7:30 am: Melatonin secretion stops

9 - 10 am: Sex hormone secretion peaks. This is a good time to reset your circadian rhythm, especially if you’re having trouble sleeping at night. It’s also a good time to do easy, aerobic exercise.

10 am: Most alert

2:30 pm: Muscle coordination peaks. Consider exercising or playing sports or see the next two time periods.

3:30 pm: Fastest reaction time.

5 - 6 pm: 5 pm: Most efficient blood circulation and muscle strength. From 5 to 6 pm body temperature, cardiovascular efficiency, exercise recovery, muscle repair and protein synthesis peak. This is probably the best time to exercise, especially intense physical activities like interval or weight training, since dinner will occur during optimal protein synthesis and muscle repair.

Sunset (varies, of course, with time of year and geographical location):

  1. Blood pressure peaks as can body temperature. This is a good time for a cold shower or cold soak to help you fall asleep.

  2. Leptin is released from fat stores and continues to increase until you go to sleep. It can shift your body into using fatty acids, stop your appetite and help control late night munchies.

  3. Adinopectin assists with fatty acid metabolism, especially if you take 100 or more mg of magnesium citrate (See “How to” 33. A. NOTE Below) before bed. High levels of insulin in your blood can decrease the production of adinopectin so it’s a good idea to limit/avoid snacks, especially those high in carbohydrates (sugars) and/or protein after sunset.

6:30 pm: Highest blood pressure

7:00 pm: Highest body temperature

9 - 10 pm:

  1. Secretion of mlatonin (See “Effects of Light” Below) begins and:

    A. allows your body to sleep and recuperate.

    B. pulls oxygen from muscles to make it more difficult to be active and easier to sleep.

  2. Agouti protein peaks. This protein can stimulate appetite like ghrelin unless leptin is present

10:30 - 11 pm: Gastrointestinal (GI) mobility slows. Bowel movements are suppressed. After this, if everything is working, you shouldn’t need to use the bathroom unless you have been drinking lots of liquids.


  1. Melatonin secretion peaks and slows the firing rate of your nerve cells. Your brain slows so it can heal and assimilate information and memory more effectively.

  2. Prolactin is released. This hormone helps increase the creation of new cells, the recycling of old cells and the renewal of cells as well as the release of growth hormone

  3. Leptin enters your hypothalamus, releases fat reserves and signals your thyroid to increase its activity. It also stimulates your mitochondria (energy bodies within your cells) to burn calories to produce heat. This helps maintain your core body temperature during the inactivity of sleep. Also, ideally, you’re burning fat stores while sleeping.

  4. Without enough prolactin, brain activity declines; you gain weight easier; and you have higher amounts of inflammatory molecules called cytokines which cause slower recovery/healing and increased, chronic pain. Your body also makes less growth hormone.

  5. Without enough growth hormone, your body makes less DHEA.

  6. Without enough DHEA, your heart and skeletal muscles do not work as well.

  7. Without enough growth hormone and DHEA, women experience menopause earlier. The result is their corpus luteum is no longer being replaced every month. Without the increased progesterone from the corpus luteum, women develop an unbalanced estrogen to progesterone ratio. Relatively higher estrogen with lower progesterone can cause, among other things, chronic fatigue, difficulties with thoughts and memory, early aging, increased weight gain and loss of bone density.

2 - 6 am: 2 am: Deepest sleep; 4:30 am: Lowest body temperature. From 2 to 6 am you have the greatest fall in your core temperature. Inflammation decreases while nerve and nervous system repair, growth of nerve cells and the up-regulation of circulating T cells (the killer cells of your immune system) increase . This results in a stronger immune system with less overall inflammation. A good goal would be to try to be asleep by 10:30 pm with a somewhat earlier bedtime during winter’s shorter days.

6 am: The drop in core temperature signals the release of cortisol to begin the cycle again.

Stress, Cortisol, Sleep and Memory

Life is not possible without stress. Daily stressors may include work, family, children, day-to-day problems, emotional upsets, nutritional deficiencies, injuries, illnesses or anything else bothering you chemically, emotionally, mentally or physically. Signs and symptoms of inadequate, restorative sleep and excess stress are similar. These include difficulties with depression, digestion or elimination, fatigue, trouble thinking and focusing, poor memory or any number of other problems.

Your stress hormone, cortisol, is produced in response to any type of stress. When you finally reach the point where you feel “burned out,” you’re reaching the end of your ability to compensate. Excess cortisol throughout the day will disrupt your sleep patterns and circadian rhythms. The part of your brain most vulnerable to long-term stress is your hippocampus. Long-lasting or traumatic stress and depression are particular causes for atrophy (shrinkage) of your hippocampus. Even stress occurring shortly after birth can affect how you function throughout the rest of your life.

Loss of memory is one of the most recognizable problems resulting from a shrinking hippocampus. Fortunately, you have marvelous abilities to cope with, adapt to and compensate for stress. One of the most effective is sleep. And, the suggestions for improving sleep (See Below) are equally successful for reducing stress and preventing or even reversing hippocampus shrinkage and memory loss.

Cycles/Phases of Sleep

  1. W (Awake) - Characterized by infrequent Beta waves (12 - 40 Hz). Most important for conscious focus, memory and problem solving.

  2. Meditative - Eyes closed. Synchronizing alpha and theta waves. Serotonin increases.

    A. Alpha waves (8 - 12 Hz). Bridge the gap between conscious thinking and subconscious mind. Most important for relaxation.

    B. Theta waves (4 - 8 Hz). Involved in daydreaming and sleep. Most important for creativity, emotional connection, intuition and relaxation.

  3. Orthodox sleep is deep, quiet and slow wave. It has three NREM (Non-Rapid Eye Movement) Phases:

    A. N1 (Transitional Sleep) - About 10 minutes. Irregular theta waves. Transitioning between awake and light sleep.

    B. N2 (Light Sleep) - 20 to 30 minutes. Improves motor skills when you get enough N2 sleep. More brain activity than N1. Brain wave frequency surges (Sleep Spindles). This is light sleep with little movement and quiet breathing. Dreaming can occur.

    C. N3 (Deep Sleep) - 30 to 40 minutes (Elderly 24 to 34 minutes). Delta waves (0 - 4 Hz). Most in infants and young children. Less with age. Deepest levels of relaxation and restorative, healing sleep. Breathing is stable; muscles are completely relaxed; pulse, body temperature and blood pressure are at their lowest. Increased release of Growth hormone. Regeneration mechanisms begin. Most important for the immune system, natural healing and overall body housecleaning, repair and rebuilding.

  4. REM (Rapid Eye Movement) with eyes moving under your eyelids. Alpha and Beta waves. Your brain is awake while the rest of your body sleeps. Neck and body muscles are paralyzed to prevent sleep walking. Dreaming peaks.

You go through 4 or 5 REM cycles per night. The first is about 10 minutes. The others are about 30 minutes each. Typically you progress from N1 to N2 to N3 then back to N2 before waking or skipping to REM. This takes about 90 minutes. In later cycles the amount of REM sleep increases as Delta waves decrease until they are gone. At the very least you need three cycles for regeneration of your brain’s nerve cells. Getting proper sleep helps reorganize your memory and improves your capacity for learning.

Effects of Light

Light resets your circadian rhythms and plays a key role in helping regulate all aspects of your life. To do this, the brightness (luminosity) of light (lux) should be at least 1,000 lux in intensity. A typical office is one-third to one-half this. Direct sunlight can be 32,000 to 130,000 lux. If possible, to increase productivity and to help prevent the depressing symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) in your work place, replace all lights with full-spectrum bulbs.

Wavelength also has an effect. During the day there is more blue light (short, 420 to 485 nm wavelength). Blue light blocks melatonin production. White LED lights are five times more effective at blocking melatonin production than incandescent bulbs. After dark, minimize, as much as possible, illumination from blue light emitting bulbs.

Your eyes have special nerve cells to sense this blue light. As darkness increases, those nerve cells send information to the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) in your brain. This “master clock” then releases chemicals to different parts of your brain to prepare you for sleep. It notifies your pineal gland it’s time to begin slowing everything. Your pineal gland then begins secreting melatonin. One of melatonin’s many functions is to signal your adrenal glands (See Adrenal cortex Below) to slow down and stop secreting their excitatory hormones.

If you’ve made it this far, you’ll surely agree,

“Getting regular, adequate, restorative sleep can improve everything. Take charge of your own life. Optimize your sleep.”

After trying one or more of the following suggestions, if you’re still having problems sleeping, check back here for future blogs featuring Detoxification, Improving Digestion and Elimination, Rebalancing your Microbiome (friendly bacteria, etc.) and more.

How to Improve Your Sleep and Circadian Rhythms

"Babies, of any species, rarely, if ever, need medication to sleep."

Throw away your sleeping pills. Pick and choose any of the following you think will help. Try them. Keep what works. Discard the rest.

  1. In the morning, try to get some sun exposure with a fifteen minute (or longer) walk. OR

  2. If, for whatever reason, you do not have access to early morning sunlight or cannot get outdoors, you might want to try:

    A. A Sun Light for fifteen minutes OR

    B. Use a Sunrise Alarm Clock to wake you OR

    C. Purity Coffee (the highest antioxidant, purest, organic coffee available) blended with Ghee and MCT oil (See 34 B. Below) - Begin with a teaspoon or less of the MCT oil and Ghee. Increase gradually to a tablespoon of each. Blend with your coffee in a Nutribullet. For extra magnesium and flavor, I add 1/4 of a square of chocolate (See 34. A. Below) and a minimal amount of stevia (organic, green leaf powder). The result is an amazing super-energy morning pick-me-up that lasts all morning.

    • Dr. Breus, "The Sleep Doctor," recommends quickly drinking a cool cup of drip coffee then taking a nap. He calls this a "Nap-a-Latte." The caffeine wakes you in about 25 to 30 minutes which he says is the perfect amount of time for recharging your day and optimizing your night-time sleep.
    • He also suggests no coffee after 2 pm. This allows caffeine from the coffee to break down enough so it doesn't interfere with your regular sleep.
  3. During the day, let Mother Nature help reduce your stress levels. Find a way to reconnect with the earth. Remove your shoes and socks. If you’re near any natural source of water such as an ocean, lake, river, stream, waterfall, etc., walk in the sand, along the bank or in the water. If you’re near a naturally wooded area, hike or find a tree and sit under it or hug it. If you’re near a naturally grassy area, stand or walk in the grass. This is called Grounding and is one of the simplest, most effective ways to decrease stress. OR

  4. There are numerous Grounding devices such as:

    A. Mats are used by professional cycling teams at the Tour de France to recover more quickly while sleeping. -

    B. Insoles, shoes, etc

  5. Use full spectrum bulbs at work and at home.

  6. In the afternoon, around 3 or 5 pm, exercise. Exercise and Grounding (See 3 Above) are two of the most effective and easiest remedies for sleep problems. Choose fun, physical activities you really enjoy. This will help insure you'll do them faithfully on a regular basis. Variety helps prevent boredom. Avoid exercising 4 hours or less before retiring for the night.

  7. If you have one, use a sauna (regular or, even better, infrared)

  8. Around sunset, if you have a tub and can comfortably get into and out of it, take a cool or cold bath or shower. This may help you fall asleep faster. OR

  9. If you prefer, have a warm or hot soak with a handful or more of Epsom salts added to your bath water..

  10. In the evening, as darkness increases, decrease and eliminate artificial, especially blue light as much as possible.

  11. Keep televisions out of your bedroom.

  12. Download a free app called Flux for your computer, light bulbs, etc.. This can be used to automatically reduce blue light levels. OR

  13. Use blue light-blocking computer glasses

  14. Try to eliminate your exposure to all blue light several hours before bed.

  15. No alcohol 3 hours before bed. Alcohol disrupts normal sleep patterns, dehydrates you and will likely awaken you for a trip to the bathroom.

  16. Keep as many electronic devices as possible out of your bedroom or turned off/unplugged during sleep times. This minimizes exposure to EMFs (ElectroMagnetic Frequencies). If there are still LED lights illuminated, cover them with black adhesive tape.

  17. Keep laptops, I-pads, tablets, e-readers, etc. out of your bed or dimmed as low as possible

  18. Try to end all your work at least an hour before your bedtime.

  19. If you have lots on your mind, write everything in a journal and put it away before bed.

  20. The optimal temperature for your bedroom is 64 to 69 degrees Fahrenheit.

  21. Use a comfortable Sleep Mask AND/OR

  22. Use “black-out” curtains or drapes to completely block light from windows

  23. To help eliminate or minimize disturbing sounds use disposable earplugs such as the Howard Leight Max-1. OR

  24. If you are not overly concerned about EMFs, you could use a free “white noise” app such as “White Noise Lite” from Google Play for any type cell phone OR

  25. SleepPhones . These are more expensive but they easily pair or sync with smart phones, computers and most other Bluetooth-compatible devices and have free sleep sound online downloads with a free iPhone app.

  26. Purchase the best, most comfortable Sleep System you can afford. This is one of the most important investments you can make since you spend about one third of your life in bed. Try different brands and types of beds until you find the right one for you. Then, go online and check prices. Often you’ll find a significant savings online. Be sure delivery and setup are included.

  27. Elevate the head of your bed (up to 9 inches, but start with less) to improve cerebrospinal fluid flow. Cerebrospinal fluid surrounds and runs through your brain and spinal cord. It works with special brain cells called glia to remove daily debris accumulation. This is called glymphatic drainage. As mentioned previously, this is one of the most important functions of sleep.

  28. Use sheets, pillow cases and other bedding made from organic, natural fibers if possible.

  29. Avoid sleep clothing with elastic. It can restrict lymph flow. OR, sleep au naturel.

  30. Wear non-elastic, or minimally elastic, 100% cotton or wool socks (or use a hot water bottle at your feet) at night to dilate blood vessels and help you fall asleep faster.

  31. Use a full body pillow behind you so you sleep part way on your right side (less pressure on your internal organs) while still part way on your back. Experiment with pillows for your head and neck until you find the right one for you. It should help maintain the proper curve for your neck while keeping your spine in straight alignment.

  32. Instead of counting sheep, learn to meditate OR Google “Meditation” OR create your own meditation recording with your own music and your own voice OR

  33. Google “Brainwave Entrainment.” AND/OR

  34. Practice slowing your breathing as you are beginning to fall asleep. For example, inhale for 2 seconds then exhale for 2 seconds. This is the typical adult average breathing rate of 15 breaths per minute. When it’s comfortable, increase to about 3 seconds in and 3 seconds out. Continue to increase in 1 second intervals for each inhale and exhale only as long as it’s comfortable. AND/OR

  35. Learn and practice EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) for stress relief. Google “EFT” or “Gary Craig” or “Julie Schiffman.”

  36. Since there are many pathways and links between different glands in your body which produce different hormones that must be balanced to function properly, be very selective with what you eat, drink and take (whether supplements or prescriptions).

    NOTE: ALL the following suggestions are based on your choosing, whenever and as often as possible, organically grown or raised, grass-fed and grass-finished, pastured, wild-caught foods.

    Best choices include:

    A. Foods high in minerals especially magnesium and potassium. Some of the best are green, leafy vegetables (broccoli, chard, kale, spinach, etc.), avocados, bananas, figs, raisins, sprouted seeds and nuts such as almonds and pumpkin seeds . Chocolate containing little to no sugar is a good source of magnesium. I use 100% chocolate which is found in the baking goods section of most grocery stores.

    NOTE: If you feel you still need more minerals, try 100 mg. magnesium citrate and/or 99 mg potassium citrate after dinner or before bed.

    B. Healthy fats and fatty acids:

    C. Supplements (begin with very small doses and increase gradually):

    • GammaAminoButyricAcid (GABA) - Best obtained from foods (See NOTE above) such as: Meat, cheese, poultry, eggs, deep-ocean fish (not sword fish), sea vegetables and fermented vegetables. If you must use a GABA supplement, use Thorne Research PharmaGABA 100 an hour or so before bed. Combine it with vitamin B6, pyridoxyl 5 phosphate, to help it work even better.

    • Melatonin - 0.3 to 0.5 mg. an hour or so before bed

    NOTE: There are numerous other supplements, especially amino acids and hormones, with reported benefits for improving sleep and sleep cycles. Use with caution. Amino acids and hormones must be maintained in correct ratios to each other or problems can occur.

  37. Access your Endocannabinoid System (ECS). This system is throughout your body. Cannabis products, especially cold-processed ones which do not have their THC activated, can be extremely helpful for calming over-stressed and overactive brains and bodies. Such high CBD Cannabis products can be made at home (there is a never-ending supply of information on the Internet). Or they can be purchased at a Dispensary if you’re fortunate enough to live in a state where the sale of Cannabis is legal.

  38. There are numerous electronic devices you can purchase to monitor your sleep. Some of the things they measure include sounds, movements, respiration and sleep cycles. All the information collected by these instruments help you recognize and correct problems interfering with your sleep. Two of the most important things to set correctly are your sleep and wake times. To get started put your alarm clock away. Every morning, for six days, including a weekend, make a note of the time you awaken. For example, let's use these wake times: Thursday 6:00, Friday 6:15, Saturday 7:15, Sunday 7:30, Monday 6:30, Tuesday 5:45. If you split Friday and Saturday, you get 6:45. Sunday and Monday average 7:00. Friday and Saturday's result of 6:45 with Tuesday's 5:45 gives you 6:15. Sunday and Monday's 7:00 with Thursday's 6:00 gives you 6:30. The natural wake time result for this example would be 6:15 to 6:30. If 6:30 provides plenty of time to get ready for as well as get to work, set your alarm clock accordingly. To make sure you complete your 8 hours, arrange your evening so you can be asleep by 10:30. After several days, make whatever time adjustments you need to insure you get the correct amount of sleep every night. Then, stick to your sleep-wake schedule every day, including weekends. Yes, sleep cycles can vary. If necessary, use this example to modify your wake-sleep times to insure they are always working optimally for you.

Explanations for Anyone Interested in Physiology and Biochemistry

  1. Adenopectin - Made in adipose (fat) tissue. Helps regulate glucose levels and fatty acid breakdown.

  2. Adrenal Cortex - Part of your Adrenal glands which are on top of each kidney.

  3. Agouti protein - Can stimulate hunger/appetite unless Leptin is present..

  4. Androgens - The primary male hormones made in the testes. Also found in females.

  5. Corpus Luteum - Temporary endocrine structure in female ovaries. Produces high levels of progesterone. A new one develops and is discarded with each menstrual cycle.

  6. Cortisol (“Stress” hormone) - Made from cholesterol in your adrenal cortex.

    A. Secreted by your Adrenal Cortex whenever you’re stressed.

    B. Prepares your body for “Fight-or-Flight” by flooding it with glucose for an immediate source of energy for your muscles.

    C. Inhibits insulin production so your body does not store the glucose.

    D. Narrows your arteries so your blood circulates harder and faster (See Epinephrine below). It also increases your heart rate and blood pressure.

    E. This continues until the stressful situation is resolved.

  7. Cytokines - Proteins involved in sending messages between cells. Especially important in the immune system.

  8. DHEA (DeHydroEpiAndosterone) - Made mostly in your adrenal glands from cholesterol.

  9. Endocannabinoid System (ECS) - Your body has receptors for Cannabis throughout your brain and nervous system. Cannabis neurotransmitters can help regulate numerous physical and mental processes such as appetite, conscious movements, exercise-induced euphoria, fertility, immune function, memory, mood, pain and pregnancy.

  10. Endocrine gland - Secretes hormones directly into your blood. These glands include your adrenals, hypothalamus, ovaries, parathyroid, pancreas, pineal, pituitary, testes and thyroid.

  11. Enteric (Intrinsic) Nervous System (Also called your Second brain) - One of the main divisions of the autonomic nervous system (ANS) capable of acting independently even though it can be influenced by the Paraympathetic (PNS) and Sympathetic (SNS) branches of your ANS. Controls the functions of your gastrointestinal tract.

  12. Epinephrine (aka adrenaline or adrenalin) - Made mostly in your Adrenal glands from cholesterol. Increases blood flow to muscles, output of your heart, pupil dilation response, and blood sugar levels.

  13. Estrogens - The primary female sex hormones made in the ovaries. Also found in males.

  14. GABA (GammaAminoButyricAcid) - One of the most important inhibitory (restricts or slows down) neurotransmitters in your brain. GABA helps you relax and sleep. It’s made in your brain from the amino acid glutamate with vitamin B6 (See 33. C. Above).

  15. Ghrelin (“Hunger Hormone”) - Made mostly in your gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Makes you hungry. Works mostly in your hypothalamus.

  16. Glucagon - Hormone made in your pancreas. Raises glucose and fatty acid concentrations in your blood.

  17. Growth hormone (hGH or HGH) (aka somatotropin) - Stimulates growth, cell reproduction and cell regeneration.

  18. Hippocampus - There is one on each side located deep and low in your brain. If one side is Injured, memories can remain intact with the uninjured side. It’s primary jobs are:

    A. Memory for learning concepts; verbal memory for words and their associations; and spatial memory (information about your environment and moving around in it).

    B. Emotions, fear conditioning, feelings, making decisions in risk situations and sense of smell. Your sense of smell may be connected to your strongest, most persistent memories.

  19. Hypothalamus - Part of the base of your brain. It monitors your body to help maintain homeostasis (balance). It links your nervous system to your endocrine system through your pituitary gland.

  20. Leptin (“Energy Expenditure Hormone”) - Made mostly in adipose (fat) tissue. Inhibits the ghrelin. Helps you feel full. Works mostly in your hypothalamus.

  21. Melatonin (“Hormone of Darkness”) - Made mostly in your pineal gland. Among other things, it helps regulate circadian rhythms (especially sleep-wake cycles) and blood pressure.

  22. Metabolism - Everything needed for life to include, but not limited to, converting food to energy; converting food to building blocks for carbohydrates, fats and proteins; and elimination of nitrogenous wastes in urine.

  23. Mitochondria - Organelles (small inclusions) inside most cells. Vary considerably in number, size and structure. Among other things, they make energy for your cells.

  24. Neurotransmitter - A chemical messenger between nerve cells

  25. Pancreas - Located behind your stomach. Both a hormone gland and a digestive organ. Makes insulin, glucagon, somastostatin, pancreatic juice (bicarbonate) and digestive enzymes.

  26. Pineal gland - Pinenut-sized, pinenut-shaped gland near the center of your brain. Makes melatonin from serotonin.

  27. Pituitary gland - Pea-sized gland protruding from the bottom of your hypothalamus. Hormones secreted by the front, middle and back parts of this gland help control, among other things: growth, blood pressure, energy, sex organs, thyroid gland, pregnancy and child birth, water/salt levels of your kidneys, temperature regulation and pain relief.

  28. Progesterones - Help balance estrogens. Important in making other sex hormones.

  29. Prolactin - Hormone secreted mostly by the pituitary gland. Plays essential roles in metabolism, immune system regulation and development of your pancreas.

  30. Serotonin - Primarily found in the enteric nervous system of your gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Involved in the regulation of mood, appetite and sleep.

  31. Sex hormones - Includes, among others, androgens, estrogens and progesterones

  32. Somatostatin (Growth Hormone Inhibiting Hormone (GHIH)) - Inhibits insulin and glucagon secretion.

  33. SupraChiasmatic Nucleus (SCN) (The Master Clock) - Tiny region in your hypothalamus. Responsible for controlling circadian rhythms.

  34. Thyroid gland - Butterfly-shaped endocrine gland low in the front of your neck. Among other things, thyroid hormones influence growth and development, metabolism and body temperature.

  35. Vasoactive Intestinal Polypeptide (VIP) hormone - Made in your gut, hypothalamus and pancreas. Stimulates heart muscle contractions, causes vaodilation of blood vessels, lowers blood pressure, relaxes smooth muscles and increases the conversion of glycogen to glucose in your Liver.

  36. Vasodilation - Expansion of blood vessels.


Besides over 34 years of my own clinical experience, study and research, the following individuals contributed significantly via articles, blogs, newsletters, podcasts, websites, etc.:

Ben Greenfield

Biohacker’s Handbook

Dr. Mercola

Dr. Michael Breus, "The Sleep Doctor"

Sayer Ji and Green Med Info

Vishen Lakhiani and Mind Valley



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