Why You Can’t Think If You Can’t Sleep [Podcast 33]

You may have experienced forgetting things once in a while, but for some people, it’s a common occurrence. Some of you are in a constant state of brain fog, struggling to think clearly. In this episode, Kathy and will talk about various reasons that can lead to sleep deprivation, and ultimately, to memory problems and brain fog. 

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Show Notes

Dr. Ronald Harper: Podcast on OSA and brain damage
The importance of REM sleep
The 3 benefits of sleep:
     1. Growth hormone, wound healing, immune system
     2. Memory enhancement
     3. Stress management
How sleep deprivation alters your sense of how impaired you are
APO E4: The common gene for Alzheimer’s, heart disease, and obstructive sleep apnea.
3 ways our brains are damaged 
     1. Modern society
     2. Toxins and inflammation: Leaky gut and brain
     3. Small jaws and upper airway
Eat Dirt: Why Leaky Gut May Be the Root Cause of Your Health Problems and 5 Surprising Steps to Cure It. By Dr. Josh Axe
Glamour magazine article
Medications that can trigger obstructive sleep apnea 
What You Can Do Right Now To Prevent Losing Your Mind
     1. Don’t eat late
     2. Good nasal breathing: Un-stuff Your Stuffy Nose e-book

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3 thoughts on “Why You Can’t Think If You Can’t Sleep [Podcast 33]

  1. I was recently diagnosed with moderate OSA after years of progressively worsening brain fog and memory issues. I now think my 10-year old son might have a sleep-related disorder. Up until age 5 he was developing normally. Then, at 5, he began exhibiting cognitive and verbal issues. These got progressively worse to the point that he’s now essentially non-verbal and seriously impaired. He’s had MRIs and EEGs but nothing has pointed to anything conclusive. His diagnosis is brain encephylatis but that’s more, as his doctors admit, of a catch all. I’m wondering how to find out if sleep is playing a role with him. I know from my own experience that sleep studies can under-report what’s going on. What should I ask for with a sleep study so that we can make sure to capture everything that’s going on?

  2. Mr. Cohen,

    Sorry to hear about your son. In general, you’ll have to start off with a regular sleep study in a lab that specializes in pediatric sleep disorders. If he has significant sleep apnea, then the next step is to treat it definitively to see if his symptoms improve.

    Good luck,


  3. Thank you Dr Park and Kathy for another excellent interview!
    I hate to admit this but I am eating late and about to go to bed while listening to your podcast! OK— so that is my resolution take away— I will try my best to eat earlier now that you have reminded me for the umpti-umph time. I have blood sugar issues (about 105– despite being on a Paleo/Weston Price diet and minimal carbs with nearly 0 fruit and no sugar)— and will lie awake if I don’t get enough protein and quality fat during the day. I had undiagnosed sleep apnea symptoms (including silent GERD) for 14 years before I finally got on a BiPAP, which I have used for 6 years now and would not trade it for anything.
    Could ignoring OSA have caused blood sugar to be unstable long term? Hmmm.
    I loved your comments about the Gut-Brain connection and would love to hear more. This is a huge topic in the Functional Medicine Community— and Dr Josh Axe is well known in this world. Glad to know about his book. I predict you will be the “go-to expert” teaching the Functional Medicine community about “Functional Sleep and Breathing Medicine”
    I would love to hear about the roles the gut, oral and nasal microbiome play in setting the stage for sleep apnea and UARS.
    And— more on Alzheimer’s. What about interviewing Neurologist Dr David Perlmutter? He calls the gut the “First Brain”— and in his book “Grain Brain” talks about how gluten breaks down the gut brain barrier. Dr Ronald Harper in a conversation with me made the comment that many of his patients had problems with gluten.
    Bless you for your work Dr Park and Kathy!