If this episode doesn’t scare the crap out of you, I haven’t done a very good job.

I hate night shift. That should’ve been made abundantly clear in the last few episodes. I used to love it – when I was a young buck without kids and a lot of disposable income.

But I’m not that guy anymore.

I’m still a bit conflicted. I love the lack of traffic, the cooler temperatures, and the heightened activity levels, but I’d just prefer that all happen while the sun is out, my kids are in school and my wife is awake.

In October of last year, after years of horrible sleeping, I was finally diagnosed with severe obstructive sleep apnea, a potentially dangerous condition in which you stop breathing in your sleep. How many times? For me, it was 31 times an hour – and that’s not bad.  A partner recently revealed his sleep apnea woke him up 92 times an hour. For good measure, they threw in a diagnosis of Shift-Work Sleep Disorder.

When you’re waking up that often, you’re never falling far into sleep, and if you’re not falling far into sleep you’re not resting. Here’s the scary part: if you’re not resting, your brain cannot process events of the day and store them as memories and hence, those with sleep disorders suffer a nearly 200+% increase in dementia. Increases in heart disease, cancer, diabetes and many other conditions also sky rocket.

Luckily, I got it figured out and with the help of a CPAP machine, I’ve been sleeping much better.

But it could still be better.

Sleep hygiene is something we all need to focus on, and spend some time thinking about. The problem is, your doctor is not likely to be the one to sit you down and lay out all the scary facts about sleep deprivation. Mine didn’t.

When I went to my doctor and explained all my problems – heavy snoring that woke me up, constant exhaustion, foggy thinking etc. – I was given Ambien. When that didn’t work I was given Lunesta. What finally gave me an answer was the TEDx talk given by the guest on this episode – Dr. Kirk Parsley.

That recorded speech (a great thing to show in briefing for you supervisors), finally led me to self-diagnose sleep apnea which was eventually confirmed through a sleep study and follow-up exams.

Everything we do is interconnected, and the interplay between aspects of our lives is undeniable. In this episode, we get into some important information:

  • Why one night of poor sleep is like spending 5 years as a pre-diabetic.
  • That the World Health Organization now classifies sleep deprivation as a Type II carcinogen on par with asbestos.
  • Why one night of poor sleep increases cortisol, wastes muscle, makes testosterone and growth hormone plummet and increases estrogen production!
  • What supplements he recommends to help with sleep.
  • Why he developed the supplement “Sleep Cocktail” for the Navy SEALs that he’s now bringing to market. You can get 10% off your first order using the coupon code thesquadroom.
  • Why you might be pre-diabetic but still look to be in perfect shape.
  • Why just a few hours of missed sleep causes your brain to function as if you were intoxicated.

We cover a lot of great information and go deep into the weeds on just how bad shift work is, and what it’s doing to your body.

Here are some more resources on Dr. Parsley:


His TEDx Talk

Sleep Cocktail supplement – use coupon code thesquadroom for 10% off.

If  you really enjoyed this episode, please leave a review on iTunes. To do so, search for The Squad Room and click on the show’s logo under “Podcasts.” From there, you can leave a review. For some reason, Apple doesn’t let you leave the review from your library so you need to search for it. If you’re not subscribed, please do so to get each new show fresh when it comes out.

Lastly, this episode and all the others wouldn’t be possible without the support of some awesome people. CrossFit Pacific Coast and Gravitas Performance Labs have been there since day one, but so has Fresh Trax Designs who hooked us up with our awesome logo. Geoff, the owner, is a hardcore Crossfitter and all-around awesome guy who does amazing design work. If you have a side business or project that needs some help, he’s your guy. Just let him know we sent you. He’s also an industrial designer, so he’s got his chops.

Thanks for listening. Take care of each other and be safe.

Phew, I need a nap.