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episode #334

Interview with Dr. Dylan Petkus: Combat Sleep Apnea and Improve Your Sleep Quality!

February 26, 2024 in Podcast


This week I interviewed Dr. Dylan Petkus!

Dr. Petkus is a physician, researcher, and health optimization expert who takes an integrated approach to sleep apnea. In this episode, we discuss the importance of sunlight to help with sleep quality along with:

  • Routines to implement to help with your sleep
  • How to naturally combat sleep apnea
  • Importance of box breathing to help with snoring
  • Creating an optimal sleep environment
and his one tip to get your body back to what it once was!

Brian (0s):

Coming up on the GET, LEAN, Eat, Clean, Podcast.

Dylan (3s):

But the thing is, your ability to sleep is, it's just a, like a basic function of your body represents like all the different things you did that day. 'cause like if you, if you were mega stressed out in the morning, right? And through that, that's still gonna carry through your nervous system into that night of sleep. So everything you do throughout the day affects your sleep. Okay? It's not just one to two hours screens off blue block. Those are good practices. But equally as important, just going through the day, whether it's like getting outside in the morning, that that's gonna be probably one of the most actionable things, right?

Brian (37s):

Hello and welcome to the Lean Eat Clean podcast. I'm Brian Gryn and I'm here to give you actionable tips to get your body back to what it once was, five, 10, even 15 years ago. Each week I'll give you an in depth interview with a health expert from around the world to cut through the fluff and get you long term sustainable results. This week I interviewed Dr. Dylan Petkus. Dr. Petkus is a physician, researcher and health optimization expert who takes an integrated approach to sleep apnea. we discuss the importance of sunlight to help with sleep quality, along with Routines to implement to help with your sleep How, to naturally combat sleep apnea, the Importance of box breathing to help with snoring, creating an optimal sleep.

Brian (1m 20s):

environmentand his one tip to get your body back to what it once was. Really enjoyed my Interview with Dr Dylan. I know you will too. Thanks so much for listening and enjoy the show. All, right Welcome to the Get Lean Eat Clean podcast. My name is Brian Gryn. And I'm Dr. Dylan Kusan, welcome to the show.

Dylan (1m 39s):

Oh, hello. Thanks for having me.

Brian (1m 41s):

Thanks for coming on all the way from Florida. A bit jealous.

Dylan (1m 47s):

It's a good place to be.

Brian (1m 48s):

Yeah, yeah, for sure. Especially this time of year. And, and you have a practice out there, medical doctor, sleep health expert. What led you down this path?

Dylan (1m 59s):

Yeah, so I, I mean, my own issues, my own frustrations with the system and, and being able to help people virtually in that sense all over the world. And, you know, 'cause like, you know, when you're in conventional medicine, which don't get me wrong, there, there, there's many things, infections and bone breaking and all that stuff. Yeah. Sign me up for that very allopathic approach, but a lot of lifestyle things less so. Right? Because like for me, sleep was a big part of my personal picture or whether some of the, you know, cases we see, whether it's chronic fatigue or autoimmune issues, thyroid things that just kind of get covered up with like a, here here's your thyroid hormone.

Dylan (2m 48s):

Okay, call me 40 years sort of deal. Or here's your, oh, you don't sleep here, here's Ambien, knock yourself out. Literally. But, but like, you know, I get that's good in a pinch if you don't have a a, a great solution otherwise, but, you know, just not very sustainable or really targeting a real issue. So that's where my departure has been. And be able to, you know, ask better questions, have better approaches, and be able to, you know, really put the power back in someone's hand of like, Hey, here's how you can change this with how you eat or your lifestyle, your Routines, et cetera. So the health is really back in, in someone else's hands as opposed to this, you know, external pill or surgery or whatever, what have you.

Brian (3m 31s):

And you started, did you start specializing in sleep like over the last two years? Was this something like, you started sort of almost like a holistic approach about everything and then you sort of gotten, because it seems like a lot of your content and stuff out there is all about optimizing sleep, which is obviously a big deal.

Dylan (3m 49s):

Yeah, yeah. So I'm not technically specialized or like a, you know, board certified in sleep medicine where just look over Polysomnograph for three years in a row, miss that bus. But being in primary care, family medicine is, is is my background. You're on the front lines for these kind of issues, right? Because like the, one of the chief complaints, one of the most common ones is, is I'm tired all the time, what's going on? And then that's like a stones throw away from asking, how's your sleep? Right? So that's why we, we do focus a lot on sleep because that's, that's such a big gateway to so many different things. That's where things can really fall apart. 'cause if you're not sleeping well, you know, I mean, yes, life is miserable on top of that for people who have sleep issues or have, or, you know, young kids or puppies, you know.

Dylan (4m 40s):

Sure. Yeah. But then also like your body can't heal. So it, like if that's not in place, if you have another issue, okay, but if your sleep's not right, that you're just gonna be kind of chasing your tail in circles. That's why, you know, a lot of people kind of the main thing they, they come to us is like, I'm, I'm exhausted. I don't know why I've done this. I've done that. And And, you know, when it's a chronic ongoing issue, there's gonna be things like sleep or brain fog, et cetera that, you know, point to deeper underlying issues. That's why we, you know, hone in on, on sleep as, as a big part of that.

Brian (5m 15s):

Yeah, I mean it's, it is smart. I mean, it, it's one of those things where like, if you don't get your hands around quality sleep, like it doesn't really matter every, anything else that you do. I mean, I could tell in myself I'm just, you know, getting good sleep. I'm, I'm usually pretty good at it, but I feel like it's something that I'm always trying to get better at. Like sleep Routines and even morning Routines. What type of like principles or Routines that you recommend your clients? I mean, I know everyone's a little bit different. Everyone, everyone has different issues, but around sleep, what are sort of the main pillars that you talk about?

Dylan (5m 50s):

Yeah, so first stop trying that, that'll immediately make it harder to sleep. 'cause whenever you try to sleep, you don't. So there's that. So you know the, because I, you know, the, the people I'll speak with, they'll be like, yeah, so I'm like sitting here in bed. I'm like why am I not like that? So it's a bit of a zen arc to it of like, you know, trusting that thing. That's kind of the first thing. 'cause we can talk about blue blockers, And, you know, eating a certain way. But kind of the first kind of step back is like, okay, stop trying, stop trying. But you know, take action. But like stop feeling like you're trying. 'cause you know, yes the next day won't be pleasant, but the more it becomes a mental activity and, and preventative that, that's sort of the, the primary barrier.

Dylan (6m 33s):

So that's why being able to have kind of trust in a process, don't ignore it. But you know, it's kind of the first micro step. Now action steps. There's a lot of different ways in which we approach it. So like nutrition, nervous system environments, your circadian rhythm. Those are gonna be kind of the first sort of dominant wave of pillars there. So I think one of the easiest ones is, I mean really Routines here predominantly in the, the morning, right? And then also in the, the evening before you go to bed and it, and that's the, that's usually the one people will hang their hats on 'cause it makes sleep. Sorry, it makes sense through sleep. Like that of where, okay, sleep's gonna happen in one to two hours, what can I do before then?

Dylan (7m 17s):

But the thing is, your ability to sleep is, it's just a, like a basic function of your body represents like all the different things you did that day. 'cause like if you, if you were mega stressed out in the morning, right? And through that, that's still gonna carry through your nervous system into that night of sleep. So everything you do throughout the day affects your sleep. Okay. It's not just one to two hour screens off blue block. Those are good practices. But equally as important, just going through the day, whether it's like getting outside in the morning, that that's gonna be probably one of the most actionable things, right? That morning light, right? Whether it's, you know, still got out in, you know, the outside today I know it was like, you know, bone chilling 27, which is, you know, summer in Chicago from my understanding.

Dylan (8m 2s):

But you know, that morning light's gonna pretty much activate your hypothalamus. Okay? Because like light goes in your retina, retina hypothalmic track there, then it's gonna start to turn the wheels, so to speak, of circadian rhythm. Think of it as like your, you're on button. Okay. Or even more accurate, it's kinda like the first domino in a set of physiological events that allow your body to do the morning things right. Whether it is cortisol going up, okay, it's gonna be a big part. It will shut off melatonin production. So like some people, when they're groggy, that's one component towards it. There's still some lingering melatonin, especially if you supplement it with it. But you wanna be able to like kind of set your body into motion to be able to sleep better at night.

Dylan (8m 45s):

'cause the research is really clear. Like when you're getting, you know, bright morning light exposure from preferably, you know, all natural, just like we aren't right now, that is going to set you up for better sleep at night because you have a good circadian rhythm set up in the morning there. So that's kinda like the, the first thing not a lot of people do is the morning component to it. 'cause you know, we, especially right now it's January like people, they're off to work and sun's not up. Yeah.

Brian (9m 18s):

I mean I, I'm, I'm lucky I I mean lucky, well we've been trying to go for morning walk, we always go for morning walks. My, with my dogs, we've gone on short ones these last like three, four days because of like negative temperatures and they can't be out. But typically, yes, that morning walk is something that is a staple in our routine. So, okay, so getting, getting sunlight early, And, what else? What else throughout the day or towards the evening would you recommend?

Dylan (9m 44s):

Yeah, so let's just continue on the sunlight train. So getting sunlight throughout the day is gonna be another one. 'cause if you like your circadian rhythm, it is basically the timing mechanism. And either you're gonna do things to make sure the clock is nice and set or you're gonna have things in your environment that mess up the timing of your clock for you. Okay. So for instance, like we're on screens right now. Okay, this screen, I could set it to a certain like brightness or color temperature and that could tell my brain, hey, it's noon time, right? But it's, well, okay, it's like 11:00 AM as we're filming this. So like close enough. But sure if it was like 8:00 AM and I'm getting a, a noon time signal, that's gonna throw things off.

Dylan (10m 29s):

So whether it is like frequent breaks throughout the day, whether it is to get, again, sunlight into your, your eye so to speak. Don't stare at the sun, don't stare at the sun. Did I mention to not stare directly at the sun? And then also being super mindful of like the light you are getting during the day. 'cause whether it's, you know, screens all day, I mean that's really the biggest culprit that's gonna, you know, sort of program your clock in a different way even during the day. So like

Brian (10m 56s):

What would you say? There's research? What, say what, what? I'm sorry. What would you say, I mean some people just can't get out in the middle of the day for sunlight, like, or in the middle of the winter and they're working all day inside. What would you say to that?

Dylan (11m 12s):

I mean, it, it's as simple as whether it's a few times like, or just like once. Okay. Because like, I mean, geez, not too, I mean, you know, I haven't really been in a, like a, a work environment where people smoke all the time, but essentially

Brian (11m 25s):

Sure, getting

Dylan (11m 27s):

Out like how many people go outside for like a cigarette break. It's, it's not gonna solve 'em there here. Right? And not to compare nicotine versus solar exposure, but like the more you're addicted to be able to have like your circadian rhythm in a good place and that drives that behavior. Whether it is like literally 30 seconds that you're like, I can't feel my face, you know, that's gonna do a lot for your physiology even with a small amount there. So just, just once, whether it's during lunch or something like that, you just peek outside for a little bit. That's gonna go a long way. 'cause the, just the difference in the quality and quantity of light. 'cause like right now I'm inside, I got like a few lights on. Maybe it's, maybe it's like 300, 500 luxe.

Dylan (12m 7s):

If I had to guess. That's just a total amount of light from a source. If I were to go outside, it's probably, right now I'm in Florida, it's in the winter, it's probably around 90 to 110,000 lux. It's a huge difference right

Brian (12m 23s):

There. What about red light? I'm sorry to interrupt. What about red light? Are you familiar with using red light perhaps during the day to, yeah,

Dylan (12m 29s):

So, so red light is really good for overcoming sleep inertia in the morning here. That, that would be one really great circadian use of it. Because essentially there's a lot of different things that'll influence your circadian rhythm and the internal timing of your clocks. Okay. Think because your red is essentially, think of it as like a clock in the kitchen and anyone in your family can try to like change the time. Okay. Whether that's you, your dogs, someone who just randomly comes over. So you wanna make sure you got the right inputs to it. One input that's really important. We already talked about light, but also biochemically you'll have things, okay, so like you drink coffee with caffeine that'll affect your clocks. Another one is a chemical known as adenosine.

Dylan (13m 13s):

Okay. For anyone who's a a biochemical buff or maybe, I don't know, you just read biochemistry books for fun. A TP adenosine tri phosphate, that's like the bio chemical energy currency of the cell. How it provides energy is you have this adenosine molecule and then there's three phosphates, just like a, like a tail. Okay. And then your body will cut off these little phosphates and that will make energy available. Okay? Now when you do this, when you cut off the phosphates, 1, 2, 3, you're left over with an adenosine molecule just kind of floating around. So over the course of the day you acquire more adenosine.

Dylan (13m 56s):

Okay? And then the job at night your cells is to take all of the adenosine, all the phosphates that have separated during the day and then put 'em back together so that then the next day you're kind of locked and loaded with more a TP and ready to go. But that doesn't always happen all the way. And when there's still a little bit of adenosine leftover in the morning, like if you're groggy in the morning, then that's what makes you tired back to red light. So red light will increase this reaction that takes adenosine and adds on the phosphates. Okay. Which will remove that grogginess there. And that adenosine is a circadian signal.

Dylan (14m 37s):

So if you're someone who is groggy in the morning or I mean, you know, again, like winter time in Chicago, I think the sunrises what like, you know, 11:59 AM but the, it's much earlier than that. But essentially that will help kind of get your rhythm going in the morning.

Brian (14m 55s):

Got it. And then towards the evening, I mean I know we always talk about turning our screens off at least a couple hours before bed and maybe even, you know, having some type of blue blocking light blue light blocking glasses as well. What type of things do you sort of implement when towards the evening time?

Dylan (15m 12s):

Yeah, so I think blue light blockers are reducing blue. I mean really any artificial light is gonna be really essential. 'cause again, if you have like a, a typical light bulb maybe around 5,700 kelvin, that's very close to what the, the sun is at noon. So if you're getting that like 8, 9, 10 pm it's already a couple hours after sunset that is not gonna tell your body to release melatonin at night to help you have good quality sleep. So yeah, blue blockers are, are gonna be really important. But the, the funny thing is I know a lot of people, I mean blue blockers, geez, how long have they been around? A long time. I think the first original one was have you ever seen infomercials for yellow glasses for older people driving at night?

Dylan (15m 53s):

That was the first, yeah. Yeah, right.

Brian (15m 56s):

Oh yeah, I remember those.

Dylan (15m 57s):

Yeah. But now, but even sunglasses will do the tricks. I know some people are like, oh I don't wanna wear whatever, whatever. But kind of the first like try it for yourself if this works sort of deal. Sunglasses will also do the trick 'cause they reduce the quantity of light by about 90, 95%. And then also they, I mean they block pretty much all wavelengths of light. Not just blue light, but like pretty much most of them, yes you can still see But, it will still have a improvement on melatonin production night. Not as pronounced as if you did use a amber or red tint. But gets the job done for people who are like, I don't wanna do this sort of deal.

Dylan (16m 39s):


Brian (16m 40s):

And I, I know you've posted on this before, but foods to avoid before bed for better sleep. What type of foods should people avoid?

Dylan (16m 48s):

Definitely cheesecake. Top of the list, but other, so high sugar. Okay. Which would be cheesecake if you ever made one, it gets kind of gross. So anything that's gonna lead to prolonged insulin by the time you wanna be sleeping and we'll work backwards from that for specific foods that would do that. But the reason is when insulin is high, melatonin can't be secreted. Okay. It's a very firm relationship and we'll, we'll we'll do a little detour later about like, but Dylan, what about honey and, and milk before bed that has sugar. I, I hear you people. But essentially anything that's gonna raise insulin is gonna lower melatonin, lower sleep quality.

Dylan (17m 33s):

Okay. So that's why when you see like research and literature on people or even like societies you tend to eat much later, right? Whether it's like Italy or you know, other similar cultures in terms of eating time, they'll have elevated rates of whether it's cancer okay. Or sleep disturbances and other things that are gonna be linked to that poor sleep quality. Okay, so first thing isn't even like what to eat really when, so like the more that can be further away from bedtime the better obviously like, you know, don't go extreme and eat at 4:00 AM to make sure you're fur away, but just a reasonable amount of hours where like most people recognize it like when they feel like things are digested. 'cause people know the opposite when they're just like sitting there and be like, ugh.

Dylan (18m 14s):

Like that's not conducive in any sense. Now the type of foods that are gonna make that worse. So insulin, pretty much carbohydrate is gonna be kind of one of the number one culprits with that. Okay, car more carbohydrate ingestion that's gonna spike insulin. And then really that's like, that's like really the primary thing. If you are someone who's susceptible to reflux or gerd, whatever, I mean everyone has their own individual trigger foods, whether it's like tomato or you know, spicy thing, whatever it may be for you, really make sure it's just completely outta the equation there.

Dylan (18m 54s):

Those would be the main things to avoid really like the, the close proximity in terms of time and then also high carbohydrate load there.

Brian (19m 2s):

And I know you talk also a lot about sleep apnea. What are some of the ways that individuals can conquer sleep Apnea naturally?

Dylan (19m 12s):

Yeah, I mean there's pretty much, when we're thinking about this, I was just making a a presentation on this. So with sleep apnea you wanna go through a sequence of sort of like little checkpoints. 'cause sleep apnea is essentially you stop breathing at night and you need to kind of walk back from there in terms of being able to address it. So the first thing is kind of, I call it like the tipping point. Okay? Because there's a certain point where you're breathing, you're breathing at night sleeping, and then you're not, what happens does, like was it bad luck? Like why does this happen 30 times an hour? And it's because there's a certain like choke point Okay. Or like a narrowing in your airway and then eventually it just kind of collapses in on itself.

Dylan (19m 57s):

Okay? So what you need to actually do is actually retrain your breathing first because the reason this like kind of folds in on itself is because people are over breathing at night, which I know makes very little sense 'cause I just literally said people stop breathing. So what happens is people will over breathe and over breathe. They're, they're, you know, inhale, exhale will start to get really high in terms of volume and then that increases the, it's called sheer force. Yes, we're going fluid Newtonian mechanics here, but that will kind of drag the walls of your airways towards each other and then kind of block 'em off like that.

Dylan (20m 42s):

Okay. Okay. You can almost think of it like, you know, like on a windy day when you have a curtain through a window and it kind of sucks the curtain and it gets like, kind of stuck up against the, the mesh there. That's exactly what happens except in your, in your throat with something. So are

Brian (20m 55s):

Are certain people more apt to getting sleep ap more, more apt to getting sleep apnea?

Dylan (21m 1s):

Yeah, so the, yeah, so how you get there kind of the, I guess from ground up to yeah, being at the tipping point. So yeah, there will be like a, a start point of some sort of airway narrowing. Now when it, when that is present, it's a non-problematic airway narrowing. 'cause 60 to 80% of all adults in the United States have some sort of airway narrowing. Whether that's an overbite, whether that's large adenoids, whether that's a, a posterior tongue placement. 60 to 80% have that going on. There is a, you know, con like confirmed, okay 'cause people have all these estimates of like, does everybody have sleep apnea?

Dylan (21m 45s):

But there's a confirmed 2% diagnosis of sleep Apnea across the, you know, the United States. So there's this big discrepancy, right? Like se let's say 70%, 2% have it. So why does one category become the other? Because as time goes on people will like just, they just accumulate metabolic damage, right? Whether it's improper diet, physical activity, stressors, bad Routines, bad sleep, then that leads to inflammation. Okay, so now this, this non-problematic airway narrowing, well when things get inflamed, do they get bigger or smaller?

Dylan (22m 25s):

They get bigger. So then the, the narrowing gets more narrow and then that's when the essentially now your body is trying to breathe through a straw at night. And if you had to breathe through a straw when, if you were trying to run, are you gonna breathe more or less to offset that? You're gonna breathe way more and then that comes back into the over-breathing problem that then will kind of, sort of snap things shut like that.

Brian (22m 50s):

So solutions to help with sleep apnea would you say? Obviously, I mean if you are, you know, overweight or, you know, eating processed foods or things like that, like normal things that individuals could potentially do to, to counteract sleep apnea.

Dylan (23m 7s):

Yeah, so, so with, with the weight thing, that's another interesting one because when, when you look at the epidemiology or people like losing weight with sleep Apnea, 'cause one of conventional medicine's favorite scapegoats is we don't know what's going on. Lose weight sort of deal. 'cause it's, it's just easy because of 60% of people come coming into the office are overweight. you know, you're gonna be, you're gonna be right at least twice a day. So when someone who's overweight and has sleep apnea is about 20 to 40 pounds, which is not a small amount, if anyone's ever lost that much weight, their sleep apnea symptoms will improve by about 10%.

Dylan (23m 48s):

That's not a whole lot.

Brian (23m 49s):

Yeah, no, no,

Dylan (23m 50s):

That's not really like a significant amount. And then also general population without sleep, Apnea 60%, 65% overweight population with sleep apnea, 70% not that much different. And then also, what about this other 30%? Like what, what's kind of going on? So it's more so think of it the inverse of where someone who's inflamed is more likely to be overweight and also this inflammation will then precipitate this, this breathing issue here. So anything, and this kind of ties back like whether it is how you eat, 'cause processed food that's gonna trigger inflammation, right? Or maybe someone's sensitive to dairy. And dairy, like is is one of the, you know, a, a common culprit people can identify with.

Dylan (24m 34s):

Like, oh, I eat dairy, I get congestion. Well that's gonna narrow your airways and that's gonna cause big issues. So diet's definitely a good area to look at. Like what are you eating that is inflammatory? Whether it's whether you're eating, you're drinking, those sorts of things. You wanna be able to identify what's inflammatory there. Okay. The other big piece is also how you breathe. So you want to, if you're over breathing then you just wanna pretty much train yourself to under breathe and then you'll kind of fall in that middle zone.

Brian (25m 7s):

How would you do, how would you do that?

Dylan (25m 9s):

Yeah, so the, the, the easiest way to start because it, it gets pretty complex but a lot of people are familiar with box breathing. Hmm, And. what I like people to start with is something called, it's it's rectangular breathing. It's a little bit extend it from that. And so what I mean is box breathing is typically five second inhale, five second hold, five second exhale, five second pause. And you just repeat five in pause for five, five out and then five pause, rectangle breathing. You just make the pause 10 seconds.

Brian (25m 43s):

So breathe, pause, exhale all within. So the, so rectangle breathing would be, breathe in for five, hold for 10, breathe out for five. Hold, hold for 10. For 10. Okay. Yeah. Got it. Okay.

Dylan (25m 57s):

Yeah, I know it's confusing when I'm,

Brian (25m 59s):

No, yeah, well I, I know like in meditation there's different ways to breathe and stuff and so, so this would be one way to, to help potentially with CP ane what about with snoring?

Dylan (26m 13s):

Same thing. So because the snoring is just the turbulent airflow before that full closure and the airway. Okay because for instance, if I just blow air like this, like no one can hear it. If I purse my lips together in blue, like I and I won't do that, you would hear a whistle. Okay. Right. And the reason for that is because when you have airflow in a smaller and smaller radius, it's gonna cau, if you wanna think of it as like friction, right? That's gonna cause a sound. So snoring is just your airways are, you know, just getting there.

Dylan (26m 55s):

That's why snoring is like present in like 90, 95% of people sleep apnea. So doing this, the, these breathing exercises are also like, you know, reducing inflammation or you know, there's a lot of different ways to reduce inflammation that'll reduce snoring there. Now it does depend like say if someone has enlarged turbinate or something like that, you would wanna do maybe like some more specific nasal breathing exercises. Whether it is just simply, it can be as simple as doing box breathing but pinching your nose when you're not breathing through your nose. 'cause when you pinch your nose, this will restrict blood flow for a little bit. Okay. And then when you release, then blood flow comes back in.

Dylan (27m 37s):

But that will essentially train or retrain the nasal arteries, predominantly the arteries to vaso or help with vasodilation vasoconstriction by themselves. Okay. Because when they can vasoconstrict that again opens up the airways through your nose and then will reduce snoring through that. you know, nose terminate palate sort of pass.

Brian (28m 2s):

So you're saying practice breathing while pinching your nose or?

Dylan (28m 8s):

Yeah, so, so you could just like stack the, the the nose pinch on top of the box breathing. So like inhale and then as I pause, you know, pinch my nose so I sound ridiculous. And then exhale for five through your nose and then pinch A for the the TED Z and then inhale okay. Et cetera, et cetera. Because just that little mechanical pressure that will help retrain those blood vessels to help with keeping airways more open,

Brian (28m 35s):

More open. And And, what are your thoughts on mouth tape?

Dylan (28m 39s):

I think mouth tape is a good bridge from someone who is like kind of okay to really like optimizing breathing at night for some people. Like, 'cause some people come to us like they're like they couldn't sleep without A-C-P-A-P machine. That's not appropriate for them 'cause they still have some ways to go before they would consider using something like mouth tape. But I think if you're someone who like overtly does not have sleep apnea and you wanna like try optimizing your breathing at night 'cause you're suspecting whether you got dry mouth in the morning or you know, little things like that or someone says you're snoring, you could, you know, go with some mouth tape and that can, you know, help you cross those last like 10, 20%.

Brian (29m 23s):

Yeah, I've been testing it out a little bit. So I was curious. It's definitely takes a little while to get used to, but I don't, I don't mind it and I don't, there's a lot of companies that have come out now with mouth tape and it seems a bit strange at first, but you sort of get used to it and, and then you it it sort of trains you just to breathe through your nose, which is, you know, better better than breathing through your mouth anytime of the day.

Dylan (29m 44s):


Brian (29m 49s):

Okay. And then what about So? we got sleep apnea, so habits at night you, we talked about already pretty much not eating too close to bed, which is really important. Getting daylight, sunlight is important. Anything else that, and obviously eating foods that will only serve you in the evening, which, you know, things that will raise insulin a lot. Obviously you wanna avoid like cheesecake you mentioned and, and any other things that you come across with your patients or or tips that you'd give for them for restful sleep?

Dylan (30m 24s):

Yeah, cheesecake for breakfast. It's a breakfast food. So yeah,

Brian (30m 28s):

You're better off if you're gonna

Dylan (30m 29s):

Have it better off, you're gonna put it somewhere. So, you know, we covered nutrition, covered breathing and then also like your sleep environment's super important. Okay, so whether it's like light coming in, air quality is super important. So like, and this depends on where you are. So if like you're down here in Florida, it's gonna be hum. You wanna make sure it's not too humid, right? But if you're up in Chicago, it might be a little too dry free. You wanna make sure you know, you got the humidity right there. 'cause again, if, if you're, if you have sleep apnea, by definition you have inflamed airways, period, end of story. So if the humidity is off, then that's also gonna potentiate and further exacerbate the inflammation going in and out.

Dylan (31m 13s):

But also with like, whether it is like, I mean it can range from like the pillow you have is like 15 years old and like filled with mold, which is Delicious or even, you know, the tubing on a CPA is again some old thing that has like, you know, crud going in and out of it. You really want to make sure your air quality is, is at a good place. And that could be from either, I mean, I mean really opening the windows if you're in a non-urban environment would be a good practice there. Or even like an air pure fire as long as it meets the, you know, the standards works for you and your bedroom and all that. That's

Brian (31m 50s):

Big. What about, what about sleep position? Thoughts on

Dylan (31m 53s):

That? Sleep is is a, yeah, it's a good one. It's, it, it helps you kind of stay on like one side of the tipping point if you will. 'cause like, like as if you're like on your back and all your tissues are kind of, sort of there, it, it's obviously not gonna be a great way or if like you're on your side, you're gonna have a better sort of posture in those airway muscles. But the bigger benefit of being on your side is like you're less likely to roll into your back there or kinda like be forward. So it, it's a, it, it's not like the best thing I would rely on because just because you start in a sleep position doesn't mean you stay there because it's kind of a incontrollable thing for people.

Dylan (32m 38s):

It can, it can help a little bit, but the doing the breathing exercises as you drift off sleep 'cause that will be a bigger factor. 'cause essentially it'll, it'll set the rhythm for how you breathe at night. So you're, you're more resilient two postures as opposed to being dependent on only one out of like four or five, six sleeping positions.

Brian (33m 0s):

So, so there's not one position that you would be like, oh, maybe you should avoid that. I mean obviously sleeping on your side with your arm up and And, you know, that could be detrimental to your shoulder. I've, I've run into that obviously I don't sleep like that anymore. Yeah, but, but like whether you're back sleeper, side sleeper, there isn't like one right way to do it per se. No.

Dylan (33m 19s):

There, there's, there's really no one sleep position to rule them all. I think, I mean, the only thing I feel comfortable saying that about is if you're pregnant, don't sleep on your, your right side if you're really pregnant.

Brian (33m 31s):

No. And then what about someone that's maybe on A-C-P-A-P? What's the best way? What's some solutions to get off it?

Dylan (33m 42s):

So doing what we talked about and then also being able to intelligently wean off of it because, you know, the, the main sort of, the main setting is going to be the pressure on this thing. It's just kind of continuously putting air down your airway. Hence the name CPAP stands for continuous and that's gonna be one of the biggest factors you wanna modulate. Now that can be tricky for people. Some people they can adjust it themselves. Others they have to like speak to their, you know, sleep doctor or whoever prescribed the machine. You're like, hey, I, I think I can go from 10 to eight or eight to seven, whatever it it may be, or 7.5.

Dylan (34m 22s):

So you, it goes through phases of like making sure you're getting the best sleep that you can with A CPA. Okay. Then once that's stable, reduce reliance on it. And that is gonna be reducing pressure. Reducing time is tricky because like, you know, I don't want someone to set an alarm like, hey, rip this off four hours into the night. That's just not what you want do. Right? So pressure's the best one, and then as you get to the lowest pressure, then you would see how you would do without it there. Right? But that's only at a, a certain level. Would that be appropriate there? And you want to have some other method in place to track like, okay, we've, we've come off the CPAP, how are things doing?

Dylan (35m 9s):

How's oxygenation, how's, you know, how are you feeling in the morning? All those factors.

Brian (35m 15s):

And then are there any supplements that you use as far as helping people with sleep?

Dylan (35m 21s):

It depends on a lot of their, their metabolic issues. There's not like a, 'cause there's just not like one size all fits or I guess sleep supplement. 'cause just hammering things like melatonin, you know, that's not really reliable long. I mean, one, it's beyond six months not really effective for majority people, but like a lot of what we focus in on is helping the metabolic issue with someone's mitochondria. Okay. And if we want to use a supplement to help sort of offset any deficiencies or imbalances they have, then we'll use that. And then by doing that, then that would help sleep.

Brian (36m 1s):

Got it. So you wouldn't obviously start with supplements, but perhaps if, if, if it needs to come into play, you'll use it.

Dylan (36m 8s):

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

Brian (36m 10s):

Great. Okay. Where's the best place for people to find you?

Dylan (36m 17s):

Yeah, I mean if, if you have sleep apnea, the, the thing I'm probably the most active in right now is our free Facebook group, which is the sleep apnea solution there. Okay. We have our Instagram, which is Petkus, P-E-T-K-U-S, Petkus md there posting there. That's probably the most active places. Okay. There, I mean we have our website, but really the, the group or the social media will be more

Brian (36m 45s):

Active. The active best post. Yeah. More active your Facebook group and things like that. Yeah. And, and then I a I always ask my guests one last question. If you were gonna give a one tip to an individual that was looking to get their, their body or their minds back to what it once was when maybe 10, 15 years ago, what one tip would you give them?

Dylan (37m 5s):

I think have a very, very strong reason why and be able to like reconnect with that at least once per day. Because I, I see too many people like reaching for the next biohack thing, but you know, some of the basic things are just like maintaining consistency and motivation and be like, it, it just falls up the, it's just funny. It's like, people are like, what's like, should I get a red light therapy be? I was like, no, I think you should just like, stop using your phone at like 9:00 PM at night. So like the more someone's connected to the vision of who they wanna be And, what that means. A a lot of those habits fall into place a lot more easily.

Brian (37m 37s):

Yeah. I love that. Love that. Excellent. Well I appreciate you coming on Dylan.

Dylan (37m 43s):

Yep. Thanks for having me.

Brian (37m 45s):

Yeah. And have a great rest of the day. Yep,

Dylan (37m 47s):

You as well.

Brian (37m 50s):

Thanks for listening to the Get Lean Eat Clean Podcast. I understand there are millions of other Podcasts out there and you've chosen to listen to mine and I appreciate that. Check out the show notes at Brian Gryn dot com for everything that was mentioned In, this episode. Feel free to subscribe to the podcast and share it with a friend or family member that's looking to get their body back to what it once was. Thanks again and have a great day.

Dr. Dylan Petkus

Dr. Dylan Petkus is on a mission to help people overcome their health issues like sleep apnea so they are not limited by their condition or trapped by options that don’t provide full resolution.

He earned his Master’s of Science in Physiology at Pennsylvania State University where he was awarded a research fellowship and was a peer-reviewed published author.

He went on to earn both his Master’s in Public Health and Medical Degree from the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

Thereafter, he specialized in Family Medicine to help patients on the front-line of chronic disease. Sleep apnea is one condition near to his heart having dealt with it himself.

He knows the frustration of CPAPs and pushing through every single day with exhaustion, brain fog, and other issues that come along with it. Through his own research, he found a way to beat sleep apnea naturally by restoring natural breathing.

Frustrated by limited options for sleep apnea, he strives to help educate and empower those with sleep apnea and other issues to live fuller, healthier lives.


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