How many hours/night are you sleeping? You gotta read this stat 🤯

I just recently consumed 20+ hours of continuing education all on mental health & brain health and I want to share some quick facts on sleep that may just make you go 🤯:

Pulling just one all nighter has been shown to cause a 6% reduction in blood flow/oxygenation to the brain and **as much insulin resistance as a type 2 diabetic**.

[side note: insulin resistance = a condition where the cells in the body become less responsive to the hormone insulin, leading to elevated blood sugar levels and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes and other metabolic disorders like obesity and high cholesterol].

I can’t remember or find the exact stat the doctor mentioned for what happens if you get 7 hours/night instead of 8 hours/night but it wasn’t good. My ears perked up as a Mom of a 2 and nearly 1 year old 😅 but also because based on the overarching research,  I’ve always told patients: do not go under 7 hours/night. 

That is the “golden rule” so I say. Health goes south < 7 hours/night, but, the impact on your health is felt at 7 hours vs 8. I know, this opens a whole can of worms for many: there just aren’t enough hours in the day and where else can we steal from than our sleeping hours? Gone are the days of I’ll sleep when I’m dead, thankfully (right? We don’t think like that anymore?). 

Oh, and another speaker confirmed what I already suspected: a study showed 

Canadian melatonin from drug stores are generally crap.

The amount of times I’ve gone to suggest melatonin and I’m told they’ve got several in a drawer at home, it doesn’t work for them, and I say, “but you have to give this just one more go”, and prescribe a pharmaceutical grade melatonin. Quality here makes ALL the difference. 

Further key points or tips on melatonin:

  • No, taking melatonin will not suppress your own ability to make melatonin. 
  • If you have trouble staying asleep, you need PROLONGED release melatonin (I’m always surprised at how few companies make a prolonged or sustained release option).
  • If you have trouble falling asleep I usually suggest taking your melatonin 30-60 minutes before bed, however, some people need to take it 2 hours before bed.
  • If you’ve tried even the best quality, pharmaceutical grade and it’s still not working great, we try a liquid or liposomal form.

One of the speakers who presented on Dementia and Alzheimer’s (Dr. Romi Fung, ND, M.Sc, Ph.D (cand.) explained that deep sleep opens the brain’s lymphatics by 4-5x in order to help release things like plaques in the brain 👀. 

I could literally go on and on about the benefits of sleep. Patients of mine have heard me talk about the “the foundations of health”: gut health (diet & digestion), stress (including our mindset), movement, and SLEEP. If they are all a mess, the first place I start is on restoring sleep.

To recap:

  • Sleep is really F’ing important. For weight loss, for brain health…for everything.
  • Ditch the I’ll sleep when I’m dead mentality.
  • If choosing to clean your house vs go to bed, maybe go to bed?
  • Mindlessly scrolling on your phone at night? Definitely go to bed.
  • Feel like your body isn’t releasing weight as easily as it used to and you’re underslept? Make restoring your sleep as an utmost priority.
  • Tried melatonin and it didn’t work: try a prescription grade and/or prolonged release form and/or adjust the timing of when you take it. Book in here to figure out a plan that is best for you.

Reading this and thinking, “but I WANT to sleep so bad but I just CAN’T 😭😭😭”, let’s see what we can do for you.

Dr. Willow

- Dr. Willow

  1. Joanne Serafini says:

    I do work a night shift job right now , and I know it’s hard on my health ,
    I am retiring in December so I know it’s coming to an end – but yes sleep os so important!
    Thank you,

  2. […] It’s super common. But it’s (rarely) ever worth it! Sleep is so important it almost scares me, lol (nod to my 3 and 1 year olds). I’ve written about it before here. […]

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I help women achieve optimal digestive and hormonal wellness through a root cause, individualized approach to medicine that utilizes functional lab testing, diet and lifestyle modification, nutritional and herbal medicine, and acupuncture to re-establish lasting health.


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Between my wait listed practice, building my Wild Collective communities, and being Mom, I don't email often, but I'm working behind the scenes to bring you major value and I'd love to be able to tell you about it when it is ready (along with some more personal shares).