|Wakeup Diet & Exercise Program||
QUESTION. We're all different. Isn't this just a diet for one person?
ANSWER. Pardon me, but this question is a cop-out. Yes, we're different, but the difference is one of degrees. Think about this. If we were completely different, then doctors couldn't treat us. You couldn't go to the store and buy clothes off the rack. You wouldn't fit in my car, and I wouldn't fit in yours. You couldn't buy groceries, trusting that they'd be edible.
Since our true differences are differences of degree, then the Wakeup Diet really can help many people. This diet is flexible enough that it can adapt to many people's needs and lifestyles.
Fact: Certain behaviors and foods affect everybody. Most people wake up better if they exercise before breakfast. Medical science has proven that starchy foods tend to make you sleepy. For the vast majority of people, exercising at the end of the workday brings on exhaustion. Common sense tells us that sleeping after exhaustion is more satisfying than sleep without exhausion. The Wakeup Diet uses these facts to restore healthy circadian rhythms. A Wakeup Diet practitioner extends and maintains alertness across the entire day.
Recent research at La Trobe University proves that glucose makes narcoleptics tired. The recent Duke University study proves that narcoleptics tend to be more alert on a high-protein diet. The Wakeup Diet puts both of these studies into action. During the workday, we recommend eating only a small portion of a high-protein food. This food should be as purely protein as possible. At night, after exercises, the Wakeup Diet practitioner eats a meal that concludes with starches. These starches approximate the glucose in the La Trobe study. In fact, late-evening starches work splendidly to bring on a long, fulfilling and restful sleep.
QUESTION. The lunchtime calories are 70 to 130. This seems awfully low. Is this some type of crash diet?
ANSWER. Absolutely not. Yes, during the day, calories are tight. Plus, you're eating mostly protein. Yet the day's calorie total is within the recommendations of the Federal Agriculture Department.
And, if you're concerned about this being a "high-protein diet": During certain dayparts, the Wakeup Diet™ stresses certain food groups. Yet over the entire day, the diet balances. This balance is a difference between the Wakeup Diet and say, some versions of the Atkins Diet.
QUESTION. How many calories does the Wakeup Diet allow me to eat per day?
ANSWER. The Wakeup Diet isn't a calorie-counting or weight-loss diet. Instead, the Wakeup Diet is a diet that restores circadian rhythms and extends wakefulness across daytime hours. The Wakeup Diet also helps you to sleep naturally, restfully and smoothly throughout the night.
Given the above stipulations, a typical calorie intake for someone on the Wakeup Diet is this: About 1,500 to 2,000 calories. This is an adjustable figure that depends on body size, activity level, etc. Normally, the idea is to maintain the dieter's weight. The Wakeup Diet can also accommodate people who wish to lose weight. The Department of Agriculture dietary recommendations are the source for our calorie total. We recommend downloading and reading this related document: Guidelines.
QUESTION. Wouldn't eating several small meals be better than eating just three meals?
ANSWER. Various Web sites advocate spacing small meals throughout the day. This is the wrong approach. It will only guarantee that you stay sleepy all day.
For the body, meals pose a phasal cost and an energy cost. Every time you use your digestive tract, you impose an extra load on your whole body. The effect is like switching on your car's air conditioning. The compressor kicks on, and the engine RPMs drop. You use more gas, too.
A meal's phasal cost is that it shifts you toward sleep. The shift toward sleep can make you sluggish, or you can actually doze off. If you sleep, your circadian clock will be off by your period of downtime. Then at night, you might not sleep as deeply or well as you should. Or you might be inclined to stay up for awhile. Yet staying up will draw down your alertness tomorrow. Now you're operating against a sleep deficit. Plus, you have a new bedtime hour that tends to keep you groggy.
Any meal, even a snack, also imposes an energy cost. That is, digestion requires some of your energy. Swimmers know this rule. After a meal, they avoid muscle cramps by resting. They only return to the water later.
The solution is to avoid extra meals and snacks, regardless of size. They'll just load you down. A jet-lagged or narcoleptic person doesn't have spare energy to contend with these extra loads. Instead, try to maintain an even energy level. Keep away from temporary "food fixes," and you'll be much better off. Also remember to drink plenty of fresh, cold water.
QUESTION. What do you think about the state of sleep medicine practices?
ANSWER. I appreciate my doctors' concern, but regret the experimental nature of the treatment process. Practical sleep medicine simply hasn't reached the Dr. Welby stage yet. You can't expect a timely diagnosis and a cure, or even a reliable treatment. Sleep medicine isn't like entering the hospital for the flu, or a broken finger. Instead, the diagnosis is hit, miss and try again. A reputable neurologist won't say: "You poor person! Take these pills and call me in the morning." Instead, you might hear: "Severe visual artifacts, yet no measurable balance deficits. Hmmm. Isn't that interesting."
The pharmaceutical approach predominates. My doctors seldom, if ever mention diet and exercise. Still, they seem to at least politely listen to my ideas.
Despite recent improvements in the diagnostic technology, the polysomnogram exam is archaic and unnatural. The MSLT exam is even more awkward. The greatest dream in a sleep lab is that patients can simulate normal sleep behavior! For example, maybe someone will come up with a way to diagnose narcolepsy with pupillometry. Stanford's Dr. Mignot hopes for a very simple diagnostic, perhaps a blood test. A test for what? Exactly. We don't yet know. (A recent patent recommends testing for a hypocretin-1 antibody.) Someday, research will produce this better test, but probably not for a long time.
Yet research poses its own problems. I sense a conflict of interest between the research and therapeutic objectives. I'm disappointed to find a severe misalignment between normal medicine and sleep medicine. I believe that sleep doctors see this misalignment, too.
Sleep medical practice is far too little like a normal exam for a normal complaint. With so-called sleep disorders, the normal process of exam, diagnosis, treatment and recovery seldom occurs. I know that this situation will improve. I can hardly wait until it does.—The Webmaster
QUESTION. What are some side effects of narcolepsy medication? Should these effects concern me?
ANSWER. You have reason for concern. The side effects of narcolepsy medications can be serious, or even fatal. For example, stimulants can damage the brain and circulatory systems. The ADD / ADHD community is concerned about stimulant hazards. Ironically, this isnít the case in the narcolepsy / IH community.
Suppose that researchers develop a narcolepsy cure, for example, a hypocretin (orexin) inhaler. This inhaler would restore the peptide that narcoleptics lack. (See experiments by Dr. Jerome Siegel at University of California.) Yet such an inhaler would not repair damage to the brain's dopaminergic channel. Damage to this channel can result from stimulant use.
On stimulants, narcoleptics are at substantial increased risk of developing Parkinsonís Disease and Touretteís Syndrome. Some non-amphetamine stimulants can cause Stevens-Johnson Syndrome, which can be fatal. Depressants such as Xyrem pose other concerns: Nausea, confusion, incontinence, seizure, coma, and decreased respiration. For reference, see...
Dr. Peter Breggin wrote several books about the dangers of psychiatric drugs. Among these drugs are treatments for narcolepsy, cataplexy and idiopathic hypersomnia. Breggin mentions brain damage as a consequence of stimulants. A popular Breggin book is Your Drug May Be Your Problem. Dr. Breggin's more recent books contain more up-to-date information. Click Dr. Breggin.
QUESTION. Are you trying to practice medicine without a license?
ANSWER. No. We practice common sense. For that, we don't need a license. See the disclaimer at the bottom of this page. You won't find any prescriptions on this site. Instead, this site is a free offering of opinions and coping strategies. Our webmaster has found this program helpful and wants to share it. Without casting cheap shots at this site, you can take or leave our suggestions. What you use and how you use it is your business, responsibility and we hope, your success.
You might be referring to the Wakeup Diet as a treatment for narcolepsy. Yet this is what you suggest, and not what this Web domain says. Make no mistake: The Wakeup Diet doesn't treat narcolepsy. Instead, the Wakeup Diet is a coping strategy. This strategy can relieve phasal problems that result from narcolepsy or other phasal disorders. Between individuals, the amount of relief might vary. But if the underlying problem is narcolepsy, this narcolepsy remains. In other words: If you have narcolepsy, the Wakeup Diet could improve your quality of life. But you'll still have narcolepsy.
What conclusion should you draw from this question?
QUESTION. Why would a narcoleptic individual pursue the Wakeup Diet?
ANSWER. To remove irritations to the underlying disease. To relieve the discomfort that phase shifts in sleeping, eating, body temperature, etc. can cause. To function independently. To compete and succeed against others who don't have narcolepsy. To live a lifestyle that despite your difficulties, allows you to operate as best you can.
By analogy, if you have a wound, you disinfect it. Disinfection doesn't heal the wound. Yet disinfection relieves some of the suffering and helps in the healing. If you have a phasal disorder, the Wakeup Diet also relieves some of the suffering. Besides relief, the Wakeup Diet offers improvements to the quality of life. The Wakeup Diet salvages useful, productive time from the slumps that you once suffered. Where once you passed out in a chair, the Wakeup Diet makes possible lifetime achievements.
QUESTION. Without medication, the narcolepsy is terrible. How can you suggest that I would be better off?
ANSWER. You misunderstand. We don't suggest that out-of-control narcolepsy is somehow better than controlled narcolepsy. Actually, you're comparing apples and oranges: Tamed vs. untamed narcolepsy. Instead, you should compare coping with narcolepsy using medication vs. using the Wakeup Diet.
Medications seek to control narcolepsy by forcing your body to assume a normal circadian rhythm. In some individuals, and to some degree, medications can work for awhile. In other individuals, medications don't work, even for awhile. In yet other individuals, after awhile, medications become ineffective, unsafe or impractical. For example: If you have a blood-pressure problem, taking stimulants for narcolepsy could be dangerous.
For individuals who can't or don't want to use medications, the Wakeup Diet provides another means of control.
Before you change your coping method, consult with your caregiver.
QUESTION. I can't go on your diet. Medication is the way for me.
ANSWER. How do you know that you can't go on it? Don't you eat? Try the diet for six months. It could be the best thing you ever did for yourself.
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