Good morning and welcome to Episode 048 of the Train Your Brain Podcast with Dr. Michael Trayford. Every Monday we produce a 30-minute episode. Tuesday through Sunday we produce episodes with five-minute tips. Every episode of the Train Your Brain Podcast features a tip, so you can receive pointers 365 days a year that will help enhance the performance of your brain!
In Episode 048, Dr. Trayford’s brain training tip focuses on promoting good sleep. Our brains need a few solid REM sleep cycles every night in order to process memories and function efficiently. If we have a pet in our bedroom, our sleep will be disrupted, whether or not we are deep sleepers. Train your pets to sleep through the night and give them their own space. This might be a difficult lifestyle change for those of us who love to let our pets cuddle up at night, but it is important.
If you have any concerns regarding the information and applications discussed in this podcast, please consult your physician and a doctor who is experienced in functional neurology. Michael Trayford DC, DACNB is available for consultation by calling (828) 708-5274. Thanks for listening.
Jason: I’m a little nervous today. I think you might get some resistance on this.
I have to say I’ve learned so much about you, even though we’re on different sides of the country. Something tells me that you keep your pets in the bedroom.
Jason: No I don’t have any pets, unless you count my kids. I used to be a cat man, but then I married a girl who was raised with birds and fish. So we don’t really have pets per say.
This will very likely get me in trouble, particularly with our local listeners, because Asheville is a very pet friendly place. If you don’t have a dog in Asheville, you’re pretty much in the minority. All the restaurants and hotels are dog friendly. People bring their dogs everywhere they go.
We have two dogs, we’ve always had dogs, we love dogs. The tip for today is really no pets on the bed or in the bedroom. Disrupted sleep is a killer for your brain. The brain needs sleep. We’ve talked about certain aspects of sleep. Needed to get two to three deep cycles of REM sleep each night. Each REM cycle takes about three to four hours, so we need these cycles of sleep in order to feel well rested, in order for our brain to do things like taking out the garbage, recover and repair, consolidate memories and many more important functions.
If we have a furry animal snuggling up between us on the bed or lying across our feet, do you think we’re going to sleep well when it happens?
Having no pets on the bed or in the room is really important for getting good quality sleep. Even though you love your pet, they will be just fine sleeping in another room. There’s nothing wrong with that. Believe me we give our pets their good night’s and they don’t give us any attitude for going into our own separate room. It’s just works out magically.
The bottom line your pets become trained to your habits or neurosis. I know folks that are, and there are exceptions to the rule. But there are people who at the first sign of movement from their dog and they wake up.
They get up, start walking around and they take the dog outside to let it go to the bathroom. Now, there are exceptions to this idea. If you have a puppy or your dog has diabetes you need to give them attention at certain times, or you need to train them appropriately. Or you need to make sure they can relieve their bladder. In most cases when a dog is sleeping and they are well trained, you don’t need to get up in the middle of the night.
Either you’re giving them food and water too late in the evening or you’re simply responding to their demands. Just like as human beings we can condition ourselves to do what we need to do with our bathroom habits and other things we need to do before we go to bed.
You need to make the effort to make the conditions right so that we don’t have to get up and tend to the animals in the middle of the night.
When we do have a dog that is in our bed, lying across our legs, which I’ve had it before years ago and my sleep was interrupted significantly because of it, simply because you can’t get good sleep when that’s the case. If you’re a light sleeper like myself, every time that dog gets up and shakes out a little bit and the collar jingles, it disrupts your sleep. In a case like mine it will weak me up.
Even if you’re a deep sleeper you should consider this. I’m harping on the dogs because I live in a dog area, but this also goes for cats, ferrets, snakes or whatever you may happen to have looming in your bedroom or possibly in your bed.
Jason: I can’t imagine sleeping with a snake. What did you name your dogs?
Both of my dogs were rescues, and already had names. So they’re Finn and Titus.
Jason: Oh I like those.
Yeah we didn’t want to go through the emotional trauma of renaming them. I know some people do, but we felt it wasn’t fair to do that to them, so we kept their names. We like one, maybe two syllable names – maximum, because you have to be able to call them quick.
Jason: Exactly, plus training your dog’s brain is a whole other podcast.
We’ll bring my dog trainer in for that. He trains all the Nascar drivers’ dogs and government bomb and drug sniffing dogs.
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