Sleep Initiation, Sleep Latency, or Both?

Sleep Initiation, Sleep Latency, or Both?

Sleep is important for many reasons. During sleep our brain is hard at work cleaning up and organizing all of the activity from the day.  The ideal amount of sleep for longevity, decreased risk of cardiovascular and other chronic diseases like Parkinson’s and dementia is 7 to 9 hours.

Many people struggle with sleep issues and it is important to dig in and unroot where the problem lies: is it sleep initiation? sleep latency? or both? Sleep initiation is having trouble falling asleep and sleep latency is having trouble staying asleep or achieving deep levels of sleep. Sleep initiation tends to be related to anxiety, elevated cortisol levels, exercising too close to bedtime, caffeine intake, temperature, screen time, inadequate morning light, or decreased natural melatonin production. Sleep latency can be caused by excessive ambient light, screen time, alcohol use, bedroom temperature, pets, or children in the bed, hormonal imbalances, prescription medications, and nighttime urination.  I often hear patients say, “it’s normal to get less sleep as you age,” but that isn’t entirely true; regardless of your age, you should be able to get very close to the recommended hours of sleep.

Common supplements that can help with sleep initiation are melatonin, valerian root, passionflower and lemon balm. Common supplements that can help with sleep latency are glycine and l-theanine. Honokiol or dihydrohonokiol-B (DHHb), derived from magnolia bark, can work for both.

– Kinder Fayssoux MD

Common supplements that can help with sleep initiation are melatonin, valerian root, passionflower and lemon balm. Common supplements that can help with sleep latency are glycine and l-theanine. Honokiol or dihydrohonokiol-B (DHHb), derived from magnolia bark, can work for both. You should check with your physician prior to trying these supplements, especially if you are on any other prescription medications, but generally speaking, they are safe substances.  Tylenol PM or Nyquil should not be used for sleep as they have many other ingredients in them besides the antihistamine, usually Benadryl, which is putting you to sleep. However, I also don’t recommend patients use Benadryl or antihistamines alone as a sleep aid as there are other side effects of those medications that can make sleep worse; the most common being increased nighttime urination.  

Other activities that are conducive to restful sleep are meditation and gentle stretching or yoga before bed.  Another recommendation supported by science is to do a controlled sleep deprivation for 24 hours in order to reset the sleep cycle. If your sleep pattern is off, stay awake for 24 hours, and then go to sleep between 9 and 10 p.m. to reset the cycle and maintain this bedtime. Excessive napping also can interfere with a solid sleep routine.  

Often overlooked, another easy fix is to review your prescription medications. For example, if you take a medication that makes you urinate more, ask your doctor if you can take that medication in the morning instead of the afternoon or evening to decrease the likelihood that you will need to urinate in the middle of the night. Reviewing the sleep-disturbing effects of all your prescription medications is paramount.

Sometimes prescription medications are necessary to help with sleep, but they should primarily be looked at as a temporary solution for most. There is no consensus as to whether they produce deep sleep at a level that is beneficial for health. Also, some of these products, particularly benzodiazepines, steeply increase your risk for dementia – even with occasional use. That being said, occasional use of prescription sleep aids can be necessary at times to reset and regulate the sleep cycle.

What to Get Someone Who Has Everything? The Gift of Longevity!

What to Get Someone Who Has Everything? The Gift of Longevity!

What to Get Someone Who Has Everything? The Gift of Longevity!

With the upcoming gift-giving season, we can remember that longevity is a gift we can give ourselves every day, not just for the holidays. We all have a genetic blueprint in our DNA, which indicates whether we might have a tendency for chronic diseases like diabetes, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, fibromyalgia, dementia, and arthritis.

The thing about it, though, is that just because it is in your DNA does not mean it is your future. Epigenetics, the study of genes, involves two important terms – genotype and phenotype. Very simplistic definitions of genotype and phenotype are what is in your genetics and what is actually present. So, for example, say you did genetic testing, and it shows you have the genotype for diabetes that puts you at risk for diabetes. Still, you do not have the phenotype for diabetes because your labs and testing do not indicate you have diabetes. In a nutshell, this is the concept of epigenetics: that there is more to developing disease than having a gene. There are certain environmental factors that can turn on and turn off genes resulting in a phenotype that either matches your genotype or does not.

Just because it is in your DNA does not mean it is your future.

This is powerful information. As I tell my patients, just because it runs in your family does not mean you will get a particular disease. To counter genetic tendencies, you can create a lifestyle to help keep those genes from turning on and becoming your phenotype. Not everyone wants to or can do genetic testing, but for many of these diseases, the interventions that make the significant effects are similar.


Here are a few things you can do to keep your chronic disease genes turned off:


  • Get 7-9 hours of good, quality, uninterrupted sleep a night
  • Eat a whole-foods, mainly plant-based diet
  • Get a minimum of 5 minutes of high-intensity exercise three times a week
  • Reduce sedentary activities
  • Walk after meals
  • Do a minimum 12-hour fast daily
  • Make sure you are getting adequate Omega 3s in your diet
  • Eat plenty of greens (aim for 10-12 cups a day)
  • Take sugar out of your diet
  • Take alcohol out of your diet
  • Socialize (responsibly) and laugh daily
  • Have your meals with other people

So, for the person who has everything – and everyone else on your list – feel free to give them a beautifully wrapped copy of this article.

Wishing you all a happy and safe holiday season.

Poop Pudding

Poop Pudding

Constipation sucks. If you have ever been stuck on the toilet someplace between a rock and a hard place you know the pain. (Get it rock and hard place… LOL) Fortunately, the only time I really had a problem with it was during my pregnancies- and it was bad….. When I was pregnant with the twins, I spent half of my niece’s birthday party on the toilet with honestly very little to show for it. Oddly enough that pregnancy was literally also the the only time in my life so far that I pooped my pants – but that’s for another post.

But that is neither here nor there. So, what can you do when constipation strikes. Poop Pudding. This stuff is pretty magical, although as I am writing this I realize the name is quite misleading and quite frankly gross. However, Makes you Poop Pudding doesn’t have the same ring to it, does it?

So before we get to what you can do for it, I would be doing you a great disservice if I didn’t teach you why regular poops are so important for your health. In fact, I bet you didn’t know there is actually a chart to help you learn what your poop should be. This is actually so important that I discuss their poops with almost all of my functional and Integrative patients and I tell them that they should be going at least once a day and the consistency should be like soft serve- formed but easy to mash. This is equivalent to a Type 4 poop on the Bristol Stool Chart.

Regular movement of our bowels is vital to good health as it is one of the main ways we rid our bodies of toxins (the others being peeing and sweating). According to the medical dictionary poop or stool is “body waste discharged from the intestine; called also stool, excrement, and excreta. The feces are formed in the colon and pass down into the rectum by the process of peristalsis.” To get a little more technical; our stool eliminates toxic by products of our metabolism and so when we are not going regularly we are allowing the toxins a chance to do damage for longer and in some cases even get back into our bodies.

So what are some of the things I recommend to my constipated patients? So glad you asked. Besides Poop Pudding, a great way to help out kids, albeit not the healthiest- is Gummy Bears- yes the glycerin will clear them right out. Magnesium is also very important for regular bowel movement. There are different types of Magnesium, what you want is Magnesium Citrate.

As always remember to run anything you are planning to try by your own physician.

“When I eat sprinkles I make slime color green poop.”

– My Daughter

Poop Pudding – The Recipe


Oat Bran, Apple sauce, Prune Juice

Mix equal parts Oat Bran and Apple sauce in a small bowl. About 1/4 cup of each is good for one serving. Mix together and thin with Prune Juice (about 1/8 cup) and leave in fridge overnight. Eat the next am. Poop the next PM.

“Slime Poop is not healthy”

-Me in response to my daughter
Welcome to Functional Medicine

Welcome to Functional Medicine

So glad you are here. This site is about natural cures prescribed by MD’s for multiple chronic medical problems, low energy, and weight loss. These from and Integrative and Functional Medicine viewpoint. I started this site because in my clinical practice I can only see a handful of patients, but as multiple patients, friends, colleagues, and random people that ask me medical questions because they know I’m a doctor have said to me “how come none of my other doctors ever told me that?”

I am a conventionally trained Board Certified Family Medicine Physican. I also am board certified in Integrative Medicine and have the maximum certification available through the Institute for Functional Medicine for Functional Medicine.

And full disclosure this site is also a creative outlet for me; I was a theatre minor back in College and went into medicine because when I told my parents after graduation that I wanted to go to LA and try my luck in Hollywood they told me “Good Indian girls don’t go to Hollywood- please stick to your smart plan…go to medical school.” So I also hope to entertain you as well as educate you and your families about creating lifestyles that will not only feed your bellies but your soul also.

If you want to learn a little bit more about my credentials please check out the About page- I promise I’m legit. I have been trained for more years than you care to think about and teaching it for over 10 years.

All of the information on this site is backed by data and here to educate you, but I have to remind you that I am not your doctor so please check with your physician before you start any new regimens.

“The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest his patient in the care of the human frame, in diet and in the cause and prevention of disease.”

– Thomas Jefferson