Sleep Optimization Protocol

For those of us who prefer to be awake, but want the health and performance benefits of deep rest, comitting a month to sleep optimiztion interventions is time well spent.

Sleep optimization is the endevour of getting more quality recovery from the same number of hours spent in bed.  That’s right.  You can potentially have it all.  If you are like me that means you are unwilling to trade your early morning workout time OR your post-dinner family time for more hours of sleep.  Or maybe you’re a shift worker.  Or maybe you have an incredible nightlife.  Or maybe you’ve noticed that you live in a crazy time where stress and fear are pumped into you through your phone 24 hours per day?  Whatever the reason, if you are in a position where you value improving sleep quality but still prefer your life out of the bed, then this article is for you.

The following are the results of my 6 week all-in, full committment execution of  Andrew Huberman’s sleep toolkit protocol.  I added a couple elements of my own as well.  I began with a base of his entire Toolkit then I added intermittent fasting, some meditation breathing techniques, probiotic foods and the “daytime supplements” listed in the next section.

Take the time to check out Andrew Huberman’s podcast.  Each episode is full of actionable intel on the available science of health, happiness and performance optimization.  If for instance you don’t care about sleep optimization right now but you want to know how to use meditation to enhance creativity.  There’s an episode on that.  Increase flexibility?  Yep.  Hormone optimization?  Check.  The ideal use of caffeine for performance?  Roger that.

It is my experience that individual physiology varies significantly and tailoring your protocol is a process of beginning with the basics then customizing by prioritizing what you respond best to.  The data provided by researchers like Huberman provides a framework from which to experiment, observe and refine.  The following is my experiene with that exact process with Humerman’s Sleep Toolkit.  This has been a powerful process for me.  I hope you jump in and experience it for yourself and when you do, feel free to reach out with your outcomes, comments, insightes and questions.  You can message me in the text field under “What is your chief complaint” 


My Sleep Optimization Protocol breaks down into two segments:

1)  Lifestyle interventions


2)  Sleep Stack supplementation.

Part one is critical.  A foundation of lifestyle interventions is necessary to achieve maximum (and perhaps any) benefit from supplementation.

When lifestyle is in the way, using supplementation is like hitting the gas with one foot still firmly on the brake.

My results:  I ran the following interventions to a T for a 6 week stretch from 12/27/22 through 2/10/23.  My subjective results were super high energy that lasted throughout the day.  No more post lunch fatigue, no coffee needed during our long dark Northwest days.  I honestly felt pretty incredible.  Objectively, I lost 5 pounds and leaned out quite a bit.  I tracked my sleep quality with a Whoop watch and dramatically improved my sleep quality from my December baseline compared to the January and February performance.  (See Photos)


BASELINE NUMBERS: The 5 day baseline from 12/19-12/27 was 5 consecutive “poor” sleep quality days. 0 “sufficient” and 0 “optimal.


INTERVENTION: Now an 8-1 “Optimal vs Poor” ratio. 10x “Sufficient”. Febuary numbers a little rough with some late night bjj training and an anneversay weekend away from the kids on the 11th.



  • Early morning direct sunlight exposure or bright light exposure from sounces such as a Ring Light.
    • 5-8 minutes of this as soon as you can upon waking.
    • You want the light exposure directy on your eyeballs for the effect we’re after but it should not be uncomfortable.
    • Some people work light exercise into this i.e. skipping rope while looking near the morning sun.
  • Early morning cold plunge
    • Ironically short duration cold exposure induces your body to raise your internal thermostat settings and core temp.  That is an important tool for ending the sleep sate and transitioning to the wakefull sate.
    • 3-4 minutes chin deep
      • I don’t usually time these anymore as I noticed that 11 very slow breath cycles have me in for about 3 and a half minutes.
    • I use a 4′ steel horse trough that stays in the low 40’s  in the early mornings in the PNW this time of year.
    • Try not to hold completely still.  Moving a bit will keep the water from forming a warm little barrier around you.
    • When the time is up, get out and dunk the face and head.  Just for a breath.  3x.
    • Try not to go to a hot shower after.  If you can, just pull on some warm clothes and let your body warm itself back up
  • Early morning exercise
    • For me that is 6am jiu jitsu.  Anything to get the heart rate up will work.
  • Delayed Caffeine intake
    • Waiting 90-120 minutes before having coffee optimizes the impact of the stimulant
      • The body takes some time to wake all the way up.  This is why we love to speed up the wakeful state with a stimulant.
      • Taking a stimulant while your body is still waking up is like using a nitris oxide booster while your e-brake is still engaged and you’re driving up hill.  That’s no way to Tokyo drift.
      • In my case I kept my ritual of immediatly making an espresso upon waking up but I put it in a thermos to have at 7:30am after jiu jitsu.  This part had a huge impact on my daily energy levels.  With this new timing I no longer felt the need for any more caffeine throughout the day.  I even managed a couple days with zero coffee and still somehow experience super high energy days.  That’s a tremendous change for me.  In the dark Winter months here I typically run on caffeine:
        • 2 espresso shots and sometimes even a super-potent preworkout supplement before bjj.  I wake up at 4:50am to train and this is my 20 year long “burn the boats” ritual.  Yes it is dark, it is cold, and nobody would notice if I took the day off and went back to bed, but after espresso and preworkout there is no turning back.  This makes for a fun, high energy training session, but by the time I leave class at 7:30am, I’m completely gassed and often stopping for a potent double italiano on the way into the clinic.  Some days, a second crash would hit me in that post lunch hour and I’d have a third double espresso in the early afternoon so as to not rudely and repeatedly yawn in the face of a patient.  Upwards of 6 shots of espresso and the occassional high caffeine preworkout as well.  That is a lot of stimulants just to feel good and get by.  Rolling into the evening with this much caffeine in the system also put some urgency behind a glass of wine or a beer with dinner to help wind back down. . . you can see how that nasty little cycle can build on itself over time.


  • Intermittent Fasting
    • First food intake 11am or later
      • Break the fasting state with probioitic foods at 11am
        • A bowl of low sugar probiotic yogurt with some stuff mixed in or a cup of Kiefer and a glass of kombucha.  Probiotic foods have potential to be more impactful on an empty stomach so I give them some time and space to work by waiting an hour or two before I eat my first big meal of the day.
  • Daytime Supplements  (These are my personal supplements and are not part of Huberman’s Toolkit)
    • Lion’s Mane, Creatine, Milk thistle, vit D/K, B12
    • Usually taken at 11am breakfast (see probiotic foods above)
  • No caffeine, THC or Alcohol in the afternoon
    • Specifically the research states none within 8 hours of going to bed.
    • I’m not much of a morning drinker anyway so I went with none.
  • Final fluid intake of the day by 4pm
    • Important if you are annoyed by getting up in the night to go to the bathroom


  • Hot bath before bed
    • Within an hour of bed time
    • No longer than 20 minutes duration
    • Ironically this results in cooling the body’s core temperature.  An important sleep inducing mechanism.
  • Avoid bright artificial lighting before bed
    • Pretty obvious, but doomscrolling on the phone before bed isn’t an ideal way to wind down.

Sleep Stack supplementation 30-60 minutes before bed:

  • Magnesium Threonate 145mg
  • Inositol 2g every 3 days per week
  • Theanine 100-400mg (decrease dosage if vivid dreams wake at night)

Enjoy the jarring adventure of this challenge and again feel free to reach out with your outcomes, comments, insightes and questions.


Yours in Resilience,


Dr. Pond

Dr. Pond on The Front Row Dad Podcast Parenting, Suffering, and the the Re-Wilding of America’s Youth

Click play on the file below to hear Skylar recently featured on Jon Vroman’s The Front Row Dad Podcast.

We cover some of my favorite topics on this including:

  • How to challenge kids with progressive weight training
  • Skylar’s wife Alicia!
  • Malcolm Gladwell
  • Fist Fights in Italy!


How to pick the best West Seattle Chiropractor for you

Who is the best West Seattle Chiropractor?  It can be hard to objectively say as there is not an annual head to head winner take all chiropractic competition.  A good place to start though would be eliminating everyone who claims to be “The Best” or “Elite.”  It is just not a great sign that they are grounded and secure.  Excellence in medicine does not from exclusivity or being “elite”.  Quality in medicine is the result of the ongoing endeavor to be better today than you were the day before.

Your search for “The Best West Seattle Chiropractor” will begin with personal recommendations from trusted friends with first hand experience.  In the absence of that, online reviews can be helpful.  The next tier down is the online search where you may find out who has “The Best SEO” but you will likely not find “The Best Chiropractor”  You may find some great blog posts with SEO pandering titles such as “How to pick the best West Seattle Chiropractor.”. . . Here you are.

Unfortunately, there is not a Best Chiropractor in West Seattle.  I know these people.  They are talented and caring people.  You have many high quality options to chose from.  You don’t need to find The Best Chiropractor in West Seattle.  What you need is the Best Chiropractor and clinic model for you.

Here at Sports Medicine Northwest we take an integrated approach to get the results our patients need.  The sessions can be a bit longer.  They involve corrective exercises, manual therapy, massage, sometimes acupuncture, nutritional counseling as well as regenerative medicine.  We have a team of skilled practitioners to tailor a plan with.  This gives us options to design a specific protocol for specific presentations.  People who gravitate to our kind of model are usually engaged and pretty educated about their body.  It is a fun group to work with.  We involve them in the solution.  We give them an understanding of where they are, how they got here and what they can do to make long-term changes in the future.  We strive to instill confidence and independence in the patient.  This is what we call active care.

We do have some patients who are seeking passive care as well.  They are busy with life and just want to pop in once a month for a quick adjustment and a massage.

We are very good at delivering results.  We’ve worked on this model for over 10 years and are always in a state of improvement and growth.  Your key for success in you finding The Best West Seattle Chiropractor for you is to find the team of practitioners that you have clear lines of communication with, and who resonate with your goals.

To Request an appointment or to set up a consultation with Dr. Pond to see if SMNW is “The Best” for you, Click Here.

West Seattle Chiropractor Dr Skylar Pond -Owner of Sports Medicine Northwest

Skylar Pond is a Certified Chiropractic Sports Physician and with his wife Alicia, is Co-Owner at Sports Medicine Northwest






Regenerative Medicine Injection Therapy in Seattle : How SMNW helped an adult soccer player with a major knee injury back on the field

Sports Medicine Northwest is a medically integrated clinic in West Seattle.  This is the story of one of our patients and how we used regenerative medicine tissue allograft injection therapy in Seattle to get him back on the field.

To schedule a free consult to determine if you are a candidate for regenerative medicine at Sports Medicine Northwest  CLICK HERE.


To schedule a free consult to determine if you are a candidate for regenerative medicine at Sports Medicine Northwest  CLICK HERE.

Stem Cell Injections at Sports Medicine Northwest

Are you a candidate for our regenerative medicine program?  CLICK HERE for a complimentary consult and assessment with Dr. Pond to find out.

Patients seeking non surgical relief from knee, hip, and shoulder pain now have multiple clinic options for stem cell treatments.  The approach to regenerative medicine here at Sports Medicine Northwest is designed to be a cut above the rest.  It is no longer necessary to travel to Europe or Panama for alternatives to surgery and pain killers for degenerated joints and ligaments.  The best materials and professionals available in the industry are now available for our patients here in West Seattle.

Regenerative Medicine is the the use of platelet rich plasmas, exasomes, and stem cells to change healing in ways previously not possible.  It is the future of medicine.



You need to know THREE THINGS about regenerative medicine:


  1. If you are considering stem cell and regenerative therapies, SMNW is the best location for these services
  2. If you do not know if regenerative medicine is right for you, come to a free lecture and discussion on the topic and see if it is right for you.  It will be a great opportunity to see the new facility.
  3. Regenerative Medicine involves safe procedures that get results never seen before in medicine.


We do things one way in this clinic; the best, or not at all.  Our approach to regenerative medicine is no exception. We have launched the premier location to provide the strongest, safest, and most effective regenerative treatments in Seattle.


I don’t care who your alternative providers are.  We are the best. If the Seattle Seahawks team doctor has a regenerative treatment, ours is superior.  If Pete Carroll himself wants to treat your injury using Russell Wilson’s own stem cells, turn Pete down.  Come to us. We have the best materials. We have the most experienced staff to deliver them.

PRP Shoulder Injection at Sports Medicine Northwest

PRP Shoulder Injection at Sports Medicine Northwest

Here’s how we did it:


  1. We hired the most experienced Regenerative Medicine practitioner in the city.  She’s the best. “She says she’s in the top 4.” Very humble. For the past 8 years Robin Benn has been the lead practitioner at one of Seattle’s top Regenerative Medicine clinics.  
  2. We do the due diligence for you and we take that roll seriously.  If we order a product from a laboratory, we spare no expense.  We only use reputable labs with the verifiable products.  This is not the cheapest or easiest lab to use. It is the best. They provide third party verification of the viability of their cell lines.  They are serious. So are we.
  3. Regenerative medicine therapy is effective but you will only realize the potential of the treatment in the proper context of rehab, and nutrition guidance.  We provide that in our system as well.


Thank you for your time and hope to see you soon at Sports Medicine Northwest in the new West Seattle location!

Wondering if you are a candidate for a successful regenerative medicine protocol here at our Clinic?  CLICK HERE for a complimentary assessment and consult with Dr. Pond to find out.


Chiropractic for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

Sports Medicine Northwest is the official sports medicine team of Ivan Salaverry MMA in South Lake Union Seattle.  We work with the fiighters and competitors during their 8 week Fight Camp leading to their competition or event.  The way we use chiropractic for brazilian jiu jitsu and mma competitors is unique in our field.  After working with the MMA and BJJ communities for years, we are familiar with the patterns that develop in the fighting body.  BJJ players are never flat on their back.  They flex their spine to protect their necks, they keep their elbows tight the body to prevent giving up an underhook.  The natural result fo this defensive position resembles a curled fetal position.  (See picture of the guy in black below)


Our job as a staff is to correct any biomechanical imbalances that prevent our athlete from healing quickly and building durabilty.  To create balance and maintain joint stability in the brazilian jiu jitsu athlete, the practitioner must know how to passively and actively work the athlete’s shoulders through horizontal abduction, the middle back through extension.  We accomplish this with chiropractic adjustments but also through decompression tables, graston technique, sports massage and corrective exercises.