S2 – 8: The Sleep Doctor is In with Dr. Michael Breus


Welcome to The Betty Rocker Show, the place to be to nourish your mind, love your body, and rock your life.

Today I’m talking to Dr. Michael Breus, better known as “America’s Sleep Doctor.” He and I have had many conversations about the science of sleep, and his useful tips have really helped me get into the best sleep habits of my life.

In todays conversation, we’re getting into “Chronotypes” which he details in his book, The Power of When and helps explain why each of us has an optimal time for sleep, work, sex and more – and why we’re not all the same. We’re also covering everything from how sleep impacts our metabolism, the disastrous side effects of poor sleep, tips for new parents and shift workers – plus how to optimize your sleep environment for a better night of rest.

Hanging out with Dr. Breus!

More about our guest: Michael J. Breus, Ph.D., is a Clinical Psychologist and both a Diplomate of the American Board of Sleep Medicine and a Fellow of The American Academy of Sleep Medicine. He is one of only 168 psychologists in the world to have passed the Sleep Medical Speciality board without going to Medical School.

Dr. Michael Breus was recently named the Top Sleep Specialist in California by Reader’s Digest, and one of the 10 most influential people in sleep. Dr. Breus is on the clinical advisory board of The Dr. Oz Show and on the show (40 times).

Dr. Breus is the author of The Power of When, bio-hacking guide book proving that there is a perfect time to do everything, based on your genetic biological chronotype. Dr. Breus gives the reader the exact perfect time to have sex, run a mile, eat a cheeseburger, ask your boss for a raise and much more.

His second book The Sleep Doctor’s Diet Plan: Lose Weight Through Better Sleep, discusses the science and relationship between quality sleep and metabolism. His first book, GOOD NIGHT: The Sleep Doctor’s 4-Week Program to Better Sleep and Better Health is a do-it-yourself guide to better sleep.

Dr. Breus has supplied his expertise with both consulting and as a sleep educator to many brands and companies, he lectures all over the world and is a regularly featured contributor to many publications. He has been interviewed on CNN, Oprah, The View, Anderson Cooper, Rachel Ray, Fox and Friends, The Doctors, Joy Behar, The CBS Early Show, The Today Show, and Kelly and Michael.

From his site:

“We have a lot more to learn about how sleep influences fat metabolism, but there’s an emerging picture that suggests our bodies are less likely to expend fat as energy, and more likely to store it, when we don’t get enough rest on a consistent basis.

Shortchanging sleep during a busy work week appears to be enough to have a meaningful impact on our fat-burning capabilities. Maintaining a consistent routine of sleep, with regular bedtimes and wake-times, can prime your metabolism to function at its best.”

In This Episode You’ll Discover:

Meet Dr. Michael Breus [0:37]

  • About Dr. Michael Breus
  • The Tao of dogs and what we can learn from it
  • How Dr. Breus became interested in sleep
  • Changing your sleep can change your life
  • Why working with a sleep expert who has seen their research in a clinical setting is ideal

How sleep impacts every area of your life and health (6:14)

  • Why sleep is #1 on the 4 Pillars of Health
  • How stress can affect your sleep
  • Dr. Breus’ own experience with lack of sleep
  • New parents and sleep deprivation
  • Dr. Breus’ experiences with sleep being a new parent
  • Some of the issues new parents experience

4 ways sleep deprivation affects our hormones(9:56)

  • Lack of quality of sleep (not just quantity) can equal sleep deprivation
  • The slowdown of your metabolism in relation to lack of sleep: read this in-depth article from Dr. Breus for more on this topic
  •  The elevation of cortisol and the resulting increase in appetite
  • The increase in ghrelin (your hunger hormone) and decrease in leptin (your fullness hormone)
  • Why heightened cortisol makes you crave comfort foods

Strategies for new parents and couples (13:13)

Whole Sleep by Whole Betty from Betty Rocker [14:51]

This podcast is brought to you by Whole Sleep! Support your body’s natural sleep cycle with a blend of herbs and organic compounds to help you fall asleep, stay asleep, and wake up refreshed!

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Introducing the chronotypes and reviewing sleep cycles [16:14]

  • What is a chronotype?
  • Expanding the sleep types beyond “early birds” and “night owls” with genetics
  • 23 and Me genetic testing
  • The cycles of hormones for different chronotypes
  • How our melatonin fluctuate in a 24 hour period
  • Read the Power of When for much more detail about the chronotypes and fluctuation of your hormones
  • The 4 animal archetypes and how they correlate to the circadian rhythms
  • How taking advantage of your chronotype can improve your experience in sleep, sex, work, and more

The side effects of sleep deprivation [22:22]

  • “Everything you do, you do better with a good night’s sleep.”
  • How sleep deprivation multiplies cancer cells
  • How sleep deprivation impacts your emotional state
  • The relationship between sleep and spiritual connection
  • How sleep deprivation affects recovery from exercise
  • The negative impact of the “no days off” mentality

How to create a healthy sleep environment [27:21]

  • The question of pets in your bed
  • The need to establish a routine that works for you
  • How to apply your 5 senses to optimize your sleep environment
  • How light impacts your sleep hormones and tips for working with light
  • Limiting your exposure to blue light from your devices with blue light blocking glasses
  • Recommendations for morning wake up
  • How sound impacts sleep differently in women and men
  • Helpful sounds that can help you fall asleep
  • How using layers of sound frequency can help in louder environments
  • The Bose noise cancelling ear buds

Full Body Collagen from Whole Betty by Betty Rocker [37:06]

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How shift workers can support their sleep routines [39:39]

How to use the sense of touch to improve your sleep [42:40]

  • Items in your sleep environment to consider
  • The value of temperature control and using a Chilipad
  • How the Chilipad can be a valuable tool for menopausal women
  • The importance of choosing a pillow that supports your sleep position
  • Travel hacks for creating the perfect pillow in a hotel
  • How sleep temperature can improve recovery and sleep
  • My personal sleep ‘system’
  • The value of figuring out your own personal best sleep system
  • Moisture wicking sheets (the brand mentioned has been discontinued)
  • The best material for sheets and the best weight for covers
  • Moisture wicking pajamas
  • Top questions to ask yourself when looking at your sleep space

How to use your sense of smell and taste to improve your sleep [50:18]

  • Specific, scientifically studied scents that help you fall asleep better
  • Women-specific recommendations for scenting your space
  • How taste and eating impact your sleep
  • Tips on what to avoid before bed for better sleep
  • The amount of time before bed you need per alcoholic beverage
  • When to stop drinking fluids before bed in general
  • When to ideally stop eating before bed
  • Why some people wake at 3am and what Dr. Breus recommends
  • Beekeeper’s Naturals honey and Guava leaf tea

Connect with Dr. Michael Breus [56:51]

This Week’s Challenge(s) [57:17]

If you’re someone who struggles to get to bed early enough, YOUR challenge is to use your phone to set some timers to help you get to bed a little earlier than normal.

  • The first timer is a “get ready” for bed timer. I want you to set this an hour before your ideal bedtime. I suggest you turn off the TV, put on your PJ’s and brush your teeth. Get in bed with a good book.
  • Your second timer is a “go to sleep” timer. You may not need this timer, but it’s recommended. You can leave yourself a nice message when this timer goes off that says “do this to wake up feeling great” or “I love myself so I go to sleep on time.”

This double timer system really helped me, because I needed a reminder to get ready for bed and wind down. If I didn’t do this, I would often just idly keep an eye on the clock as I was staying up later and later thinking I’d go to bed soon. And that “soon” just kept getting pushed back farther and farther.

If you don’t have trouble with getting to bed on time, but you do struggle with restful sleep here are some things I’d like you to check in your sleep environment and do to see if they help:

  1. Make sure you’re not eating or exercising close to bedtime. These activities should be wrapped up 2-3 hours before you’re planning to sleep.
  2. I recommend an evening meditation. You can use an app for this, or a practice like Ziva Meditation. You can also use a stress reducing supplement like my Serenicalm.
  3. To support your body in getting restful sleep, tune into your 5 senses when it comes to creating a good sleep environment.
    1. Is it dark enough in your room? Consider an eye mask if not.
    2. Are you watching TV or using your phone right up until bedtime? Consider taking a break from these devices at least an hour before bed, and the option of wearing blue light blocking glasses in the evening when you’re exposed to artificial light to help your body cycle down and allow melatonin to rise so you can naturally fall asleep and get deeper sleep.
    3. Are there disruptive noises waking you up? Consider a sound machine or loud fan to drown them out.
    4. Is your bedding and pajama material soothing and soft?
    5. Is your bed too hot or too cold? Consider a Chili Pad or cooling/heating pad to adjust the temperature near your skin while you sleep.
    6. Consider bringing soothing smells like lavender into your room by either scenting your pillow or pajamas, or using a diffuser, and leave yourself time for your wind-down rituals like brushing your teeth or taking a shower or bath.
    7. Reading before bed and leaving yourself time to do that is a great bedtime ritual to cultivate as well, and it’s been a huge help to me personally.
    8. If you’re curious about tracking your sleep I highly recommend the Oura ring, as it gives fantastic data about the amount of REM sleep, deep sleep and more – plus tracks your daily steps, daily activities, and contains some great tools to help you have a more balanced day in general. I have been using this tool for 5 years and it’s given me so much insight.

I hope some of these tips are helpful and that you take my sleep challenge!

Get a free copy of my Better Sleep Guide here!

Coming up next:  Coming up in our next episode, I’m talking to Tricia Nelson, an Emotional Eating expert and the author of the #1 bestselling book, Heal Your Hunger- 7 Simple Steps to End Emotional Eating Now.

Tricia herself lost fifty pounds by identifying and healing the underlying causes of her emotional eating has spent over thirty years researching the hidden causes of the addictive personality. This is a really great conversation that you won’t want to miss!

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Join me for open and thought provoking discussions about health, fitness, and how to stop undermining ourselves – and start taking meaningful action that makes us role models to others…

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New shows are released every other week during Season 2 of The Betty Rocker Show.

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