The days are shorter, but it means that it's the perfect way to reset our sleep cycles to ensure that we are working in the most optimized day as we get closer to the holidays and then countdown to the Spring. We sat down with Dr. Breus to find out how we can get the best sleep possible. ATHLEISURE MAG: Please tell us your background and how you came into your line of work? DR. MICHAEL BREUS: I have a PhD in Clinical Psychology and I am board certified in Clinical Sleep Disorders by the American Board of Sleep Medicine. This means I took the medical speciality board without going to medical school and passed, only 168 of us have ever done it. During my residency, my first rotation was an elective to be in the sleep laboratory. By the 3rd day I fell in love with Clinical Sleep Medicine, I’ve been there ever since. I have an awesome job, where I change peoples lives-FAST! AM: When you are working and assessing how someone can optimize their sleep, what are things that you always suggest regardless of the information found on the surveys that are filled out? DR. MB: Consistent bedtimes, but more importantly consistent wake up times. • Reduce/eliminate caffeine after 2 p.m. •
Stop alcohol 3 hours before bed
• Make sure you have the right sleep “equipment” – this includes sheet, pillows and mattress. My preference is the new Boll & Branch mattress. •
Get 15 min of sunlight each morning.
AM: How long does it take to establish a sleep routine that is beneficial to the body? DR. MB: I've seen it work in as little as a week, or as long as 30 days, but it really
depends upon the sleep disorder being treated. With sleep apnea, I can help someone in 24 hours, with insomnia, it could be 10 days or 10 weeks. If it is not a sleep disorder, but rather sleeping for peak performance, then I would say 30 days is where we really start to see if it works well. Here is a post on my website that has more information on effective bedtime routines. AM: We all have times when we can't have proper sleep, in those situations due to a hectic upcoming schedule etc., how do you prepare your body for the lack of sleep and then to get it back on track? DR. MB: I wish you could! It is hard to “bank” sleep for later. That said, reducing the amount of sleep deprivation you have is critical, especially if you know you will be out late. etc. Try a Disco Nap - a 90 minute nap before you go out – to have lots of energy. Find out more about napping here. AM: Is there such a thing about being able to "catch up" on sleep? DR. MB: Researchers in Sweden published a very interesting study in The Journal of Sleep Research looking at how sleeping in, on the weekends effects your health. Just to give a little background, we have seen in the sleep research literature for quite some time that there is what we call a U-Shaped curve for sleep duration and mortality. What this means is that too little sleep (less than 5 hours) or too much sleep (more than 10 hours) leads to an increased risk of mortality. Almost all of these studies looked at weekday sleep (not all, but many). The Swedish group followed a cohort of almost 44,000 people for 13 years, and here are a few things that they found: For people who were less than 65 years old who slept less than 5 hours during the weekends they had a 52% higher