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Chronotypes and Sleep Psychology with Dr. Michael Breus

Episode 229
What kind of sleeper are you? In this episode, Dr. Michael Breus shares the latest sleep research and how you can identify your sleep chronotype.

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What kind of sleeper are you? According to Dr. Michael Breus, you could be a bear, dolphin, or even a wolf!

In today’s episode, Dr. Breus (Twitter, Website) joins us to discuss all things sleep chronotypes. Dr. Breus is a doctor, author, and frequent contributor to Dr. Oz and the Today show. He’s found that your circadian rhythms (yes, plural!) and sleep chronotype can tell you when you should do everything – from sleeping and eating, to writing or even asking for a raise.

Learn the ins and outs of the latest sleep research and how you can identify your sleep chronotype.

Show Notes

[2:45] Chronotypes And You

  • Chronotypes are categories designed to help identify what kind of sleeper you are. A good example would be night owl versus early bird.
  • Your chronotype can be determined by answering a series of questions that help sleep researchers identify your unique sleep quirks. Or, for more accurate results, it can be found by getting genetic testing.

[6:40] Sleep And Your Health

“Cancer cells multiply faster the more sleep-deprived you are.”

  • In the short term, sleep can make you function better in day-to-day task and activities. In the long run, sleep can help prevent and mitigate the effects of debilitating illnesses. As Dr. Breus points out, having a regular sleep schedule when you’re young can help lessen the effects of diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer’s later on in life.

[10:50] A Few Problems, But A Variety Of Solutions

“Almost everybody that comes to me comes to me for similar reasons, but we end up doing different things.”

  • Dr. Breus handles each case differently and does a complete medical history breakdown for each patient. The symptoms are usually the same, but the causes of sleep disorders can vary wildly. It may benefit you to go and see a sleep therapist in order to get a better understanding of what may be causing your restless nights.

[13:40] Understanding How Jet Lag Impacts Your Sleep

  • For each time zone you cross while traveling, it takes your body approximately one day to recover.
  • If you’re going to be traveling across many timezones, plan your sleep schedule accordingly so you can start adjusting to the new schedule 2-3 days in advance. This will help minimize the effects of jet-lag during your trip.

[18:30] The Future Of Sleep Research

“The more progressive psychologists become the more they will start to take into account the biology of sleep.”

  • We’re going to be seeing more of an integration of sleep research into medical psychology in the near future. There’s going to be much more of an emphasis on functional medicine to help cure sleep disorders. As a society, we’re just beginning to scratch the surface of the importance of sleep and its impacts on health and wellbeing.

[26:45] Health In The Media

  • Dr. Breus is a frequent guest on a number of different podcasts and TV shows, and he only sees interest in sleep research and psychology increasing in the near future.

[29:35] Sleep Issues In The Media

  • People who have jobs in media are far more likely than the average person to have sleeping disorders. They need to take special care to monitor their sleeping habits and behaviors.
  • Side Note: The whole team at Mission HQ seconds this observation.

To learn more about Dr. Michael Breus’s work, go to his website or follow him on Twitter. To take his Power of When quiz and find out your chronotype, go here. You can find Dr. Breus’s book, The Power of When, on Amazon.

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