Episode 34 | October 18, 2016

Find Your Sleep Type and Cure Insomnia with Dr. Michael Breus

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Mission #34

On Board: Dr. Michael Breus
Mission: Find Your Sleep Type and Cure Insomnia

The Co-Pilot:

Dr. Michael Breus is a PhD in Clinical Psychology and board certified in Clinical Psychology and Clinical Sleep Disorders.  He is one of 163 psychologists in the world with those credentials.  Dr. Breus has been helping people with sleep difficulties for more than 17 years now.  He has appeared on The Dr. Oz Show over 30 times, and Dr. Oz wrote the foreword for his new book, The Power of When.  Dr. Breus has been a guest on The Oprah Winfrey Show as well as many other national media appearances, including interviews on CNN, The View, Anderson Cooper, Rachael Ray, The Doctors, and the TODAY show.

Today Dr. Breus talks about the science of chronotypes and how they can practically affect our lives.  His results have been nothing less than stunning.  He means it when he says, “If you can change someone’s sleep, you can change their life.”  Through his assessment tool, The Power of When Quiz, you are able to learn which chronotype you are and gain tips for using that knowledge to make your life stellar!

Connect with Dr. Michael Breus:

The Power of When

The Sleep Doctor

Twitter: @TheSleepDoctor

Facebook: The Sleep Doctor, Michael Breus, PhD

Mission Log:

  • [03:26] – Dr. Breus tells us about how he became interested in studying sleep.
  • [04:50] – He begins to explain chronotypes.
  • [05:40] – We hear how failing to follow chronotypes has been linked to an increased risk of breast cancer in women.
  • [06:05] – Dr. Breus touches on the research about increasing the effectiveness of chemotherapy by synching its administration time to the chronotype of patients.
  • [06:38] – Dr. Breus tells us about the patient that sparked his interest in chronotypes and their effects.
  • [09:20] – He tells us about finding more than 400 studies about chronotypes.
  • [09:50] – Dr. Breus speaks of developing an assessment tool for determining chronotypes.
  • [11:10] – Dr. Breus tells us about the first chronotype, which he symbolizes with a lion.  Lions are after their first kill early in the morning.  They generally get up around 5:30 a.m.  They make up about 15% of the population.  Lions tend to be leaders, very organized, good managers, and type-A personalities.  Lions tend to have a plan, and they like to work their plan.  They also tend to be in bed by [8:30] or 9:00 p.m.
  • [12:05] – The second chronotype is the bear.  Bears make up about 55% of the population.  They tend to be fun and extroverted.  Bears are known to work really hard and also play really hard.  Most of society is built around the schedule of bears because they make up such a large percentage of the population.
  • [12:39] – The third chronotype is the wolf.  Wolves are the night people.  They like to stay up late and get up late.  They tend to be more introverted and very creative.  Many successful entrepreneurs are wolves.
  • [13:35] – The last chronotype is the dolphin.  Dolphins are those who are problem sleepers.  They tend to be highly intelligent with perfectionistic qualities.  They frequently have obsessive-compulsive or neurotic tendencies.
  • [14:05] – We talk about people who have hybrids of the different chronotypes.
  • [16:25] – Dr. Breus talks about if and when you should have caffeine.
  • [20:18] – We hear about the eight-hour myth.
  • [21:01] – Dr. Breus discusses how certain ages in life are very chronotype typical, such as babies and toddlers being lions, children being bears, and teenagers being wolves.
  • [22:26] – He shares that he and his wife are both wolf chronotypes.
  • [23:20] – Dr. Breus get into the science of when to have sex.  He discusses how optimal hormone levels (particularly estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, cortisol, and adrenaline) can help to obtain an optimal sexual experience.
  • [25:45] – We hear about Dr. Breus’ process for writing his latest book, The Power of When.
  • [26:30] – Dr. Breus shares his thoughts about naps.
  • [28:00] – We get into solutions for helping “dolphins” sleep better.
  • [30:40] – Dr. Breus talks about the pros and cons of sleep hypnosis.
  • [31:30] – We discuss using melatonin as a sleep supplement.  Dr. Breus reminds us that melatonin is a hormone and not  a mineral or plant, and it must be carefully dosed.  Overdosing can cause things like nightmares and night sweats.  It does not help us fall asleep, but rather helps you stay asleep, and should be taken about an hour and a half before bed, not at bedtime.  Melatonin acts as a contraceptive in high doses and should never be given to children in high doses, particularly young girls.
  • [34:29] – Dr. Breus talks about some of the potential benefits and risks of using sleeping pills.
  • [36:05] – We chat about the the benefits of ashwagandha.
  • [36:35] – Dr. Breus explains why a hot shower before bed is better for sleep than a cool one, why a bubble bath is an even better option, and why going to bed too early is a huge no-no!
  • [38:29] – Dr. Breus tells of ways to minimize the effects of jet lag.
  • [41:31] – Dr. Breus shares a few of his most interesting sleep stories.
  • [44:39] – We talk about teeth clenching.
  • [46:03] – We are reminded how important regular exercise and good nutrition are to keeping stress down and sleeping well.
  • [46:38] – Dr. Breus explains why B vitamins should not be taken at night.
  • [47:10] – To live a stellar life, Dr. Breus recommends (1) know your chronotype; (2) do something for your mind, body, and soul every day; and (3) get sunlight every morning!

Your Pre-Flight Checklist:

  1. Go and take the chronotype assessement at www.ThePowerOfWhenQuiz.com and find out what your chronotype is.
  2. Reevaluate your daily routines based on your chronotype.  Are they a good fit?  What areas do you need to change around a bit to get the most out of your energy?
  3. The process of sleeping–simply breathing in our sleep–causes us to lose nearly a liter of water each night.  Make a commitment to have the first thing you put in your body each day be 8-12 ounces of water.

Links and Resources:

Your Checklist of Actions to Take

✓ Go and take the assessment at www.ThePowerOfWhenQuiz.com and find out what your chronotype is.


✓ Reevaluate your daily routines based on your chronotype. Are they a good fit? What areas do you need to change around a bit to get the most out of your energy?


✓ The process of sleeping–simply breathing in our sleep–causes us to lose nearly a liter of water each night. Make a commitment to have the first thing you put in your body each day be 8-12 ounces of water.


✓ The melanopsin cells in our eyes are part of the system that help us get moving in the morning. Give yourself a boost each day by getting direct sunlight right after you get up.


✓ Coffee can be a big part of our morning routine. To get the most out of our hormone cycle, Dr. Breus recommends drinking coffee or tea about 2 ½ hours after we get up. Challenge yourself for the next week to do just that.


✓ Are you a napper? Evaluate your nap time for maximum benefit. Naps should be no longer than 25 minutes in length and be taken between [1:00] and [3:00] in the afternoon. If you are a dolphin–a problem sleeper–Dr. Breus says you should not be taking naps at all!


✓ Taking a hot shower or bath right before getting into bed gives you a beneficial drop in core body temperature and can help you get to sleep and sleep more soundly.


✓ Design or adapt your evening routine to include this beneficial practice.


✓ Make sure that 20-25 minutes of cardiovascular activity is on your agenda for each day! One of the many benefits you will reap from this practice is less stress and better sleep.


✓ Make a list of the things that nourish you or things you want to try in mind, body, and spirit. Then, take the time to actually put those things in your appointment book or phone, and treat them as the priority they are.


✓ Go and find out more about Dr. Breus’ work of changing people’s sleep at www.TheSleepDoctor.com and buy his book, The Power of When.



O: Hello Dr. Breus and welcome to the show.

M: Thank you. I’m excited to be here.

O: I am so excited to be talking to you and honored. You’ve been everywhere, you’ve been on Oprah and Dr. Oz. People love you and love your stuff.

M: Well, you’re very kind to say so. Sleep is one of those topics where everybody’s got to do it. I don’t think I’d be nearly as famous if I was a cardiologist. It’s so funny because when my wife and I go to a party she’ll say, “Don’t tell anybody what you do, Michael.” Because the second I do she just kind of rolls her eyes and walks to the bar because she knows I’m going to get hit with sleep questions, or chronotype questions, or things like that. We have a lot of fun with it though.

O: Yeah. Let’s start by you sharing a little bit about yourself.


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From all of us here at Stellar life; the Captain, Copilot and the entire crew, I’d like to Thank You for joining us on this trip! We are looking forward to seeing you on board again in the near future. Have a nice stay and thank you for choosing to live your life to the fullest!


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