Our sleep is a vital component of our health and well-being. When we aren’t rested, our biological systems begin to break down, and with enough sleep deprivation, they can shut down entirely. Eating well and working out mean nothing if they aren’t coupled with proper rest and recovery. This course teaches actionable techniques for re-syncing with your natural rhythms systems and getting more energizing, restful sleep than ever before.
Sleep Better with Dr. Michael Breus
A few changes to your bedtime routine and daily schedule can dramatically improve your life.
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 was one of the youngest people to have passed the Board at age 31 and, with a specialty in Sleep Disorders, is one of only 168 psychologists in the world with his credentials and distinction. Dr. Breus is on the clinical advisory board of The Dr. Oz Show and appears regularly on the show (39 times in 8 seasons).
Welcome to Sleep Better! Sleep bears major effects on our minds and our bodies. Seven to eight hours of quality rest can set the tone for a successful day, whereas a poor night's sleep can impact everything from our mental and physical health, to our relationships with ourself and with others. Why leave such a powerful tool for wellness up to chance? In this course, Dr. Breus distills his 19 years of experience as a sleep doctor into ten lessons that explore the science of sleep and the strategies and tactics you need for deep, healing and transformative rest. Get ready to sleep better.
02: Day 1: Welcome to Sleep School
Sleep is a combination of two systems: our circadian rhythm and sleep drive. Our circadian rhythm, also known as our sleep rhythm, is just that — a rhythm. This natural process helps our body align the internal world of hormones and biology with the external stimuli that manage these processes. On the other hand, our sleep drive is a lot like hunger. Think of this like your gas tank. When it’s empty, no amount of cajoling or caressing will get your car up that hill. So it goes with our sleep.
03: Day 1: Sleep and the Brain
It's scientifically proven that the more we know about sleep, the better we tend to sleep in general. This is likely because feeling educated about sleep equates to feeling in control of our sleep. In this lesson, Dr. Breus lays out how sleep works in the brain, and how you can use this knowledge to improve how you sleep. We do have power over sleep, after all.
04: Day 2: How Your Daytime Affects Your Nighttime
Sleep is systemic. What we mean by this is everything affects our sleep in some way. Your morning coffee, that stressful meeting, the dark chocolate you ate with dinner… they all play some part in the way your body prepares for and moves into its sleep cycle. A few minor tweaks in your daily behavior, like drinking coffee before a nap, can give you the rest you need to be successful in your day.
05: Day 2: Naps, Sunshine and Exercise
In this lesson, Dr. Breus explores napping: who should nap, who should not nap, and what the ideal nap looks like, as well as how sunshine and exercise can impact sleep. Stay tuned: Learn the key ingredients in a pre-bed routine—your recipe for deeply restful sleep.
06: Day 3: Your Pre-Bed Routine
We’ve established that sleep is both rhythmic and systemic. So, it follows suit that solutions for our sleep issues should be as well. When we make small tweaks to our lifestyle and routines, it creates incredible downstream effects for our full sleep cycle. Something as simple as going to bed at the best time for your chronotype could be the key to getting better sleep for more effective days. Stay tuned: Environmental changes are just as effective as behavioral changes for better sleep — and when you combine the two, you’ve got a bedtime double threat.
07: Day 4: Your Bedroom Environment
You wouldn’t run a marathon in flip flops and you wouldn’t climb a mountain in a speedo (unless you’re Wim Hof). There’s a reason professional athletes are wearing and using the best equipment available, their success depends on it. And your sleep is no different. Today we assess how our environment either helps or hurts our sleep through each of the body’s senses. We’ll fine-tune our sleep engines by cultivating space for our senses to do what they’re supposed to. Stay tuned: The way we get ourselves going in the morning sets the tone for the entire day ahead of us. Nothing’s more important than getting started the right way.
08: Day 5: Your Morning Routine
What’s the first thing you do when you get up in the morning? Is it hit the snooze button five times before finally getting up? Do you roll over and start scrolling Instagram? Are you a bundle of nerves, running full-speed from the minute your head leaves the pillow? Waking up right sets the tone for fulfilling and effective days. It allows us to be our best and give the most to the people and tasks that need us. The key is, not everyone should have the same routine, but they should have one aligned to their specific chronotype. Stay tuned: Up next is a conversation all the married folks and pet owners should be excited for — how to sleep better with a restless bed partner. Some small changes can yield big results for you both.
09: Day 6: Your Bed Partner
It’s a problem faced by a majority of us with partners. It’s hard enough to get aligned in your waking hours, what do you do when your bed partner is cutting into your sleep? We’ll start by looking at snoring, the most common cause of partner-related sleep issues. Then we’ll work our way through physical symptoms like restless leg syndrome, and even what to do when you and your partner are different chronotypes. You’ll never believe what sleeping right can do for your relationship. Stay tuned: When behavioral and environmental changes just aren’t cutting it, you need to have tools on hand to get to sleep. Learn how natural sleep aids fit into a healthy sleep regimen.
10: Day 7: Supplements Done Right
Chances are you’ve felt the anxiety that comes with a bout of sleeplessness. You’re worn out, worried about getting to bed, and funnily enough, that’s the thing that’s keeping you up. When we get into cycles like this, behavioral fixes only go so far. We need to have the right tools on hand to get us to sleep, whether our mind wants to shut down or not. And doing it the right way makes all the difference. Stay tuned: Managing your sleep while you travel can make or break a trip. What if you were able to adjust quickly and get on time? You’d be able to enjoy your vacation a lot more, right?
11: Day 8: Travel and Jet Lag
When we balance being effective with being rested, we’re really trading one for the other. Changing time zones on short trips leaves us dazed, worn out, and constantly chasing normal. With some effective planning and some environmental tools, you can be optimizing your trips for both rest and performance. Stay tuned: In Day 2 we learned about how daytime choices affect our sleep. Tomorrow we go even further, looking at how diet and exercise can strengthen our natural sleep rhythms.
12: Day 9: Sleep, Diet, and Exercise
We’ve learned how stimulants and sedatives affect our sleep, but what about normal, everyday foods? Getting the right mix of vitamins, nutrients, proteins, and fiber actually contributes to better sleep and energy levels. The things we eat have an impact on our hormones and brain chemistry, which ties in directly to how we signal and prepare, from a biological perspective, for sleep and rest. Research has shown that poor sleep also leads to poorer diet choices. One bad choice reinforces another and so the cycle goes. Today we’ll learn how to break it and get back to a gentle, natural rhythm. Stay tuned: There is nothing more effective for sustainable sleep health than meditation. An ongoing practice helps us cultivate a calmer nervous system and slide more easily into sleep.
13: Day 10: Meditations for Sleep
We’ve learned tools, tricks, and methods for cultivating better sleep in the short term, but there’s nothing quite like meditation for sustained healthy sleep. Meditation allows us to calm our nervous system in a way that makes getting to sleep easier and staying asleep more likely. It’s the capstone of any sustainable and healthy sleep regimen. Today we’ll learn some breathing techniques to help you pacify your nervous system and jumpstart your natural sleep cycle.
14: Thank You
Carry on the lessons Dr. Breus shared, and keep in mind his six steps for a good night's sleep. Integrating these practices into your daily routine will greatly improve the quality of the rest you get... and in turn, the quality of each day of your life. Thank you so much for your participation in this course.