Suzanne Byrne On Sleep Quality and Sleep Cycles, Why Your Wearable Can’t Control Your Sleep, How to Overcome Insomnia, and Much More!

We spend about one third of our life doing it or attempting to do it. I’m talking about sleeping. Sleep is one of the most important pillars of health, longevity, and peak performance. And research shows it’s not the number of hours of sleep that we get that matters most. If we want to be more productive, stronger, and happier, we need to focus on optimizing the quality of our sleep.

Amongst other, high quality sleep helps improve brain function, protects our heart, balances our hormones, fights fat and boosts athletic performance. Half of all people in America say they suffer from insomnia and millions are using prescription medications for sleep. Sadly, those pills have a long list of side effects and don’t address the root problem of why people can’t sleep in the first place.

That’s why I’m very excited today to speak to Suzanne Byrne, an expert on sleep and peak performance. Suzanne has been implementing effective fatigue management programs with professional and high performance athletes and teams for a decade. She has worked with sports teams and major leagues around the world, including the NBA, NHL and NFL, in addition to multiple university, Olympic and national teams.

Suzanne herself is a former NCAA volleyball player and award winning athlete. She has a recently co-authored the groundbreaking book Inconvenient Sleep: Why Teams Win and Lose, to help educate the readers on the importance and complexities of sleep and how sleep affects performance.

In this conversation, you’ll learn…

-How Suzanne got into sleep studies…03:05

  • Sleep research is very new, only started in 1940
  • American sleep researcher and founder of the Sleep Research Center at Stanford University William C. Dement
  • Book: Inconvenient Sleep
  • Helzberg’s EEG in the 1930’s paved the way to brain mapping while sleeping
  • Cultural and social misconceptions about sleep

-Biggest misconceptions about sleep…07:15

-Difference in quality of sleep and sleep cycles…08:30

  • Sleep cycles are determined by our brains, we have no control over them
  • Typical sleep cycle: light sleep – deep sleep – REM
  • Most of the population doesn’t fall under the typical sleep cycle
  • The many reasons we’re not sleeping

-How to find the root cause of sleep problems…10:30

  • Sleep questionnaire
  • Medical grade ActiGraph helps find sleep problems
  • AI medicine program: Sleep-EVAL
  • Sleep research is so new, there might not be answers for your problem yet

-Best ways to tackle insomnia and stress related sleep issues…13:10

  • Insomnia is the inability to fall and stay asleep
  • Most common self diagnosed sleep disorder
  • There is no one fix
  • Meditation, stretching, decompressing before bed
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to retrain your brain
  • Breathing exercises
  • Alcohol and marijuana can mess up sleep stages and are not recommended

-Why most products or technology for sleep are NOT recommended…16:05

  • Gadgets and supplements are bandaid solutions and don’t address the root cause
  • ActiGraph that you can buy on the market are not the most accurate
  • There are still no ActiGraph’s on the market that can tell you what sleep state you’re actually in
  • Your sleep is determined by your brain, not your wrist

-The current state of sleep research and what we can look forward to…19:20

-How the average person can incorporate better sleep practices…21:30

  • Sleep hygiene
  • Dark room
  • Night lights for midnight bathroom breaks
  • Temperature
  • Keeping a schedule
  • Jet-lag recovery – recommends to maximize sleep up until travel day, easier to recover
  • Sleep when you’re tired

-Negative effects of living in a sleep deprived state…26:35

-Suzanne’s practices…28:15