Sleep and Energy! With The Sleep Doctor, Michael Breus

Why do we sleep? To wake, of course! We are all about helping you sleep well, so that you can be well. The goal of getting a good night's sleep, isn't really for sleep at all. It's to feel great when you wake, and have energy to get you through the day so you can do the things you love. Energy is key. In this episode, Dr Michael Breus 'The Sleep Doctor' marries this idea by sharing how your body type and chronotype work together, and how you can use these to get both your best sleep and best day by working with your genetics, not against them. Shea and Michael talk chronotypes, body types, sleep, and all of the need-to-know details for his new book 'Energize!'. 

Where can you listen to the episode? 


If you want to get you sleep health routine on track, we are offering our podcast listeners 50% off our online guide, 10 steps for 10 days. This eBook is the ultimate guide for those who need to reclaim their sleep and reclaim your best life possible. Use the code 'PODCAST' at checkout to get this guide for $5 and start your 10 day routine now. 


Keen to learn more from Dr Breus but haven't had the chance to listen? Read the interview below!


Shea: I am very excited to have our wonderful friend, Dr Michael Breus back on the podcast today. Michael's all the way from California and is joining us because he has some really exciting news. He has a new book that he is about to launch, which coming out on December 14. Before we get started on all of the good things to do with the book and what we're talking about today around our chronotypes and body types - how did you sleep last night? It's the question I love to ask all our guests.

Michael: So, I slept pretty good. One of the big things for me is I'm a super duper, consistent sleeper and so, and you know, that's one thing that you'll see, as you know, is a theme of mine is being consistent with your sleep. And so I wake up every morning at 6:13. I can't tell you why it's 6:13, but my brain just popped on then. And I get up and I start my day and I have my morning routine and I will tell you that there are occasions where I don't have such great sleep. Um and usually that has to do if there's something going on with my daughter or my son, you know, or one of my dogs, my wife, things like that. And so I would say not everybody gets perfect sleep, but last night, I definitely got a good one.

Shea: Oh, that's fantastic. And I just met your wonderful dogs. They're very cute.

Michael: Thank you.

Shea: Tell us about your exciting news. So we're really talking about you for people who may have been living under a rock and not aware of who you are. Dr Bruce is the world's leading sleep expert and does a huge amount of consultation and work with businesses all around the world. You also have a podcast. You have your book, two books?

Michael: This will be the fourth.

Shea: 4th Book. Here we go. four books. Um, and lots of amazing things. Now, if you haven't done the quiz, Dr Bruce has a chronotype quiz, which you can find on his website. And that, so maybe explain a little bit about if people haven't, aren't familiar with chronotypes because that's really going to be part of the basis of what we're talking about.

Michael: You bet. So first of all, thank you for having me back. It's such a pleasure to be back with you. I always enjoy you and your company. So thank you for that. Um, my third book was called The Power of When. That's, I believe we talked a little bit about that last time we were on. But for folks who haven't listened to that podcast from back when, which by the way, if you want to go back and listen to it, you'll probably, it was actually, I thought it was a pretty good one. Um, we talk about these things called chronotypes. Now, you might not have heard of the term before, but I guarantee you've heard of the concept. If anybody's ever called you an early bird or a night owl, those are chronotypes. Believe it or not, they're genetic. So inside your DNA actually determines it. It's not that you say one day I want to be an early bird or I want to be a night owl. It doesn't really work that way. And now this is not a new concept. This is a concept that's been identified back in the seventies where we used to say people were early birds. If people are in the middle they actually called them hummingbirds and if they were late nighters they were night owls. And that was a good vernacular. It worked very well for people for a long time. But I'll tell you the story of what happened with the chronotypes is I had identified one of my patients and she did not fall into either one. Any of those three categories, which didn't make sense to me because everybody should fall into those three categories. And so I had to assume there was there was a fourth category out there. And she had very bad insomnia. And so what we had discovered, it took us a little while to do so, is she was what we call a dolphin chronotype. Now I'm going to go through all the chronotypes.

So don't worry so much about the animal name but she was an insomniac chronotype. So somebody with difficulty sleeping, a little bit higher on the anxiety scale, things like that. And so in my book, The Power of When meaning when you do things, um, it's all should be based on your genetic chronotype. So here's what happens. So let me give you the four chronotypes and then explain how it works. So the early bird gets replaced by the lion. And so a lion is an animal that actually represents this chronotype in the animal kingdom. Lions get up before dawn, usually have their first kill before dawn. From a personality standpoint, we've done quite a bit of research. We actually had over 1.5 million people take the quiz and um, we now know a lot about the personality of these lions/early birds. And so what we know is these people have a tendency to be the alphas of the room. They are usually the CEO or COO of a company. They'll make a list every day and go from step one to step two to step three. I mean very sort of militant in their thinking.

The second chronotype, which replaces hummingbirds is the bear chronotype. Now, bears are kind of fun creatures, but they get up when the sun rises and they go to sleep when the sun sets. And that's what a lot of the majority of people out there do, by the way, 50% of people are the bear chronotype. So that is kind of a big number. I mean it's the best to be a bear. I kind of wish I was a bear. Um I'm not, I'm the next chronotype that we'll talk about. But bears have a tendency to be a little bit more outgoing. They have a tendency to be more friendly, but these are the people that get the work done as as you say, because they make up such a large percentage of the population. Next are wolves.

As we all know, wolves are very nocturnal creatures and they represent the night owls. I am a wolf. I'm fully willing to admit it. I can't remember the last time I went to bed before midnight because that's just what my genetics are. Interestingly for wolves. These have a tendency to be my artists, my actors, all of the different people out there that do those types of artistic types of things. And so that has a tendency to be very different types of people from a risk taking perspective but also believe it or not from a health perspective.

So that those three categories, nothing's really changed. I just change the names from early bird to lion, from hummingbird to bear, and from night owl to wolf. What we really now have is this fourth category, which is called the dolphin, but the dolphin represents my insomniac patients. Now these are people who are a lot like the lions. However, what they end up doing is they don't sleep so well. Lions have a tendency to sleep really well. But because of this level of anxiety, it has a tendency to infiltrate them. They're highly intelligent people and they do really, really well from a work standpoint, but they usually are self diagnosed as having insomnia and their sleep is all over the place. Once you understand these four chronotypes, there's actually a lot that you can do with this information. Um as an example, if you're out there in the dating world and you're a late night chronotype, you probably don't want to be going out with an early bird right.

Shea: Oh my gosh, yes!

Michael: Right. So there's some interesting social aspects to understanding your chronotype, not just sleep aspects, and we've discovered data on everything from when is the best time do things so when you ask your boss for a raise to when to eat a cheeseburger to when to sleep. So, lots of really interesting information. Again, this is all genetically hormonally driven. So I did that work about five years ago and I've been, I've been really concentrating on these chronotypes for a while and I have a dear friend who is one of the founding instructors of Soul cycle. Her name is Stacey Griffith. And I was helping Stacey with her sleep and she was helping me with my fitness which was a great combination. And we would sit every once in a while and we talked about our clients and you know the first thing we said was why are our clients so freaking exhausted all the time, right? Like she's got people who are exercising like crazy, they should have energy. I've got people who are sleeping well and still don't have daytime energy. And so we really wanted to decide and try to figure out where did those two worlds meet? And so we got into a discussion and I said well how do you know when somebody is a good spinner or a bad spinner or what type of exercise you want to train them with. And she said I use their body type to help guide me. And I was like I haven't thought about body types since high school right? Because I learned that in college you know biology type of thing but you really don't think about it in your day to day stuff. And so I said you know I wonder what would happen if we cross referenced chronotypes with body types. So we did. I have a lot of people that come to my website and they are interested in taking the chronotype quiz.

So what we did was we took 5000 people from each one of those categories and we sent them the body type quiz, and all of a sudden we learned quite a bit. So as an example if you're a wolf, a night owl person, you're either going to have the medium body type, which is the mesomorph or for you can you have a greater likelihood of being a larger person an endomorph. And think about it. If you're a wolf, you don't like exercise, you're a high risk taker. You have a tendency to do unhealthy behaviours, kind of makes sense that they have a tendency to be a bit on the heavier side because they're not taking care of themselves that way we learned for lions who are go getters up at 5:30 and things like that. They have a tendency to be the long and lean people or the more athletic types, which kind of makes sense because those are the things that they're doing well. We were then able to identify how people felt their energy level was throughout the day. I see a lot of people, they'll do one thing in the morning, let's say exercise and hope that that's going to give them energy for the day, right. Or they'll eat their one good meal of the day and hope that it's going to or they'll have their sleep. Here's the thing, you've got to do them all in the right order in the right way and the good news is we figured it out.

Shea: Great and you've got to do it consistently to work?

Michael: Absolutely. You remember from our last talk consistency is the key to the program. So what we've done in my new book Energize: Go from dragging ass, to kicking it in 30 days. Yes, that is your title. I love that title. What we do is we help people identify their own energy level because you know, when you think about it, how often do you kind of check in on yourself. Take your energy if you will right, when you wake up in the morning, you say, do I feel good or do I feel bad? Right. And then that's kind of about it until you get at night and then you're like, oh I'm exhausted or hey, I'm wide awake. So we use something called an RPE which is a perceived rating of perceived exertion. So in the, in the physical literature and the exercise literature, one of the things that we do is we see how much perceived exertion a person has. So how hard is it to do something right? That really usually seems to dictate, how much energy do I have to do something like that. So in chapter one, we teach people how to create an energy score. So an energy score is five times a day and we have, you do it on your cell phone, you're just gonna get in there and on a scale of 1 to 5, low energy to high energy and you do it when you wake up, you do it mid morning, you do it after lunch, after dinner and then right before bed. We get you involved in this and doing this for a little while. So it becomes habitual and you start to actually know oh I've got higher energy at this time or lower energy at this time. Then we pull the switcheroo on you and we say now that you're monitoring this five times a day, we want you to use those times of day also for exercise. And we give you very specific exercises to do based on your chronotype.

So you ever noticed that even if you've worked out in the morning, had your cup of coffee, had a good meal and had gotten a good night's sleep, you still get lulls in the day in your energy. So what we do is, and that's partially because you get stuck doing one thing, sitting, standing computer, what have you. So what we wanted to do was our goal was consistent energy all day long, Okay, how the heck do you promise something like that? Right, now easy. So what we decided is the morning exercise is a stretch, right? So what you end up doing is stretching just because, look you've been in bed for a long period of time, you know you need to kind of move your muscles around. There are five stretches that you get to do and the next one is a shake okay and so interesting enough, it's very energetic to sit there and do this for a couple of minutes or to shake your legs, like you're just kind of like wow, I don't know if you've ever noticed um but like animals when they get attacked they will shake it off, right? And so that's kind of what we ask you to do is shake off that that quiescence. That feeling of slowing down, shake it off type when dogs have been sitting or lying down for any period, what do they do? They have a shake right. Then in the middle we do a bounce. So you actually jump up and down and bounce a little bit. Now I thought this was the stupidest idea ever doing it, They sound silly as hell. Okay I gotta be honest with you but all I did and so for bounce for me I was most comfortable with very light jumping jacks. Yeah which would count it, you do jumping jacks for four or five minutes you're awake, let me assure you of that. Right? Then after around dinner or after we have a build which means more of a muscle, more of like a push up or a sit up or something. That, again not to the point of sweating, just to the point of getting you activated, activating your musculature. Activating your skeletal system. Just keeping that energy flow. And here's my favourite one. Is the one before bed is balance.

Shea: Why, what's the correlation for that? 

Michael: So it's interesting. So for example if you do the tree pose like in yoga for balance, you can't think of anything else. It helps shut down that monkey mind that we're going on there. But it's also something that could be paired with some of your products on the aromatherapy side, right? So you can be doing your balance while using the aromatherapy products and then have also some of them in the bed with you as well. So we could incorporate all of the good stuff that you do with all the good stuff that we do.

Shea: Yeah. Perfect. Love it. Yes, absolutely. I love that idea of the balance and shutting down just for five minutes. This is exactly what people need because most people that we're talking to, they don't know how to do this, why they should do it. But it's so simple. These are the things it all comes back to, it's so simple and all of these things are free. Exactly.

Michael: And so that's the movement section. The sleep section is obviously based on your chronotype and now we have to also address nutrition. Now, I'm going to be honest with you, that's a big topic. Okay. I mean, you know, are you a vegetarian? Are you a vegan? Are you a keto, who the heck knows? So instead of actually making nutritional recommendations, as you can imagine, I wanted to talk about when you eat and so we've adopted and we feel that this is a reasonable adoption because the science tells us, so that intermittent fasting is a great way to maintain your energy level. So it's not about what you eat, although to be clear, it's not like if you need a pint of ice cream every night, every day. And it's about when you eat, what that window of feeding is because the fasting window actually helps propagate energy. Because what happens is you burn through your carbs and then you start burning fat. And when you're burning fat, it's pure energy. Carb energy can slow you down. Can make your listless. Things like that. It can give you a little bit of a spike, but it's like up and down. But when you're burning fat, that's the best fuel you can possibly have and fascinating for a period of time before that fat burning begins, turns out to be very advantageous.

Shea: Fantastic. And I love all of this because it's not complicated. And I love that you're not trying to change people's diet because everybody, as you said, is on any diet, we don't know what we're doing. It's all about the timing and incorporating those little bursts to get because, who doesn't want to feel energized. That's the goal.

Michael:  Exactly. Like if I turn to you and said, if I can take five minutes of your day five times a day and you can have consistent energy, would you do that for me? It will be like, yeah, I think I can handle that. Like it's just not that big a deal. So that's the goal, is to get people to get the book, try the program. The program is the book, but we've also got something extra. If people go to, you can buy the book there, but you get in line for our pre-ordered program. And our pre-order program is if you buy the book before it goes on sale, which you can do on amazon. Um what's cool about that is you get these seven videos from Stacey and I where we actually walk you through the book and teach you the science and teach you all the kind of fun stuff in a unique way. And that time, by the time you get the book, you'll be able to flip to it go exactly to what we call your power protocol and be off and running.

Shea: I love it. So the books coming out on 14 December. Um and if you go to and you pre-order, then you get the video program. And I just love because often we work in an office environment. Here there's 13 of us and I'm often encouraging everybody just to get up during the day and go outside, you know, just to get a little bit of Vitamin D, set the circadian rhythm, fresh air. B

Michael: And you can incorporate these things into that if you want to supercharge this, you do it outside. 

Shea: That's fantastic. And is there anything else? So what else is going on for you in terms of, you know, I love that you've kind of progressed from sleep into, because really what we talk about is that we want to get great sleep because we want to feel and look better. So this is what is this next step of bringing this energy movement into it and just getting on the track. And if people feel like so many people feel like this is all unattainable because they've got to make all these massive changes to their lifestyle. But it's really simple things that they can do. 

Michael: They don't, all they have to do is figure out what their chronotype is and then wake up and go to bed at their chronotypical bedtime, do these five minutes five times a day and fast when they're supposed to fast and eat when they're supposed to eat like that's it. Super simple, very straightforward. That's what we're kind of going for. And I like the fact that you identified that we're starting to see a transition at least in some of my work is historically it's always been sleep sleep sleep sleep sleep. And let's be fair you nailed it. Why do we sleep? To wake. Right we sleep to be up and to be with our families and to be with our loved ones and be with our career. You know whatever it is, activities that we want to do, but if you ain't got good sleep you're not doing any of that. And so that's really been you know the hallmark of what we've been looking at from a research standpoint. I actually also since we spoke came out with my own line of sleep supplements, I don't know if I told you about that. So you know there are a lot of people out there who have difficulty falling asleep and then they have difficulty staying asleep. So kind of your classic situation and what I did was I developed a supplement that can be taken in the middle of the night. I couldn't believe it but nobody out there had created a supplement of something that you can take in the middle of the night. Lots of stuff in the beginning of the night. But what happens when you wake up at three o'clock in the morning, you gotta get up at six and you can't get back to sleep, you're screwed unless you can have something that can help you get back to sleep fairly quickly and not give you a hangover the next day because that's the killer, right? You can't take melatonin in the middle of the night. That's a really dumb idea. 

So it's called sleep doctor PM and it's available on the internet, Amazon, all that kind of good stuff. But we've really found that there have been quite a few people who have really found what it was that they were looking for in terms of this relief from this in the middle of the night, difficulty sleeping with our ingredient profile and things like that. So it's been, it's been quite remarkable, just to be able to help people on that level with something that's 100% natural and able to really kind of ingested into their system, it's a spray and you put it under your tongue so you don't have to swallow a pill, right? And what's nice about it is it gets up and into your brain pretty quick because lingual as opposed to has to go down, spin around and come back up, you know, all that other stuff.

Shea: Yeah, I love that and you can ship to Australia as well through Amazon. So we will send, we'll put show notes on all of these details as well as that people can look at that because that is absolutely one of the biggest problems is for those people who wake up and there's so many thing you can't take. So that's fantastic. 

Michael: And you know, that's a big project that we've been working on that we were certainly excited about. And then I also have my own line of blue light blocking glasses. 

Shea: For somebody who doesn't know about blue blocking glasses. These are to be used in the lead up to bed if you're on devices etcetera etcetera.

Michael: Exactly. So these are what we call fit over. So you notice I wear reading glasses. So these will actually go over my reading glasses so I can still read a book, read a kindle if I want to. Now, they're not particularly attractive. They're not they're not for fashion. Let's put it that way. Yes, they're not for fashion or for function. I agree with the ones that you that you don't need to put over glasses are a little bit more stylish to be clear. Yeah, but we found that those have been something that people have been highly interested in. So you know, at the end of the day when we start looking around and trying to find tools that can be effective in helping people sleep. These are some of the things that I felt were missing out there.

Now to be clear, you guys have got aromatherapy covered, you guys do a great job with all of the different therapies that you guys have created. Sleep drops are awesome. I know that's one of your most popular products and it should be um and so you know, it's great to be able to work with people like you guys where it's complimentary, you know, well because let's be honest, there is no one solution to sleep because there's just too many different sleep people and sleep problems out there and so it's great to work together because of your level of quality and our level of academic resilience, it turns out to be a fun partnership.

Shea: Absolutely. Well, I'm so excited to have chatted to you today, it's always such a pleasure to find out what's happening and really excited about your new books. That's fantastic, congratulations. Um, I will certainly be putting one on pre-order once we get off this podcast.

Michael: Awesome. 

Shea: And for anybody who is really interested in marrying this and as we said, because it is really simple and you don't, there's not a lot you have to do, we're not asking you to make massive changes, but really understand your body type, your chronotype and then what is going to give you that energy throughout the day so that you feel great because when you feel great, you often you look great and then it really helps you with all aspects in life. So you know, that's such fantastic work that you've done and really excited about this next chapter for you. And as we said, everything will be listed in the show notes. And I look forward to giving you an update once I've received my copy and started the program.

Michael: All right, well I can't wait to hear. I'm sure you're going to be a raging success on this. Absolutely. But yeah, but I mean I think you'll really enjoy it and I thank you again for all of the support. I know we've known each other for years now and I certainly appreciate you guys, and all that you do in making sure that high quality sleep products are in the marketplace because let's be honest, there are so many people out there who don't care about quality, they don't care about effectiveness and that's not what you guys are all about. And so as the Sleep Doctor, I always feel confident when I can send people to your website and about your products.

Shea: Thank you so much and best of luck and we'll chat again soon.

Michael: You bet, sweet dreams.

Shea: Sweet dreams.