Smart Athlete Podcast Ep. 123 - Dr. Amy Bender - SLEEP RECOVER REPEAT

A lot of athletes could use more sleep in general and improving the quality of their sleep as well is important. So, it’s not just about the duration, but also about the quality that can impact performance and you know, those kinds of things. So, it’s challenging. It’s challenging for any athlete.

AMY: [00:00:00] A lot of athletes could use more sleep in general and improving the quality of their sleep as well is important. So, it’s not just about the duration, but also about the quality that can impact performance and you know, those kinds of things. So, it’s challenging. It’s challenging for any athlete. And we do see in the research that athletes primarily don’t get as much sleep as the normal population. And there’s many things that go into that, including just the schedule itself, the erratic schedule, having to travel. Travel is also an element. The stress, the pressure, all of those things can play a role in athletes maybe not getting as much sleep or good quality sleep that they could be getting.

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JESSE: [00:01:43] Welcome to the Smart Athlete Podcast. I’m your host, Kermit the Frog. If you’ve been with me before, you know I sound a little bit different today. I messed up my allergy medication, so apologize for my voice. But I’m actually Jesse Funk and my guest today who is tolerating my weird voice, thanks so much to her. She is the Director of Clinical Sleep Science at Cerebra Medical and an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Kinesiology at the University of Calgary.

She received her PhD and Master of Science degrees in experimental psychology from Washington State University, specializing in sleep EEG. She’s helped develop the only validated sleep screening tool for athletes, and has implemented sleep optimization strategies for numerous Canadian, Olympic and professional teams. Her current interests focus on how to help people sleep better by improving sleep disorder treatments with more precise digital sleep metrics. She was a former college basketball athlete, which maybe we’ll get into that she did an Ironman 2009, so she’s got one on me, and currently chases her three young kids around. Welcome to the show, Dr. Amy Bender.

AMY: [00:02:49] Thank you for having me. I’m excited to be here.

JESSE: [00:02:52] Yeah, thanks for joining me. Like, I always say to every guest, I’m just excited to show up. You know, I always get, like, we were talking about before we were recording, I get a lot of value from everybody that shows up and can kind of share their story and the things that they’re interested in, the things that they’re working on. But you in particular, I’m excited to talk to because we’re like, taking it back a little bit for the show in that I haven’t talked to a primary researcher in quite some time. So, I’m excited to have you here, pick your brain a little bit.

But before we get too deep into that, I want to say as a Kansas City native, going back in your Instagram posts a little bit. Thank you for picking Mahomes for the Super Bowl. After talking about how much him and Tom Brady sleep, unfortunately, it seems like he didn’t sleep enough, or maybe the other guys didn’t sleep enough and things didn’t quite go our way this last year. So, my question now, I guess is, given that this season started kind of rough, do you think most of the guys need more sleep? Is that what’s going on or do we have other things we need to look at?

AMY: [00:04:05] Well, coming from the sleep scientists lens I think a lot of athletes could use more sleep in general and improving the quality of their sleep as well is important. So, it’s not just about the duration, but also about the quality that can impact performance and you know, those kinds of things. So, it’s challenging. It’s challenging for any athlete. And we do see in the research that athletes primarily don’t get as much sleep as the normal population. And there’s many things that go into that, including just the schedule itself, the erratic schedule, having to travel. Travel is also an element. The stress, the pressure, all of those things can play a role in athletes maybe not getting as much sleep or good quality sleep that they could be getting.

JESSE: [00:05:06] I definitely have my own kind of ragged history with poor sleep, especially in college. Excuse me. I kind of wonder if I can get your opinion on this, I guess. Sometimes I find myself, it could be just throughout the day or after, particularly after workouts, I’m tired but I’m not sleepy. Is that a common athlete thing where it’s like, physically, I’m drained. And my wife will ask me, “Well, are you sleepy?” Like, sure, she’ll think I want to go to bed. And I’m like, “No, I don’t know if I can fall asleep right now, but I’m exhausted.” Like, is that what basically lends to the athletes don’t get very good sleep, or maybe get less sleep than the average bear, I guess.

AMY: [00:05:53] That is definitely a factor, tired but wired. There’s so many, even just light exposure at night can alert your brain to wake up. So, if you have an evening game and evening training session that can play a role, some of the hormones that are released, stress, adrenaline, those kinds of things can also play a role. And there is recently a study in rugby players where they found that caffeine intake at an evening game, and I know a lot of even recreational athletes out there, use caffeine, a pre-workout prior to an evening training session. That can also play a role. And in that particular study, they found 20% of the athletes actually pulled an all nighter. All of them were using caffeine, even at halftime, and 20% actually ended up pulling an all nighter after those evening competitions.

Of course, there’s other factors involved like going out and drinking and those kinds of things. That can play a role. But caffeine is another one that kind of wakes your brain up and makes it more difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep. And so that’s why there’s a few strategies we can use to try and combat that. The first thing is having a good pre-sleep routine. So, having different rituals that you do no matter if you’re at home or on the road.

So, doing a relaxing activity before bedtime, taking a warm bath or shower, writing a to-do list, you know and really preparing your mind and your body for sleep. Instead of just trying to get ready for bed, hit the pillow and expect to fall asleep, really preparing your mind and body for sleep. And then utilizing some stress reduction strategies as well, potentially mindfulness techniques. Those kinds of things can help activate the parasympathetic nervous system, that relaxation system to help calm your mind a little bit.

JESSE: [00:08:08] Well, I want to back up to the caffeine a little bit because you mentioned even amateur athletes using caffeine like pre-workouts and stuff. I come from an endurance athlete background, running and then triathlon and now back to running. And it’s so so common, because it is shown to enhance endurance performance like it helps. I personally don’t really use caffeine. I guess my caffeine intake would be like if I eat some chocolate and there’s caffeine in that. But I don’t drink soda, I don’t take caffeine supplements to race or anything like that. This is not your area of expertise. But I am not on a warpath, but I’d like to start an informal petition to get rid of caffeine and sports. Would you join me or do you think it’s okay, we should leave it?

AMY: [00:09:07] I actually, as a postdoc, we had a debate. So, I was part of the kinesiology department at University of Calgary, and I’m still faculty and adjunct assistant professor there. And there was actually a debate like sleep versus caffeine for athletes and it was very, very interesting. And we both had good sides to the story. But I think it needs to be used more strategically, bottom line. I don’t think everyone should be using it. And there’s been research to support this actually, by one of my colleagues, Dr. Nanci Guest, and she did a study in athletes. I think it was quite a large number of athletes doing a cycling time trial. And they gave the athletes caffeine prior to this time trial. It was about an hour prior to the time trial. And they gave them varying doses.

But what they found was that those who were slow metabolizers of caffeine, so there’s different ways our bodies can metabolize caffeine based on genetics. And so there are slow metabolizers, there’s kind of medium metabolizers and then there’s fast metabolizers of caffeine. And they found in those slow metabolizers, there was actually 14% poor performance with these caffeine conditions, compared to no caffeine at all.

JESSE: [00:11:42] That’s interesting.

AMY: [00:11:43] Yeah. So, I don’t think everyone should be using it. I mean, more research definitely needs to be done. It could be that the slow metabolizers would then benefit two hours later, potentially, because it takes longer to metabolize. So, more research needs to be done. But I think kind of the blanket like, oh, caffeine helps everyone is just not true.

JESSE: [00:11:06] Yeah. We’ll try not to get too far down this rabbit hole, but it’s so prevalent in, I’ll say society, North American society I guess I’ll say. I can’t speak for the planet; soda coffee there’s — [crosstalk]

AMY: [00:11:23] Oh, 90% I think of people across the world drink caffeine.

JESSE: [00:11:29] Yeah, it’s like slogans in lifestyles, like I gotta have my cup of coffee to get started for the day. Like, if I don’t have my cup of coffee, I just am not going to be the — I see it with a bit of skepticism, I guess. And maybe it’s just me trying to be different in like a — [crosstalk]

AMY: [00:11:48] You must not be a coffee drinker. Okay.

JESSE: [00:11:52] I’ve tried coffee. People keep telling me it’s a taste you acquire. And I keep trying, and I go, why would I want to acquire this taste? So, I guess maybe I’ll give you a primer on my background. I stopped drinking soda when I was 12 and haven’t had a soda since, I’m now 32, because I want to be better at running. Now, this was probably misguided, but it’s what I did. So, that’s kind of like a little bit of the background or my like bend against caffeine, because I’m just like, you can do it without it.

You don’t necessarily have to have it. But also, I use it as a judge of like when we talk about like tiredness and sleepiness. I want to know how tired am I actually, not wired on caffeine. So, I have this false sense of like, everything’s fine. I want to know, no, I’m pretty darn tired today. Maybe I should back off a little bit and try to be a little more in tune with how my body’s feeling overall. Again, I can be entirely misguided. But that’s my best kind of my background, I guess I’ll say.

AMY: [00:13:08] No, I completely agree. Caffeine can mask sleepiness, it helps block some of those sleepiness neurotransmitters and stuff. So, it definitely can block and mask that. And so that’s exactly true. If you’re sleeping six hours a night or let’s see a poor sleep quality. It’s easy to just drink some caffeine, but in reality, that would probably be impacting you a lot different if you weren’t having that caffeine and it is a good cue, without the caffeine to know. Am I getting good sleep quality? Am I getting enough sleep? Am I sleeping during the right time? You know, so it is a good tool, and just to be able to drink it strategically not rely on it all the time.

For me personally, I actually, during graduate school, I was drinking a ton of caffeine, a ton of coffee. And it wasn’t until my youngest my third son was about six months old, where I’m like I’m going to see what happens when I go off of caffeine. Which six months, you know, maybe not be the best timing for that. But I went off of caffeine and I love the taste of it. I love the taste of coffee. So, I just kind of replaced it with decaf and it took a while, it took a couple weeks for this to get out of my system. I was very very tired. I would maybe supplement with a black tea if I was super tired and just gradually got off of it. And I just noticed such a huge improvement in my own sleep and my sleep quality and even just being less anxious from not having the caffeine.

So, for me, I drink decaf, primarily. I might have a green tea, I might have a black tea, I might have a single shot of regular espresso so I’m not totally anti-caffeine. But it is interesting and I think it’s worth people trying out coming off of it, to see how that could impact their sleep quality and just their overall well being.

JESSE: [00:15:33] Sometimes I wonder about, you know, I mentioned it’s so accepted that like, it’s fine, just have some caffeine, get started. Like, that’s how you just get your day going. I wonder sometimes, like our own kind of cognitive bias about like, an expect — the self-fulfilling prophecy, like an expectation that I will perform better if I take caffeine in this case. And therefore, I continue to do it, because I believe I’ll perform better. Regardless of whether I’ve actually figured out concretely that I do perform better. Like, you continue that behavior, just because you believe it’s the right thing, not necessarily because you have, like actual data or evidence to back up that assumption. I mean, that could go for anything, but just this in particular.

AMY: [00:16:26] I think there actually was a study done on that, and I might have posted on it a while ago, but they found that even just telling them it has caffeine when it really doesn’t actually improve their performance. So, there is a placebo element to all of this. And I think there’s been other studies to show that if you go into a coffee shop, and you smell the aroma, like that can help improve your alertness as well. So, yeah, there is an element of placebo and just your expectation of this helping you.

JESSE: [00:17:02] Right. I guess, being the owner of a business that sells products directly to consumers, you know, I get that direct consumer feedback on stuff sometimes or see reviews, and whatever. And it’s just the way particular people, including myself, I’m sure, think about things. It’s like, it’s not always consistent. It’s like I said we have those expectations then we go, it didn’t meet those expectations or whatever it is. The long and short is, people are weird and interesting. And I always wonder how being only me, I am nobody else, how do other people navigate the world and see things and perceive things and make certain choices and all that. So, I’m getting into the reason I was — One of my majors was psychology for undergrad.

AMY: [00:18:00] Well, I have one thought on that too. I’m very interested in kind of the messages we tell ourselves about sleep, even before bedtime. There was research showing that kind of relaxing words, played before bedtime, actually improved sleep quality, and they might have actually done it during the night as well. And so that is very interesting to me as well. Like, for example, if I know I’m only going to get six and a half hours or six hours of sleep, you know, I got some work responsibilities, go to bed late, know I have to get up at a certain time. What if I tell myself kind of self-affirming message that all right, I’m going to get good quality sleep tonight. This is going to — I’m just going to do really well for my sleep and you know, those kind of messages, I wonder if it could potentially positively impact performance the next day. So, that is a really interesting thing I think we need more research on.

JESSE: [00:19:08] Well thinking about, like self-talk and before sleep, it makes me think about pre race sleep or pre performance sleep. I think you’ve done some work on that. And you’re talking about, I’ll call them positive affirmations just as a lumped group here, but clearly a little bit more than just that. I have the tendency to go the complete opposite direction and be like, oh, I’m not going to get enough sleep and there’s all this negative self-talk if it’s, especially when I was racing triathlon. I mean, you did an Ironman, you know those things start pretty early. Which means if you go to bed, you’re probably up at three or four in the morning to get to the race venue. And I did this, I was trying to be a professional so I did this frequently. I went out to race frequently, traveled, had to sleep in an unfamiliar place, got to be up early, like all the things.

And I had such difficulty post-college getting used to this kind of new routine that I found the best times, which was hard to do, I found the best times that I slept was when I decided I didn’t care what happened the next day. That whether I slept poorly or I slept great, I don’t care. And then I would go to sleep. But if I was worried about how much I was going to sleep, then I would basically be up half the night not sleeping because I’m so worried about trying to figure out how to sleep. So, how do — I actually have a race tomorrow, so this is a question. So, how do I trick myself consistently to know, hey, it’s going to be, like, I’m going to have the best sleep ever tonight so that I can race well the next day?

AMY: [00:20:55] So, I have a strategy for that. It’s called banking sleep into that competition. Now, this is a little late for your race tomorrow. But this is a strategy that is very, very useful for athletes, and it’s trying to get more sleep leading into an important competition. And so this could be going to bed a little bit earlier, sleeping in a little bit later, or even taking naps in the week to two weeks prior to this competition. There’s been a lot of research showing that if you can bank sleep it helps with reaction time, it helps with mood, it helps with sprints, sprint timing, and stuff like that.

So, this is a really great strategy for people to use, and it usually coincides with a big event. Your tapering as well, so there’s a bit more opportunity for sleep. And so I think people should know that if you can bank sleep, get more sleep leading into this, you’re going to perform better during that actual competition. And a poor night’s sleep right before the competition is not going to impact you if you have this banked sleep to work with.

JESSE: [00:22:12] Right. And that’s kind of what I thought you might say, which is unfortunate, because I’ve slept really poorly the last few nights because of my issues with this medication that’s given me the sore throat, and then it keeps waking me up because it’s painful to swallow. It’s been a whole deal. But I know yeah, I just — I mean, I’ve been racing for 20 years now. So, I know that it doesn’t matter whether I sleep well or don’t sleep well the night before a race, it could be anything. Now fortunately, I’ll call tomorrow, like a throwaway race. It’s going to be my first 10K back. We’re just going out to do it and see what happens. So, there’s no pressure in if I don’t feel up to it in the morning, I’ll just not go, like if my throat really felt bad or something. So, I’m not too terribly worried, fortunately.

But I can take your advice moving forward as we get closer to some more important ones. And remember, okay, get plenty of sleep the days leading up to it. But the banking thing is interesting because I always thought — I mean, I know people kind of talk about it, but it doesn’t really seem intuitive to me, it just seems like you got to get your sleep in each cycle, that you wouldn’t actually be able to do that. Can you speak, any, about what mechanisms are at play? Or how that might actually work, I guess, physiologically speaking?

AMY: [00:23:44] Well, it kind of depends on the way you frame it. And a number of scientists, they’re like you can’t bank sleep. However the research is pretty clear. But the way they may be thinking about it could be that this banking sleep is paying off the sleep debt that has already been accrued. And so it’s either like, it’s the same thing. You’re either paying off the sleep debt, you’re getting extra sleep to pay off a bit of that sleep debt, or you’re just getting more than what you normally need. And so I feel like it’s the same thing. As far as the mechanism goes, that’s a very interesting question. I’m not sure that I would know why it would be doing this. I mean, with sleep debt, we may have some kind of leftover adenosine in the brain.

So, adenosine is a byproduct of ATP. And as the day goes on, the more adenosine accumulates in the brain, which caffeine blocks adenosine and then when you sleep, it actually reduces that adenosine buildup. So, it could potentially have to do with just kind of paying off more of that adenosine buildup, which then helps you perform better, that might be the reason. But I think, yeah, we definitely need more research on that.

JESSE: [00:25:20] Okay. And I don’t know enough to follow up with that, so we’ll try to move on to an adjacent topic. So, this is a habit I started a number of years ago. And I also realized that it comes from a place of privilege because I run my own show, and I could do this, but I haven’t used an alarm clock in years. Excuse me. I just wake up whenever I wake up, and try to take sleep from that place, especially as I mentioned, like in college, there was one of the years, my sophomore year, I think, I was sleeping like four hours a night. It was terrible. I was injured all the time, I was stressed out. And I come from that place and then like the following year, it was like 11 hours a day just trying to catch up for all that. It was terrible. And you know, there’s the stress of got to wake up for classes and do the workouts and all that kind of stuff.

So, sometimes it’s just a personal bend going, I don’t have to wake up with an alarm clock so I won’t. But I know that recently you’ve been posting about trying to get rid of daylight savings time, if I understand correctly, where you live. I think there’s maybe a ballot measure coming up or you’re trying to get a ballot measure added or something like that. I’m a fan because I think daylight savings time is dumb. But what are some better arguments than me just going that’s dumb, because that’s not going to convince people. Well, I mean, why should we do this? Because are we trying to get everybody on a schedule like me where I wake up with the sun? Or are there other merits to just sticking to just one time schedule?

AMY: [00:27:10] Yeah, yeah. So, there is kind of debate here in Alberta, we had a referendum to say yes to permanent daylight saving time, versus changing the clocks. And the way it was worded. It was, do you want permanent summer hours? Like who’s going to vote no, against summer? [crosstalk] Yeah. So, there was no option to keep or to have permanent Standard Time which is the best for our biology. Because if you have sun, earlier in the morning, you’re going to have less social jetlag. So, social jetlag is kind of the mismatch between our weekday schedule and our weekend schedule, or our work days and our free days, and can lead to a lot of health issues. And so that’s why it’s really important to have that sun in the morning.

And there are places in Alberta, where if we were on permanent daylight saving time, the sun wouldn’t rise until 10:30 in the morning, in the winter. So, this is — it’s just so bad for our health to not have those cues that wake our brain up. If you look at the difference between outdoor light and indoor light, there’s a huge difference. And so for me, even in my own office, I have — my light levels are about 100 lux, and when you go outside on a cloudy day it could be as much as a thousand times brighter outside. So actually, let me take that back. On a sunny day, it could be that much brighter.

So, outdoor light, light from the clock, it helps regulate our circadian rhythms and helps set our rhythms for the day, it helps regulate our sleep schedule. And so that’s why it’s important to advocate for permanent Standard Time. And the lesser of the two evils, in this case, was to vote no against daylight saving time and keep the current switching clocks back and forth, which is not good for us either. But in this case, it was kind of the best option. So, yeah, light in the morning is really important to set our circadian rhythms, to reduce that melatonin that’s happened overnight, and then to help us sleep better. Have us have better sleep quality at night too.

JESSE: [00:29:53] So, like most of my questions, this will be somewhat meandering, and I apologize in advance. When I think about our circadian rhythm and how light affects us and the movement of the — well, I’ll say the movement of the sun, that’s not strictly speaking true, but how we move around the sun, how it affects different parts of the planet, and then how it affects us, I think about our place in nature, I guess, if I want to get like a little existential. And just like we seem, in many ways, especially when you go into a city where nightlife is a thing, we seem to almost like fight against the kind of natural rhythm of day and night.

And we build lights and we light up streets, and we light up our homes, and we do all of these things so that we have the ability to do more when the sun isn’t out. And I think I can imagine at least the character of somebody kind of saying, well, I’m strong enough to overcome my own circadian rhythm. And I can — if that’s what it takes to be successful, I can do that. And so, I wonder, which — Maybe this is a false dichotomy, but which bend is accurate? You know, should we be able to say, okay, this is the society we live in, therefore we need to adapt to it, or do we try to make the society adapt to what would be deemed, I’ll call like, our natural rhythm to life on this particular planet?

AMY: [00:31:49] That’s a great question. I think, if we look at school start times, for example, we’ve tried starting schools, early 07:00 AM, for our adolescents, 07:30. And we find that if we can make those schools start times later, that it’s more in line with the teenager’s biology, they have better grades, they have less car accidents on the way to school, they have better mood, less mental health issues. So, I think we’ve tried adapting and it’s not working. And so now we’re discovering that if we can be more in line with our biology that, that’s a good thing.

And another thing that comes to mind was a camping study that they did. I think it was at University of Colorado, maybe Boulder, and they took people camping. They looked at their circadian rhythms before they went on the trip. And then they did kind of a few night backpacking trip, where they had no access to external light. Like there were no headlamps or anything, it was all campfire. And their sleep dramatically improved, their circadian rhythms were shifted more to an earlier time. So, that’s evidence right there too that if we can follow more in line with our biology, I think we’re going to be better off.

JESSE: [00:33:24] I mean, should we take that to an extreme and just say once the sun goes down, it’s only candlelight in the house? Or do we like —

AMY: [00:33:33] No, I think we can make adjustments to the color of the light so that we are most sensitive to blue light, which all of our like, our overhead lights, with the LEDs in particular, are going to have some of that blue light spectrum. And so it’s more about can we change that color to more of the orange, red, those kind of things that our circadian rhythms aren’t sensitive to. And even having blue light blocking glasses is a strategy. So, for me, if I’m working late, I’ll wear orange colored glasses to help block out some of that blue light. And studies have shown that that’s been helpful at kind of preserving our melatonin and not having that light impact us as much so there are different strategies. I don’t think you need to go to the extreme by having candlelight, although maybe it’ll help.

JESSE: [00:34:33] I always kind of play devil’s advocate or whatever just because I think sometimes he gives interesting answers. Because I think I know it at some point, like somebody is going to take whatever idea and like, well, let’s take it to the extreme. So, I just go ahead and do that. Since you’re here and I can ask you before — I think we were talking before, I always like to ask researchers about the, I’ll say lack of truthfulness, but maybe I’ll say twisting of like study results into pop culture. I had mentioned this like chocolate for breakfast study because I saw chocolate and I was like I’m in. That’s that pop culture mentality, I’m doing it even though I’m like, don’t do that. And you were talking about, I think, a study you had done regarding napping, and it had been misconstrued in some way. Can you talk a little bit about that?

AMY: [00:35:39] Sure. Yeah, it wasn’t a particular study I was doing. But it was a study that came out that found napping is bad, it doesn’t help your performance, it’s not a good thing, and the media kind of ran away with it. And even I was kind of like, oh, really? I’m going to look into this a little more because I don’t believe this. And so I looked into the study a bit more. And what they had done was, they had had a 30-minute opportunity during the night, or a 60 minute opportunity during the night, sleep opportunity. And that was all the sleep they got.

And they looked at their performance when they got a normal amount of sleep versus this kind of napping condition, and found that the naps didn’t help improve performance. And it’s just obvious, like you can’t substitute seven hours of sleep at night with a 30 minute nap, you know? And naps are typically defined as daytime sleep. So, that was another thing where I’m like, this doesn’t make — This is not and I wouldn’t consider this a nap. This is a short period during the night. So, they ran away with that.

And in reality, naps are a very good thing and an important strategy for athletes in particular. Because there may be situations like if I’m working with a swimmer, and they have to get up early, just as a function of the pool times that are available, the nap can help supplement some of that nighttime sleep that was lost. And so a lot of times I’ll hear — I don’t want to throw strength and conditioning coaches under the bus. But I’ve gotten in to a couple of Twitter wars with them, saying that their athletes are lazy because they can’t get to bed on time to get up for this early morning training.

And in reality, it’s just a mismatch with their biology. Their melatonin isn’t being produced at 7:00 PM at night. And so, yeah, there’s a bit of element of that. So, I think naps can be very, very useful. And it doesn’t even have to be a large nap opportunity. It could even be 10 to 15 minutes. So, in the time it takes you to grab a Starbucks coffee, you could be napping and performing better. There was actually a study to show that head-to-head that naps were better for performance versus caffeine. So, yeah, I think we should be promoting naps, especially for athletes.

JESSE: [00:38:27] So, I want to back up just to clarify. So, the way you describe that study, it’s so new, more like a study on sleep deprivation than a study about napping.

AMY: [00:39:39] Oh, absolutely.

JESSE: [00:39:40] So, basically they were saying your only opportunity to sleep all night is either 30 or 60 minutes, and then we’ll see how you perform. Is that an accurate representation of what they did?

AMY: [00:39:52] Yes.

JESSE: [00:39Y:53] Yeah, that’s a poorly designed study.

AMY: [00:38:56] Yeah, I’m not sure. And I was trying to see if I could find the actual — Maybe we can put a link in the show notes.

JESSE: [00:39:04] Yeah. I mean, yeah, if you send it to me, we’ll definitely put it in the show notes and everybody can take a look at it themselves.

AMY: [00:39:10] Oh, here. Yeah, let me see. Oh, it’s called slow wave sleep during a brief nap is related to reduced cognitive deficits during sleep deprivation. So, yeah, was related to sleep deprivation, like you mentioned. But, of course, like a 30-minute nap trying to replace seven hours of sleep is not going to give you what you need.

JESSE: [00:39:32] Right. I would think like if, and I mean, it seems like the author’s themselves, again, getting misconstrued. That’s why I like to talk about it because it’s like, the media will run away with something like, it could be one person. It could be one journalist that puts this headline, and it gets a bunch of press and then everybody else just picks the headline and spins it and puts it in their own publication. And then you go look at the source material like, it’s a sleep deprivation set. It’s not about naps. I would think if we wanted to know about naps, it would be something closer to like, you have to control for subjects got seven to eight hours of sleep consistently over two weeks. One group was also allowed a 30 minute nap during the day and the other wasn’t. So, that everybody’s getting their normal sleep, whatever that requirement is, and then also extra, which is what I would consider a nap.

AMY: [00:40:26] Yeah. And there’s been studies that have done that. And even if you’re getting a normal amount of sleep at night, an added 10 minute nap is going to be beneficial for you because it’s going to lead to boosts in mood, boost in alertness, those kinds of things. And so, yeah, that’s why I like napping, even if I did get seven and a half hours asleep last night.

JESSE: [00:40:52] Yeah, yeah. Amy, before we run out of time, I have a question for you I ask every single guest. Each year I have a different question, but this year’s question is, how do we stay motivated after failing to reach a goal, maybe like getting enough sleep?

AMY: [00:41:10] Yeah. I mean, the way I look at failure is one of my favorite quotes is failure is success if you learn from it. So, I think that there’s ways to learn from our failures. So, for example, I guess if you take a sleep goal as an example, maybe you were aiming to get seven and a half hours of sleep per night, we didn’t actually maybe talk about, we want to aim between seven and nine hours of sleep per night, probably more on the lower like seven and a half, maybe the sweet spot. So, let’s say you had a goal this week to get seven and a half hours of sleep per night, but it just was not happening and you didn’t meet that goal, like you can evaluate what went wrong along the way and try to improve those areas.

So, it could be something like I watched Netflix and just kept going and going and going or I got into a rabbit hole on Instagram. So, having something to mitigate that. So, for example, a bedtime alarm, which you set every night an hour before bedtime. And that’s kind of a cue for you. Okay, I got to put away the electronic devices. I got to start preparing for bed. So, that could be something you could do to help in that failure.

JESSE: [00:42:45] That’s a good answer. Amy, if people want to see the research, catch up with you, any of that kind of stuff, where can they find all that?

AMY: [00:42:53] So, I’m at Sleep4Sport, the number four on Twitter and Instagram. I also have a website I’m still kind of working on that so it’s not — like it’s up, you can go to it. But I’m still working on creating content for that. So, people can catch me at those spots.

JESSE: [00:43:12] Thanks for hanging out with me today.

AMY: [00:43:15] Thanks for having me. It’s been great.

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