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  • Translator: Tanya Cushman Reviewer: Rhonda Jacobs

  • So it turns out

  • that's there a perfect time of day to do just about everything.

  • Kate came to see me for incurable insomnia.

  • It was pretty interesting.

  • It started out with an occasional night or two of having some difficulty sleeping.

  • So she did what a lot of people out there do:

  • she turned to a glass of wine.

  • She had one. Then she started having two.

  • Then she started having three - said this wasn't such a great idea.

  • So she went to over-the-counter sleep aids.

  • She tried several of those; they didn't work very well.

  • So then she went and sought professional medical help.

  • She talked to her doctor who gave her a prescription for a sleeping pill.

  • It actually worked - for about three months.

  • She came back, said, "It's not working."

  • He said, "Double the dose."

  • Okay? This is very common, by the way.

  • When that stopped working, he changed the prescription.

  • Same scenario: doubled the dose, stopped working.

  • Same scenario: doubled the dose, stopped working.

  • When she showed up in my office,

  • it was pretty interesting to me

  • because I had a lot of things I wanted to talk with her about.

  • One thing I learned:

  • during this period of time while she was doubling the dose,

  • this wasn't the only area that she was having issues.

  • She was having problems at home and having problems at work.

  • She wasn't getting along with her family.

  • Her work productivity had decreased greatly;

  • she was afraid she was about to get fired.

  • When she came to see me, she said, "Doctor Breus,

  • I don't think that I have a sleep problem."

  • She said, "I think I sleep at the wrong time."

  • I said, "What do you mean?"

  • She said, "If I could go to bed at 2 AM and wake up at 9 AM and then go to work,

  • my life would be great."

  • I said, "Well, why don't you do that?"

  • She said, "Well, I don't think my boss or my family

  • would be too on board with that.

  • I said, "Let's see if we can figure this out."

  • So I called her boss, with her permission,

  • and said, "I want to do something with Kate.

  • Would it be okay if she doesn't come in until 10, 10:30 in the morning?"

  • Surprisingly, her boss said, "Sure, no problem.

  • But by the way, I'm going to fire her at the end of the week."

  • (Laughter)

  • No pressure, right?

  • So I had five days to save Kate's sleep and her job.

  • So we decided to implement this schedule:

  • she went to bed at 2 - family was all on board -

  • got up at 9, went to work by 10, 10:30.

  • So I called her boss at the end of the week,

  • kind of cringing on the phone, hoping it was going to go well.

  • and he said, "I don't know what you did to her,

  • but her work product has improved 100%.

  • She doesn't fall asleep at meetings anymore.

  • She participates in everything.

  • This is fantastic."

  • Then he said, "Can you help me with some of my other employees?"

  • (Laughter)

  • So I was so excited; I went to call Kate, and her husband picked up the phone,

  • and he said, "I don't know what you did to my wife,

  • but I like her again."

  • I was like, "Oh my God, this is amazing."

  • I said, "Get Kate on the phone."

  • Kate hops on the phone. I say, "This is fantastic.

  • You got your job, you're doing better with your family."

  • She said, "I've started to notice some things.

  • When I get to work,

  • if I try to read detailed information at 9:00 AM or 10:00,

  • it doesn't go so well.

  • But at 2:00, I'm much better."

  • I said, "That's interesting."

  • She said, "I can't even eat breakfast. I have no appetite.

  • But 10:00 at night, I'm famished."

  • And then it dawned on me:

  • Kate had a specific type of chronotype.

  • She was a night owl.

  • You may not have heard the word "chronotype,"

  • but you've probably heard of "early birds" and "night owls."

  • When you look at the historic medical literature,

  • you'll find three chronotypes:

  • there's early birds,

  • there's people in the middle we call "hummingbirds,"

  • and there's people at night that we call "night owls."

  • Well, when I read the literature,

  • one of the things I noticed was insomnia really wasn't represented there.

  • And so I decided to create a new category.

  • I renamed them all, and I'd like to share them with you today.

  • The first, early birds, are replaced by what I call "lions."

  • Lions are my COOs of a company.

  • They are very Type A personalities.

  • By the way, they get up between 4:30 and 5:00 in the morning usually.

  • They're the ones who are sending emails constantly,

  • before you even - eyes have popped open.

  • They like to make a list every day,

  • and go from step one to step two to step three to step four -

  • very regimented thinkers.

  • But there's a problem with being a lion.

  • I know it sounds fantastic - all that - but they wake up up 4:30 AM.

  • Dinner and a movie is out for these people, right?

  • They can never make it socially.

  • But it's pretty interesting - about 15% of the population.

  • Next are the bears.

  • These represent the people in the middle.

  • Being a bear is the best.

  • Roughly 55% of the population.

  • Oh, by the way, these animals all have the same chronotypes,

  • so a lion's chronotype is actually early; their first kill is usually before dawn.

  • Bears get up with the sun, fall asleep when the moon comes out.

  • So they're more like all of the regular people in the world.

  • Bears, generally speaking, are extroverts.

  • They have a tendency to be very social people.

  • These are the folks that get work done.

  • It's fantastic; I love hanging out with bears.

  • They invite you to their home for dinner,

  • or they're buying drinks at the bar or something fun like that.

  • Great group of people to hang out with.

  • Definitely more of a societal glue, if you will.

  • Then we've got the wolves.

  • Wolves represent the night owls.

  • I'm fully going to admit right now,

  • I am a wolf.

  • Roughly 15% of the population,

  • these people have very interesting characteristics.

  • These are my artists, my actors, my authors, my musicians.

  • These are very creative people,

  • but oddly enough, introverted in many different ways.

  • They can make things look fantastic, but if they create a list during the day,

  • they go from step one to step twelve to step seven to step fourteen.

  • We have no idea what these people are doing, which is usually me.

  • And what we discovered over the course of time

  • is they're very loyal friends, very intelligent people,

  • but at the same time, everything is shifted later in the day.

  • Then we finally got a new category that I call "dolphins."

  • Believe it or not, dolphins sleep

  • with half their brain asleep and half their brain awake,

  • so they can be [sleeping] but still looking for predators.

  • I thought that was a good representation of my people who don't sleep so well.

  • Here's what's interesting about dolphins: they are just like lions,

  • but they've got so much anxiety that they really have a difficult time out there.

  • So they're very Type A personalities.

  • Oftentimes, they self-diagnose themselves as insomniacs.

  • Sometimes they have health issues; they're very health conscious, for sure,

  • but they've got just enough obsessive compulsive disorder in them

  • so they never quite finish a project, tinkering around at the last minute;

  • meanwhile, everybody that's watched them says, "Oh my gosh, your stuff is amazing."

  • Now, why would it be important to know what your chronotype is?

  • Here's where it gets fascinating.

  • So it turns out

  • that our hormones actually work on a very predictable schedule,

  • but our schedules are based on our chronotypes.

  • So somebody with a lion chronotype

  • will have a very different hormone schedule

  • than somebody with a wolf chronotype.

  • Let's think, just for a second, about Kate.

  • Turns out that Kate was a wolf.

  • Right? She wanted to go to bed at 2 and wake up at 9,

  • but she was living the life of a bear.

  • So she would go to work on a bear's schedule

  • with melatonin still pumping through her brain.

  • Of course she couldn't do well up there.

  • What's great about this is it's not just work.

  • There's so many different areas that we can actually apply your chronotype

  • and figure out the perfect time of day for you to do something.

  • I'll go through four different activities right now.

  • I'm going to do eating, caffeine, exercise and intimacy.

  • Don't worry, I save the best for last.

  • So let's talk about eating.

  • It turns out that when you want to digest food,

  • it's almost like Grand Central Station in your gut, right?

  • You got trains coming in from all directions,

  • and when it all moves smoothly, trains go in and trains go out.

  • But if you're not eating at the right time,

  • your digestive system isn't ready, and guess what happens?

  • Pile up of pounds.

  • So what I've done is I've created, actually, a schedule for people.

  • So once you figure out what your chronotype is,

  • it turns out if you eat within a 12-hour block,

  • you'll maintain your weight with almost any kind of diet.

  • In an eight-hour block, you'll actually start to lose weight.

  • Again, if you keep that block in your particular chronotype.

  • So I've listed them all up here for everybody to check out.

  • Next, let's talk about something else that we all kind of eat, kind of don't.

  • As a wolf, I'm not a big fan of breakfast,

  • but a lot of people out there are big fans of coffee, right?

  • Or caffeine.

  • Caffeine is the most abused substance in the world,

  • but what's fascinating about caffeine

  • is that lots of us use it to help wake us up in the morning.

  • Why? Because our schedules are out of sync

  • because we're not leading our chronotypical life.

  • So it's pretty interesting,

  • but when you look at how you wake up in the morning,

  • you need two hormones, cortisol and adrenaline,

  • to pull you out of a state of unconsciousness.

  • Well, if you compare cortisol and adrenaline to caffeine,

  • there's no comparison.

  • Cortisol and adrenaline are dramatically more powerful

  • to pull you out of that unconscious state.

  • So why on earth are so many people drinking caffeine in the morning?

  • Because they're not synced with their chronotype.

  • Their cortisol and adrenaline

  • isn't coming up when their body wants it too

  • because an alarm is going off, making them wake up at 6:00 AM.

  • So if you're going to use caffeine, believe it or not,

  • the best thing to do is to wait 90 minutes after you wake up -

  • nobody likes it when I say that part, just to let you know.

  • But that's okay.

  • Wait 90 minutes after you wake up,

  • when your cortisol level is slowly starting to dip,

  • and caffeine will actually catch it and help move it up

  • and give you that alertness that you're looking for.

  • Now, I'm not a big fan of using caffeine every day or many times a day,

  • but if you are, I've actually created a schedule based on your chronotype

  • of the best time to drink caffeine

  • for it to give you the most power for the punch.

  • Now, you'll notice up here that wolves only get one time per caffeine.

  • Because we're so awake at night anyway,

  • we certainly don't need to add caffeine to the mix.

  • Next, let's talk about exercise.

  • So I'm a runner, and I love to do cardio,

  • and we all know that when we do cardio, it's actually so very healthy for us.

  • Now, that doesn't mean we have to run a marathon.

  • But if we can just be active for 20 or 30 minutes each day,

  • it can have tremendous improvement.

  • Because when we don't,

  • we have a buildup of oxidative stress, lots of inflammation.

  • We're now learning inflammation really seems to be the root of all evil,

  • but the great news is,

  • it's all very reversible if we do our exercise.

  • But the best time to do exercise can turn out to give us different results.

  • Did you know that if you went for a run at one time of day, you could lose weight,

  • but at another time of day, you could perform better?

  • It's true.

  • So what I've done up here is I've created a schedule for folks -

  • and you can do any type of cardio, not just running, with this -

  • to look at what are the best times to do things.

  • I'll go through this really quickly since this is something a lot of us do.

  • Lions have a tendency to [run] at 5:30 in the morning.

  • Now, why?

  • Number one, they're up - not me, but they are -

  • and they actually do a really good job

  • because what will happen is they'll run on an empty stomach,

  • not a dehydrated stomach - let's be clear here, they hydrate -

  • but if you run on an empty stomach, you burn more fat.

  • And so for lions who might be concerned with that, running at 5:30 is a good idea.