Teddy Bross ultramarathon sleep deprivation

Dr. Teddy Bross: Preparing For Sleep Deprivation In Ultramarathons

About this episode:

In this week’s episode, Hillary Allen interviews Dr. Teddy Bross, MD. They go in-depth about why more sleep is so important for athletes, sleep deprivation and its consequences, and discuss the sleep deprivation that comes with distances and races that take you through the night or multiple nights.

Episode Highlights:

  • One small change to your sleep can be key
  • Does practicing sleep deprivation make you better?
  • Why get the 9+ hours of sleep recommended for athletes
  • 10-20 minute nap windows and why they work

Guest Bio – Dr. Teddy Bross, MD:

Teddy is a third-year Family Medicine Resident who specializes in sports, wilderness, and integrated medicine.  On top of being a physician, he also has ten 100 mile finishes including Leadville, Western States, and a 24-hour treadmill challenge where he completed 107.7 miles. 

Read More About Teddy Bross:

Website: https://www.centura.org/Education-and-Training/Residencies-and-Internships/St-Anthony-Family-Medicine-Residency/Residents

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/run.doctor.racing/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/run.doctor

Listen to the episode on Apple PodcastsSpotifyStitcherGoogle Podcasts, or on your favorite podcast platform

This Week’s Sponsor:

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This episode of the TrainRight Podcast is brought to you by the CTS TrainRight Membership. The TrainRight Membership helps you get the most out of your limited training time so you can improve your performance and achieve your athletic goals. 

With the membership, you get access to science-based training plans, an 800+ workout library, an app to track your progress, and advice from professional coaches in a private forum.
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Episode Transcription:

Please note that this is an automated transcription and may contain errors. Please refer to the episode audio for clarification.

Hillary Allen (00:00:00):

Hi, and welcome to the train right podcast. Today’s guest. We have Dr. Teddy bras, Dr. Teddy Ross is a third year family medicine resident with training focused on sports wilderness and integrative medicine. He, he is a licensed physician in Colorado and holds certifications for advanced wilderness life support, CrossFit and American Institute for avalanche research and education. Teddy competes in endurance events from the marathon to the a hundred mile distance. He has 10, 100 mile finishes, including races, such as Leadville 100 in Western States, 100 as well as running 107.7 miles on the treadmill in 24 hours. Ouch. Teddy currently resides in Boulder, Colorado, where he cooks vegetarian food practices, medicine, and enjoys the camaraderie of the local trail running community. Hi Teddy. Thanks for being here today.

Teddy Bross (00:00:53):

Hey, thanks for having me on Hillary, your honor. And I’m really excited to be here.

Hillary Allen (00:00:57):

So, um, yeah. Thanks for enduring the, uh, you know, listening to your bio. Um, so many things I want to talk to you about, but we’ve, uh, we’ve, uh, you know, I, we have a fellow love of science. I can talk to you, all things, science, like talk your ear off. Um, but we wanted to, we kind of discussed a lot of topics we want to talk about, but today we want to focus on sleep. Um, so I always think it’s really interesting, especially in ultras, um, kind of this management of sleep, like there’s a ton of races that not only they start at like 6:00 PM, like I want to do UTM one day and it starts at 6:00 PM and it’s like, okay, well, how do I approach that from a training perspective? Um, like in my, you know, in, from a racing from a like race day perspective, but also like in my day to day, you know, training life. Um, and so you’ve had, we’ll get into this a little bit later. You’ve had some incredible, um, experiences with like sleep deprivation, like during your own, uh, ultra endurance events. Um, but yeah, like, so basically sleep. Can you, like, why is it so important? Why do we care about it? Um, obviously specifically in, you know, in day-to-day life, but also in running?

Teddy Bross (00:02:13):

Yeah. Um, excellent questions. And I think just starting off, um, just deciding kind of why sleep is important is, is a huge deal in something that, um, we’re kind of seeing, um, finally turned the corner, especially among athletes, um, particularly like professional and elite athletes, um, placing more of an emphasis on sleep. Um, I think that the rest of the population is probably still catching up to that. Um, you know, around like two thirds of adult, um, Americans, uh, don’t get the standard, you know, eight hours of sleep a day. Um, and what we know is that athletes need even more sleep than that. So, um, yeah, recommended, um, for like elite and professional athletes is around nine hours of sleep and that’s recommended like the NCAA Olympic, um, the Federation and, um, you know, for the most part, like why do we sleep? I think that people, um, tend to, um, in research, we always want to find like one specific, um, cause or one specific reason why we do something.

Teddy Bross (00:03:15):

And I think that, um, when we spend something we spend about a third of our life actually doing, um, it’s not going to have just one, uh, only one reason why we sleep and, uh, coming from that perspective, uh, there’s so many reasons why you should sleep. Um, you know, and we can break it down into kind of a acute reasons, um, being like if you get one night of bad sleep versus a one night of good sleep, um, and chronic reasons. So over the longterm, um, you know, when you’re chronically sleep deprived, we’re seeing higher rates of cancer, higher rates of all the timers disease and higher rates of heart attacks is, uh, you know, three of the top 10 major causes of death, um, you know, in the, in the world. Um, we also know that, uh, just on an acute level, um, if you get a single night of sleep deprivation, um, your body doesn’t regulate sugar as well. Um, your perceived exertion is much higher. Um, your ability to tolerate pain is actually much lower. Um, and, um, so these are all like small little reasons why sleep is important. Um, but, uh, really just, um, you know, kind of on the broad scheme, um, when we get good sleep, um, we are optimizing our bodies, um, from a mental performance standpoint, as well as from a physical performance standpoint.

Hillary Allen (00:04:33):

Man, see, this is like, I mean, I knew this just because of, you know, how much, how much I exercise and how much, um, I think sleep, uh, plays a role just in my personal life. Like, I feel like I’m on my own. I’m always thinking about it from a scientific perspective. Like I’m my own science experiment. And so like, I know if I don’t get a very restful night of sleep and I have a workout the next day, like honestly, sometimes I’m just like, well, you know, I’m going to push this back because I know I’m not really going to get that much out of it. Or, you know, if I, if an, if I go on a run, I can feel you say, um, like that’s really interesting about the, your ability to regulate pain, because I mean, let’s be real, like in an interval, like it’s ability to withstand pain and like that uncomfortable feeling and push through it.

Hillary Allen (00:05:15):

So if you’re unable to regulate that you just kind of feel like crap. And then as far as, um, I feel like I have a higher, sometimes a higher heart rate, right. Like I just feel like I’m not, I’m not quite as recovered. And so, I mean, I’m a coach. And so I say that to my athletes all the time. It’s like, if you don’t get a good enough sleep, um, you know, push, push the things back, like I would prioritize getting good sleep rather than, you know, that run at 5:00 AM before you have a flight that day or something like this. Like, and I mean, as far as with, with athletes, like, um, why, why do we need more? Like you said, nine plus

Teddy Bross (00:05:52):

Nine plus. Yeah. I think it’s like nine hours and 15 minutes is the recommendation. Oh

Hillary Allen (00:05:58):

My gosh. See, I get like eight, which I mean, I mean, I like, it’s really good. That’s more than most, but I mean, I definitely prioritize that. Like for instance, like this morning we went for a run today before we were doing our podcast and like, I’m, uh, I like, you know, I like to get up early and like do some things and kind of like wake up before I go running. But I mean, if I’m going to do that, you know, we were running today at six 30, then I’m up at five or five 30. So that means I go to bed at like nine. Yeah. I mean, I always joke that I’m a grandma, but Hey, it’s like what I do.

Teddy Bross (00:06:30):

That’s really great though. And in your prioritizing it, you know, um, and I think that from the athlete standpoint, that’s something that, um, like I said, we are seeing a little bit more of we’re seeing athletes prioritize, uh, prioritize, sleep a little bit more. Um, but, um, you know, why, you know, why should athletes do that? Why should athletes kind of prioritize sleep a little bit more? Um, I think that we’re getting more information on that. Um, you know, there’s a study done that looked at the correlation between, um, athletes who sustained, um, bouts of depression, um, and, um, uh, how much sleep they were getting. And the optimal was at least seven and a half. Um, we’re recommending you get nine. Um, and what we know is that, um, there was a study done where athletes, um, increased their sleep, um, by 30 minute intervals up to the maximum of about 10 hours, um, per night and performance continued to improve across the entire spectrum.

Teddy Bross (00:07:23):

So if you can improve your increase, the duration of sleep by even as little as 30 minutes, you’re probably giving yourself a little bit of a performance advantage. Um, you know, w with sports, uh, we’re seeing, um, you know, races one within a matter of seconds or it, depending on the distance, less than a second, um, and tens of seconds. And so, um, those small little performance advantages can be, um, what make or break a race for you? Um, you know, uh, like just on the, the acute, um, you know, kind of looking at it again, like acute versus, um, more long-term or chronic. Um, you know, when we look at it, the acute, um, short, uh, one night of sleep deprivation, when you get one night, um, it, um, it does have effects on you. Um, and, uh, but your body is able to compensate a little bit for that.

Teddy Bross (00:08:13):

Um, what we know is that, uh, you as a coach recommending that your athletes, if you’re not getting good sleep preemptively, um, do not do a hard workout that day, um, is really good because actually our brains are not fantastic at, um, letting us know that our performance is worse. Um, and so if we’re not using objective measures, things like looking at our heart rate, um, or looking at our, our, our split times, um, if we’re not doing that on a consistent basis during that workout, we won’t even realize that we’re running slower or that our heart rates higher. Um, we’ll just feel worse and think that we’re just actually performing, um, baster or running harder, you know? Um, so your brain doesn’t really look at it and say, um, you know, Oh, I’m reading heavier here, uh, because I’m a little bit sleep deprived and I’m having to work harder.

Teddy Bross (00:09:06):

Um, your brain actually twist that a little bit and says, well, you’re actually running faster than you think that you are. Um, and so you, you, you, it’s a little bit of a twist and your, your brain does this kind of weird game with you. Um, now in the long-term, if you’re chronically sleep deprived, um, you know, from an athlete’s perspective, um, you know, uh, overnight is when we produce something that’s called growth hormone. Um, growth hormone is produced within the first, like 90 minutes to about two hours of sleep onset. Um, and that release is really, um, it’s really due to the onset of melatonin. Um, so it’s really timed based off of your normal circadian rhythm. So if there’s a night when you stay up late, um, you know, you’re out with friends or something like that, usually you’re imbibing beverages that are also not going to be great for your performance the next day.

Teddy Bross (00:10:00):

Um, those short sleep, um, sleep deprivation periods, um, they tend to also come with, um, that you, you prevent that release of growth hormone. You miss out on a lot of that period when growth hormone is released, if it becomes something that’s chronic growth hormone is something that, um, it works on fat metabolism. It works on building muscle, um, protein, utilization, and optimization. Um, and so, uh, that’s something that’s really important for athletes. And so you want to get as much of that as you possibly can. That’s really why having a, um, a consistent, um, bedtime is really important for athletes. Um, and we normally say having a consistent wake time is important as well. That’s also mainly because your body kind of times your circadian rhythm based off of your wake time every day. And if you can make that routine, that’s where need to get the best quality sleep that’s when your body’s hormones are going to be, um, kind of most optimal, um, and been consistent, um, from a, an also from a mental perspective, um, when we see people chronically sleep deprived, uh, your cognitive functioning just isn’t, um, kind of optimized.

Teddy Bross (00:11:13):

Um, and so what we were talking about before with, um, you know, having a higher perceived, um, effort having a, um, a lower threshold for pain over the long-term, you’re just not going to be accumulating the same kind of gains in your, in your training, in your workouts that you probably could be.

Hillary Allen (00:11:29):

Yeah. I mean, this is all really good information. I’ve heard, I’ve heard about this as like, um, uh, kind of sleep hygiene, like having a routine. And I mean, I love that, like, having, like, having a, kind of a bedtime routine to kind of relax you, if you have trouble, like calming down, like my mind’s always going, um, um, whether that’s like, for me, it’s like T um, but again, it’s like, even this is sometimes like, I’m not, if I stay up super late, like with friends or, you know, cause life is all about balance. It’s like, I can’t, you know, always, always be in the end bed at the same time, every single night, especially like on a Friday night. But I do, I do notice that even if I go to bed later, I still wake up at the same time. So it’s like, I try to be to be like, okay, like stay in bed a little bit longer.

Hillary Allen (00:12:11):

And like, on those days where I know if I’m going to bed later, I try to still get the same amount of sleep. But I mean, it’s part of that kind of, like you said, that teaching your body that routine, um, it, it definitely learns it. I mean, but so, I mean, I want to shift too, because you mentioned a lot of good things about races and, um, I always get this question when, um, there’s athletes that I’m coaching for a certain event where they start running through the night. So they like, for instance, do you TMB like a ton of European races? Like lava, Laredo, all of them, they start like a little elaborate, I’ll start at 11:00 PM. And you TMB starts at 6:00 PM on a Friday. So you start the night. I mean, there’s, I mean, even like racism in the United States, like run rabbit run, you start at like noon.

Hillary Allen (00:12:57):

So you’re still running into the night, like pretty, pretty soon into the race. And, um, you know, if you’re, if you think about it, it’s like, you know, if you’re finishing in 20, well, you know, 24 hours, or like, even if you’re not for a race, like you TMB, like you’re usually missing two nights of sleep. Um, and so athletes asked me to like, okay, so how do I prepare for this? And they’re like, do I need to run overnight? And honestly, my opinion, and this might not be correct. This is obviously like this, this is my opinion from my, like, you know, my quote unquote athletes that I’ve experimented on or myself, I’m sorry guys, for, I coach it’s out of like the like love and, you know, I care about you. Um, I’m not trying to like, you know, ruin your performances, but I honestly argue that it’s better.

Hillary Allen (00:13:41):

Like, here’s what I ask them to practice, like practice running into sunset, like start the run. It may be 8:00 PM. And did the like 11, like run when the sun is going down, but I hardly ever recommend any athlete to run like consistently through the night, because I think that the benefits of that maybe, I mean, it’s certainly psychological, like the confidence be like, Oh, sweet. I did that. I can run the night. I can do it. But I think that is definitely a benefit, but the physical, the physical kind of, um, negatives that it brings, I think far outweigh any sort of psychological benefit that you can gain from it. And on race day, like you’re going to have enough adrenaline that I think you can figure it out. At least I hope, but, um, that’s generally been my philosophy, but I mean, you have, you have experience, uh, with this kind of like the sleep deprivation in your, you know, pursuits from a hundred mile races.

Hillary Allen (00:14:37):

And I mean, we can get into like what you did this summer with Nolan’s, but also, I mean, chronically, like, how do you manage, how do you manage sleep deprivation because you’re a doctor, you work insane hours. Like, you know, basically we’ve had to wait however many weeks to be able to have some time to actually record this because, you know, you’re either writing a 5:00 AM or like, you know, in inpatient at six 45 in the morning, like, you’re, you, you have to prioritize sleep, but like, you’re kind of, you might be in a chronically sleep deprived. I don’t know. How do you manage that with work and training because especially for an ultra

Speaker 3 (00:15:12):

Yeah, yeah. All, um, all good questions. There’s a lot. Right. And, um, so I would say, um, so first thing is, uh, looking at, um, kind of my own, uh, experience, um, certainly have had plenty of experience with sleep deprivation. Um, you know, for medicine we do 24 hour shifts, which usually turn into like 30 hour shifts, um, just because of, um, kind of crossover cross covering and, um, you know, transferring patients over to the new team coming on. Um, and, uh, that, what I’ve kind of learned in that experiences, uh, number one, um, that you don’t get any better at it, the more you do it. Um, and so I can do as many 24 hour shifts as I want to. Um, but I’m still going to be tired. Um, the period. Yeah, exactly. The period between like, you know, about 1:00 AM to 3:00 AM, um, it never gets any easier. Um, you always feel tired during that time. Um, what is the period of 1:00 AM to like 1:00 AM to 3:00 AM? I, I just, that’s always a really, really weird time to be awake. Like the witching hour, right.

Hillary Allen (00:16:22):

For Alpine starts remember like, like a, like a 3:00 AM, wake up call versus, or a 2:00 AM, 3:00 AM versus like a 4:00 AM. 2:00 AM feels like in three feels so bad before it feels kind of okay, fine.

Speaker 3 (00:16:34):

Like 5:00 AM feels a little more civil. Right. But if like, when you were asked to wake up at three o’clock in the morning, even it’s just, it’s brutal. Um, so that that’s kind of, one is one you don’t, you don’t get any better at it. So, um, I don’t know if, uh, practicing yet, um, if you really have a whole lot of benefit. Um, number two is that even when I am sleep deprived, um, at three o’clock in the morning on 24 hour shift, um, I know based off of what I have read that my cognitive functioning is, um, it’s, it’s low, um,

Hillary Allen (00:17:07):

Sorry, this is such like, I love it based on what I’ve read my cognitive function. Oh, it’s like your science, you know, I get it. I will do the same thing. Yep.

Speaker 3 (00:17:16):

Like, um, while I’m in that moment, um, like I kind of said your brain is pretty good at hiding that from you. And so, um, you think that you’re still capable and functioning fairly well. And so, um, during those times when I’m working, I’m utilizing quite a bit of external factors to try and keep myself alert and cognitively aware. Um, we can talk about those things. We can get into things like caffeine and, and, um, you know, what are good ways for us to actually maintain some alertness when we are sleep deprived. Um, but that’s the other one is trying to kind of be more aware that I’m not functioning at my best during those times.

Hillary Allen (00:17:56):

I mean, I think maybe a little bit of this too, is this whole idea of like, just a quick tangent, like Pacers in races, like it definitely helps. Oh, absolutely. Um, but yeah, continue,

Speaker 3 (00:18:07):

Um, we’ll, we’ll get into that more when we kind of talk about Nolan’s I think, um, but, um, okay, so number one, is that practicing it doesn’t help you a whole lot. Number two, is that, um, really, uh, even when you are in that moment, you’re not realizing how much it’s changing your cognitive functioning, um, and it is impacted significantly. They w um, we know we’ve done studies and we’ve, um, even compared the cognitive, um, functioning, um, decrease to somebody who say, um, drank alcohol and, um, you know, your level of impairment is actually pretty consistent after 23 hours of sleep deprivation. Um, as someone who’s had about, um, three to four beers. Um, and so

Hillary Allen (00:18:54):

I wouldn’t be wasted. I’m such a lightweight, Oh my gosh, I feel it after like a half a beer

Speaker 3 (00:18:59):

Going to vary by what your tolerance level is. Um, you know, the, the impairment is significant, you know? Um, so when we look at it from that perspective, um, what I usually do for myself is I don’t really see, um, a huge benefit, um, in trying to practice sleep deprivation, um, and what I would actually encourage people to do. So when we’re looking at events that, um, do require that, that are going to require significant amount of sleep deprivation, or, you know, just have weird start times so that, um, there’s really no way around it. I mean, if you start at 11:00 PM, you’re going to be running through the night.

Hillary Allen (00:19:34):

You’ve usually been up all day, too, right.

Speaker 3 (00:19:36):

That’s right. And it’s hard to change that circadian rhythm to be able to sleep during the day, whatever sleep that you get is not going to be super restful. Um, so I would say that from that perspective, um, when we’re leading up to those events, um, there are some things that you can do. Number one is, um, make sure to optimize your sleep leading up to that event. Um, and so what I would say is, um, like we were talking about a little bit ago, is that when you have, um, you know, uh, an acute, um, sleep deprivation, you see decline in functioning, if you were to increase your sleep, um, you know, for an athlete say, you know, you’re getting about eight hours of sleep. If you were to increase it by, by 30 minutes or even an hour, um, I usually say 30 minute intervals because it, it helps your body kind of adjust, and you can adjust a little bit better to a 30 minutes, um, change as opposed to an hour. Um, but you’re going to see an improved performance with 30 minutes of increased sleep. If you do that for a week, you can get up to an hour of increased sleep at night. Um, so you could get up to nine hours of sleep the week before your event. Um, what we also know is that I’m sure most athletes kind of experience this. Um, there are the, the calm and collected few who are able to sleep peacefully the night before an event. Um,

Speaker 4 (00:20:53):

You can do that. Um, you’re usually, well, you know, not all of us are blessed with that.

Speaker 3 (00:20:59):

I’m amazing capability. And what we see is that usually the night before an event, um, you’re not getting your optimal sleep. You’re not getting high quality sleep. Um, a lot of times people wake up, um, you know, and they’re awake at three o’clock in the morning for no apparent reason. Um, you know, the night before their race, because they’re worried about it, or they’re worried about waking up on time, and then they try and go back to sleep. So sleep is usually disrupted the night before an event,

Hillary Allen (00:21:25):

Or just shorter. I mean, yeah, like I remember TDS, like I woke up the race started at 4:00 AM, so some of it too, so it was like, you know, I slept, but it, wasn’t not for that one.

Speaker 4 (00:21:34):

Yeah. Yeah. Significant travel that’s like associated

Speaker 3 (00:21:37):

And within some people are like driving to the start of the race that, that morning of, um, or the night of, um, and so the, you know, your sleep is going to be a little bit worse than I before. Um, and so you can, uh, I don’t know if there’s really, um, I don’t know if there’s really literature on like sleep loading or sleep banking. Um, I haven’t seen any study that really, um, shows that, but what we know is that your performance will improve when you increase your sleep leading up to an event. Um, and so you might as well try and optimize your sleep, um, and increase your sleep a little bit, um, before you have a big effort.

Hillary Allen (00:22:14):

And so with this, I mean, obviously the idea of sleep banking, um, but, uh, I would say your bodies can adapt pretty fast. So I mean, the timeline for, for, to have some, some sort of like the benefits of, you know, like not banking, sleep, having better quality sleep or more sleep leading up to a big event. Would you say like a week, two weeks? Like, yeah, I would, I would say, but,

Speaker 3 (00:22:38):

Um, there’s really, no. Um, I mean, if Hillary, if I can encourage you to get nine hours of sleep and you could say, you know, should I do that a week before or two weeks before? Or should I just do it all the time?

Speaker 4 (00:22:48):

I would say you should just do it all the time. I can try, but

Speaker 3 (00:22:53):

Most people are able to prioritize, um, the performance a little bit more leading up to a big race. So, um, I would say if you’re looking at a window, you know, same thing for, we usually encourage people to do altitude ACLU. Um, a climatization usually about two weeks before an event. Um, so I would encourage people, Hey, if, if you’re, you know, if you’re going to place a higher priority on it, um, and that’s restricted by your normal everyday, so you can’t just do it all the time, try and try and do it for two weeks.

Hillary Allen (00:23:21):

Yeah. Okay. I like that. I know maybe I’ll work on the 30 minutes at a time.

Speaker 4 (00:23:26):


Speaker 3 (00:23:27):

Their side of this too, is, um, the reason why I would say it probably has some benefit in a short term, um, is that there are some studies, which, um, when we look at something that’s called like social jet lag. So when you were talking about like, Oh, uh, on the weekend, I stay up a little bit later, but then you might sleep longer. Um, you, you say that you wake up at the same time every day, which science would agree with you, that’s the best thing that you should do. And you should probably take a little bit of a nap at some point early morning, um, throughout that day. Um, but the rest of society, um, is not as responsible and a lot of people, um, though, you know, they’re getting six hours, seven hours of sleep throughout the week. And then on the weekends, they’re sleeping until like 12 o’clock, one o’clock, um, to try and catch up in quotes, um, on sleep. But, um, what we have seen is that there is a little bit of benefit to that. Um, but you’re better off having the consistent times in your sleep. So even though you are getting a little bit of benefit from that increased sleep on the weekend, um, you would get more benefit from having a consistent sleep structure. And, um, in, in the longterm, that’s going to be more beneficial.

Hillary Allen (00:24:34):

So does that mean, like, even if you stay up later, it’s still waking up at the same time, but then like complimenting that with maybe a nap instead of like, it’s like sleeping until noon, which I could never do.

Speaker 3 (00:24:46):

That’s exactly what I would recommend. Yeah. And, and I would, um, you know, w we’re going to talk about napping, um, you know, that’s another one of these, um, so in events, um, especially ones that last, uh, several days, or more than like 24 hours, we see significant changes in your cognitive performance. Uh, when we start getting into like the 36 hour period of sleep deprivation. Um, and so there are people who may, at that point, want to sleep during an event. Um, and those, you know, nobody’s getting six hours of sleep during an event. Um, but you might get, um, you know, what, what I have seen is that, um, a 10 minute nap is usually optimal. Um, that’s gonna get you a slight amount of light sleep that will affect your alertness and your cognitive function and improve that. Um, and if you sleep longer, say a 20 minute duration, or even a 30 minute duration, the downside of that is that your body starts to get into a deep sleep.

Speaker 3 (00:25:41):

Um, and we can get into sleep architecture, um, if you want to, but, um, deep sleep is more restful sleep, but it also is tougher to wake up from, um, and so we get something that’s called sleep. Inertia is usually the term associated with that. And so, um, the benefits start to get a little bit outweighed by the downsides when you get into that 30 minute range. Um, so usually optimal for people, um, is somewhere between a 10 to 20 minute nap. Um, that’s going to give you a little bit of the cognitive bump that you might need. Um, now what we know is that you need deep sleep in order to get, um, that, uh, muscular or connective tissue, um, uh, kind of recovery, um, as well as some of the deeper brain functions, things like memory, you need some deep sleep in order to, um, see transfer of long memories or like short-term memory to long-term memory.

Speaker 3 (00:26:35):

Um, you need REM sleep and art to get some emotional processing. And, um, so when we look at, um, sleep architecture, if you want to get any of that, especially if you want REM sleep, um, then you’re looking at more of like a 90 minutes cycle. Um, and I would encourage anyone who is looking at doing an event where that’s going to be multiple, multiple days. Um, you probably want to know how long a sleep cycle is for you. Um, and a full sleep cycle was lasting from light sleep, um, going down into deep sleep and then, um, getting some REM sleep, um, and REM sleep is actually a lighter form of sleep. Um, it’s actually when, um, your brain is most active, um, deep sleep is when your brain is least active. And that’s probably why we see most of the benefits of, um, recovery for the body during sleep deep sleep.

Speaker 3 (00:27:24):

Um, and while, uh, REM sleep, we see in most of the recovery for, um, like emotional processing or, um, dreaming occurs most often during REM sleep. Um, and there’s fascinating, um, studies that have been done on REM sleep associated with, um, emotional processing of like trauma or, um, you know, uh, cognitive dissonance, um, when something happens that, uh, it’s very tough for you to wrap your head around even. Um, and so that emotional processing, um, can certainly take, um, its toll, especially if people are cutting their short, their sleep short. Um, and so if you’re not getting that full 90 minutes sleep cycle, um, or even just over the long-term, if you’re cutting your sleep short, so getting six hours instead of nine hours, um, our bodies tend to get more REM sleep later in the night of sleep. Um, then, um, earlier when our bodies tend to focus more on deep sleep, so body recovery early in the night and, um, emotional recovery.

Hillary Allen (00:28:24):

So I see Teddy, so it’s like, basically if I want to have more success in my relationships, I just think that

Speaker 3 (00:28:32):

They’re really bad. Well, actually, there’s been some cool studies on that. Um, and, and, um, you can actually see some benefits of REM sleep. Now, I’m not saying that Hillary, um, relationships, I think that you’re a great friend and you have no problems on that, but maybe

Hillary Allen (00:28:54):

Jury’s out anyways. Um, no, but, okay. So this is all fascinating. Um, but I think, uh, this is going to be like we should go into Nolan’s because, okay. So, um, because all this sleep strategies, like quickly, all kind of, um, when, when I’m preparing athletes for kind of multi-day, I just had this athlete who did, um, uh, an FTT so fastest known time on the wind river, high route right now, he didn’t, it was like the three-ish days. Um, so he had, he did little naps, but not, not really like any significant amount of sleep cause he was able to, I think it was short to sh quote unquote, short enough. Um, but still, I mean, there’s a whole bunch of different strategies and it CTS, you know, as coaches, um, we always throw on different papers and kind of ideas about like, what works best, like for some of these longer events.

Hillary Allen (00:29:42):

I mean, I’m sure everyone is watching Courtney do Walter this past summer, which she was trying to attempt the Colorado trail. Oh my gosh. I know. And you know, she, she really like she’s really well-practiced. I would say, even though you can’t supposedly get good at, they know being tired, maybe I think she’s pretty good at it, but, but you know, she, she didn’t really sleep much early on. Um, and then she kind of took the approach of taking a little bit, maybe longer, maybe 30 minute intervals. Um, but again, I think for, for most people that I, that I coach for these longer multi-day events, I would recommend kind of the short little stints, like the, the like 10 to 20 minute range. Um, but again, it’s knowing your body and kind of what works a little bit best for you, if you can kind of wake up from that, like groggy, deep sleep and you’re okay with it.

Hillary Allen (00:30:32):

Um, you know, if that makes you also feel like psychologically better than, you know, for sure I tell my athletes to go for it. Um, but so I would say that you’re a little bit well-practiced at like sleep deprivation just because of the nature of your job and all the things you have to balance. But, um, so you had a cool project. I mean, for anyone who doesn’t know, um, what Nolan’s is when we’re here in Colorado, I mean, it’s, it’s been a route that I’ve known of that since I started ultra running, but Teddy I’ll let you take it away. What, what is Nolan’s and

Speaker 3 (00:31:01):

Yeah, so, um, so, so Nolan’s route Nolan’s 14, um, it’s, uh, essentially, um, 14, 14 years in the swatch mountain range. So there’s, there’s actually 15 peaks in the swatch. Um, and the route doesn’t incorporate, um, Mount whole amount of Holy cross. Um, it’s about 30 miles North of, um, of Mount massive, which is the Northern most on the route. And so there are people who do Holy Nolans and they add on, um, a little bit of extra on top of the whole thing bad-ass in that. Yeah.

Hillary Allen (00:31:35):

And let’s, let’s be real. So 30 miles extra on a hundred mile mountain, route off trail.

Speaker 3 (00:31:41):

Yeah. So it’s, it’s about, um, you know, depending on the route that you take, uh, somewhere between about 92 is the lowest mileage that I’ve seen, um, to about 106 miles, um, of, uh, as far as the distance goes and you’re getting somewhere around 45,000 feet of vertical gain over the course of that route as well. No big deal. Um, and, um, like, like you said, this is, um, a lot of it is off trail. Um, you are on trails for some of it, and it’s just based off of the nature of the route that you choose. Um, so really the only rules are that, um, you start at either fish hatchery or blank cabin and you tag all 14 peaks and you make your way to the opposite point

Hillary Allen (00:32:26):

And fish hatchery, like it’s outside of Leadville, but yeah.

Speaker 3 (00:32:30):

Yep. Yeah. So it’s outside of Leadville, it starts, um, just a little bit, um, North of Mount massive. Um, and, um, so two different routes you could go southbound starting at fish hatchery, um, making your way up mountain massive and going all the way down South of Lake cabin. Um, or you could go northbound starting at blank cabin, which is down outside of Salida. Um, and you head up towards Shavano for your first peak, and then you make your way out to the fish hatchery from there. Um, and so the routes can differ among people. So there’s slight variations. Um, enough people have done it really at this point that, um, there’s a fairly well-defined route, although, um, this summer, I mean, I feel like, know there’s a lot of people on it this summer. There’s a lot of people. And so, um, you know, it, it is fairly well-defined as far as kind of where to go, there’s enough data out there now with GPS devices that, um, you can kind of piece it together, um, depending on your capabilities on the routes, you can have satellite and see where you’re at.

Speaker 3 (00:33:29):

You can, you know, people will put the route on their watch even, um, and that can help with navigation. Um, but in order to do a well, I think, um, you have to spend quite a bit of time out there. Um, and so that’s getting to know the area, um, the places that are off trail, getting to know the good connections between trails when there are, um, some and getting to know when, you know, what’s going to be beneficial. Um, there are times when even if there is a trail there, um, it takes you, um, you know, in different directions and it may be a little bit more of a circuitous route where there may be a better way to go directly up the mountain. Um, and so that depends on what the terrain is like. Um, it depends on, um, yeah, if you’re, if you’re going downhill, there might be a really great Spryfield that you can just boot ski down, um, instead of taking a trail that, uh, you know, will zigzag and switch back, um, cause we’re here in America instead of like France, where you’re, [inaudible]

Hillary Allen (00:34:26):

Switched back to just go straight up the thing

Speaker 3 (00:34:29):

Wondering, um, so I think that you can get better at it the more time you spend on it.

Hillary Allen (00:34:34):

But so this is, I mean, I love this route. It’s super cool. I mean, I mean, like you said, there’s maybe more of a designated like trail after all the people that were out there this summer, shout out to Megan Hicks and Sabrina Stanley for doing an Epic battle of, you know, the FETs, um, on that route. But, uh, going back to this idea of sleep and, you know, the more sleep deprived you are, um, the less cognitive function you have. So this is a route that you have certain, like you have to scout it, you have to know kind of these areas. And so this requires like, obviously long-term memory. So in a training cycle, when you’re training, uh, you, you have that good sleep, you have the opportunity to kind of put it into long-term memory, but then when you’re out on the course and you’re doing this, this route and you encounter, so Nolan’s to complete it successfully, it’s a 60 hour, um, timestamp, like, so you have to finish it within 60 hours to have it like, you know, stamped officially and no one’s like, right.

Hillary Allen (00:35:32):

Um, and so, I mean, that’s nearly three days, um, uh, you know, um, of sleep deprivation and not only, I mean, we didn’t talk about this, we don’t have to, but I think there is a factor to consider that you are at altitude. So sometimes, I mean, I think the effects of, um, um, uh, physical stress can present themselves a bit sooner, or it may be more extreme cases when you’re at altitude. Um, because you know, in, in the valleys, you’re still at like 10,000, 9,000 feet. Um, I mean, Leadville is at 10,000 feet outside of fish hatchery. So, um, I mean, I want to bring it back to kind of this, and you can tell us something that happened during no one’s for you. Um, but this whole idea of what does it mean? Like what was your strategy going into no, one’s from a sleep point of view. Um, I mean, I was quite impressed to hear some of your strategies of, of, of this, but, and, um, did you notice anything when, um, like cognitively for like route, um, recognition and like maneuvering when you were out there?

Speaker 3 (00:36:32):

Yeah, I, I love, um, I love all those questions and we’ll, we’ll do a little bit of a dive here. So, um, so, so, uh, the reason why this is so applicable to our topic of sleep today is exactly what you said. So it, um, typically takes people, I think the fastest known time, um, on the whole route, going to the direction, um, was, was set this summer, um, and was a mind mind-boggling, I don’t know how, um, uh, Kevin Ollie did that, but, um, you know, even, even his, um, record, I think it was 49 hours, um, was, uh, just incredible. And we’re seeing most people finish around like, um, in the fifties. So I’m somewhere, you know, 51 to like 56 hours. Um, when, when people finish, they’re typically around there

Hillary Allen (00:37:17):

Two and a half days, you know, still released.

Speaker 3 (00:37:21):

Um, and so, uh, you’re, you know, you’re going to be running for two days without sleep. Um, and so deciding what your, um, how much sleep you’re going to get, are you going to sleep? Um, those were big kind of questions going into it for me. Um, and I knew that, um, you know, I was going to try to get some sleep on the route, um, mainly because, uh, you just start to deteriorate in your cognitive functioning, um, so much so after two nights without sleep at all, um, that if I wanted to have any kind of success in the route figured out I was going to have to get some, um, yeah, I, um, I do wear, um, a smartwatch at nighttime when I sleep, um, mainly to try and figure out what my sleep cycle is. Um, that was the question I was going to ask earlier.

Speaker 3 (00:38:08):

So, um, most of smartwatches are, um, uh, had the capability to do what’s called, um, actigraphy, um, or kind of measuring your sleep architecture while you sleep. Um, and so they’re not fantastic, um, at describing whether or not, um, like what stage of sleep you are in, um, other than really telling you when you’re in deep sleep, when you’re in light sleep. Um, some of them are pretty good at showing whether or not you’re in REM sleep. Um, and so you can get a fairly good idea even just with, um, you know, something like a Fitbit or an Apple watch or, um, most, um, uh, like the garment watches, or I’m not, I don’t know if like the Curos or Suunto watches, um, if those have, um, an active Negro for, um, in them. And so you can go back and analyze what is a sleep cycle for you.

Speaker 3 (00:38:57):

And so, um, I did mine and mine’s about 90 minutes, a little less than 90 minutes. And, um, so I knew that if I wanted to get a full sleep cycle, I would have to sleep at least that long. Um, I also know that, um, looking at my sleep architecture when, um, after I do like a 24 hour, um, shift that I fall into deep sleep much faster, um, than typically. So normally it takes like 20 to 30 minutes for you to actually get into deep sleep stage. Um, whereas when I’m sleep deprived in, in this, um, studies back this up, that when you are sleep deprived, your body will fall into deep sleep much faster. Um, so it can take even just a couple of minutes somewhere between, um, you know, like five to 15 minutes, um, for you to fall into deep sleep.

Speaker 3 (00:39:43):

Um, and, and so your body will fall into that deep sleep stage much quicker. Um, it basically your, your brain is saying we need this, you know, and so it just triages out the early stages of sleep. Um, and so I kind of knew that going in. And so I, I really, um, tiered my approach around those two things was, um, I knew I was going to take short naps about 10 minutes in length, and I knew that I was going to try and get at least one, um, sleep cycle in at some point. Um, so I was going to try and aim for, I’m only doing one 90 minutes about of sleep and then, um, trying to substitute that, um, or supplement that with a couple other small 10 minute naps. Um, and I, I, funny enough, I started actually around, um, uh, 6:00 PM at night time.

Speaker 3 (00:40:32):

Um, mainly because of the points where I was going to be at on the route at certain times of day. Um, so because this is not a race, there’s no aid stations set up. Um, and I just, I had my dad, um, my buddy, Chad, um, my buddy Teddy Lyman came out for a little while. And then, um, uh, my other friend, uh, Roger came out for a little while. Um, but the mainstay is where my dad and my friend Chad, who flew in from, uh, the great state of Ohio. Um, and, and those two, um, they were my main source of getting any kind of aid. And so they were driving in, you know, up, you know, back back, um, you know, country roads up up these mountain valleys. Um, and so it depended on when they could get there, if they were going to have to hike in.

Speaker 3 (00:41:18):

And we had to really decide whether or not they were going to be able to get to a spot where I was going to be at specific times. Um, so that really changed when I left, um, in retrospect, not a great idea because I, I ended up having to run for three nights only two days. Um, I also S started in September, uh, the end of September, um, which at that point, the sun was setting around 7:00 PM. It wasn’t rising until like seven 15, um, and so much less daylight than if I would have done it in the summertime. All those things being said. Um, what I ended up doing was, um, going through the whole first night, um, running without sleep, and then, um, getting into about a 10 minute nap before kind of like right as the sun was coming up. Um, and then I’m continuing along the second night.

Speaker 3 (00:42:12):

Got super weird. Um, I, um, at that point I’d only had 10 minutes of sleep. Um, yeah, I started having, um, hallucinations. Um, I was seeing rock Karen’s, um, which, uh, if anyone isn’t doesn’t know what those are, it’s basically small stacks of rocks to demarcate where, um, the trail a trail is. And I was seeing these in a Boulder field, um, between Harvard and Columbia. And when I would get up to where the rock Karen was, it was gone. It would just, so it was like a Mirage when people are out in the desert and this, you know, ASIS, um, for me, my always, yeah, this was a rock Aaron, and it would just disappear. If you look at my Strava, like zigzag back and forth, I like go through multiple Securitas routes. Um, you’re looking for security, you’re looking for, Oh my gosh, it was bad.

Speaker 3 (00:43:04):

It was bad. And my headlamp died up at the top. Um, and so that, that, you know, that second night I was already seen cognitive decline. I was already seen, um, my alertness was obviously decreased my ability to even just make decisions. Um, it took much longer to make decisions. Um, and I still had a whole other day and night to go through running. Um, and, um, my experience actually ended, um, at peak 12. Um, so I was up, um, on Antero and it was dark already for me. And I was having small little micro sleeps. So, um, basically I would be running and I would, um, wake up in a new location essentially that I didn’t remember how I got there. Um, basically like small little amnesia episodes almost. And I think it was my body just prioritizing sleep. It’s like, um, if you were driving a car, um, people will have micro sleeps where they doze a little bit, you know?

Speaker 3 (00:44:09):

Um, and, um, that was happening to me while I was running. Um, I was also like having like difficulty again, like making decisions. It wasn’t alert. Um, and, uh, so I actually made the decision at that time to turn around and I went back down Antero, um, which is a Jeep road up until like 13,800 feet. Um, it felt safe and secure me and I didn’t feel comfortable going up, um, kind of the Boulder Ridge to get up to a table wash, which was, uh, 13 and 14. So I was like, I was probably about five miles away from completing the, the, the whole thing.

Hillary Allen (00:44:43):

But no, I mean, yeah, I think that’s really, that’s smart because, I mean, it can, you can actually, like you said, it’s like a safety standpoint from, from that point. I mean, I always, I mean, for my athletes, um, I always recommend, it’s like, you can, you can run through a certain amount of discomfort, but it’s like your responsibility to know if that’s actually going to cause more pain. Like long-term like a serious risk of serious injury versus like, are you just having a pity party? But I think that that’s a really important distinction to have. And like, you, you, you come into that, that line when you’re doing these multi-day events, especially dealing with something as important as cognitive function on a route that you have to be aware and like make decisions like, you know, you’re at altitude, you’re in, you know, people can die of exposure.

Hillary Allen (00:45:30):

I mean, I mean, storms can move in very quickly. Um, I mean, maybe people are like rolling their eyes at this, like listening to it, but I, I like, I really do think so. I mean, I’ve had a mountain accident and injury and like, I see how, um, you know, quickly things can change in the blink of an eye and you really have to be aware. Um, and so being able to kind of make that distinction to me, like, okay, well then I’m putting myself in a dangerous position because, you know, like, even if you like physically feel okay, which you did cognitively, like being able to kind of maneuver down this Boulder field and safely up to like these next peaks, you can, you know, put yourself in serious risk if you’re not kind of all there. Yeah.

Speaker 3 (00:46:11):

Yeah. I totally agree with that. Um, and I, and I think that when we’re talking about multi-day events, um, that’s probably something that people underestimate the most. Um, when we look at, um, you know, the event, big bigs backyard Altra, um, you know, and that’s, if anyone is unfamiliar with this concept, you should look it up, it will blow your mind. Um, but essentially there is no finish in the

Hillary Allen (00:46:35):


Speaker 3 (00:46:37):

According to water, just one this year. Um, the American, um, uh, bigs backyard ultra, and it’s a last man standing race. And so essentially, um, runners compete in a four mile loop. Um, once an hour you go out, everyone has to start on the hour, um, and you just run loops until there’s only one person left. Um, and in that, um, event this year, you see sleep deprivation just at it’s, you know, it’s pinnacle. I mean, we’re, we’re seeing these athletes running. I mean, they ran what I think this year they’d made it, um, into the sixties. It was, yeah.

Hillary Allen (00:47:13):

Uh, I think their goal was what was Courtney’s goal? Like what did they go

Speaker 3 (00:47:16):

300 miles, which would have been 72 hours. Yeah.

Hillary Allen (00:47:20):

They want to do like three 67 60 something, but yeah.

Speaker 3 (00:47:23):

Yeah. So, and it was down to two athletes at that time. And, um, you know, Harvey Lewis is someone who I’ve run with in, in, from being from Cincinnati, Ohio. Um, he, um, he’s a, he’s an exceptional human being, but, uh, in addition to that also a really an amazing athlete, um, and somebody who’s not as well known really in the ultra community, even though he’s won events like bad water. Um, he is, um, run, um, in 100 mile races, like burning river 100. Um, but, um, he pulled out of that race because of sleep deprivation. He just couldn’t sustain that. And, um, and what we’re seeing is that the mind will give up before the body does, you can train your body as much as you want to, but if mentally, if you’re incapable, that’s going to be what stops your progress.

Hillary Allen (00:48:11):

Yeah. Oh man. So I have someone to see how many questions I have left for you, but I guess, um, one quick follow-up question for no one’s and then we can kind of end with, uh, your, you know, like if, if people could take away one piece of advice from this podcast, which there’s should be many. So I hope everyone’s taking notes. Um, but, uh, the one thing for no one, so you’re going to attempt it again this next year. Would you, so regardless of, you know, the time of year that you’re changing it, all of these things, um, uh, would you change anything from a sleep management, um, point of view or how you, uh, how you, how you would that strategy?

Speaker 3 (00:48:50):

Yes, I, I would. Um, and you know, I, um, I, I also supplemented with small, like 10 minute naps while I was just running at certain points because I just felt so exhausted. I would just sit down and put my head on my pack and set an alarm for 10 minutes, and then I would just wake up. And, um, even those short little bouts while I was running were great. So I wouldn’t change that. I would actually still incorporate those. Um, what I would probably change is, um, I would try to have a little bit more scheduled, um, sleep periods, and I would try and try to have them at different times. So this time I ended up sleeping quite frequently, um, like as the sun was coming up. Um, and that’s usually when cortisol is spiking in your body. Um, so you actually get a very big cortisol boost, um, that makes you more alert.

Speaker 3 (00:49:41):

It makes you feel a little bit more empowered and energized. Um, and that cortisol starts to rise for most people around like 4:00 AM and then peaks around like 9:00 AM. And so I would try to correlate, um, my sleep periods more so with when cortisol was at its lowest point, um, which is somewhere between like 11:00 PM and 4:00 AM. Um, so I would try and get more of my sleep during that time. Number one, um, I wasn’t physically as productive at that time. Anyway. Um, number two, I think that I would get better rest and my body would feel a little bit more, I would fall into that sleep a little bit easier. Um, and so that’s number that’s number one thing that I would change. Number two is, um, you know, this time I started at in, at nighttime. And so I ended up running through three nights.

Speaker 3 (00:50:29):

I’m certainly going to change when I start this time, I’m going to start in the morning. Um, and we’ll just deal with where I’m at, along the course as it comes. Um, but I think that will make a significant difference just for when I get that a little bit longer period of sleep, um, because I want to do it on that second night. Um, and this time I was really, I wasn’t sure when to do it because I knew I had three nights to go through. Um, and I wanted to make sure that it was, I didn’t get it too early so that it didn’t have to take multiple. Um, because we’re, you’re always weighing, you know, how much time are you taking away from actually moving versus how beneficial was this going to be? Um, now I do think at some point you just become, um, so cognitively dysfunctional that your progress is significantly inhibited by sleeping in, you’re better off sleeping for an hour, um, or getting 90 minutes of sleep with a full sleep cycle then trying to push through and actually just continue on with those 10 minute naps. Yeah. I don’t know. I, I may try to cooperate, um, um, at least one of those 90 minute cycles. Um, but it depends on kind of maybe how I’m feeling if I try to do two of

Hillary Allen (00:51:38):

Yeah, I see. And then there’s so many factors to consider when you’re doing like multi-day stuff. It’s what makes them fun though. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, even people, you know, who, and this doesn’t yeah. Like this is a hundred miles, right? Like, so this happened, this can happen, not even like in a a hundred mile plus events, it can happen in, you know, a pretty mountainous, a hundred mile, a hundred K event to do that.

Speaker 3 (00:52:03):

We’re seeing the popularity of 200 mile races, like just growing significantly. I mean, um, and those are races where this becomes a true factor, you know, um, of what is your sleep, you know, what, what is your, um, kind of, how are you going to approach this? Um, so I think that, um, this is something that we’ll start to see pop up more and more for people, um, is how you’re going to manage the situation you as a coach, you’re going to have to go through this more and more of athletes asking you what to do. Um, and I think that, um, you know, bringing this kind of full circle back around to, um, should we try to practice this? Um, and I would say, uh, I don’t think that it’s super worthwhile. Um, if you are going to do it, trying to maybe, um, run earlier in the morning when it’s dark out to just get experience when it’s dark, um, that might be helpful.

Speaker 3 (00:52:56):

Um, but I wouldn’t ever recommend people do it consistently because what you’re gonna end up doing, it’s what we talked about earlier is just inhibiting your performance, inhibiting your workouts, um, and making it so that you’re just not getting the adaptations that you normally do. Um, we’re seeing a lot of athletes get something that’s called chronic fatigue syndrome. Um, overtraining syndrome is another name for it. Um, where people are simply, they just don’t feel motivated. They, they get exhausted, um, and people are attributing that more so to lack of recovery than we are to, um, the stress side of things. So people can stress their bodies out quite a bit. Um, and if you recover well enough and you dedicate enough time to that, um, people don’t tend to burn out, but, um, when you overdo it with an under do your recovery, um, that’s usually when we see that kind of happen.

Hillary Allen (00:53:47):

Yeah. Well, so this is like a, this is then the last question that I’d want to ask you. So it’s like the million dollar question, just getting, there’s been a ton of good information in this podcast, so thanks for this. Um, but what’s their biggest piece of advice that you can give to, to athletes when it comes to sleep? Um, it’s kind of an open-ended one, but yeah, what’s just your takeaway message. Like, what do you think that most athletes can benefit when it comes to sleep?

Speaker 3 (00:54:15):

Um, I, I think it’s fairly simple. I would say, um, I would say sleep as much as you can, um, aim for nine hours. Um, if you aren’t getting nine hours, um, and, uh, you are, you know, you have an occupation or, um, your, uh, your daily schedule throughout the week doesn’t allow, but nine hours. Um, then I would say do everything that you can to try and increase it by about 30 minutes, um, and, um, have good, uh, hygiene practices around your sleep. Um, be fairly specific about what you do, um, in order to recover with sleep. Um, so have a good practice around winding down at nighttime. Um, a couple of just key points that I probably would encourage people to do as far as just getting better sleep. Um, number one, we S we said, get a consistent wake time, um, and try and stay consistent.

Speaker 3 (00:55:08):

Um, even over the weekend period. Um, if you’re not getting an optimal amount of sleep, you can supplement with a nap, um, but get that nap early in the morning and try not to allow that nap, um, to go any longer than I would say, max is probably about an hour to an hour to 90 minutes. Um, because then it starts to inhibit your nighttime sleep period. Um, additionally to that, um, you can optimize your circadian rhythm, um, by really trying to get some good morning, uh, light. So going outside in the morning with the sunrise, um, we’re talking to a bunch of athletes right now. So a good way to do that might be to try and exercise in the morning. Um, you know, when we exercise, uh, late at night time, um, exercise tends to increase our body temperature, and we know that you need to decrease your body temperature by about two to three degrees in order to actually fall asleep.

Speaker 3 (00:56:00):

Um, that’s why you, most people find it easier to fall asleep in a cold room, like a little bit cooler at nighttime, um, than a room that’s very warm. Um, so try to exercise earlier in the day, um, give yourself about three to four hours before you are going to go to bed at least, um, to try and prevent that, um, increased body temperature there. Um, the other thing is we didn’t get into a whole lot with like caffeine and alcohol. Um, but, um, those are two substances that people tend to, um, indulge in and, um, are quite accepted in our, in our social society. Um, however they’re both not great for sleep. Um, you know, when, um, when people, uh, take a lot of caffeine, they’re tending to do that, um, in order to compensate for sleep deprivation. Um, and that in, in, in turn caffeine actually, um, decreases our body’s ability to fall into a deep sleep. Um, and so even people who say, Oh, I can drink a cup of coffee and go directly to bed. They’re still getting less, less deep sleep. Um, and then someone who is, um, not taking in caffeine,

Hillary Allen (00:57:07):

Um, believe me, I lived in Europe and it was like super spread, like comment if they espresso after dinners. And I lived in Spain before I lived in France and like, they would have dinner at like 10 or 11:00 PM and like a full strength express. And I was like, what the heck? I can’t do this

Speaker 3 (00:57:22):

No way. And, um, so that’s from the perspective of our deep sleep. Um, and I would say if you’re going to drink, um, caffeine, which I do, I drink Bobby, we’re having a delicious coffee right now. Um, but I would say, uh, try not to have any caffeine after noon, um, and know that, um, caffeine has about a six hour half-life for most people, um, that does vary a little bit. Um, but that means that, um, you know, 12 hours after you have your coffee, you still have about a quarter of it left in your system. Um, so really trying to utilize that kind of number to say, well, you know, if a cup of coffee is about 80 milligrams of caffeine, um, that means that you have 20 milligrams of caffeine left in your system. Usually when you’re going to go to bed, um, if you have one cup of coffee in the morning, um, so, you know, take that with a little bit of a grain of salt. Um, the other one, it was, uh, alcohol improve. If we’re talking about alcohol, um, really it’s the byproducts of alcohol, um, that tend to, uh, inhibit our sleep. And, um, those byproducts are actually some of the biggest suppressants of REM sleep that we have. Um, the other one is actually something that doctors like me prescribe, um, which are SSRS, um, and those medications also tend to inhibit REM sleep.

Hillary Allen (00:58:36):

So selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors. Yeah,

Speaker 3 (00:58:40):

That’s right. Thank you for that. Um, and so those do inhibits REM sleep for people. Um, now alcohol, um, people will say though, you know, alcohol is a, um, it’s processed in your body over the course of about an hour. Um, but those byproducts will linger around for somewhere between like six to nine hours for people. Um, now that means that really the only good time to drink alcohol is with your morning coffee, with a little bit of collusion and maybe, um, you know, it’s not that I’m recommending that, but what I would say is that if, um, you know, there’s really no way to get good sleep with drinking alcohol. Um, and so that being said, uh, I’m not telling you not to drink alcohol, but what I am telling you is that, um, be a little bit selective in that and, um, consider that when you do, um, drink alcohol, no, that you’re not going to get optimal sleep that night.

Speaker 3 (00:59:36):

And then the next day is not going to be an optimal performance for you regardless. Um, so your sleep will not be, uh, fantastic. And also, um, alcohol has other effects such as like, as a diuretic will cause you to pee out a little bit more, you’ll be a little bit dehydrated. Um, you get a little bit of a sympathetic rise in the morning. Um, so your heart rate will be higher, um, following a night of drinking alcohol. Um, and so those are all things to kind of consider when you’re looking at whether or not you should have, um, a hard, stressful workout or race, um, the day after indulging in alcohol. Um, I guess the final thing that I would say to people is if you are having trouble with sleep, um, there’s two different things that I kind of take into account for that.

Speaker 3 (01:00:21):

Um, one is the people who have trouble falling asleep. Um, usually I, that kind of comes from either a mind racing, um, perspective where you just, your brain won’t shut off. Um, and the strategies I utilize for that for, um, patients who I’ve talked to tend to be, um, number one, uh, consider trying to do a wind down period with all the good sleep hygiene that we’ve talked about. Um, but, uh, number two, um, take a bunch of notes right before you go to bed. When you have that to do list that’s in your head, put it down on paper. And even just that act of, um, kind of going through and writing a few things down can help release that, um, that anxiety a little bit for people, um, having a little bit of a mindfulness practice surrounding this, um, to help kind of wind down, um, can be beneficial.

Speaker 3 (01:01:09):

There’s two apps that I like Headspace and calm, um, both of which have guided meditations and mindfulness, um, as well as, uh, bedtime stories. So, um, Ella, you might like those, um, they, they, they, um, essentially have nothing to do with kind of your day to day activities and our ways to allow your brain just to kind of creatively wander off and fall, um, fall asleep, easier that way. Um, and then, um, the other category is really people who wake up in the middle of the night. Um, so people who wake up in the middle of the night and they cannot get back to sleep. And what I would usually tell people then is one number one, we do not want to associate the bed with sleeplessness. Um, so, well, what I would say is if you’re trying to fall asleep for more than 10 minutes, get up and get out of bed.

Speaker 3 (01:01:56):

Um, number two, after you’ve done that, um, give yourself a little bit of time doing a non-stimulating activity, do not look at your phone, do not watch TV, um, don’t turn on your iPad. Um, but you could pick up a book. Um, you could, um, do, um, you know, do what to do list. Um, you could write in a journal and then after you’ve done that for, you know, probably a 10 to 15 minutes, go back and go through your nightly routine. Again, if you normally brush your teeth before you go to bed, I would encourage you to do that. Um, I’d encourage you to, if you normally read before you go to bed, do that in your bed and then give yourself another 10 minute window of trying to fall asleep. Um, the other thing that you can utilize is, um, all of our senses turn off during sleep, except for our sense of smell. And so you can actually people use aroma therapy at nighttime. Um, and so you can use things like lavender or, um, people would drink camomile tea, um, or apply something called lemon balm. And your brain can associate that with sleep if you utilize it purposefully during that time. Um, and so you can apply a little bit of lavender to your pillow, and that will help you fall back into a state of sleep. So those are all kind of, um, just some short, quick things that people can do to try and get better sleep.

Hillary Allen (01:03:17):

Man, this has been, this is like one of my favorite like topics and episodes. It’s so awesome talking with you. So thanks so much for taking the time and well, before we go, I actually do have a little quick disclaimer. This podcast is for general information purposes. Only no patient relationship is formed. It’s not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, and listeners should not disregard or delay obtaining medical advice and should seek the assistance of their healthcare professionals for any conditions of concern. So with that said, thank you, Teddy,

Speaker 3 (01:03:54):

Hillary, it was a blast. Thank you for having me. Thank you.

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