Better Sleep for Athletes

Jan. 3, 2020

Sleep researcher, writer and international speaker Greg Potter, PhD is with us once again to continue our conversation about improving your sleep. In my last interview with Greg, we discussed practical steps to take when sleep eludes you, as well as preventing sleep problems in the first place. We’ve circled back around today to take a closer look at some of the most promising interventions for insomnia as well as special considerations for athletes with regard to sleep.

In this interview, Greg describes Sleep Restriction Therapy and Intensive Sleep Retraining in detail, two approaches to fixing insomnia that sound counterintuitive at first but which can pay off quickly with more restful sleep. Greg talks about mindfulness and meditation, sharing tips for using these practices to reduce insomnia and overall stress. We also discuss sleep considerations specific to athletes, including sleep timing, training load, and travel.

Here’s the outline of this interview with Greg Potter:

[00:03:35] Documentary: Who Killed the Neanderthals?

[00:04:35] Greg’s last podcast with us: What to Do When You Can’t Sleep (11/22/19); Previous podcasts: How to Entrain Your Circadian Rhythm for Perfect Sleep and Metabolic Health (7/4/18); Morning Larks and Night Owls: the Biology of Chronotypes (1/27/19); Sleep To Win: How Navy SEALs and Other High Performers Stay on Top (as interviewer, 10/25/19).

[00:05:11] Greg's articles on optimising sleep: 1. Having trouble sleeping? A primer on insomnia and how to sleep better 2. Sleep-maintenance insomnia: how to sleep through the night 3. Sleep-onset insomnia: how to get to sleep fast

[00:05:44] Sleep restriction therapy.

[00:10:18] Sleepio.

[00:10:42] Intensive Sleep Retraining (ISR).

[00:12:18] ISR Study: ISR Study: Harris, Jodie, et al. "Intensive sleep retraining treatment for chronic primary insomnia: a preliminary investigation." Journal of sleep research 16.3 (2007): 276-284.

[00:13:18] Thim smart ring device.

[00:16:52] Coursera.

[00:17:24] Josh Turknett, MD on Patreon for ukelele lessons.

[00:18:23] Mindfulness and meditation.

[00:23:26] Book: Mindfulness: An Eight-Week Plan for Finding Peace in a Frantic World, by Mark Williams and Danny Penman.

[00:23:25] Book: Wherever You Go There You Are, by Jon Kabat-Zinn.

[00:23:41] Insight timer.

[00:23:56] Sam Harris' Waking Up app.

[00:26:28] Marko Lepik; Website: EQversity.

[00:27:17] Books by Russ Harris: The Happiness Trap and The Confidence Gap

[00:27:42] Podcast: How to Think Yourself Younger, Healthier, and Faster, with Ellen Langer.

[00:29:27] Try the bull’s eye (page 3) and/or the Life Compass (page 5) exercise(s) in this resource by Russ Harris.

[00:29:54] Matthew Walker.

[00:32:12] Sleep considerations for athletes.

[00:34:33] Shifting sleep timing.

[00:36:10] Phase-response curve for exercise; Study: Youngstedt, Shawn D., Jeffrey A. Elliott, and Daniel F. Kripke. "Human circadian phase–response curves for exercise." The Journal of physiology 597.8 (2019): 2253-2268

[00:38:47] Training load.

[00:39:00] Overreaching in athletes and worsened sleep; Study: Hausswirth, Christophe, et al. "Evidence of disturbed sleep and increased illness in overreached endurance athletes." Medicine and science in sports and exercise (2014).

[00:40:47] Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport (REDS); podcast with Nicky Keay: How to Identify and Treat Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport (RED-S).

[00:44:31] Intensity of training and its effect on circadian rhythm.

[00:48:33] Obstructive sleep apnea.

[00:49:42] Concussion.

[00:50:34] The effect of travel on sleep.

[00:51:33] Jet lag strategies: diet, light exposure, melatonin supplementation; Jet Lag Rooster

[01:00:24] Find Greg on Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.

[01:01:33] Greg’s recent speaking events: Greg’s recent speaking events: 2019 Health Optimization Summit (London), Biohacking Conference Moskow, Wellness & Biohacking Conference 2019 in Guadalajara, Biohacker Summit (Helsinki).

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