EP009: Sleep and Win with guest Ian Dunican – The No Xcuses Show

Sleep and Win!

Everyone knows that a bad night of sleep can easily affect your mood and performance the next day. Even losing what seems like small hours (1 to 3 hours) of sleep can lead to a fall in your mental and physical performance. 

However, there are others too that take sleep for granted. Always thinking that as long as they can function they are good to go with how many hours of sleep they can get the night before.

But sleep is so much more than taking a few hours of rest, and as an athlete, I have come to realise that aside from training, physical conditioning and conscious eating, sleep plays a vital role in my performance and competitive results.

I have invited Ian Dunican, Director Sleep 4 Performance and an expert in optimising productivity and performance, to talk about sleep and to help us understand how sleep affects our cognitive and physical performance.

Take away some great tips and tricks, and stop struggling with sleep in our latest The No Xcuses Show episode, Episode 9.

Quotes for Twitter

Sleep and Win!

Sleep better, be better!

I Asked Your Questions:

  • Does having under the recommended eight hours of sleep affect your performance? (2:02)
  • Does training affect sleep? (16:10)
  • How do you recover from jetlag? (20:31)
  • Can you change teenagers’ sleep patterns so that they can function better, and how?   (24:32)
  • Can you use the data that’s on a sports watch to help with tracking sleep? (27:21)

In This Episode, You Will Also Learn:

  • How I met Ian for the first time (00:10)
  • The two types of performance (02:47)
  • The comparison of missing out on sleep with blood alcohol level (03:38)
  • Ian participating in an ultra-marathon (05:29)
  • What is sleep banking, and how altitude affects sleep (07:00)
  • About the sensors to monitor brain activity during different stages of sleep (10:17)
  • What is polysomnography (12:20)
  • How the stages of sleep play a role in your physical repair and cognitive response (14:56)
  • The effects of pre-workout and caffeine to sleep (17:30)
  • Is it okay to wake up during your eight-hour sleep (19:26)
  • Reliability of sleep monitoring devices (19:52)
  • Where to get more tips and tricks on jetlag (23:58)
  • What is Warrior U and why you may want to be a part of it (29:54)
  • “Sleep as a weapon” (32:00)
  • How can you connect with Ian to learn more (32:40)
  • What to expect next from Ian in his podcast (33:45)

Full Transcription:

Brant: 00:00 Good day everyone, Brant Garvey here.  Welcome to the No Xcuses Show. Today I’m joined by a very special guest Ian Dunican from Sleep4Performance. I’ve got an interesting story about how I actually met Ian, so I was away over in the AIS in Canberra for training week and me and my coach were hanging out in the lunch area and we saw someone walking around with a tee shirt that had my name on the back of it. And we’re like, “What?” That (the tee shirt) was in a little fundraising exercise we did. So my coach and I got up and said hi. So I went up and I was like, “I’m the guy on the back of your shirt.” And that was actually how I met you. You were over there doing some stuff with athletes at the time.

Ian: 00:43 I just found that t-shirt in the bin that morning so I don’t know where it came out of.

Brant: 00:45 I know you paid hard cash for that bit.

Ian: 00:48 So I was at the AIS as I was doing research and with the combat centre, which is judo, wrestling, taekwondo, and the Olympic sports until we were on the camp looking at weight cutting for athletes in that camp. So I think that’s the camp I was there for. I was there for a few days but I think that was the one where I was wearing that tee shirt for that specific occasion.

Brant: 01:07 Yeah, I know, it was a really cool experience and we’ve actually been in touch ever since that. Most of the time just to give some type of cheeky jab in social media or something along those lines. Encouragement I think is what you call it. Um, but one of the reasons that I decided to get Ian in today was to talk about sleep. I know that in my campaign leading into the Rio Games that I sacrificed sleep. I was probably getting about four, between four and six hours a night and that was just because I was trying to fit in all the training plus working. And in those days I really didn’t think that there was an impact on performance by missing out on that suggested eight hours of sleep. So I wanted to be able to bring Ian in and answer some of the questions that I have about sleep and how it relates to performance. And then also some of the questions that we got from the people of Facebook. So I’m going to start. Does having under that recommended eight hours of sleep affect your performance?

Ian: 02:09 Well, I think to pick up on your first point, it’s not a suggested eight hour sleep, it’s a scientifically proven fact that most people would require probably 95 percent of the population, somewhere between seven to nine hours sleep per night. So that’s the kind of area we do want to get into. Now in the work that I’ve been doing and sort of the area of work that’s been happening on my PHD research was actually in sleep and performance in elite combat and contact athletes. And so we do see that those athletes to do achieve less than that actually does affect their performance. And that performance could be a on a daily… on a frequency like being daily, weekly or joining a game or a competition. But it’s also important to note that we’re talking about two different types of performance. We’re talking about cognitive performance. So basically how your brain operates and the decisions that you make. And we’re also more physical performance, so strength, endurance, aerobic, anaerobic capacity, however you want to it, and we do know from multiple studies on the cognitive demand, and on the physical demand that when we get less sleep over long periods of time that all the measures of cognitive and physical performance deteriorate over time. (Yeah.) So to answer your question, yes, and it’s not just based on hearsay or suggestion or a theory, it’s actually based on scientific evidence.

Brant: 03:18 Some of you might actually recognise Ian. He recently took part in TedX Perth and one of the things that I took away from his interview was the relationship or the comparison of missing out on sleep versus blood alcohol level. And uh, yeah, I’d love for you to explain a little bit about that as well.

Ian: 03:38 Yeah. So this is interesting because this has been around for 20 years but still not really well known. It was a very interesting study done by Professor Drew Dawson from… he’s at central Queensland University at the moment, and he showed the relationship between hours of wakefulness under relationship with a blood alcohol concentrate. So basically what happens is if you wake up in the morning and stay awake for a sustained period of time, and the markers we look at 17 hours of being awake without any sleep, and in 24 hours of being awake without any sleep. And so what we find is that when you’re awake for 17 hours continuously, so you might see this in multi-sport activities such as adventure race or ultra-marathons or even in military, people who were awake for 17 hours, their reaction time or their cognitive performance, their decision making is the equivalent to somebody who’s intoxicated at 0.05%. So those studies have been done in laboratories where we take somebody who’s intoxicated or we feed them alcohol to do a reaction time test or a driving simulation tests and as someone who’s been awake but no alcohol and both behave exactly the same in terms of the reaction and decision making. Now, if we go to a further level and we have 24 hours of wakefulness, then it becomes 0.08%, which is the legal limit in the states for example. So we do see that, you know, it’s a very good way probably of correlating the negative effects of sleep or lack of sleep and the hours of wakefulness to inverse relationship to something that’s known such as alcohol concentrate.

Brant: 05:09 Yeah. And I think it’s fascinating that the, you know, that you can have that much effect on your ability to coordinate yourself in what a lot of people would go through. I mean there’s plenty of times where people who don’t sleep for 17 to 24 hours and then probably still trying to do everything that they would normally do when it’s going to have a big impact on what they’re doing. Um, I, I noticed that you obviously mentioned endurance sport. I’d like to also point out that Ian is a little bit crazy like myself and is taking part in a few endurance events. One of those being an ultra-marathon. How many times have you done ultra-marathon?

Ian: 05:46 About 20.

Brant: 05:48 20 ultra-marathon! (Yeah) And there was one that you did that was 100 kilometers, correct?

Ian: 05:53 Most of them are 100 kilometers. The biggest one I’ve done was in a race called Leadville in the US and the Colorado Rockies, which is 100 miles or a hundred and 66 kilometers.

Brant: 06:00 166 kilometers!

Ian: 06:04 Oh, it gets worse. It starts at 4:00 in the morning and it gets worse. It’s an altitude. You can start at 10,000 feet and you go to about 12 and a half, 13,000 feet. Um, and so yeah, that was quite an experience.

Brant: 06:15 How long did it take you to finish that event?

Ian: 06:17 27 hours, forty-two minutes, and 15 seconds!

Brant: 06:22 You have to remember every second. Did you have a nap at all during that?

Ian: 06:28 No, I didn’t. My strategy was to just keep going. I find that for me, initiating sleep can be quite difficult, so the sleep onset or sleep onset latency is quite difficult for me to achieve. And I’m plus that if you have a lot of sleep deprivation and you do have a nap you have what’s called sleep inertia afterwards, which that groggy feeling. (Yeah.) So for me, for that specific race, because you have to get the race done under 30 hours (Okay, Okay), so I was, I knew I was going up against her and so my strategy was just to power true. So what I actually did was a different strategy. I use sleep banking the day before. (Okay.) So in the days leading up to the race, I try to maximise my time in bed and have 12 hours in bed for three days before the race. And then also because our altitude affects your sleep, I went out two and a half weeks before the race and lived in that town to acclimatize to the altitude. Because when we go off typically about 5,000 feet, we see that it’s difficult to initiate stage one sleep, so to fall asleep and we also see that any sort of sleep related breathing disorders are also exacerbated around altitude as well. So it’s really to make sure that I wanted to get over that kind of the jet lag, acclimatize to the altitude, and then have enough time to sleep bank before the race.

Brant: 07:41 I’m so excited that you had to… the limit of the race was 30 hours because I got you to say at least one of three. I wanted the 33, but we got you to say one of three with the accent.

Ian: 07:53 It’s like I’m still in the office.

Brant: 07:56 But you also brought up sleep banking. Now I firmly believed that it was a myth that you could save up sleep that would then help you when you were sleep deprived. Is that not the case?

Ian: 08:06 A lot of controversy in the sleep scientific community about sleep banking or sleep optimization. From the literature is divided on it. So you can’t really kind of over sleep. You can’t kind of sleep eight hours every night and then go, “Okay, now I’m going to sleep 10 hours.” You can’t just kind of switched to that because your body will naturally wake you up because it’s kind of inbuilt mechanism to make you wake up. But what we are kind of recommending about sleep banking, it’s just allowing more time to get rid of any sleep debt that you may have. So for example, probably see a lot of people who says, “Oh I got by on six hours sleep a night.” That’s fine, but when we take away all the extra stimulus, family, work, alarm clocks, TV, all these social things that’s going on, and you leave people to generally sleep eight to nine hours, which is really interesting. So people say they can get by on six, maybe it’s all they have and they kind of manage that. When we take all that away and see that happens. So when we say about sleep banking, sleep optimization, because most, particularly in Australia, most of us don’t get enough sleep, when we do set the people to allow extra time, we do see that sleep duration increase and we’ve seen that with the athletes as well. And some of our work with the western force, when we do set the people like allow extra time for sleep, they actually do achieve more sleep, which means that they are technically somewhat sleep deprived.

Brant: 09:25 Okay. So basically giving yourself enough of a buffer and then seeing how long you would naturally sleep. (Exactly.) I’ve just realised also that I haven’t explained why that I have all this stuff connected to me.

Ian: 09:40 I’ll tell you why mate, you were too busy trying to take a piss on me to get me to say 33 and third (Exactly!) or one of three.

Brant: 09:45 That was my entire focus of this interview. I borrowed my wife’s lovely nightie and you’ll notice that there’s just a few cables. I think there’s maybe 20. (Let’s cover that nipple) Let’s keep it PG. I think there are 25 or so of these things hooked up to me. if you just wanted to run through what this thing is and what it’s supposed to do?

Ian: 10:08 Okay. So what we have, and we’ll just start here from the top on your head, if you wanted to look forward, we have here in the head what we call EEG sensor. So we got sensors here at the front, the middle and the back. And basically what we’re doing here is we’re taking brain activity, if any, from Brant’s head and we would have that projected to another control room. And basically your brain will behave in different ways in different stages of sleep. So we have stage one, stage two, stage three and REM sleep. Stage one being a light stage of sleep, two, three, we’re getting deeper. Stage three is deep sleep, that’s when growth hormone is released, and then we have REM sleep as well, which is dream and sleep. A lot of people say, oh, deep dreaming sleep. It’s actually not true because dreaming sleep or REM sleep is actually very similar to being awake.

Ian: 10:53 So we have all these electrodes here and we’re looking for all these activities, and we also have as we moved down here we’ve also got EMG. And here we are looking for muscular activity here on the chin and jawline. And what we’re looking for there is any kind of grinding of your teeth or bruxism overnight. We also want to see when someone is actually dreaming, mostly the chin activity will attenuate, so it’d be fairly flat so we won’t see much activity. So that’s what we’re looking for those kinds of signals from here

Ian: 11:20 Here across his nose what we are looking for here are some thermistors or nasal thermistors. So we’re looking for airflow. And as you see one in front of his mouth and this is what we use to try to pick up any sleep related breathing disorders and somebody might have such as snoring or sleep apnea. And so that’s what we used to pick up this.

Ian: 11:37 Then we have ECG here to see if the tin man has a heart. We also have these thoracic bands and abdo bands and we’re looking for respiratory effort, basically in and out. So we would look if there’s any disruption in Brant’s and breathing and then also how he’s kind of chest. If got any paradox of breathing or expansion or whatever it might be (?) in different directions. And so we’re just looking for those things as well.

Ian: 12:00 Then down onto his wrist, we have a pulse oximetry. So we’re looking for de-saturation. So typically for obstructive sleep apnea we would see a reduction in airflow or breathing. We would see some EEG activity. We would see a blood oxygen de-saturation by greater than 3%. And that’s how we kind of identify a sleep and breathing disorder.

Ian: 12:20 Then down… we go down to the leg then we will look for movement disorders down here. Now, currently it’s worth noting that there’s over 80 sleep disorders recognised by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and this thing that you have is called polysomnography or PSG. And this is the gold standard that we use to try to identify a sleep disorder. Now many people would look at us and go, “How are you supposed to sleep? That’s not representative of a night’s sleep.” And yeah, it’s not, but all we’re trying to do was to get a block of your sleep so we can either identify or eliminate any of those sleep disorders. Because once we know what sleep disorder you have, whether breathing disorder or a movement disorder or a REM behavior disorder, we act out your dreams like sleep talk, or are moving around, then we won’t be able to treat you for that and every treatment modality is different. I think a lot of people think a sleep disorder is just snoring and sleep apnea when actual fact there is over 80. So for all these things here, we plugged them into a little box here. and we use the 80 to 20 method, sorry I’m thinking about data… 10 to 20 method on the head to a couple of these electrodes in and so we can go up to all these different EEG. So everything that’s on Brant gets plugged into this box and it goes to our control room where a technician would monitor that overnight or for a specified period of time. They’ll take all that data to break it down to 30-second epochs or time periods, and they’ll score every 30 seconds for a whole eight hours to see what you have going on. And then they’ll identify if you spent two hours in stage one sleep, an hour in stage two and then we’ll convert it to percentages as well. And we’ll see then against your age group for example, are you spending 15 percent of your time in stage three sleep, which is for growth hormone, physical repair and recovery, and then we might say, well for your age group it should be 20 percent, so we want to see how we can maximise that. So we kind of use that… this is more of a diagnostic than a kind of a longer assessment over time.

Brant: 14:12 And so you were talking about the stages before, um, is stage three the deepest sleep cycle or is it the… (Yes, it is.) So you go… what is REM sleep, the lightest and that’s the dreaming one.

Ian: 14:24 So you start when you are awake, then you fall asleep and you go into stage one. So the EEG activity kind of attenuates and it becomes less frequent. Then it goes into stage two and that’s characterised what we call sleep spindles or sharp and kind of vertex where it goes up and down. We see that in stage one, then we get the sleep spindles so it looks like this frequency and is what’s called K complexes in stage two. And then we go to stage three and it is characterised by this long slow rolling sort of EEG kind of thing is that you will see and that’s the deep state and that’s where the growth hormones being released. (And that’s when your body recovers from…)

Ian: 14:56 That’s physical repair and recovery. So a lot of your physical repairs happen in one, two and three, and then your kind of your brain is getting rebooted, so to speak, in REM. REM is really important for brain reboot or cognitive performance the next day. And a non-REM, which is one, two and three is important for physical performance the next day. Now people will say which is more important, they are both equally important. Now generally the first half of the night you’ll do more non-REM sleep. Towards the back end of the night you’ll do more REM sleep, however you will oscillate. So you might fall asleep at 10:00, then you might wake up at 11:30 in a dream. So you might be shorter, burst up into REM, but the periods become more frequent. However, the body will always prioritise REM sleep first.

Brant: 15:40 And so REM sleep is when you’re dreaming is that…

Ian: 15:42 Yeah, Rapid Eye Movement… and the reason being is when you’re in REM sleep, you basically have what’s called muscle atonia. Your body isn’t moving because we don’t want to act out your dreams don’t. Doing its best is your eyes are rolling and you’re reading (?) (That’s fascinating.)That’s sort of kind of activity we’re looking for there.

Brant: 15:58 I’m just going to go to a couple of the questions that we received on Facebook in the lead up to this interview. (I think there’s 33 questions.) Does Training affects sleep? So I know this happens to me personally, but a friend asked me on Facebook, does having a hard training session like where you just absolutely flog yourself and then you come home and try to sleep, not straight away, but you can do it earlier in the day, but the restless through that sleep

Ian: 16:30 Flogging yourself means something different in Ireland Yes, is the answer to the question. So it depends, it depends on the time of the training session. So for example, he’s working Monday to Friday from nine to five; then they go to the gym and train sort of seven to eight; come home, have dinner, very hard to get sleep before 12:00. So after two to three hours after a training session or a game or a competition, it’s really difficult to initiate sleep. So that’s first of all, it is the timing. Second of all, is the state or the level of intensity or random procedure exertion or RPE, which many people will be familiar with That effort and how you go is going to be very hard to kind of relax afterwards. So we see this a lot with professional rugby players playing at night. Two or 4:00 in the morning.

Brant: 17:12 So what if you are doing let’s say a 5:00 training session and it was really hard, is that going to affect your ability to sleep within that five hours? Would you still be looking… would you still be struggling to go to bed before 10:00?

Ian: 17:24 I think you’d be struggling to go to bed before probably 9:00. Yep, definitely. So you’re not going to probably initiate sleep at least after 9:00, probably more towards a 10. But also Brant it’s important… this is one of the things I’m seeing a lot across all athletic groups is the use of pre-workout and caffeine. Because this is what’s happening, so many people are finishing work to heading to the gym, they are (?) a pre-workout drink as they’re going to door. You’re doing a workout, now caffeine takes from 30 minutes to 60 minutes to peak. So for some people the caffeine doesn’t peak until they leave. And what does caffeine do, it affects your sleep. Because caffeine takes 30 minutes to 60 minutes to peak and then it takes four to five hours to get out of your system.

Brant: 18:03 And I heard it had like a 12 hour half-life?

Ian: 18:05 Eight hour half-life. There’s also different of metabolizers, some people were slow and fast. An average person’s probably will take about four hours to get past that half-life. So if you have a pre-workout at 6:00, peaks at seven, you’re have no chance before 11:00 on sleep really. And if we had some work like that published recently

Brant: 18:21 And if you’re going to sleep, so you believe you’re sleepy but you’re just not going to hit those zones. So if you do fall asleep, are you… because you’ve had caffeine it’s just affecting the quality of that sleep?

Ian: 18:33 Yeah. So interestingly, what’s going to do is if you can’t fall asleep, now what caffeine normally does in the system, it affects the amount of awakenings, or arousals that you have. So overnight then we see what’s called WASO – wake after sleep onset, which is basically more awakenings. So think about your bed like a utilisation metric, time in bed, time spent sleeping, either end of at there’s time to fall asleep, and all those awakenings. So your utilisation or efficiency of the bed has gotten down now maybe to 80 or 70 percent. So while it might be in bed for 10 hours, realistically only slept seven, seven and a half. So a lot of people confuse time and bed as opposed to a sleep duration. So just because you allow seven hours in bed or eight hours in bed, it doesn’t mean that that we would have 100% sleep time.

Brant: 19:16 And you say, um, the, the times that you wake up, is there an average kind of standard amount of times that you’re a person would wake up for an eight hour sleep?

Ian: 19:26 It’s quite normal to wake up, you know, like you know, anywhere from to 10 times a night, and it’s quite normal to wake up anywhere for like up to 30 minutes at cumulatively. It’s quite okay. But many people that aren’t even cognizant or waking up, the small movements, arousals and this is where the EEG on your head is more kind of sensitive on picking up those mid-arousals or movements. Because when we’re asleep sort of, which is interesting because this is the top level PSG. Then we go PSG one, two, three and four. Then we have wrist worn devices that are medical grade and then we go down onto the other devices such as Garmin and so on, then we go into self-reported sleep or apps. And so the more that we go down the less reliability that we have. So when we compare self-reported sleep versus polysomnography sleep, people were up by two hours (and that’s massive difference) massive difference especially over a week. So people have this idea, oh yeah, I’m pretty good when I’m asleep. No not really, because you don’t astro-preject your body to watch yourself at night. So I don’t know…

Brant: 20:27 We were talking eight hours and if you’re out by two, that’s a 25%. How do you recover from jet lag? It’s on a slightly different tangent. And when to or not to sleep when traveling?

Ian: 20:41 Okay. So the answer to this is I’m going to be like a politician because it actually depends. So let’s just help with the principles of jet lag first and what’s going on and I’m not going to able to answer that question exactly because it does depend on every situation. So if we think about map of the world in front of us, we’re here in Australia and the west coast. If we traveled west or east, we’re going to experience jet.

Brant: 21:03 I always find it affects me much more when I’m going west, no east, when I go east. When I go to the US and stuff, it’s so much harder for me than if I go to say Europe or in London.

Ian: 21:18 And there’s a reason behind that. So eastward travel is always harder than going westward. So every time zone you go across it gets more and more difficult. So from here to Sydney at moments like two hours, that’s not too bad.

Brant: 21:31 I find the difference between two and three is even quite drastic.

Ian: 21:33 A lot of people do. You go to New Zealand, it’s like a five hour time difference, four hour time difference whatever that may be at that time of year, that can be hard too. So if you go left to right, let’s say across the globe, you’re gonna have jet. If you go north to south, you’re not going to have jet lag. So if you fly from here to Singapore…

Brant: 21:53 or Japan. I traveled to Japan recently… yeah one hour  and you can travel there so easily.

Ian: 21:55 Yeah. So what you might experience on those flights is sleep deprivation or a bad night’s sleep from traveling, but it’s not actually jetlag per se. Jetlag happens when you cross different time zones. So East is more difficult than going west.

Ian: 22:07 When to sleep or when not asleep? All depends… all depends on when you arrive, the flight you leave, the type of travelling you are doing – business, economy, first class,  are you going there for a meeting, are you going there for holidays, are you going there for like a sport? So it depends on what you want to try and optimize. So in the work that we did with the Western Force looking at jetlag and adaptation, we actually did a lot of modeling work. We had to wear a wrist activity monitors and we help them to pick the flights, said it would arrive in at specific time, then help them synchronize with different strategies, around exposure to light, meal times and so on. So it’s really hard to kind of say this is what you should do and people will say this is what you should do. It’s actually incorrect. Right? But what I will say is in the absence of having no strategy, when you arrive at new time zone, stay awake for as long as you can and try to get onto that new time zone. So if you go, let’s say to London, you got like seven hour time difference from our time. If you land there at like 10:00 in the morning, try and stay awake all that day. Have lunch, have dinner, observe the sunset and go to bed then at 9:00 that night and stay in bed till the next morning.

Brant: 23:13 So that would be a simple strategy when you haven’t got the ability to find out exactly what you should be doing…

Ian: 23:18 In the absence of no knowledge. Get on that local time zone. Don’t start trying to sleep during the day. Then you’d be awake at night and it will completely de-synchronise you, because for every time zone you cross it can take you a day to get used to it. So for some people it takes eight days to get use to London.

Brant: 23:34 Yeah, me traveling to the US it feels like about the 10 days before, um, or Rio for example, that was a firm 10 days that I needed to recover for the, for the race and that’s exactly how much time we had. So yeah, it’s, it’s amazing. And it’s the difference between traveling west and east is just incomparable. It’s so much harder going to the US than to the…

Ian: 23:58 Now on that point Brant, if people want to go to my website, sleep, sleep4perfomance.com.au, there is a free book on there which is about 30 to 40 pages on managing sleep and jet lag for optimal performance. You can download that little PDF book there, free of charge, and you can read more about that as well and get some tips and tricks on jet lag.

Brant: 24:17 Yeah, I’d totally recommend going and checking that out because it just makes such a massive difference if you. If you go prepared, especially if you want to be able to utilise as much time as you can when you land into a new country or a new time zone. Okay. Can you change teenagers’ sleep patterns so that they can function better and how? It’s a pretty broad question.

Ian: 24:41 This is one of the questions that when you answer you don’t want to aim at anybody. There’s one for the parents and one for the teenager, so I’ll come back to science. Here’s the thing, right? Teenagers aren’t lazy and they constantly get battered by everybody about sleep – time to go to sleep, being lazy, and all that. When we were born we need rotating hours of sleep a day. As we get older, we don’t need less sleep, but we kind of tailed off. So once we get past her at 23, 24, it’s roughly about seven to nine hours a night. Teenagers need about 10 to 11 hours a night. But here’s the problem with teenagers, they got to get up in the morning and go for school, go to school. It was like half seven, 8:00. Some parents have got to drop them off first, might be swimming in the morning and it’s going like the 5:00, half five. But from the age of like 14 through 21, teenagers experience as circadian phase. (I don’t know what that means.) What happens is we would normally follow statement, normal population at 11:00 at night and wake up at seven, teenagers don’t. They want to go to bed, can they don’t feel sleepy until 2:00 in the morning. So it’d be like me trying to put you to bed at five in the evening and you go like, “I can’t go to sleep.” Same thing for a teenager. Their system is completely de-synchronized.

Brant: 26:03 So that’s just part of going through growing up?

Speaker 2: 26:05 Yeah. So they want to go to bed late. They become what we call an owl chronotype. go to bed later and get up later. As we get older we generally come back around to the intermediate or kind of in between or you’re come area more of a lark. So like me right now, I’m 40 this year, I wake up every morning at half five. When I was a teenager, I sleep until 2:00 in the afternoon So it’s got nothing to do with being a teenager. It’s nothing to do with her behavior. And it’s nothing got to do with like how lazy they are or their success. It’s got to do with biology. So this is how teenagers flipped through this.

Brant: 26:39 I can see lots of teenagers getting excited about how this clip is going. This is, this is science. I have to, I have to sleep for 12 hours. I would have loved to have known this as a, as a young teen.

Ian: 26:51 But unfortunately society hasn’t allowed that, whether it’s just family life or school or any other things. That’s the problem.

Brant: 26:58 Yeah exactly, because you said that they, through this stage, they need to go to bed later, but there’s no way that they can do that and then they get to school on time because of the way it’s set up.

Ian: 27:08 And school is generally set around parents. And school has become earlier due to have a lot of push from parents about work.

Brant: 27:16 So being able to drop off and then like you said, if any of them tried to do anything physical before that they’re well and truly eating into that sleep.

Brant: 27:21 So what about sports watches? I’ve got a question on Facebook and they said, “Can you use the data that’s on a sports watch to help with tracking sleep?” What’s the accuracy? Do they, do they do it or are they just saying they do it?

Ian: 27:35 So that’s very interested in. So when we looked at the polysomnography that you have on to validate one of these devices, you need to have some weirdest PSG and I wear one of these wrist activity monitors or sport watches, and look at the data side by side. And so we do see a degree of variability between them. So my advice to people is, if you’re going to purse one these devices, try and get one that has been somewhat scientifically validated against PSG and look for the degree of accuracy or variability. So for example, like say XYZ device might pick up 90% of their total sleep duration, so you know that’s going to be about 90% accurate. But there’s lots of devices out there that aren’t accurate. Okay. And the problem is that people will go, “But they say to track sleep.” They are wrist activity monitors not medical devices. And so they are under no obligation to have their stuff scientifically validated to pick it up. So if you’re going to use a device, bear in mind that there’s a lot of variability with (?). If you have a device that tells you had light sleep and deep sleep, I would question that unless it’s taken heart rate variability, so definitely question that. And the other thing I really exercise caution against is the use of smartphones. So people would go, oh, so you got a smartphone there Brant, “Oh, I’ve got a sleep cycle app. I put it over here.” We’re all in the room, how is that measuring what’s going on in your brain? This is the gold standard (Pointing to the sensors on Brant) against this for a free app that you got. Now, if I’m your partner in bed, God forbid, and we are in here, whose brain is it measuring? (You wish you were that lucky.) But who? Or a dog jumps on the bed… the dog is jumping up and down. Who knows what’s going on? So the scientific validity between these kinds of apps and a PSG…

Brant: 29:26 I suppose the only thing that they could verify if they were just sitting on their phone on Facebook until two in the morning, at least it will be able to tell them that I wasn’t sleeping…

Ian: 29:34 All it’s going to do is…yeah and there is an app that you can get that can say like the person stopped using their phone at this time and started this time. That just a period of activity. There’s no indication that they been asleep, but this sleep cycle app and stuff that goes on that’s free and 99 cents, guys, just don’t even bother with it.

Brant: 29:52 Not even worth it. Yep. I’m okay. Now you’re wearing a particular shirt there which is Warrior U. What is this all about?

Ian: 30:02 Warrior U. Well Brant as you may recall, I was in the military originally in my career.

Brant: 30:06 I remember the TedX where you said you the part you about you falling asleep on patrol. That stuck with me.

Ian: 30:15 Yeah. Well, I’d been awake for 72 hours on coffee and bread and it wasn’t like I was just going to fall asleep.

Brant: 30:22 Was it true it’s on the training part, wasn’t it?

Ian: 30:22 That was when I was doing my noncommissioned officers course. Yeah. So it was quite. (Yeah. Quite brutal) Quite fun. Yeah. Um, and so through that and my subsequent work I’ve been doing, I’ve become friends with a guy called Bram Connolly who people may know. Bram Connolly is a fiction author. He’s written two books which are very good. So if you like a military fiction, around Special Forces, you’d like these books. They are actually really good.

Brant: 30:44 I actually make sure to read fiction books to go to sleep. So yeah…

Ian: 3046 You might want to read these because it gets quite pumped up, they are quite good. So it’s like in that kind of realm of like the Bourne Identity or something like that. So they’re really good books. But Bram himself was a major in the Australian Commando Unit and he served in Afghanistan and Iraq and he’s really good guy and he runs Warrior U. And Warrior U support people who want to join the military. So if people want to join the military, they want to get fit, they want to get into the mindset of one, connect with other people. They can do that. But also…

Brant: 31:14 What it’s like a bridging kind of workout, is it?

Ian: 31:16 It’s like a kind of… I suppose I’ve got an online mentorship program where you can join up and it’s quite cheap and um, you know, affordable and get workouts. You can talk to people who have been in the military, you can get some advice. Whatever branch of military you want to go to. What type of fitness you have to do, but equally there are people in there that aren’t interested in joining the military and in their 50’s and 60”s and just want to train like that, and I understand the mindset and apply it to their life. So Warrior U is a great program that Bram operates and it connects people together to promote our message, you know, of that kind of warrior ethos to get through life, not just to join the military. And Bram’s a great guy and he’s very, you know, he’s been on my podcast, Sleep4Performance radio, which is on iTunes and (?).

Ian: 32:00 He’s coming up in the new season that’s coming out in July. And Bram goes into depth about his experience around sleep as commando. So if you think it was bad before in my patrol, you may want to hear what these guys do as commando, and how they sleep before mission, during the mission, and after. And um, you know, Brams tagline is “Sleep is a weapon.” Because if you can optimise your sleep before a mission, you’re one step ahead of the enemy. And we’re not talking about like seconds or minutes of rest like me and you were talking about, we’re talking about life and death situations. So it’s really interesting about how sleep in the military, you know, affects people. So yeah, check out Warrior U. It’s a great website. Bram does great stuff. And if you have good interest in fiction, check out Bram’s books.

Brant: 32:40 Yeah, go ahead and check that out. Now in terms of connecting, how can the No Xcuses nation connect with you? What’s the best way? Obviously you’ve got the website and social media. Just start throwing a few of those things out and what they can expect?

Ian: 32:53 Yeah. So you can just go straight to probably Sleep4Performance.com.au. There you can kind of branch out everything. So we’ve got a number of blogs that are on there so you can go on and scroll through blogs, read some stuff, and discuss some of the points that we’ve been talking about today. You can download the jetlag book that we spoke about. You can download all my research there as well, for free. (And then there’s the caffeine research there as well?) Yeah, there are blogs about that as well. If you haven’t got time to go into big scientific papers, you can download like a one page blog under. You can also on that website, you can get any of my media appearances. They are embedded there as YouTube clips. My TEDx talk is there. The stuff I have done with AIS, Western Force, Park Links Basketball, all of the video clips are in there.

Brant: 33:36 I highly recommend checking out the TEDx too if you haven’t seen it because I reckon it was amazing. Was it 10 minutes? (Nine and a half minutes. Just short and sharp) Just really powerful. Yeah,

Ian: 33:45 It’s really good. And then, what you can do from there is you navigate to Sleep4Performance radio. We’ve got about 20 odd episodes up there, 10 more coming out in July, which I’m really excited about. We have Russell Foster, one of the world’s leading neuroscientists in sleep. He’s got a TEDx talk which is worth checking out, which got over 5 million views. (Wow.) So Russell is on the BBC, The Infinite Monkey Cage podcast. You know, he’s very famous around the world in the sleep and scientific community. We’ve got Amy Bender on from Canada who works for the Canadian Olympian athletes. We’ve got Ian Pryor from the western force, the captain of the new western force. Bram Connolly from the Special Forces. Shona Halson head of recovery at the AIS. And we got a star-studded lineup for this season. So we’re going to launch 10 episodes and we’re going to have like Netflix, you can download the 10 and listened to more than one go if you want or just put it into your phone. Sort of coming out mid-July (Awesome, looking forward to it!) That’s a really good tool and everything is free by the way at the site.

Brant: 34:42 Yeah. Alright. We’re just wanting to say a massive thank you for your time today Ian and for also making this happen. It’s been fascinating. I’m sure you guys have taken something away that you can implement to help sleep better for performance and thank you again and I’ll talk to you soon.

Ian: 35:00 Sleep and Win!

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Hey, I’m Brant Garvey. I’m determined to build a culture of No Excuses. My only question is, will it be yours?

About Brant Garvey

I am a father, husband, congenital amputee, Paralympian, motivational speaker and creator of the No Xcuses Mindset.

Born missing my right leg below the knee, I could have taken the easy route, curled up in a corner and given up.

Instead, I chose to take control of my life.

I chose to overcome barriers and rid myself of the excuses that were stopping me from reaching my full potential.

And thus, the No Xcuses Mindset was born.