A page from the Book Festival of the Marcus Jewish Community Center came to life when Michael Breus discussed his health book, “The Power of When,” at the center Sunday, Jan. 15.
The night was made more special when Breus, a graduate of Riverwood High in Sandy Springs, opened with slides of his Hollywood success, including appearances with Oprah Winfrey, Dr. Mehmet Oz, Rachael Ray and Katie Couric.
Although much of his talk centered on sleep, Breus presented a groundbreaking formula to unlock each person’s chronotype, which he presented as the best way to sync the rhythm of your biology to perform at peak levels to manage creativity, exercise and speed. In today’s high-octane world, we all want a good night’s sleep and the ability to properly time things like asking for a raise or chatting with a teen child.
Here are some points from Breus, a clinical psychologist and sleep medicine fellow:
- Most people’s blood pressure drops at 10:30 p.m., when sleep becomes easiest. Our deepest sleep is around 2 a.m.
- Kids listen best when they are at low energy, meaning bedtime.
- When you wake up, don’t grab for coffee until 10:30 a.m. Drink water first and get some sunlight.
- Many people “enjoy intimacy” at the wrong time; 10:30 p.m. is when hormones are at their lowest, meaning it’s too late. For women, the best time to start is 6 p.m., although men can peak “any time,” a revelation that got a big audience reaction.
- It might be best to exercise after 2 p.m. Morning jogs may lead to weight loss but will involve slower speeds and a higher propensity for injury.
- Getting the right equipment in the right place in the bedroom is important. Breus does professional bedroom makeovers, and some households in Los Angeles spend up to $60,000 to have him arrange their bedrooms for optimal sleep.
- Sleeping pills are only for drastic times. He weans 90 percent of his patients off sleep medication. Melatonin has some application but never for children.
- Israelis are inventing technology to cancel snoring.
- People who have recurring nightmares can be reprogrammed to change the bad dream.
- “Biohacking” is a movement to get eight hours of sleep in 5½ hours.
- Daily exercise is important, but 20 minutes can be enough.
Audience members were encouraged to go online to www.thepowerofwhenquiz.com to take his quiz to determine their chronotypes (bear, lion, dolphin) — in other words, whether they are early birds or night owls — to predict how to perform maximally.
One interesting note is that actual dolphins can sleep with half their brains and stay awake with the other half.
Breus’ Riverwood buddies Lewis Perling, Ralph Grossman, Marc Bardack, Jason Brenner and Adam Sikora remained after the talk to reminisce about his past habits. They said he always lost at poker, slept late, and held a Thanksgiving football game at his house each year, even if it snowed.
Change your timing and change your life, Breus said. “The Power of When” does have power.