#31 – Sleep Mastery with Dr. Amy Bender

Mastering Sleep for Better Recovery

The one thing the masters athlete needs to do to speed up recovery is sleep, which is the one thing most of us just cannot do well anymore. Listen in as Dr Bender shares the tools you need to master your sleep.

Amy Bender, MS, PhD

Director Clinical Sleep Science at Cerebra, a digital health company focused on improving access to advanced digital sleep analysis and diagnostic sleep technology.

Award winning sleep scientist Dr. Amy Bender is our source of evidence based insights that will play an integral role in creating your new sleep strategy. After spending over 15 years studying sleep through many avenues including work as a sleep technician, clinical research, written publications, interviews for stories in Oprah Magazine and public speaking appearances including her Ted Med talk, Dr. Bender has an intimate relationship with the science. Her ability to translate the science to the field is evident through her successful work with NHL, Canadian national team athletes and Olympic athletes.

How much sleep?

  • Everyone is different, but 7 hours seems to be the sweetspot for most.

What is quality sleep?

  • Falling asleep in less than 30 minutes
  • Waking up no more than 1 time per night for 20 minutes or less
  • Sleeping 85% or more of your time in bed.

Does Sleep Timing Matter?

Yes, although people are different. There is no one-size-fits-all formula for when you need to go to sleep.

Sleep Supplements?

  • melatonin (0.5mg is a dose similar to what your body makes…more is too much) — good for sleep time shifting. Get a reliable brand to get accurate dosing.
  • magnesium — can help, especially if you don’t get enough in your diet
  • tart cherry juice — 1 oz taken an hour before bedtime (also suggested to take in morning)
  • prescription sleep meds are powerful….best if only taken for a short time

Sleep Skills?

  • 4-7-8 breathing — breathe in for 4 seconds, hold for 7 seconds, breathe out for 8 seconds. repeat 4 times
  • cognitive shuffle – start with a word “bed-time”. start with the first letter “b” and think of as many objects as possible that start with “b”…ball, bat, bear, button, bed, etc., then move to “e”, and continue until you fall asleep.
  • if nothing is working, get out of bedroom, and go do a relaxing activity such as reading in low light until you feel sleepy before returning to bed.
  • 20-minute naps to catchup on lost sleep can help taken in the 1-4pm to not be too close to normal sleep time. Set alarm for 30 minutes…try to wake up before alarm.
  • have a sleep routine….get ready for sleep

What’s a Sleep Routine?

  • Set a one-hour time before bed to start winding down each night
  • A warm bath or shower can help
  • Stretching, reading, making a to-do list to clear your mind of things you need to remember

Sleep Environment?

  • Dark room: keep the sun out of the room and get the lights out of the room when you sleep
  • Quiet: ear plugs can help, white noise machines or fans
  • Cool: find a way to keep the room cool at night; if you warm up during sleep, you will wake up
  • No phone: noises, tempting distraction

Learn more from Dr. Amy Bender below as well as find access to links from topics discussed during our conversation.




Centre For Sleep:

Athlete Sleep Questionnaire: (COMING SOON STAY TUNED!)

Light Meter (app in apple store FREE and Pro version)

Luminette Blue Light Glasses:

The ever curious athlete who demands answers.
About the Author
Curious athlete who demands answers. Husband to Susan ( Father of 3 daughters. Athletic pursuits over time, in reverse order: cycling, skiing, mountaineering, rock climbing, triathlon, golf, tennis, football.

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