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How To Sleep (Even) Smarter – Q & A with Shawn Stevenson

Shawn Stevenson is a bestselling author and creator of The Model Health Show, featured as the #1 Nutrition and Fitness podcast on iTunes. A graduate of The University of Missouri – St. Louis with a background in biology and kinesiology, Shawn went on to be the founder of Advanced Integrative Health Alliance, a successful company that provides Wellness Services for both individuals and organizations worldwide. Shawn is also a dynamic keynote speaker who has spoken for TEDx, universities, and numerous organizations with outstanding reviews.


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In our 25th episode, sleep expert and Model Health Show creator Shawn Stevenson revealed 3 Kwik Tips to Sleeping Smarter. When you don’t get the sleep you need, it impairs your attention, alertness, concentration, problem-solving, and memory.

In this episode, Shawn answers 3 of the questions you posted in our private Kwik Brain Facebook group. If you’re not a member, join here.

"When it comes to sleep and travel, be proactive, not reactive."

Shawn Stevenson

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How do you sleep even smarter?

In this episode, we brought back sleep expert Shawn Stevenson to answer your burning questions about sleep.

What do you do when you wake up in the middle of the night?

  • Stay off of your devices.
  • Blue light and dopamine will stimulate your brain.
  • Meditate
  • Meditation can help you reach brainwave frequencies that correlate with sleep.
  • It’s not the same as sleep but is close.
  • Meditation can get you to alpha, theta, or even delta states if you’re an advanced meditator.
  • Look at the potential reasons you might be waking up at night.
  • You may be deficient in key nutrients or have a bacterial, parasitic, or viral infection.
  • Key hormones like cortisol and melatonin may not be optimized.
  • Consider visiting an integrated physician who can review your blood work and hormone panels to find the cause.

What is the ideal sleep environment?

  • Create a sleep sanctuary.
  • Reserve your bedroom for sleep and sex.
  • Your brain is always looking to optimize behaviors by creating connections.
  • If your bedroom is an entertainment hub, you’ll naturally want to watch TV there. So keep anything not related to sleep or sex elsewhere in your home.
  • Minimize external light pollution.
  • According to a Cornell University study, light the size of a quarter behind your knee disrupts your sleep cycle.
  • Eye masks can help, but your skin picks up light too – so get your bedroom as dark as possible.
  • If you live in a suburban or urban environment, purchase blackout curtains.
  • We’ve evolved to handle natural light so moonlight or starlight as you sleep is fine, but even a weak LED can disrupt your sleep.

What are some travel hacks to improve sleep?

  • Be proactive, not reactive.
  • Hide the light in your hotel room.
  • Put tape on blue or green lights in your hotel room (from clocks, computers, and other devices).
  • Red light is OK since it only affects your sleep a negligible amount.
  • Book hotels with blackout curtains.
  • Adjust your sleep before traveling.
  • 2 – 3 days before switching time zones, adjust your sleep schedule by a few hours to reduce your jet lag once you arrive.
  • Use melatonin.
  • Using melatonin regularly downregulates your melatonin receptor sites, meaning long-term use of melatonin reduces your body’s ability to use it effectively.
  • Melatonin is safe when used in spot cases – like if you’ve slept poorly over the past few days or you’re jet-lagged.
  • Use sprayable or liquid forms since your body can absorb these more efficiently.
  • Like with all supplements, research on your own before purchasing a product at a drugstore to ensure its safety.

Want more sleep tips? Purchase a copy of Shawn’s book, Sleep Smarter, here!


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