Learn the perfect hormonal time to sleep, eat, and have sex | Michael Breus | TEDxManhattanBeach

Learn the perfect hormonal time to sleep, eat, and have sex | Michael Breus | TEDxManhattanBeach


Translator: Tanya Cushman
Reviewer: Rhonda Jacobs So it turns out that’s there a perfect time of day
to do just about everything. Kate came to see me
for incurable insomnia. It was pretty interesting. It started out with an occasional night
or two of having some difficulty sleeping. So she did what a lot
of people out there do: she turned to a glass of wine. She had one. Then she started having two. Then she started having three –
said this wasn’t such a great idea. So she went to
over-the-counter sleep aids. She tried several of those;
they didn’t work very well. So then she went and sought
professional medical help. She talked to her doctor who gave her
a prescription for a sleeping pill. It actually worked –
for about three months. She came back, said, “It’s not working.” He said, “Double the dose.” Okay? This is very common, by the way. When that stopped working,
he changed the prescription. Same scenario: doubled the dose,
stopped working. Same scenario: doubled the dose,
stopped working. When she showed up in my office, it was pretty interesting to me because I had a lot of things
I wanted to talk with her about. One thing I learned: during this period of time
while she was doubling the dose, this wasn’t the only area
that she was having issues. She was having problems at home
and having problems at work. She wasn’t getting along with her family. Her work productivity
had decreased greatly; she was afraid
she was about to get fired. When she came to see me,
she said, “Doctor Breus, I don’t think that I have
a sleep problem.” She said, “I think I sleep
at the wrong time.” I said, “What do you mean?” She said, “If I could go to bed at 2 AM
and wake up at 9 AM and then go to work, my life would be great.” I said, “Well, why don’t you do that?” She said, “Well, I don’t think
my boss or my family would be too on board with that. I said, “Let’s see
if we can figure this out.” So I called her boss, with her permission, and said, “I want
to do something with Kate. Would it be okay if she doesn’t come in
until 10, 10:30 in the morning?” Surprisingly, her boss said,
“Sure, no problem. But by the way, I’m going to fire her
at the end of the week.” (Laughter) No pressure, right? So I had five days
to save Kate’s sleep and her job. So we decided to implement this schedule: she went to bed at 2 –
family was all on board – got up at 9, went to work by 10, 10:30. So I called her boss
at the end of the week, kind of cringing on the phone,
hoping it was going to go well. and he said, “I don’t know
what you did to her, but her work product has improved 100%. She doesn’t fall asleep
at meetings anymore. She participates in everything. This is fantastic.” Then he said, “Can you help me
with some of my other employees?” (Laughter) So I was so excited; I went to call Kate,
and her husband picked up the phone, and he said, “I don’t know
what you did to my wife, but I like her again.” I was like, “Oh my God, this is amazing.” I said, “Get Kate on the phone.” Kate hops on the phone.
I say, “This is fantastic. You got your job, you’re doing
better with your family.” She said, “I’ve started
to notice some things. When I get to work, if I try to read detailed information
at 9:00 AM or 10:00, it doesn’t go so well. But at 2:00, I’m much better.” I said, “That’s interesting.” She said, “I can’t even
eat breakfast. I have no appetite. But 10:00 at night, I’m famished.” And then it dawned on me: Kate had a specific type of chronotype. She was a night owl. You may not have heard
the word “chronotype,” but you’ve probably heard
of “early birds” and “night owls.” When you look at
the historic medical literature, you’ll find three chronotypes: there’s early birds, there’s people in the middle
we call “hummingbirds,” and there’s people at night
that we call “night owls.” Well, when I read the literature, one of the things I noticed was insomnia
really wasn’t represented there. And so I decided to create a new category. I renamed them all, and I’d like
to share them with you today. The first, early birds,
are replaced by what I call “lions.” Lions are my COOs of a company. They are very Type A personalities. By the way, they get up between 4:30
and 5:00 in the morning usually. They’re the ones who are sending
emails constantly, before you even – eyes have popped open. They like to make a list every day, and go from step one to step two
to step three to step four – very regimented thinkers. But there’s a problem with being a lion. I know it sounds fantastic – all that –
but they wake up up 4:30 AM. Dinner and a movie
is out for these people, right? They can never make it socially. But it’s pretty interesting –
about 15% of the population. Next are the bears. These represent the people in the middle. Being a bear is the best. Roughly 55% of the population. Oh, by the way, these animals
all have the same chronotypes, so a lion’s chronotype is actually early;
their first kill is usually before dawn. Bears get up with the sun,
fall asleep when the moon comes out. So they’re more like
all of the regular people in the world. Bears, generally speaking, are extroverts. They have a tendency
to be very social people. These are the folks that get work done. It’s fantastic; I love
hanging out with bears. They invite you to their home for dinner, or they’re buying drinks at the bar
or something fun like that. Great group of people to hang out with. Definitely more of
a societal glue, if you will. Then we’ve got the wolves. Wolves represent the night owls. I’m fully going to admit right now, I am a wolf. Roughly 15% of the population, these people have
very interesting characteristics. These are my artists, my actors,
my authors, my musicians. These are very creative people, but oddly enough, introverted
in many different ways. They can make things look fantastic,
but if they create a list during the day, they go from step one to step twelve
to step seven to step fourteen. We have no idea what these people
are doing, which is usually me. And what we discovered
over the course of time is they’re very loyal friends,
very intelligent people, but at the same time,
everything is shifted later in the day. Then we finally got a new category
that I call “dolphins.” Believe it or not, dolphins sleep with half their brain asleep
and half their brain awake, so they can be [sleeping]
but still looking for predators. I thought that was a good representation
of my people who don’t sleep so well. Here’s what’s interesting about dolphins:
they are just like lions, but they’ve got so much anxiety that they
really have a difficult time out there. So they’re very Type A personalities. Oftentimes, they self-diagnose
themselves as insomniacs. Sometimes they have health issues;
they’re very health conscious, for sure, but they’ve got just enough
obsessive compulsive disorder in them so they never quite finish a project,
tinkering around at the last minute; meanwhile, everybody that’s watched them
says, “Oh my gosh, your stuff is amazing.” Now, why would it be important
to know what your chronotype is? Here’s where it gets fascinating. So it turns out that our hormones actually work
on a very predictable schedule, but our schedules
are based on our chronotypes. So somebody with a lion chronotype will have a very different
hormone schedule than somebody with a wolf chronotype. Let’s think, just
for a second, about Kate. Turns out that Kate was a wolf. Right? She wanted to go to bed
at 2 and wake up at 9, but she was living the life of a bear. So she would go to work
on a bear’s schedule with melatonin still pumping
through her brain. Of course she couldn’t do well up there. What’s great about this
is it’s not just work. There’s so many different areas
that we can actually apply your chronotype and figure out the perfect time of day
for you to do something. I’ll go through four
different activities right now. I’m going to do eating,
caffeine, exercise and intimacy. Don’t worry, I save the best for last. So let’s talk about eating. It turns out that when you
want to digest food, it’s almost like Grand Central Station
in your gut, right? You got trains coming in
from all directions, and when it all moves smoothly,
trains go in and trains go out. But if you’re not eating
at the right time, your digestive system isn’t ready,
and guess what happens? Pile up of pounds. So what I’ve done is I’ve created,
actually, a schedule for people. So once you figure out
what your chronotype is, it turns out if you eat
within a 12-hour block, you’ll maintain your weight
with almost any kind of diet. In an eight-hour block,
you’ll actually start to lose weight. Again, if you keep that block
in your particular chronotype. So I’ve listed them all up here
for everybody to check out. Next, let’s talk about something else
that we all kind of eat, kind of don’t. As a wolf, I’m not a big fan of breakfast, but a lot of people out there
are big fans of coffee, right? Or caffeine. Caffeine is the most abused
substance in the world, but what’s fascinating about caffeine is that lots of us use it
to help wake us up in the morning. Why? Because our schedules
are out of sync because we’re not leading
our chronotypical life. So it’s pretty interesting, but when you look
at how you wake up in the morning, you need two hormones,
cortisol and adrenaline, to pull you out of a state
of unconsciousness. Well, if you compare
cortisol and adrenaline to caffeine, there’s no comparison. Cortisol and adrenaline
are dramatically more powerful to pull you out of that unconscious state. So why on earth are so many people
drinking caffeine in the morning? Because they’re not synced
with their chronotype. Their cortisol and adrenaline isn’t coming up
when their body wants it too because an alarm is going off,
making them wake up at 6:00 AM. So if you’re going to use caffeine,
believe it or not, the best thing to do is to wait
90 minutes after you wake up – nobody likes it when I say that part,
just to let you know. But that’s okay. Wait 90 minutes after you wake up, when your cortisol level
is slowly starting to dip, and caffeine will actually catch it
and help move it up and give you that alertness
that you’re looking for. Now, I’m not a big fan of using caffeine
every day or many times a day, but if you are, I’ve actually created
a schedule based on your chronotype of the best time to drink caffeine for it to give you
the most power for the punch. Now, you’ll notice up here that wolves
only get one time per caffeine. Because we’re so awake at night anyway, we certainly don’t need
to add caffeine to the mix. Next, let’s talk about exercise. So I’m a runner, and I love to do cardio, and we all know that when we do cardio,
it’s actually so very healthy for us. Now, that doesn’t mean
we have to run a marathon. But if we can just be active
for 20 or 30 minutes each day, it can have tremendous improvement. Because when we don’t, we have a buildup of oxidative stress,
lots of inflammation. We’re now learning inflammation
really seems to be the root of all evil, but the great news is, it’s all very reversible
if we do our exercise. But the best time to do exercise
can turn out to give us different results. Did you know that if you went for a run
at one time of day, you could lose weight, but at another time of day,
you could perform better? It’s true. So what I’ve done up here
is I’ve created a schedule for folks – and you can do any type of cardio,
not just running, with this – to look at what are
the best times to do things. I’ll go through this really quickly
since this is something a lot of us do. Lions have a tendency
to [run] at 5:30 in the morning. Now, why? Number one, they’re up –
not me, but they are – and they actually do a really good job because what will happen
is they’ll run on an empty stomach, not a dehydrated stomach –
let’s be clear here, they hydrate – but if you run on an empty stomach,
you burn more fat. And so for lions who might be concerned
with that, running at 5:30 is a good idea. Big problem here, though,
is watch out for injury because your body isn’t warmed up yet. Next, we go to bears. Bears will be best if they do their cardio
at 7:30 in the morning or around 12:30. There’s a hint here, though,
with all of you bears out there, if you don’t exercise before 12,
you’re probably not going to do it. I’ve learned this from many
of my bear patients, for sure. But having two times of day
represents two different things: for bears, if they run at 7:30 AM,
it’s more fat burning because they run on an empty stomach, and at 12:30, it’s actually
better performance. When we look at wolves, we really
don’t like to do anything in the mornings, and so running in the evenings
turns out to be really good for me, being around 6:00, and if I run on an empty stomach, meaning I had my lunch at noon
and haven’t eaten in a while, that can be fat burning
or it can promote performance. And dolphins turn out to be best
at doing cardio early in the morning. Why? Because it calms down their anxiety. Many of my dolphins are, again,
my insomniacs; they have a lot of anxiety. And so this allows them to really start
their day in a much easier way. Now, we’ll get to the subject everyone
wants to talk about, usually, with me, which is intimacy. Believe it or not, there are
perfect times of day to be intimate. Turns out you need five different hormones
in order to be intimate: you need estrogen, progesterone,
testosterone, adrenaline and cortisol all to be raised, and you need melatonin,
the sleep hormone, to be lower. A survey that was done
discovered that roughly 74% of people are intimate between
10:30 and 11:30 at night. I’ll give you one guess
what their hormone profile looks like. It’s not estrogen, testosterone
all raised and melatonin low. It’s literally the opposite. So what is the recommendation
from the sleep doctor? Believe it or not, intimacy in the morning could actually be
much better for both parties, not only from a performance standpoint
but also from a desire standpoint. Now, one question
that I get asked very often: Well, what happens if my partner
isn’t the same chronotype as me? What are you going to do? Don’t worry, I’ve figured it all out. Come see me. We’ll talk about it later. (Laughter) Now, let’s talk about another big question
I get asked quite often, which is about, Will my chronotype change over time? It turns out we all experience
all of the chronotypes. So when we’re infants and babies,
we’re lions, right? Anybody who’s ever had a child knows this, because they go to bed early
and they wake up really early, sometimes a little too early
for the likes of all of us, right? Once they hit the toddler age range,
they actually turn into bears. They go to bed kind of when
the sun gets down; they wake up kind of when
the sun comes up. It’s a little bit easier to manage them. And then the teenage years hit, right? I don’t know about you –
I’ve got two teenagers at home, and all I can you is it’s a miracle that I can get them up
in the morning sometimes. Teenagers, biologically,
their whole circadian rhythm shifts, and what ends up happening is –
it’s not their fault – but they want to stay up until 2
and sleep until 2 the next day. It’s not so easy
to deal with some teenagers, but I promise you it’s not their fault
they don’t want to wake up. Yes, you probably should let them
sleep in on the weekends. What’s interesting now, though,
is once you hit adulthood, about 18 to 20, your chronotype sets, and you’re usually that
for a good 20 to 30 years until you hit, probably, 50, 55 age range, and then it happens again,
but this time it’s different. Instead of being a teenager
who wants to stay up late, when you hit age 50, 55,
you turn into an early bird, and you’re eating your dinner
at 4:30 in the afternoon, and you’re waking up
at 4:30 in the morning, right? Whole different ballgame going on here,
but this is your biology speaking to you. Other things that can be
pretty interesting when we talk about this is if you become medically frail –
if you have a medical situation – those medications can actually affect
your chronotype as well. The final question
that I get asked all the time: Can you hack your chronotype? Can you change it because you don’t like that you’re a bear
or a lion or a wolf or a dolphin? So here’s the deal: you can, but it’s kind of like
having jet lag. And by the way, we’re all shift workers
if we’re not a bear, because remember, the world
works on a bear’s schedule. So if you’re a lion, a wolf or a dolphin, you’re already kind of hacking
your chronotype to fit it into the schedule
that’s already out there. My preference is talk with your boss. Remember Kate? Remember how much better she did when all I did was talk with her boss
and move her schedule? I think everybody in the room,
once you know what your chronotype is, you can lead a more productive
and happier life. And with that, thanks. (Applause)

100 thoughts on “Learn the perfect hormonal time to sleep, eat, and have sex | Michael Breus | TEDxManhattanBeach

  1. I'm 72 – and even more of a wolf since I retired. 😉
    When I finally go to bed I sleep very well and long hours.

  2. I don't think chrono-type is set in stone, and I think they can be changed. If anything, human beings are flexible.

  3. Wow. It’s happened. Modern science has come full circle to Astrology. Lions, tigers, bears. Dolphins, rams, crabs, scorpions… what’s the difference? Really. Why not get your chart done and understand all the animal impulses at work in your personality? It’s only been a round since recorded time. Even his “Chrono-type” .. is already based on Astrology. Chrono is The Greek origin of Saturn. Rest my case.

  4. I dont think these chrono types make any scientific sense, these schedules are representative for the last century or so and i dont think chrono types had time to evolve. I feel it's just a marketing strategy to tell people what they want to hear. Melatonin is secreted according to the sun and this doesnt change because you like to party at night. Everything he says is based on anecdotes.

  5. Sorry but iv been the so called lions AND dolphins, changed just by quiting and beginning with coffee and a supplement called liquid chlorophyll and maca root that balances hormones and sleep and dopamine and serotonin

  6. I’m a dolphin and honestly I feel best when exercising from 7 to 8 after or before that I finding it hard to do

  7. Maybe he is right, but i don't see i could enjoy my life by having an specific hour for everything like a robot, where is de spontaneity ? the surprise factor?, some tips here are important, but the whole things has no sense to me.

  8. I transmutated all the animal into a beast with eletrolytes. Corn flakes works too. This way you can put the animal to sleep at the time you want

  9. The concept of chronotypes is a made up thing and isn’t based on evidence, it may sound interesting and be something people identify with but isn’t a real science, people have trouble sleeping because we over use phones before sleep, watch tv, text, and have too much light in the environment we live before we sleep sleep late, this man is making up concepts that aren’t real and it’s a bad way to explain science to the general public.

  10. So the latest chronotype breakfast (Minute 8:05) is 8AM…
    …but the woman in the story had to wake up 9AM to function

    Does she have her own chronotype or is there a way to have breakfast before waking up?

  11. A jet lag can be fixed in a few days, because we are highly adaptable species. In the same way you can change your daily routine in a few days or weeks and you are going to perform in any activities in their new "usual time frames". You have to do these changes wisely, or you can find these kind of excuses, that I'm not a morning person. It's a nonsense. Probably your lifestyle is not the one which makes it easy to be a morning person. You don't have to, but it is important that you can be if you want. We are highly adaptable species, if you change your environment, you can change your behavior, this talk is a non-sense.

  12. This sounds like BS.
    With discipline I can get up refreshed realy early in the morning without an alarm clock.
    I also can change my 'chronotype' to a night owl.

  13. TED talks are about ideas…mocking or looking for proof is anathema to new ideas. If he were writing a scientific paper, proof would be needed. If he goes on to do research study it would need more of a scientific method. If the idea works for someone, it works. If it doesn’t…let it go. The only people who need to believe in this are the ones who go to him. To say any one person has all or even most of the answers.,.perhaps even one…is speculative, at best, and hubris. IMHO

  14. If you are interested in Sleep listen to Matthew Walker not this Hack. Walker talks about Chronotype and shifts in circadian rhythm in teenage years also so I am not disputing that too much, but this guys lack of evidence presented on caffeine and weight loss is off putting. All he is showing is his timetables. He doesn't mention that there is still 1 quarter Caffeine still in your system after 12 hours, why is he even recommending to drink it?

  15. Okay but why are school systems continuing to make their classes start earlier and earlier, especially in high school? I understand that this is to “train” students to become used to the timely demands of future careers… but the human population under the 9-5 schedule are 1/1 in terms of depression. Every other person is depressed of their school, their job, their lack of stimulation. I understand that the human history of waking up early is well versed and backed, but if I were to really think about it, it’s only relevant because when the sun rises, the UV radiation essentially forces the body to wake up anyways, regardless of our chronotypes. I believe that this subconscious behavior has been majorly overlooked for all of human existence and so we continue to religiously follow an unrealistic timescale.

  16. Personally for me, it makes a lot of sense. I'm a classic wolf. I'm all energetic when I wake up at 9am or later. While my body couldn't adjust to waking up early in morning despite doing that for years. I would literally drag till 10-11am. My energy is also at its highest post 7pm, can literally feel it.

  17. Thank you Dr. Michael Brews for the Information.
    I came to know that I am a night owl.
    But my boss wants to see me early morning.
    Doing side hustle to get rid of the boss.

  18. The only sensible thing about this talk is that different chronotypes exist, and the world and workplace should accommodate to them. Our wellbeing would greatly benefit from that and I really believe the story about the woman. There's good and solid evidence for different chronotypes and regenerative sleep is incredibly important for every physiological function, as well as mental health. Sleeping even one hour less can significantly reduce performance (Mathew Walker, sleep scientist and author of Why We Sleep).

    Now, with these "animals", there's a classic barnum effect: statements that are vague and general enough that most people will find some truth to them and pick out the parts they identify with the most. I highly doubt their scientific validity.

  19. Anyone who is trying to give a serious talk about real sleep subtypes and is talking about humans having 'just enough obsessive compulsive disorder' has just lost me completely. Disorders are measured according to their divergence from the healthy norm and the level of IMPAIRMENT they visit upon the sufferer. Not gonna bother finishing this.

  20. well when I worked for one company, it was like paid vacation, sleeping till 9, coming in office 10.30 no probs, now I work from 8 and moved my schedule with no problems whatsoever… some week when I´m tired i fix my sleep going to bed at 10pm, other week when I work on something at home I go to bed at 1am… so what am I? Wolf with a lion head swimming on a dolphin? 😀

  21. It all sounds very interesting but can u imangine going into work late and saying to your boss I'm sorry I can't adhere to the working hours because my chronotype doesn't allow it

  22. I can wake up at 11 in the morning and not do anything, but still be tired around 10:30/11, problem is i never sleep at that time i stay up later, so after around 11 im fully awake and dont sleep untill around 1, defo need to try and sleep around 10:30 and see how i feel

  23. why should humans have chronotypes and animals shouldn't? it seems a little backwards that people are this various in sleeping habits yet he names the chronotypes after animals, because they are very consistent in sleeping habits throughout the species…

  24. I’m over 21, but I need 10-12 hours of sleep and I couldn’t fall asleep until 2am. I don’t think I belong to any categories.

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