"Never go to sleep without a request to your subconscious."

Thomas Edison

Hey Winners,

We’ve got a super special episode of the Win the Day podcast for you today! We have our first ever repeat guest, and it’s Dr Michael Breus — known around the world as The Sleep Doctor.

We had so much positive feedback from the first episode, and many unanswered questions too, so today we’re making sure we leave no stone unturned in helping you sleep better.

I won’t give too long of an intro for Dr Breus today because you can check out Episode 44 of the show where we spoke in depth on his achievements – it’s got a ton of tips, hacks, and secrets to help you sleep better.

For a brief overview, Dr Breus is a four-time bestselling author, clinical psychologist, and sleep expert. He has appeared all over television, including Oprah, The Today Show, and on the Dr Oz show more than 40 times. 

The man is everywhere.

And when he’s not doing media appearances, Dr Breus works with some of the most successful individuals on the planet who want to perform at their peak with as little sleep as possible.

So if YOU want to perform at your peak with as little sleep as possible, this is the episode for you. 

We’ve had people all over the world submitting questions so we’re going to make sure The Sleep Doctor gets you the help you need.

If you’d like to submit a question to me or any of the guests on the show, simply join the Win the Day group on Facebook.

In this episode, Dr Breus shares:

Before we begin, the right bit of inspiration can completely change the trajectory of someone’s life, so if there’s a friend or loved one who needs to hear this episode or could use some help to Win the Day, share it with them right now.

Let’s WIN THE DAY with Dr Michael Breus!

James Whittaker:
Great to see you, Michael! 

You’ve got an incredible list of accomplishments – and now you are the first ever repeat guest on the Win the Day podcast

Does this go straight to the top of your list of accomplishments!?

Dr Michael Breus:
Without question, this is at the top of the list for sure! And I love that Thomas Edison quote you mentioned for this episode. 

On Thomas Edison, if you had to pick one individual who has messed up sleep for more people than any other person, it would be him. Because as the inventor of the light bulb, it became possible for people to work at night. So then all of a sudden people's sleep shifted.

At one point in time, we were what's called an agrarian society. When the sun went down, you went to sleep. You would wake up in the middle of the night. You might have a meal, be intimate – because you know, everybody's living in the same house – maybe meet with some relatives, then go back for the second sleep, and then wake when the sun comes up and start with the farm once again. 

But as soon as the light bulb came around, gone.

You've been working in this field for so long. Where are we at with sleep, and how bad are sleep problems at the moment? 

To be very fair, it's pretty terrible out there. The easiest statistic that I can give you right off the top of my head is during COVID we have seen a 23% increase in sleeping pill prescriptions written. 23% increase. You don't see things happen like that. That is crazy numbers, and that's just people with prescription sleeping pill increase.

During COVID we have seen a 23% increase in sleeping pill prescriptions written.

The CDC just released a report saying that triple the number of people are now taking melatonin than were before COVID – which, by the way, may or may not be a good idea.

People are out there, they're searching for solutions. Cannabis sales in the sleep marketplace have skyrocketed.

In our last episode, you mentioned a lot of people are medicating with things like alcohol as well.

Is there anything out there in terms of a supplement or a prescription that you recommend for people that would rival close to a deep sleep that you could get naturally? Or is that almost impossible to do through a packaged substance?

Well, it's an interesting question. I'm going to answer it in kind of a unique way. Yes and no. There are substances out there that you can take that will give you a natural sleep, but they're natural substances. 

If people are deficient in magnesium, we know that magnesium has a proficient effect on sleep and you supplement with magnesium, you're getting as natural sleep as you would get. That might make some intuitive sense. Vitamin D is another one. Iron is another one and melatonin is the final one. 

When I'm assessing somebody and they'd come to me and they say, "Dr. Breus, I want to get on something for sleep," I'm like, "Hold on a second. Let's make sure that your body isn't deficient in something that we know affects sleep. If it is, let's fix that deficiency first and see how your body reacts." 

Why add something else when it doesn't need to be added? In many cases, we can just get people to change their diet to include these vitamins and minerals that are essential for sleep.

Talk to us about ‘chronotypes’ for people who may not have listened to the first episode, so they’re aware of some of the terms we’ll be using today.

Absolutely. Chronotypes, for folks out there who never heard of the term chronotype, you've actually heard of some of the vernacular. If you've ever been called an early bird or a night owl, those are chronotypes. 

What I did in my third book, which was called The Power of When, my contribution to the literature is we used to only think that there were three chronotypes. There were early birds, there were night owls, and then people in the middle, we called them hummingbirds. I don't honestly know why we called them hummingbirds. It seems like such a stupid thing to call them, but they were called hummingbirds. 

What ended up happening was is I contributed a fourth chronotype. By the way, these are genetic. You don't get to choose. People are always like, "Oh, I want to choose to be an early bird." It's like, "Dude, it doesn't work that way."

I could literally look on your ancestry.com or your 23andMe. I could tell you exactly what you are because it's literally sitting there on your genome. So, once we did that, I found one for insomnia that was very similar to the other ones. I decided to group them all together and that's when I came up with The Power of When

I renamed them because I'm not a bird, I'm a mammal. I wanted to choose animals that actually held the same circadian rhythm that we were talking about. Early birds become lions. If you're a lion, you're one of these people that gets up at 4:45 in the morning. Lions are about 15% of the population. 

In many cases, we can just get people to change their diet to include these vitamins and minerals that are essential for sleep.

To be clear, I don't like morning people and I don't like mornings. You guys are too chipper for me! But these are people that wake up hyper early. They're usually the COO of a company. They make a list every day and go from step one to step two to step three, kind of thing.

In the middle, instead of hummingbirds, we call them bears. Bears make up a lot, like 55%. One in two people is a bear. But to be honest, it's best to be a bear. I kind of wish I was a bear because the 9-to-5 is a bear schedule. Everything on society's schedule works for a bear.

Night owls become wolves. So wolves, we know they're creatures that hunt at night. I'm a wolf. I'm a late night person. I never go to bed before midnight. I just don't do it. It just isn't in my blood to do. We're a little bit more out of the box thinkers, the creative types of people. My artists, my actors, scientists, people like that are in that category. But we can't get up in the mornings. We really do hate mornings.

The fourth category, which was the category that I added, we call them dolphins. People might be like, "Okay, we get the other three, Michael, but why dolphins?" People don't know this, but dolphins sleep uni-hemispherically. Half of their brain is asleep while the other half is awake and looking for predators.

I felt like my insomnia clients, they're never quite asleep. It's kind of cool. Dolphins are the coolest mammals in the water anyway. Who wouldn't want to be a dolphin!?

Once you take my ChronoQuiz, what you learn is that you're one of these four categories. Then it gets really interesting. You might be thinking, "Well, what do I do with this?" Well, this actually tells us the timing of your hormone schedules. 

What's fascinating about that is – let's say you're a lion, an early person – you wake up at let's say 4:30 AM, that means your melatonin turns off, your cortisol turns on, adrenaline pops, and everything starts for the day. That's a very predictable schedule.

Almost every single lion does it the same way, as does every single bear and every single wolf. If I'm a wolf and you're a lion, your melatonin turns off at 4:30 AM. Mine might not turn off until 8:00 AM. If I try to get up at 6:00 AM, my melatonin's still going. It doesn't make any sense for my body to be getting up that early.

Now all of a sudden, there's the right timing for doing certain things.

Since interviewing you the first time, knowing you as a friend, and reading all of your books, it seems interesting to me that there are so many really aggressive lifestyle entrepreneurs who are telling people they have to wake up at 3:00 AM to seize the day and be successful, otherwise “you’re lazy.”

Do those people just have no context of the science behind sleep?

Correct. It's very interesting when I come across these people because I try to educate them.

So I say, “Look, I'll make this super simple for you. Take my quiz and you're going to learn why you're having a failure rate of your clientele at probably 15 to 25%, because you're telling them to do something that they physiologically cannot do. They're going to fail at this and they're not going to continue with your program.”

“So here's the problem, dude. You've got a great message and you're telling it at the wrong time. If you could just tell it at a different time, you'd be able to get it further across.”

Another case study has been in business. We have entire businesses that are chronotyping their entire business. When it first came out, Dave Asprey over at Bulletproof, he's a dear friend, he's always supported all my research and work. 

He was like, "This is awesome." Number one, The Power of When is required reading for all Bulletproof coaches. But number two, he chronotyped the company. Then he would have creative meetings with the creative people when they were alert and focused as opposed to times when they weren't, because they're mostly night owls. Having an 8:00 AM creative meeting didn't work too well. 

Things like that are where you can actually utilize the science in a very unique way just for yourself.

Congrats on your new book Energize. Who did you write it for, and what problem did you want to solve?

I wrote it with a co-author, Stacey Griffith. She's one of the founding trainers of this company called SoulCycle. They do the indoor bicycle thing. So, the book was an emergence of our friendship in certain ways. She was training me on physicality and I was helping her with her sleep. 

You know, when you're working with somebody, you start talking about "What's going on in your business?" She was like, "A lot of my clients tell me that they're tired." I said, "Well, are you asking them about how much sleep they're getting?" She's like, "No, I do the more physical things." 

Then of course, mine said I'm feeling really fatigued, which is very different than tired. She was like, "Well, are they moving?" I was like, "I don't know, I'm a sleep doctor. I don't ask those kind of questions."

So, we started asking the questions that each other normally would ask their clients to the others. We started to discover there's a relationship between movement and sleep. When you're moving a lot, you don't find yourself sleepy during the day and you sleep better at night. That was beginning to be this interesting, hidden code.

When you're moving a lot, you don't find yourself sleepy during the day and you sleep better at night.

Then I said, "Well, Stacey, help me understand. How do you determine what kind of exercise do you put somebody on?" She said, "Well, I look at their body and I say, 'Okay, this is the type of exercise you should do.'" I'm like, "Okay, explain. How do you do that?"

She's like, "Well, if somebody's got a little bit more weight on them, I don't tell them to go run three miles because they're going to fail and they're not going to be motivated and they're not going to come back. I might tell them to do more resistance exercise because they're stronger because they've got more weight behind them to be able to push weight around and get them to succeed there and slowly bring them into the other.”

“Whereas if I've got a long and lean person, I'm not telling them to lift weights, I'm telling them to go for a run for three miles, because that's what they like to do."

I said, "Oh, so you're looking at people's body types." She said, "Yeah, I guess I am." I said, "Remember back in high school, when we learned these things called endomorph, mesomorph, ectomorph?" And she was like, "Oh yeah." 

When you look at chronotypes they're genetic. When you look at body types, they're genetic. You know, it doesn't take too long for the two of us to start thinking about it and say, "I wonder what would happen if we started to look at the data of getting these types of pieces of information together?"

I've been very fortunate. We've had over 1.5 million people take the ChronoQuiz. We have a lot of people out there we've got data on. So we contacted a group of 5,000 people and said, "Hey, would you be willing to take the body type quiz?" We started to learn some things which were really interesting.

It turns out that if you're an ectomorph, a long and lean person, you're almost never a wolf. Interesting. You're almost always a lion. People who are long and lean are also people who are waking up at 4:30 AM.

People who are a little bit on the bigger side, like endomorphs, they have a tendency to be more night owls. We know night owls take riskier decisions, eat more unhealthy food and have more medical significant issues. Now it's starting to make sense. Then we figured out body type has to do with your metabolism. Now we start to understand more like, oh, these people have metabolic differences. 

Then we started looking at intermittent fasting. That was the third component that we added here. Stacey was like, "We need to get these people to move." I know I want them to sleep. We've also got to figure out fuel, because what are you going to eat? 

Now, I got to be honest with you, bro. It's a big topic. I don't have the qualifications to do that. We weren't bringing in a third author.

Yeah, otherwise the book would be bigger than Ben-Hur!

Exactly! We're like, "I think what we're going to do here is we're going to look at intermittent fasting." Because also there's so many cultural differences in food choices, vegan and paleo and keto or whatever.

We said, "All right, let's do intermittent fasting," which number one, we know gives you a lot of energy. There's a lot of significant data around intermittent fasting or time-restricted eating, or even fasting mimicking that shows that people have a lot more energy to them, reported energy and then they actually do more stuff when they have a limited amount of time where they feed versus a larger amount of time when they fast.

We started looking into that and then we figured out that you have these interesting markers. I've been an intermittent faster for about seven years, and it works great, works even better when I do it based on my chronotype.

I'm a late night person and I can't eat breakfast. I'm not a big, I like breakfast food. I like eggs and bacon and all that kind of stuff, but I can't eat it in the morning. I will get sick, sick, sick. I can start eating around 11:00 AM. I was naturally already almost intermittent fasting, but I just pushed everything a little bit later and it worked even better for me.

What we show you in the book is you do the ‘when’ of your fasting based on your chronotype. But then people always were wondering like, "Well, how long do I fast? Where do I start?" It turns out you can do it based on your body type. 

Your ectomorph long and lean, they really don't want to lose a lot of weight. They'll fast for 12 hours and feed for 12 hours. If you're a mesomorph, more of a V-shaped sort of body type so your shoulders are bigger than your waist, those people are going to have a 14 hour fast and a 10 hour feed. Whereas the people who are endomorphs have a little bit more weight on them looking to lose some weight, they're going to have an eight hour feed and a 16 hour fast.

You see what I did there? You move it along the way based on how fast their metabolism is. Now we've got the when to do the intermittent fasting and how long to do the intermittent fasting. That is giving them incredible energy. 

If you wake up and go to bed based on your chronotype, which we talk about again in the book, it gives you a lot of understanding there, and then the final component was movement.

Every morning I think about you! I wake up, and I'm like, "Gee, I can't wait to have my morning coffee, but I'm going to wait 90 minutes" as you mentioned in Episode 44.

I love it.

What do you suggest for people to do while they’re in that 90 minute period first thing in the morning? Is there something in particular they should be doing to prime mentally or physically for the day?

A hundred percent. I'm going to warn you. I am militant with my morning routine. 

To be clear for all the viewers and listeners out there, I didn't start like this. I started slowly adding different components to my morning routine, but I like to have a cup of coffee some mornings and I've got 90 minutes to kill before I'm going to do that. So what do you do and how do you do it?

For me, what I found is I've got the house to myself. It's quiet. I can do whatever I really want to do. A lot of self reflection, things of that nature, are born from that environment.

I start out with my meditation. I actually use a headband. I'm not a great meditator, but I found this piece of hardware that gives me instant biofeedback. It's an app that you use on your phone and it relays to you. As your brain is getting into different waveforms, it's actively measuring EEG. It's really cool. It's commercially available. It's called Muse, for folks who are interested. Then I go into this deeper state. I do four different meditations for 10 minutes a piece.

Then I feed my dogs and take them outside for a walk, so I'm getting immediate sunshine that way, because that's important at that time.

I get up at 6:15 AM so I'm ending my meditations by 7:00 AM. Then I've got the dogs fed by 7:05 AM and we are outside by 7:10 AM, and we do a loop around the neighborhood. I get my fresh air, my sunlight, and my exercise. It's timed to be exactly 15 minutes of walking time.

He turned to me and he said, "Put your game face on and let's go!" I hear him say that to me every single time before I go on stage.

Then I come back into my office, I take their harnesses and leashes off, and I sit on the ground and I spend five minutes just petting my dogs and appreciating them and being grateful for having them in my life. There's nothing wrong with unconditional love every single morning to start your day!

Then it's 7:35 AM and I meet a group of men every morning on Zoom and we do breath work together. I'm a member of a men's group called METAL, which I know you know about. We have a group where every morning, anywhere from five to 40 guys are on there, and we do Wim Hof breathing. 

I do that from 7:35 to 8:00 AM and then at that point in time, if I want I can have my cup of coffee because I've been up since 6:15 AM and there you go. Sometimes I choose to do that or sometimes I don't have it then and I'll do my exercise then for 30 to 45 minutes and then I'll have my cup of coffee.

You and I both travel a lot for speaking engagements and other work commitments. If you fly into a new city and you've got a speech at 6:00 AM the next morning, which means you’re sleeping in a hotel room that can be really uncomfortable for a whole variety of different scenarios. 

Is there anything that you switch up in terms of the routine to make sure you deliver your best without requiring all of those different elements?

Absolutely. Here's the short version! Depending upon how I'm feeling, number one, what's my fuel the night before – did I eat well or was I out with the clients? Did I have alcohol? What happened there because that's going to determine what my fuel needs to be in the morning, number one, and how my sleep was the night before.

A salad versus a heavy pasta?

Exactly. What I really try to do is start planning for it the night before. What I usually do is I have a salad with some form of protein on it. I try to stay away from sugar. If I have alcohol, it's one glass and that's it. I know that's not very fun, but it really promotes me to be able to have a better night's rest. If I have to get up early for a presentation, I can be Johnny on the spot.

Then in the morning I cut my meditations from 40 minutes to 10 and I cut my breath work from four rounds to two. I do a small self-meditation to put myself into my spot, and what I basically do, my best man at my wedding, he gave me this advice right before I was about to get married. He turned to me and he said, "Put your game face on and let's go!" I hear him say that to me every single time before I go on stage.

I love that. You're not adopting an entirely new routine, you're doing a modified version of what you know is very effective for you. 

You talk so much about consistency and how it can reduce the amount of sleep that you need. What is the balance between using something like an alarm clock that can wake you up at the time you need to maintain that consistency, versus the disruption it might bring to your natural body clock?

Great question. Depending upon what your sleep goal is, we have alarm clocks for some people and for some we don't. It really just sort of depends upon what we're trying to accomplish.

For a lot of people who are wanting to shrink that sleep schedule, we actually try to eliminate the alarm. Let me back up and explain what I mean by shrink that sleep schedule. In the opening, you talked about how some people might want to be able to have a high quality sleep in a short amount of time. How does somebody do something that?

Well, I did that to myself and it's been quite an interesting journey. As a night owl, I go to bed at midnight every single night. I'm very consistent about that. Then I don't use an alarm in the morning time and I was just going to allow my body to sleep until it woke up. 

When I started doing that, and this was going on probably six, seven years ago now, within the first three weeks I was waking up at 7:30 AM. It jumped back to 7:15 AM, and I just kind of naturally started to wake up earlier. I really didn't notice much about it – 15 minutes here or there doesn't really mean that much.

If they just slept within their chronotypical swim lane, it will naturally self-reduce and allow you to have more time in your day.

Within a month I was waking up 7:00 AM. I'm not a morning person. I'm very serious. I don't like mornings! It kept winding its way back. Within six months, I was waking up at 6:15 AM every single day. I wake up at 6:13 AM now every day. It's ridiculous. I go to bed around midnight. 

What's happened is, because I sleep within my chronotypical swim lane, my sleep consolidates. My theory is many people out there are sleeping out of sync with their chronotype, which is requiring them to have extended amounts of sleep to get the sleep that they need. Whereas if they just slept within their chronotypical swim lane, it will naturally self-reduce and allow you to have more time in your day.

Think about what would you do with that? You know, if you're an entrepreneur, what would you do with that extra time? That kind of thing. But you have to really honor your body. You have to know and understand what your body is looking for and give it to it, as you said. 

It's so funny because so many people are now starting to say like, "Yeah, you're just telling people to look inward and do that." Right? You know, and it makes so much sense because I think so many times we think about how can we outwardly distort or change things. I like to try to say mother nature was smart.

I loved that you included cold showers in Energize

Now, that's a good way to wake yourself up in the morning too, if you want to give yourself a cold burst. And one of the things we talk about in the book, I'm going to double back on that second question, was how to energize yourself when you're not in an energetic space. 

Sometimes that can happen before a lecture or presentation or things like that. For me, it's music. You know what music makes you go bonkers. If you're driving down the street and your favorite song comes on the radio, what do you do? You start bopping around, you know!?

All of a sudden, it changes your energetic profile – almost instantly. Keep a playlist in your back pocket on your phone so when you are feeling energetically down, stick in your headphones, walk into a safe space, turn on a song or two, and guess what? I can assure you it will change where you're at.

Rather than resisting what you hate, lean into what you know works.

Exactly.

You know, with cold showers I have never noticed something that provides sustained energy levels throughout the entire day. I used to have a massive slump after lunch, no matter what happened.

I can tell you why.

Cold showers in the morning seemed to alleviate the afternoon slump completely.

What's interesting is sleep follows a core body temperature, your core body temperature cycle. So as you get later and later at night, it goes higher and higher and higher. 

Around 10:00 - 10:30 PM, it hits a peak and then it begins to drop. That drop is a signal to your pineal gland to release melatonin, which is that key that starts the engine for sleep. It drops, drops, drops, drops, drops.

Somewhere between 1:00 PM and 3:00 PM, there's a slight increase and then another drop. Melatonin gets produced again, just like it does in the middle of the night, but for a very small period of time. 

The reason why so many people have a problem between 1:00 PM and 3:00 PM has to do with this secondary melatonin spike. If I had to guess, you're cold showering it away. You beat your body up with a good cold shower. You drop that temperature and then your body doesn't have that hiccup again.

The mental stimulation of knowing you’ve faced and overcome a small adversity sets the tone for the day, too. 

I love having cold showers, but I can't do them the winter. It's hard for me to do in the winter! When it's cold outside, I don't want to take a cold shower.

About a year ago we went to Big Bear. We spent a few days up there. I had a cold shower there and it was like liquid ice coming through the shower! So people in very cold climates, maybe try a little hot water in there while you’re getting used to it. 

Exactly.

Are afternoon naps a good idea for most people? Because, for me, I have the best intentions of a power nap but then I just find myself instinctively just hitting snooze, snooze. Before you know it, two hours have passed and then you can't sleep at night and you've ruined your whole sleep cycle. 

Okay, what you described was not what I would consider to be an afternoon nap. What you described is what I consider to be a disaster!

Let's break it down for just a second. There are two types of naps in terms of length. There's 25 minutes or less. There's 90 minutes or more. You never really want to go in between those two. 

You ever take a nap and feel worse, not better? That's because you slept longer than 25 minutes and your body got into deep sleep. It's hard to get your body out of deep sleep, especially if you're sleep deprived.

For folks out there who aren't getting enough sleep, it's very easy to take those longer naps. 90 minute naps or longer are good because it's a full sleep cycle. If you're going to sleep, you might as well get a full sleep cycle in.

There are two types of naps in terms of length. There's 25 minutes or less. There's 90 minutes or more.

Word of caution about napping. If you're an insomniac, napping is a terrible idea because all you're doing is you're lowering your amount of sleep drive that you're building up in your brain that you're going to need that night. I don't care how exhausted you are. You're better off going outside, walking around, getting some sunshine, not necessarily drinking caffeine, but just being up and out and awake than you are taking a nap more times than not. If you are an insomniac.

Is napping a useful tool? You bet. I use it with my CEOs, my athletes, and my artists all the time. As an example I work with Steve Aoki, the electronic dance music DJ. By the way, he allows me to talk about how we work together.

He's napping 8-10 minutes before he goes on stage at 1:00 AM. He is instantly energized the second he comes out of that nap. He's on stage. I mean, he's blowing it up for three hours. The guy throws these huge sheet cakes all over the place. It's nuts, but I mean, he's having a blast and he's got tons of energy because he is kind of using a nap to do it.

Now, I will tell you that there's something new in the napping universe these days, new nap technology, believe it or not. I started working with this company. I brought you a sample of it. It's called Napjitsu.

Great name, Napjitsu!

Right!? I mean, it doesn't get any better than a name like Napjitsu.

I used to talk about the idea of what I called a Nap Latte, which was where you took a cup of drip, black coffee, you cooled it down, and you drank it, then took a 25 minute nap. When you'd wake up, you would've burned through the sleep that you needed. The caffeine is waiting in the wings and you'd be good for about four hours. Great technique. I've used it for many, many years.

These guys have, if that was version 2.0, these guys are like version 3.0. So what they've done is they've taken sustained release caffeine in a pill form but also nootropics. Smart herbs. Ashwagandha and Ginkgo biloba and some things like that.

What's really fun about this problem, and I've been playing with it for a while and my friends and family love it, is you lie down, take your 25 minute nap.

By the way, there are a lot of people out there who can't nap. They're like, "Oh, I can't fall asleep during the middle of the day." We've now learned that there's this thing called non-sleep deep rest. Lying in a quiescent state, lying in a dark room, quiet, comfortable is very beneficial. It's not like sleep, but doing that for an hour is worth about 20 minutes of sleep. 

By taking just a time out for a nap can be okay, but they also provide a small amount of herb, valerian, that can actually help you fall asleep for a few minutes. Then when you wake up, you're rocking and rolling.

In Episode 44, when you first came on the show, you mentioned that sleep is a recovery process, and if you don't have anything to recover from then you're not going to sleep at your best.

There are things that I do, and I'm sure a bunch of other people in the Win the Day community as well, that require a lot of brainpower during the day. Even though it's not physical expenditure – it might be high alert work items, like speaking on stage or being interviewed on multiple podcasts – they’re very draining. 

Is that included in what you mean in terms of something to recover from? Or is it purely a physical pursuit to help you sleep better?

No, it is a bimodal pursuit. We're talking physical, emotional, and for some people spiritual. It's like, whatever, you just need to be active. Sleep is recovery and if you don't do anything right to recover from, you're not going to sleep particularly well. To be fair, I like it to be a balance. You don't want it to be all physical, because then what ends up happening is you go to bed too early.

When you've been out in the garden or playing softball all day or whatever, what do you do? “Oh my God, I'm so exhausted. I'm just going to go to bed at 8:00 PM.” It's a really stupid idea when you normally go to bed at 11:00 PM, because all you do is lie there exhausted staring at the ceiling.

Sleep is recovery and if you don't do anything right to recover from, you're not going to sleep particularly well.

But if your exhaustion is halfway physical and halfway mental / emotional, you're going to feel a lot more balanced in your day. Your energy's going to be more balanced and your sleep's going to be more balanced.

That quote that we mentioned at the start of this episode, “Never go to bed without a request to your subconscious,” what does that mean to you? 

And for people who are serious about a high performance life, and improving their abilities while they're sleeping, is that something possible?

A hundred percent. We know that during REM sleep, you move information from your short term memory to your long term memory. Also during stage three, four sleep, there's something called the lymphatic system, which pulls all the waste out of your brain. Things like beta amyloid and tau. 

What it does is it cleans the whole system out, so your brain actually probably thinks a little better while you're sleeping. Also there's not as much input. You don't have visual input because your eyes are closed. You don't have hearing input because it's quiet, hopefully. That kind of thing.

What we know is the old saying of “sleep on it,” it's actually a really good idea. What I oftentimes tell my CEOs, my entrepreneur people, is I say, "Look, you don't want to be perseverating on your business problems before bed. Okay? You don't want to be thinking like, 'Oh shit, what am I going to do? What am I going to do?' 

But if you have a problem and you want to try to solve it, then instead of thinking about all the aspects of the problem, just say to yourself, 'I'd like a solution,' and just allow the data to go to the places it needs to go to in your head. You will be pleasantly surprised when you wake up."

If you're optimistic before bed, you fall asleep more quickly and you have more positive dreams.

In many cases, if you journal when you wake up in the morning – a lot of my clients like to journal in the morning time to just get stuff out of their head – the solutions will start to come. It's not going to happen immediately. Usually for a lot of my clients, it's five to seven days, but it works. It's a great tool to just say, "I'd like a solution to the problem." And that's it. 

I actually have people then do a gratitude list. Take my mind off of the problem. I really want to think through the idea of gratitude

I'm going to be very straight with you. This isn't a woo woo, "Oh, hey, let's all be grateful," type of thing. There's real data here! There's data to suggest that if you're optimistic before bed, you fall asleep more quickly and you have more positive dreams.

This might be one of the most powerful things ever said on this show. It is really, really important. 

If you're going to bed solution-focused – and over time that manifests in getting those solutions – you're going to start to have faith, which would reduce your stress. 

So when you go to sleep, you're going to be far more likely to sleep soundly because you have faith that the problem will alleviate based on how your neurons are firing while you're asleep.

Absolutely. Just let it flow. It'll happen for you, bro!

Are any of the things that people put in the home to prevent allergens and purify air, are they worthwhile or more of a gimmick – what does the science say?

The science says they're worthwhile, especially if you've got asthma. You want to get as many particulates out of the air as you possibly can. We are right in the middle of allergy season. There's going to be more stuff that's happening. 

Number one, should people have an air purifier? I like an air purifier in the bedroom, specifically. Something that can run for a few hours to really get that air very, very clean.

Also remember if there's particulates in the air and they get up into your nasal passages, it'll cause congestion, which will lead to snoring. That can be disruptive to you. It can be disruptive to your bed partner. Also, if you have sleep apnea, it can make your sleep apnea worse if you have more congestion. It's a good idea to have an air purifier.

Other things that I tell people is keep your windows closed, specifically in the bedroom. I get it. Spring is here. It's awesome. But if you live in an area where there's pollen, it's all going to come wandering in and now you're going to have particulates floating around, again, congestion. You got to ‘decongest for better rest’ is how I phrase it for people.

Keep your windows closed, specifically in the bedroom.

Other thing is to take a shower at night. You're walking around enjoying the day, but you don't realize that you've got all kinds of stuff over you. Take a nice warm bath at night. There's data to show warm baths at night can help with insomnia, but you can get all that pollen off of you.

Then the only other things I would say is do your laundry pretty regularly. If you've got outside clothes, throw them in the laundry room as soon as you take them off. Don't leave them in your closet because then again, all these particulates and allergens are going to get all over your closet, going to get all over your clothes. It's going to be hard to get rid of them.

You and I are both parents and, whenever you and I are together, we talk about our kids all the time. 

Consistency is such a big piece of the work that you do. When consistency is not possible, say, for example, if someone just had a newborn, what advice do you have for parents? Is there anything that they can do in that situation?

Run for the hills. Take an Ambien and hope for the best! It's hard.

To be honest with you, when you have inconsistency in the schedule for especially small children, you really just need to prepare for the worst because the kids are going to melt down within that next 24 hour cycle. It's just going to happen. It's not their fault.

So lowering your expectations is one of the best things you can do?

Absolutely. Don't blame the kid. If the kid melts down the next day at Grandma's house because you had them on an airplane two hours past their bedtime, it's not the kid's fault. It's your fault for keeping them on a freaking airplane when they should be in a quiet environment in bed. I mean, those are the types of things I think people need to really think through, especially with young children. Sleep times are a priority.

Now, I get it. There's going to be some instances where it's not going to happen. Okay. Well, number one, prepare for cranky kid, but number two, see about napping. You can make your napping schedule a little bit different that next day, depending upon the age of the child. If you've got teenagers, it's not too hard to tell a teenager to nap. They'll do it almost on command so that shouldn't be a problem in most cases. I think you can look at it sort of that way.

Anything for parents with toddlers or young kids to help them manage that sleep?

Yeah, so there's lots of different problems that come up based on the age of the child. Some general guidelines, and I am not a pediatric sleep specialist, but I do have two kids that we went through.

My wife did all of the kid sleep stuff. I want to be clear. I was the wimp when it came to it all, especially with my daughter. If my daughter even whimpered, I was flying across the house like, "Carson, are you okay?" And Lauren's like, "Stop. Don't go in!"

Number one, don't put your child in the crib asleep. Put them in the bed awake. There's this thing called object permanence. Especially when you've got itty bitty kids, what happens is that if they don't see you, they think you're gone forever.

Don't put your child in the crib asleep. Put them in the bed awake.

So the problem is that they're asleep, they're snuggled in on your chest, it's warm, it's cuddly, it smells good. All of a sudden they're supposed to wake up multiple times throughout the night, they wake up, it's cold, it's dark, it's quiet. I can't hear a heartbeat. They're going to freak out.

But if you put them in the environment ahead of time, sit across from them, they can visually see you, but you don't want to be touching them, then you're singing to them. You're talking to them, whatever you're doing to them, but you're letting them self-soothe. That seems to be the key characteristic of children being able to get themselves to sleep. Then as their eyes gently close, you can leave the room.

If you want to have a monitor, which you nine times out of 10 don't need, but if you want one, then you turn the monitor on. Then you're probably good to go.

The other big issue is kids who won't stay in the bed. As you get into toddler age range, it's like, "I want a glass of water. I want this, I want that." It's crap. All they want is attention and they want to be out and about because something else is fun and going on. 

They get massive FOMO!

It's unbelievable. So, here's what I did with my son Cooper who loves Hot Wheels. As you know, Cooper and I go to Hot Wheels conventions to this day and we collect vintage Hot Wheels. But when he was very, very young, we used them as bribes. 

To be clear, I'm bribing my child to stay in the bed and it works! We go to the toy store and I say, "Cooper, get 12 of your favorite Hot Wheels." Oh my gosh, he's running all around and he puts them all in the bag. We run home and he gets them out and he is about ready to rip them all open. I'm like, "Oh no, you can't do that."

We put a digital clock in his room and we say when this clock, and he knew his numbers, "When this clock reads 7-3-0, you can come out and there's a basket right by my side of the bed and you can have one Hot Wheels." 

He was like, "Okay." He did it for three days. He showed up at 7:30 AM for three days and then on the next night I said, "Okay, now you have to do two days." It was all positive reinforcement until we ran out of Hot Wheels, which was fine. He figured out that he needed to stay in his room.

The habit is formed at that point.

Yeah, exactly. There are a lot of ways to do it. I will say one thing that a lot of parents don't know, but probably need to, and maybe they know it in the back of their head, I am not a fan of the ‘cry it out’ method.

I've seen too many children really go escalate high and get to the point of vomiting or their face is red. It's just not necessary. If your child is freaking out that much that they need you, don't lock them in their bedroom or lock them in their crib or whatever it is that you're doing. Attend to them. There's a reason that this is going on and you need to get them again comfortable with self-soothing and things of that nature.
Way back in the day when I was a kid, and I'm 54, Ferberization, as it was called, was based on the methodology of Dr. Richard Ferber from Harvard. He wrote a book called Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems. Very popular book, by the way. It's got some great information into it, but he was big on crying it out. Well, he recanted that I think it was three years later, but people still do it.

 90% of children's sleep problems is parents not following directions.

At the end of the day, I think there's an easier, softer way. But also you need to have some structure. And 90% of children's sleep problems is parents not following directions. I have to reach through the child to strangle the parents half the time because they just won't follow the rules. 

Rules are simple and kids love structure. If you can just give them the structure surrounding sleep, and if they're old enough, educate them. "Hey, you want to be able to play and go in the bouncy house and not be so tired? If you sleep at night, you're going to even have more fun playing there." You just get them involved and get them interested and get them educated and then they like to sleep.

In our next episode, Episode 83, we’ve got Chris Voss, the hostage negotiator and author of Never Split the Difference. I asked him about negotiating with toddlers. 

He said that if their behavior is bad, it’s a sign that your approach needs work. I was like, "Oh, that's so good." You don't have a bad kid. You've got a bad approach, a bad style of parenting. 

That's great. 

Normally we do the Win the Day rocket round, but we're not doing that today because we've got a bunch of questions from the Win the Day community. And if you'd to submit a question for our guests, join the Win the Day group on Facebook.

The very first question comes from three people – Debbie, Adrian, and Glenda. 

“Do you have any tips for someone who wakes up in the middle of the night, 3:00 AM seems to be the common, and has trouble getting back to sleep?” 

This is the second most popular question I get. The number one question is what bed should I buy. The number two question is what happens if I wake up in the middle of the night?

This is a very popular question for a couple of different reasons. Biologically speaking, you noticed 3:00 AM seems to be a popular time. It actually is, biologically speaking. Remember how we were talking about that core body temperature curve a little while ago? Remember it's dropping, it's dropping, it's dropping.

About 10:30 at night it hits the peak. When it crests that peak, the brain releases melatonin down, down, down, down, down. Guess what? Somewhere between 1:00 and 3:00 AM, it starts to curve up and your body starts to get warmer. Which means you're in an easier arousable state. Not intimacy arousal, but arousal to be awakened arousal.

It's much easier to wake up at that period of time. And everybody wakes up four to five times a night. You just don't remember it because you roll over and go back to sleep. But because you're at this time zone where it's easier to arouse, you're in a lighter stage of sleep.

When you wake up from a lighter stage of sleep, it's harder for you to get back. When you wake up from a deep stage of sleep, you fall back into a deep stage of sleep relatively quickly. You're in a light stage of sleep. It's not that you don't go from light to deep, so you go from light to even lighter sometimes. It makes it a little bit more difficult to fall asleep.

Now, I have a very particular method of exactly what I want you to do. First of all, don't look at the clock. Now, I'm going to be honest with you. Everybody looks at the clock, okay? They instantly do the mental math and then they say, "Oh shit, it's 3:30 in the morning. I have to get up at 6:00. Sleep, sleep, sleep," and they try to sleep.

Here's the deal, man. Sleep is a lot like love. The less you look for it, the more it shows up. It's just like if you're out there trying to find that perfect person in your life, there's no universe where that happens. But when you shut up, sit down, and relax, guess what? Whoosh, they come right in. Sleep is exactly the same way. If you have this anticipation, "I got to sleep. I got to sleep," there's no universe where that happens.

Sleep is a lot like love. The less you look for it, the more it shows up.

There's a couple of reasons why. The biggest one has to do with your heart rate. One of the metrics that very few people know is you need a heart rate of 60 or below to enter into a state of unconsciousness. 

If you're pissed off, what do you think your heart rate looks like? So anxiety is not your friend in the middle of the night, but I can't get people to stop looking at the damn clock. Here's what you got to do. Remember when we were talking before about non-sleep, deep rest? This is where that science can come into play quite nicely.

People in the middle of the night, they look at the clock. Here's what I want them to say instead of, "Oh shit, I got to go to sleep," is they say, "Oh, wait a second. I was listening to that podcast where I had that sleep doctor guy on. Here's what he said, is if I just relax in the middle of the night in a quiescent state, an hour of this is worth about 20 minutes of sleep. I'm still getting some level of rejuvenation." 

So step one is chill out. You're not hurting yourself. You're still getting some level of rejuvenation, so relax.

Number two, we got to get your heart rate back down. Four, seven, eight breathing. Perfect way to do it. Dr. Andrew Weil came up with this technique that he used with the Navy SEALs. If you're a Navy SEAL and you're a sniper, you need your heart rate to go down before you fire a bullet because if your heart rate is above 60, you can actually change the trajectory of the bullet, believe it or not. 

He came up with this technique and it's exactly what it is. Breathe in for a count of four, hold it for a count of seven, breathe out for a count of eight.

What it does is it dumps out all the excess carbon dioxide that sits in the bottom of your lung and means your heart doesn't have to work as hard so your heart rate slows down. That's what we're looking for. What I tell people in the middle of the night is, "Look, if you're going to look at the clock, which I can't stop you from doing, chill out, try this 4, 7, 8 breathing and allow your heart rate to get lower, allow your anxiety to come down and then the natural sleep process should take over."

One other point, don't go to the bathroom. So many people do this. They wake up at 3:30 in the morning and they say, "Well, I'm up. I guess I should pee." Well, when you go from a lying position to a seated position to a standing position and you walk across the room, what do you think you do to your heart rate?

And if you're dumb enough to turn the light on in the bathroom or check your phone, you're a goner because you just gave yourself a huge dose of blue light. You might as well tell your brain to turn off melatonin faucet.

The next question comes from Helen:

“I have been a shift worker my entire life, working mostly at night as a nurse in Intensive Care. Are there any health concerns for people who sleep through the day as the norm because they work at night?”

Yes, there are. There are a tremendous number of them. To be clear, shift work is not healthy. Period. End of story. 

The data is pretty significant. We see significantly higher levels of depression, higher levels of suicidality, we see a higher risk-taking behavior. All of those things. It's very difficult to keep shift workers healthy for long periods of time. 

If I was a shift worker and I've worked with many shift workers, the biggest thing that we always are looking at is nutrition, movement, and sleep, because they're doing things in the opposite way.

Your body is not meant to be asleep when the sun is out. It's just not meant to do that. If you're going to force your body to do that, you better make sure everything else is working for you because otherwise you're really going to have a hard time. 

So we really concentrate on things like nutrition, movement, exercise, and remember movement and exercise are two different things. Exercises break the sweat, movement is just keep my body going, as well as sleep.

The next question comes from Mary in Canada:

“It’s been a crazy couple of years for the world. How can I switch my brain off so I can sleep peacefully?”

This is the third question that I get asked most often, is how do I turn off my brain? Thank you. Mary.

It's tough. There's nothing easy about being able to turn off your brain. There's a few different things that we've talked about already that I think make intuitive sense. Number one is gratitude. Focusing on something other than things that people have a tendency to focus on is a good idea. 

What I also like to do is after dinner, if you've got something that's just rattling around in your head and you're like, "Shit, I can't stop thinking about this thing," that's the time to create what I call a worry journal. Just take a piece of paper, draw a line down the center, put all the things that just keep rolling through your head on one side, and then on the other side, put the start of one solution.

There's nothing easy about being able to turn off your brain.

If it's like, “My kid is messing up at school”, part one of the solution is “Call or email the teacher to set up a conference.” That doesn't mean you solved the whole problem. It just means you've started the path to solve the problem, and you go down the list.

Now, you don't want to do this right before bed, because then your mind's going to just be full of this stuff. You want to do it right after dinner, maybe two or three hours before lights out. Do a worry journal. You get all that junk out of your head. Then just before bed, we talked before about some different things that you can do, including a gratitude journal.

The next question comes from Adrian:

“How important is the right pillow? And how can someone find the right pillow for them?”

This is a big deal. A pillow is a bed for your head. It's all about being able to have support. 

The object of the game here is to have head and neck support. You want your nose to stay in line with your sternum. If you're a back sleeper you're going to want, so what you don't want if you're a back sleeper is a pillow that's got too much fluff to it, what we call loft, because it'll jack your neck forward. It's hard to breathe. You can snore more, that kind of thing. You want your head back almost tilted back slightly. You'd want to have a very thin pillow if you're a back sleeper.

If you're a side sleeper, you're going to have to make up for the space between your ear and what would be the side of the bed so you're actually going to need a thicker pillow, because again, you want your nose to be in line with your sternum, if at all possible, because if your head is jacked one way or jacked the other, this tense sends a signal to my brain that it's in pain. It's hard to get into deep sleep when there's a pain signal coming on top of it.

There are people out there who have something called fibromyalgia, where they have a special kind of brainwave called Alpha-Delta sleep. That's what happens when you've got pain running through your neck, is you're basically creating that situation. If you ever talk to somebody with fibro, they have crappy sleep. You want to keep it all lined up if you possibly can. Other things that I like to think about, the shape of the pillow can be important.

When a pillow comes together, then the two pieces of fabric unite, it's called a knife edge. The problem is is it doesn't really do, like this isn't a knife edge. So when you have a knife edge, you don't have as much support at the base of your neck. 

I like pillows that have a gusset. With the two pieces of fabric come together, and then there's a third piece of fabric that comes around, that gives you more support throughout the product itself. I like that, to be able to do that.

Or some of them have a cutout now, so you can actually have the thick part right up here. You really want to think through the idea of finding a pillow that's worthwhile. I know a lot about pillows! There's some of them that have a zipper on the side, and I like that as well because you can remove stuffing and personalize it to your exact height that you need. I have personalized the pillows that I have in my house right now and they're perfect. They're exactly what I'm looking for.

Unfortunately, generally speaking for most people, they need to know, pillows are probably going to not be helpful to you after about 18 to 24 months. You should be replacing them about every two years. If they're made of memory foam or crushed latex or shredded foam or something like that, those will last about four or five years.

Is that because of allergy concerns or the material itself breaking down or changing the shape?

The material itself breaks down and changes shape. If you've got allergies, that's a whole nother ballgame. Then you have to really get more hypoallergenic stuffing and things like that.

The next question comes from Beverly:

“I am a 72 year old female CMT (Charcot-Marie-Tooth) patient. This is the story of my sleep issues – just when you think you have found the answer, it changes again. 

Although I prefer natural methods, I have tried Melatonin tablets of 2mg which didn't work and made me groggy the next day even though they were taken at the appropriate time. Something that is surprising is that even though I don't get much sleep some nights I am able to push through and function the next day.

What would you suggest for someone in my situation? And is there a book of yours that would cover this in more detail than you might be able to answer on the podcast?”

This is a complicated question. CMT is a degenerative nerve disease so it's never going to get better. It's actually only going to get worse as this progresses. 

I understand and can very much appreciate where she is from the standpoint of wanting something natural. But to be fair, I'm not convinced that there's anything natural that would be as effective as something that might be pharmaceutical.

In her situation, I would be looking at her somewhat similar to the way we look at a restless legs patient, although to be clear, she has neuropathy. Restless legs is something very different.

I would of course check for deficiencies. Iron deficiencies would certainly make her situation worse. Having any iron supplementation could be potentially helpful, but if she's really having difficulty sleeping, which it sounds she is, I think that a mild sedative could be extremely helpful. 

Now, it's not particularly surprising that she can power through the next day on very little sleep, because she sounds like a go-getter. That doesn't surprise me. Over the course of time unfortunately, her situation doesn't get better. It just progressively gets worse. Being able to attack it early on may make a little bit more sense and prolong a place where she's more comfortable.

The next question comes from Tarsha:

“I have very wild and vivid dreams and wake up exhausted! Do vivid dreams lead to exhaustion in the morning and, if so, is there anything you suggest to wake up with more energy?”

Sure. Most people, and I don't know her situation, but most people who tell me that they have very vivid dreams, they're usually chemically induced. It's either cannabis, too much melatonin, a supplement, alcohol, things of that nature.

Very few people have had vivid dreams their whole lives. Now, not to say that there aren't some, because there are some. We can actually tamp down the vivid nature of the dreams using medications. Antidepressant medications actually slow down REM sleep quite a bit. Cannabis is another one that slows down REM sleep quite a bit. There's different methodologies that people can use.

But the question becomes are you really so exhausted from your dreams? Because what I would argue is that she might not be sleeping well. She might have sleep deprivation.

Also, I would be wondering about the content of the dreams. This is going to sound rather odd, but for people who have undiagnosed sleep apnea, there's a decent percentage of them who have these very vivid dreams about suffocation or being underwater, swallowing a lot. It's this manifestation of I can't breathe is coming through. I would probably want to understand a little bit more about the content and the vivid nature of the dreams. 

Then I would also, the other thing I would want to be curious about is had she had a head injury, history of seizure, things of that nature. Could it be a neurologic issue that's going on, tumor? There's a whole host of things that could be in there.


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The next question comes from Jay:

“Like many older people who live alone, I tend to fall asleep listening to the radio or a podcast.

Night times can feel especially lonely, which is something not realized by people who have family or others in their home. The darkness descends and you’re all alone, again, every night. 

I get tired of people saying we should rid our bedrooms of pretty much everything that provides a sense of company. Following those ‘sleep hygiene’ instructions, a bedroom can start to feel like a sensory deprivation experiment and the loneliest place in the world. What do you suggest?”

Jay, you are 100% correct. I am the only sleep doctor in the universe that says it's okay to fall asleep with the television on. I have no problems if you want to listen to podcasts. I don't care. If that's what works for you and that makes you feel better, go for it, bro. 

At the end of the day, loneliness is much more detrimental to your sleep and to your mental health than having a television on, okay.  Please, please, please have a podcast on, talk on the telephone. I don't really care what you do.

I will tell you there's a couple things that you want to shy away from. Number one, if you're playing on your phone while you're trying to fall asleep, if you're trying to get your high score on Candy Crush, you're really not trying to go to bed. Maybe reserve that for another time.

While you're trying to fall asleep, I think electronics should probably be removed. If you want to have the TV on and the light is bothersome, buy some blue light blocking glasses. These are glasses, and they're 20 bucks. This is not a heavy spend, and you can watch television in your bedroom. My wife falls asleep with the television on every single night and I'm the sleep doctor! So don’t worry, it's all good.

The final question comes from Anne:

“Can long term use of CPAP machines reduce a person’s natural ability to fall asleep?”

Yep. So, this is a great question to end on.

First of all, let me explain what CPAP is. CPAP is called continuous positive airway pressure. This is a device that is worn by people who have obstructive sleep apnea syndrome. Apnea is when your throat collapses in the middle of the night and we need to basically push it open. 

What happens is they're kind of like having a hair dryer in reverse blowing up your nose all night long. It's hot, warm air comes through a tube, a mask that you wear. When it hits the area that's collapsed it just ever so slightly opens it up, shoots clean air to your lungs.

The question was can wearing a CPAP ever stop me from being able to sleep? The answer is, I can't understand how it would, unless it was the noise of the CPAP machine that was maybe bothersome to you. There are some people out there where that can happen.

The good news is that CPAP isn't the only treatment for sleep apnea that's out there. Depending upon the severity of your sleep apnea, there are oral appliances, which are dental devices that can be helpful. There are now surgical interventions that can be helpful. 

There's also a new device out there called eXciteOSA, where you can have a tongue device that actually helps shrink your tongue a little bit, which can be important. There's a whole host of things. If CPAP is becoming bothersome or not allowing you to sleep, there's other alternatives out there.

Talking about CPAP also leads me to think about snoring a little bit. I've got a lot of people out there who are affected by snoring, believe it or not. It's something like 46% of the population snores, which is insane. I brought you these funny things that I wanted to show you. This is really cool. For a lot of my patients, believe it or not there's data to show that if you sleep next to a snoring bed partner, you lose almost an hour of sleep yourself.

Wow. That's huge.

That sucks, right? Nothing fun about that. This is a product that I personally use, and yes, I work with this company. They're called Mute. Like hit the mute button. This is an internal nasal dilator. Yes, you have to stick something up your nose, but here's the deal. It works. 

As you and I were talking before the show, I'm a bourbon drinker. If I'm drinking bourbon, my wife turns to me and she says, "You better put your nose thingy in, because I don't want to listen to you all night." 

And rob me of an hour of sleep!

Exactly! Because you know, if you drink alcohol, a lot of times the tissue inflames and you snore.

What's cool about it is this is a trial pack that comes with three different sizes. You just pop it in. It takes about 30 to 45 seconds to stop feeling it. At first you're like, "Oh my God, this is the weirdest thing." 

But let's be honest. Just about everybody in the universe has had shit shoved up their nose lately from COVID tests and all this other craziness! I think this is the least offensive thing that's going to happen to you.

Let me tell you, it definitely reduces the snoring. They're at Walgreens for 15 bucks, something like that. Then they also make one for athletics. I actually use it during my spin classes. I use it before my meditation and my breath work and I find it to be very helpful there as well. I just wanted to let you guys know and let your audience know about these cool products.

Love it. Thank you, my friend, for your honesty, for your expertise, and for everything. I really appreciate all your time today.

I feel like I really threw it out there today! I'm excited. This was fun.


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PS - If you have a question and want it featured on the Win the Day podcast, email your question (in writing or as an audio message) to: info@jameswhitt.com


Resources / links mentioned:

🗝️ Got a question for the Win the Day podcast? Join the Win the Day group.

🎵 Or send us your question via audio message.

🎬 Sleep Your Way to the Top with Dr. Michael Breus (Episode 44).

📚 ‘Energize!: Go from Dragging Ass to Kicking It in 30 Days’ by Dr Michael Breus and Stacey Griffith.

⚡ The Sleep Doctor website.

📷 The Sleep Doctor Instagram.

📝 The Sleep Doctor Facebook.

🧮 Chronoquiz.

🧘 Muse meditation headband.

🥷 Napjitsu.

😴 Mute Snoring.

🎬 Subscribe to exclusive Win the Day videos on our YouTube channel.

"Never go to sleep without a request to your subconscious."

Thomas Edison

Hey Winners,

We’ve got a super special episode of the Win the Day podcast for you today! We have our first ever repeat guest, and it’s Dr Michael Breus — known around the world as The Sleep Doctor.

We had so much positive feedback from the first episode, and many unanswered questions too, so today we’re making sure we leave no stone unturned in helping you sleep better.

I won’t give too long of an intro for Dr Breus today because you can check out Episode 44 of the show where we spoke in depth on his achievements – it’s got a ton of tips, hacks, and secrets to help you sleep better.

For a brief overview, Dr Breus is a four-time bestselling author, clinical psychologist, and sleep expert. He has appeared all over television, including Oprah, The Today Show, and on the Dr Oz show more than 40 times. 

The man is everywhere.

And when he’s not doing media appearances, Dr Breus works with some of the most successful individuals on the planet who want to perform at their peak with as little sleep as possible.

So if YOU want to perform at your peak with as little sleep as possible, this is the episode for you. 

We’ve had people all over the world submitting questions so we’re going to make sure The Sleep Doctor gets you the help you need.

If you’d like to submit a question to me or any of the guests on the show, simply join the Win the Day group on Facebook.

In this episode, Dr Breus shares:

Before we begin, the right bit of inspiration can completely change the trajectory of someone’s life, so if there’s a friend or loved one who needs to hear this episode or could use some help to Win the Day, share it with them right now.

Let’s WIN THE DAY with Dr Michael Breus!

🎞️  For the video interview, click here.


Resources / links mentioned:

🗝️ Got a question for the Win the Day podcast? Join the Win the Day group.

🎵 Or send us your question via audio message.

🎬 Sleep Your Way to the Top with Dr. Michael Breus (Episode 44).

📚 ‘Energize!: Go from Dragging Ass to Kicking It in 30 Days’ by Dr Michael Breus and Stacey Griffith.

⚡ The Sleep Doctor website.

📷 The Sleep Doctor Instagram.

📝 The Sleep Doctor Facebook.

🧮 Chronoquiz.

🧘 Muse meditation headband.

🥷 Napjitsu.

😴 Mute Snoring.

🎬 Subscribe to exclusive Win the Day videos on our YouTube channel.

Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”

Winston Churchill

Our guest today is a New York Times bestselling author, former professional athlete, and the founder / CEO of Healthpreneur®. As one of the world’s top business strategists, Yuri Elkaim has helped more than half a million people to take ownership of their health.

And his pathway to health and business seemed inevitable. After dealing with a host of health issues as a teenager, Yuri eventually lost all of his hair at 17 years old to an autoimmune condition. This, along with his passion for sports (which led him down the path of playing professional soccer in his early 20s), propelled him into the health and fitness field.

Yuri’s authentic and caring approach allowed him to build a successful online health empire, while providing him the platform to write three bestselling books and share his message on major media outlets such as Dr. Oz and The Doctors. In 2018, after 13 years at the helm, Yuri sold this health business to focus on Healthpreneur® full time.

With Healthpreneur, Yuri and his team help health professionals and coaches leverage the internet to turn their expertise into high 6- and 7-figure virtual practices that create transformative results for more people without the grind.

Healthpreneur’s mission is to help health entrepreneurs make their dreams happen in the service of others and eventually leave a legacy where every man, woman, and child has the opportunity to become the best version of themselves so that they can wake up each day with purpose, contribute through meaningful work that feels like play, and live freely and abundantly.


Check out the YouTube or podcast version where Yuri Elkaim does the Win the Day Rocket Round, answering questions about his favorite quote, what advice he’d give his 18-year-old self, the one thing on his bucket list, and a whole lot more🚀


In this episode, we’ll go through:

Yuri is a super accomplished guy and I know you’ll get a ton of value out of this one.

Before we begin, remember that the right bit of inspiration can completely change the trajectory of someone’s life, so if there’s a friend or loved one who needs to hear this episode, share it with them right now. 

Let’s WIN THE DAY with Yuri Elkaim!

James Whittaker:
Yuri, great to see you my friend. Thanks so much for coming on the Win the Day Show.

Yuri Elkaim:
Absolutely James. Thanks for having me buddy. It's good to be here.

You've had some big wins in the holistic health space, and it's also what changed your life. But there's so much misinformation about health, particularly these days with the internet and the rise of influencers who mightn't have the necessary qualifications for the advice they're providing.

To kick things off, are there any myths that need to be busted about exactly what holistic health is?

How much time do you have!? We could be here for a long time. When I got into nutrition, the deeper I went into it, the more I realized I had no clue what was going on. And the thing is there's so many different approaches, and I think every one of them can work for different people. I found an approach that worked for me which was mostly plant-based, and I just felt the best. But I also know that there's a huge population of the earth that is very keto based, animal product based, and that's totally fine.

In my journey of having done that for so long, I came to realize that you need to do what's best for you. And part of that is experimenting with different things to find out what's going to resonate most with you. But I think even beyond our food choices is the energetic intention, or the energy that we feel in that pursuit.

Do what's best for you.

If you're sitting down and having a supposedly healthy meal, and you feel shame or guilt around that food because it's not organic or perfect enough, there's an energy around that's not going to be great for your body. Contrast that with someone who's going to have a beautiful grass fed burger with zero shame and guilt, and enjoying that. In short, it's not just what you eat, but it's how you approach what you eat. That was a big thing that I learned over the years, and that's how I approach a lot of my stuff now. I'm less fanatical about my diet now than I was back in the day, because I've recognized how important that energy and that intention is.

Just before your 17th birthday you noticed significant hair loss, and were subsequently diagnosed with the autoimmune condition alopecia. Can you take us into those circumstances and how it changed your mindset at the time?

Yeah, I think it was the Universe's way of giving me a bit of a kick in the ass to be honest with you! At the time, I was like the jock in a stereotypical high school movie. But I was nice to most people except my brother. I was a bit of a Grinch to my younger brother and I think the universe said, "Dude, we've had enough of this. Here's your payback."

My brother would tease me and he teases me now, "Hey, remember back in the day when you used to spend 30 minutes in the bathroom doing your hair?" And I was like, "Yeah. Good days." Just for context, my dad's Moroccan so there's a lot of hair, bushy eyebrows, hair all over. And in the space of a couple of weeks all of it was gone. And it was weird because I was in my last year of high school, and just seeing how people looked at me was kind of odd. They were like, "What's wrong with this guy? He looks like an alien or is he going through chemo, or whatever?" That really again was awkward, but I think I handled it pretty well. And I think I've always been very mature, even from a young age.

That experience really allowed me to recognize it's only hair man, come on, there's far worse that could be happening. I had friends and family members who were like, "Oh my God, is everything okay? It must be so hard for you." I was like, "Well, I mean, whatever, it's not the end of the world. There could be worse things." I think my perspective was really helpful. But it was also in retrospect a blessing, because that was the impetus that really got me into the health space. Because the solution the medical community had was, "We'll just inject your head with cortisone." I'm like, "Are you for real?" I didn't really get any solid answers medically. And that really prompted me into studying kinesiology, because I had a really big passion for soccer and fitness, and then nutrition to learn more about what was happening in my body.

And those two things really made a huge difference for me. I was able to regrow my hair back when I was 24, because of a lot of the changes I was making from a dietary perspective. I obviously don't have any hair now, that's because a number of years ago, long story short, took my son to the doctor, my doctor's like, "Hey, while you're here, why don't you just get a tetanus shot or a booster?" I was like, "Sure." I didn't even question her and within two weeks my hair fell out again. I simply mention that so everyone knows what's going on, but who cares!? I don't really think about it anymore. And I think it's a blessing to be honest, because it's allowed me to put things into perspective and approach difficult situations with a lot more grace and perspective. That's kind of how it all started.

That attitude to adversity is critical and, in my experience, it's the most important difference between ordinary people and extraordinary achievers. And what I love about your journey is you really had to take the reins yourself. You had to dive deep into the holistic nutrition and health space to start uncovering some answers.

How was that condition not really on the radar of all the previous medical professionals you had seen? Why was it on you as an individual at the end of the day to try and figure out what the hell was going on?

I'm sure there were some tremendous health professionals out there who probably did have a solution, I just didn't know who they were at the time. My mom exposed me to a variety of practitioners, medical doctors, immunologists, traditional Chinese medicine... I actually remember going to a traditional Chinese medicine doctor and I remember having this weird concoction of tree bark, and I made this huge vat. It was a tea and I still remember the smell of it, it wasn't pleasant. And I remember drinking that for months and I don't know if that helped. I don't know. We tried all sorts of different stuff, but I think being relatively young, 16-ish, it's not like I was living on my own, I had my own resources to go to find my own stuff.

I just started really introspectively doing some thinking and research. This is back in the day when Encyclopedia Britannica was still the main thing. Google didn't exist, I don't think. Now it would have been a little bit of a different scenario, but it really inspired me to want to learn more about why was this happening. Because I didn't have any answers. If I went to the doctor and they're like, "Well, there's not much we can do but we can do this." I had really bad eczema growing up as well. And I always remember the solution to eczema was just putting more cortisone cream on, and it was never dealing with the root issue. That never really made sense to me and I really wanted to figure out what was going on.

It was never dealing with the root issue. That never really made sense to me.

And that's kind what eventually prompted me to get into these studies, and doing a lot more reading, research, and experimentation. Then I realized for a lot of medical doctors, they know what they know, and they're very good at diagnosing and prescribing, in a lot of cases, medication. There's others that are a little more holistic and functional based, and they might have an alternative point of view. I traditionally resonated more with that because growing up my body was pretty much a toxic wasteland from just very bad food choices because I didn't know better based on what I was exposed to — antibiotics, vaccines, it was ridiculous. As I started learning a lot of this stuff I was like, "Huh!? Maybe this is starting to make sense."

Then I said, "Well, what if I were to do this, and maybe eat a little bit better, and remove some of these problematic foods." That was the journey. It was just kind of learning, and experimenting, and seeing how my body responded. And I quickly recognized that how I felt was a really important indicator of the overall health of my body. Because I was really tired for a long time, half my life I spent sleeping pretty much.

And that's why I went on to write the book The All-Day Energy Diet, because as I made these changes the most profound difference I noticed instantaneously was my energy level was through the roof. And it just so happened that as that energy went up, my hair started coming back, my health improved and I was like, "Huh!? That's good to know. Energy first, those other outcomes second." That was one of the really big discoveries in my dream for sure.

There are people who have come on the podcast who are very well-regarded professionals. And a big trend that I've noticed them saying is that you are your best scientist. We had Dr. Michael Breus, one of the world's top sleep doctors, on the show. On the benefit of sleep trackers, Dr. Breus said, "I would argue that how you feel when you wake up is much better than any sleep tracker." Being able to experiment firsthand, and see in real-time how you're feeling, made a big difference to you.

You mentioned energy levels. I worry there are people out there who don't know that a healthier life actually awaits because of their information, their lack of energy, and any other symptoms that they might have, or just what they are used to. And as a result of that they don't know any different. I know this seems like a bit of a simple question, but how should a healthy person actually feel?

Good. A funny thing is I never really used to drink coffee. And I was like, "Caffeine is the devil." And I still think it's not that great. I don't know what happened, but along the way I started enjoying coffee. I'm now one of those guys who has a coffee every morning now! But back in the day when I wrote The All-Day Energy Diet and I was going through this whole process, I recognized how does it make sense that people say, "I can't start my day without a cup of coffee?" I don't understand how that's normal, that shouldn't be a thing. You should wake up and you should feel good. And if you want to have a coffee it's not because you have to have one to feel normal, it's because you want to have one.

I think most people don't know how good they can feel because they've never felt that. It's almost like The Truman Show, the movie with Jim Carrey. He's in his own world, and at that one point in the movie he walks up the stairs, and opens the door and there's something on the other side. It's like this whole thing has been a set. That's kind of how most people live. It's like we don't even know what's on the other side of the wall until we've been on the other side of the wall. And then it's like, "Oh, wow! I feel a thousand times better."

That's really important because any one of us can say, "Oh, do this and you'll feel better." But none of us clue into that until we actually experience it. And I think one of the things that I was always really espousing with our clients was do this for two weeks, just see how you feel. And then you can go back to the way you were eating before or not.

And at that point it's your choice. Just like, "Holy cow! Why would I want to go back and do what I was doing before if I feel this good?" At least now you can make a choice from a place of power where you've experienced it, and now you have the choice to go down your old path or the new path.

That's really powerful because it's coming from a place of you owning that, and having been exposed to how good you can feel. And now the responsibility of the choice is up to you based on that. Most people haven't even scratched the surface of how good they can feel. And I don't even think age matters, because we've had clients that have been in their seventies who in five days are feeling like new people, which is amazing.

Most people haven't even scratched the surface of how good they can feel.

At the very minimum, give yourself an opportunity to cut away some of the distractions and vices. And if it's uncomfortable, it's going to be uncomfortable, but just give yourself that opportunity to feel how good you can feel. Do it for a week or two and then be like, "Well, do I want to go back to the way I was before? Or should I continue on this way?" And then you can make a choice from there, but I think it's important to at least experience it once.

There are teenagers out there who might be naturally lean or more active. How do we get teenagers to start to understand that their health decisions have very real consequences and the earlier they can implement strong health rituals the better?

There needs to be some type of technology developed that can fast forward them to where they're 50. Because I was that guy. I was that guy, and I worked as a coach at the University of Toronto with the men's soccer program for seven years, so teenagers 17 to 21. And every year it's the same thing. I was the guy who ate McDonald's to get ready for a game. That was me when I was a teenager, and I was still a really good soccer player.

When I was coaching at the University of Toronto, one of my proudest legacies — if I can call it that — is the fact that instead of guys coming to the stadium with gummy bears and McDonald's, they were coming into the stadium with green juices because there was a vegetarian restaurant not too far away.

And a green juice is $10 so for a student that's not cheap. And it was really cool to see these teachings start to resonate. I was like, "My work here is done." What's the saying? Youth is wasted on the young, something like that. And that's the way it is. We don't realize how good we have it until we don't have it anymore. And I think we're like, "We're invincible when we're young." I've got four boys under 10, they never get tired. I'm thinking they're like dogs I can just wear them out, they just keep going! And that'd be cool if you could do that forever, but I think by the time you're 35, 40, things start to change a bit.

We don't realize how good we have it until we don't have it anymore.

I'm not too sure... I think there's a certain aspect of maturity that comes with it. I think there's certain teenagers who are a little bit more forward thinking, they're a bit more mature. They realize because they're a bit more tuned into themselves in performance that they can't get away with that forever. But I also do think a lot of high level athletes that they look up to can be really good role models. Because if you're growing up in the '70s and '80s, and your role models are John McEnroe's and... I love John McEnroe.

John Daly on the golf course!

Yeah, totally. It's a very different role model than the Novak Djokovic's, or the Roger Federer's, or other role models who are maybe be a bit healthier in the way that they approach the game. Christiano Ronaldo, these are all great examples of guys who are not just great athletes, but they live a very clean life. Those are great examples for teenagers who want to emulate in their footsteps. Again, whether they're athletes or not, I think it's important to have good role models that really espouse that, because we become a reflection of our environments.

My kids are getting into skateboarding and there's a skate park by our place. And I'm very fascinated by the culture of skateboarding. I think it's a really cool sport, I'm terrible at it, but kind of sitting there and observing it, it's like they all dress very similarly. They all have their Monster energy drinks. One guy last week, he's on a skateboard, he's got a cigarette in his mouth as he's going up the halfpipe. I'm like, "This is a very different culture. Or hopefully not role models that my kids will be exposed to." I think it's important to look at who our role models are and what that environment looks like.

Yeah, and helping encourage the discipline that can lead to the goals and outcomes that people want.

We had Gabby Reece on the show earlier this year, and she had some amazing insights, but one of the big ones she shared was that the best way for people if they're truly grateful about something is not to talk about it, but to actually take care of it to the best of your ability. Yet people want that magic bullet to success. People want to be able to lose 10 pounds of fat overnight, or gain 10 pounds of muscle in a week, or whatever it might be.

How do we actually get through to people the importance of sustainable change in such a transactional world when everyone just wants that magic bullet?

The same thing happens in business as well. I think it's what people are seeing. They're seeing the 'after' on Instagram for instance, but they don't see the journey. And I think that's a major issue, and it's something I was actually speaking to my clients this morning with about.

Seth Godin has a really good book on this topic called The Dip. And the whole idea is that there's very few people who are amazing at what they do. And they're more valuable because it's more scarce, there's fewer people that are at that level, like the Gabby Reece's, the Laird Hamilton's, etc. And the difference is that everyone says they want to do that. They want to become that person, but as soon as the dip happens, which is that, "Oh, this is hard" they give up.

The difference is that the select few recognize that either before or during, so they say, "I'm just going to keep going and figure it out until I get through that dip." That journey needs to be highlighted in some way, shape, or form in a way that it's not right now. And to be honest I don't know if that ever will be, because humans want what we want. We're very compelled by things that are new, and shiny, and alluring. Although we're inspired by courage on the journey, that's not the thing that really grabs our attention right away.

And I do think if you look at the example of P90X, which came into the market at a time where infomercials were promoting six-minute abs, and sauna belts, which are these overnight magic pills. And here comes P90X saying, "This will be the hardest thing you do for 90 days, but it's going to transform your body."

They've done pretty well — about $1 billion in sales as a company. And I think that goes to show that there's always going to be a segment of the market that understands that the quick fixes don't work. At some level I think everyone needs to come to that epiphany, because they've done the diets, they've done the pills, they've done all this stuff. They've tried one business model, one tactic, and it hasn't worked out.

At some point, and where that point is in someone's life I don't know — it could be early, it could be later. Everyone will come to a realization: if you want to do something great, it's not going to be easy. And if you're not okay with that you should quit before it even starts, as opposed to quitting halfway through. And if you are okay with the fact that it's going to be challenging and full of ups and downs, then recognize that and find a way to get through that.

If you want to do something great, it's not going to be easy.

Whether that's through coaching, mentorship, being in a surrounding that's going to inspire you, have the right support, I think those are all really important. But it would be like someone who's never worked out before and the trainer's like, "You know what, we're going to help you get an amazing shape. You're going to feel amazing. It's going to be so good." And then the next day the client is so sore they can't even move, because they've never done half the stuff and they're like, "What's this all about?" You say, "Oh, sorry about that, I forgot to mention there's this thing called delayed onset muscle soreness."

I think it'd be a service to the client to be upfront and say, "Listen, here's what it's going to take to lose 20 pounds. It's going to be hard. You're going to have moments where you want to quit. There'll be times you want to cry, there'll be times you will be swearing at me, and there'll be many times where you want to give up. Are you okay with that? Because if you're not, you're not going to achieve the goals that you want."

And I think in today's day and age, hype and hyperbole, people see through all that stuff and it's just overdone. There's a lot of value in just the honest truth. Just being honest with your market, or your clients, or your messaging or whatever it is you do, yourself. I mean it just becomes so much more believable from a business perspective. But also as an individual pursuing a goal it becomes a lot more believable. Be like, "Cool, this is going to be tough. How do I prepare for the challenges and get myself okay with meeting those?" I think that's really important, because otherwise everything is a surprise and you're like, "Oh shit, I didn't think it was going to be so hard." I think that mindset shift is super important.

That's probably the perfect segue now for us to switch gears and focus on the business side more specifically.

Have you ever had any experiences where you thought that you were able to help everyone, but most of the people you were seeing just weren't committed to their goal and that journey? And as a result, you were not only unable to bring them up but they ended up pulling you down, to a degree?

Oh yeah, totally. That was one of my biggest crises as a health expert was that I wanted to help everyone. It took me a long time to swallow the pill that the people who need it the most very often want it the least. And I was like, "That sucks." But it's the reality.

Even now, when we help clients in the business front, we don't even talk about sales. For us it's interviewing. We're only going to hire this client if they fit our criteria, because we don't want someone's money, we want their transformation. And we're very clear with people upfront about how challenging it's going to be. But it's going to be challenging either way — the difference is that you're going to have guidance, coaching, and a proven model, versus doing it by yourself.

But I think it's a major disservice to people with a lot of over the top promises, like "You'll make 100K in a month" or whatever, and they focus on the shiny without the dirt along the way. It's like, "Hey, just go into the mine you'll find gold sitting there." It's really important to have that conversation with people before you even consider engaging with them. Because otherwise you're just taking people down a delusional path, and we want clients who are committed to the transformation.

It took me a long time to swallow the pill that the people who need it the most very often want it the least.

I think that is maybe a bit more applicable to a coaching type of environment. If you're selling widgets it's a little bit easier, a little bit different. But I do think it's honest communication and being transparent about the journey is in your best interest, but it's also in the client's best interest. Because you're going to have better clients who are like, "I understand that and I'm willing to sign up for this." And there's no surprises because you've laid everything out, you've laid the gauntlet in front of them.

And they probably appreciate that transparency. They might not like hearing it immediately in the present, but they also know then that you're focused on the transformation rather than the transaction.

You had seven years working as a trainer and nutritionist, working with people one-on-one but you hit a wall with that career. What was the turning point for you in recognizing that there had to be a better way than seeing people one-on-one? Which is essentially exchanging time for money.

Well, if I hadn't lost my hair when I was 16 I probably would have lost it after doing all that! Working from 7:00 in the morning until at least 7:00 at night, and then I was actually working at the university as one of the coaches with the soccer team, so that was an extra three hours on top every day. And I realized as much as I loved helping my clients transform, and hanging out with them was great. I realized there's a really low ceiling here, that I'm not even going very far in terms of impact, income, etc.

The big turning point for me was 2006 when I went to Europe with my girlfriend (now wife), and we were over there for six weeks. But trading time for dollars for so many years, I had to save up a bunch of money for the trip. And then when we took the trip, every single time we went out to eat or purchase something that money was going down and nothing else was coming in. And I'm like, "I never ever want to experience this again."

I was just committed to finding a better way. The questions I was always asking was, "How do I make more money? How do I help more people even if I'm not present with them?" It was never about how do I make more money without doing any work. That was never the conversation for me. It was how do I make more money in the service of more people, to help them get even better results but without relying on my time because I love helping people. And I remember toward the tail-end of those seven years, I was working with a client and he's huffing and puffing. He's like, "Why don't you put your voice on tape?" And I said, "Hmm, that's interesting!"

This is just when the iPod had come out and I was like, "I don't know what that means, but let me think about it." And what I eventually ended up doing was I thought to myself, "How would I help my clients get results if I were not with them, but kind of still with them?" And what I did is I actually recorded a full 90-day workout program, where my voice was on their headphones guiding them through their workout as if I was with them right there. And we were actually one of the first companies back in the day to even have that type of technology.

It was awesome because essentially what it allowed me to do is it allowed me to productize my service. And without even knowing it, that was my first step into extracting intellectual property, and creating value in transformation for people without me being present every step of the way. Is an audio guide to workout as effective as working with a trainer? No, but it's pretty darn close instead of doing it by themselves.

That was my first step into extracting intellectual property, and creating value in transformation for people without me being present every step of the way.

And that's kind of how things started with the online side of things. Even now with our clients all of our coaching is group-based. And we have hundreds of clients who get amazing results, but I don't want to spend one-on-one time with every single one of them every second of the day. And the reason, really, anyone's able to do that is by stepping back and really assessing how do I do what I do? What's the recipe through which I help people achieve an outcome? And really starting to extract it, articulate it, and then map that out in some type of curriculum that they can follow, but then you come on top with accountability, support, and coaching.

It's just incredible to see the transformation that people get. Because with my health the thing that I realized as I went from the one-on-one, which was just I'm like, "I never want to do coaching ever again." I went the complete opposite to, "I'm going to go online and live the laptop lifestyle! I'm going to sell eBooks, and all that kind of stuff, and kick my feet up." Didn't happen, it's a lot of work.

And what happened is eventually when that business took off, I got so disillusioned from it because we helped so many people on paper but I didn't know any of them. If someone purchased a workout program, or a book of mine, or a course, the likelihood of them actually doing it and getting the results? I don't know. They're on the other side of the world, are they actually doing it? And I became very disconnected from the people that we were serving, and I wanted a way to come back to really impacting people in a way where I actually knew them, where I could see their transformation. And with Healthpreneur, that's where we come back to. I went from one-on-one, kind of despising it all the way, to the other side which is very product based.

And now coming back to the middle, which is high-touch coaching in a leveraged format with those elements of productizing our service, and bringing the best of both worlds together. Again, everything happens for a reason, but I only if we learn from it and improve our future.

A lot of the stuff that you're talking about here is by going back and questioning the underlying assumptions that people had made; that you can actually have more of an impact and earn more of an income without having to exchange time for money, which I think is a really great lesson for people to think about.

Is it possible for everyone out there to be able to duplicate themselves so that they can scale?

It's both possible and impossible depending on how they choose to see it. We had a client this morning who was a naturopathic doctor. She loves traveling and she was just like, "I love the fact that I can help people when I'm in Hawaii, or Alaska, or wherever else." And she said this several times and I know this to be true. It's like her clients get better results virtually without the one-on-one, so in more of a group setting than they were coming in sort of a clinic. And I was like, "It's amazing. It's so cool."

We help health professionals, so chiros, naturopaths, health coaches, etc. That model is very broken, it is fundamentally broken because it's transactional. Let's say I've got a bummed back, I go see my chiro, he gives me an adjustment, I give him $50, and I leave. And then the next time I have an issue I come back, same thing.

It's very much tit for tat and there's no journey. There's no, "Here's what we should do between sessions, etc." It's not good for the patient, it's not good for the practitioner, and it's not sustainable. The thing is we speak with quite a few people who are like, "Well, I'm a bit different. My situation's a bit different because I do something that no one else can do." And I'm like, "Awesome, that's amazing. You've got two choices: you can let that story shackle you to the situation you're dealing with right now of low-income, no freedom and tell yourself you're a special snowflake. Or you can find a way to extract that magic and figure out a way to help more people."

You have two choices, that's it. Because we help practitioners build their virtual practice, we had a lot of chiropractors, physical therapists, really hands-on practitioners, especially during COVID who came to us who are like, "Hey, my clinic is shutdown. I got to figure out how to go online."

It's both possible and impossible depending on how they choose to see it.

And then they're like, "Well, I don't know how I can do this." And I'm like, "You've got two choices, you go out of business based on your current situation or you figure out a way to do this." And some people are like, "Let's do it." Charlie, one of our physical therapy clients, the most he made in a month in his clinic was $10,000 a month. Since he's been with us online, he's doing $30K - $40K a month regularly. And his clients get better results with sciatica and back pain.

In this fashion you have to change the way you help people, the delivery, which means the client has to show up in a different way. They become more empowered in their own journey as opposed to just kind of showing up, laying on a table, getting a crack and leaving. It really benefits the practitioner or the coach, it benefits the client because the delivery is based on the outcome. Not just, "Hey, I'll see you for half an hour" etc.

Every single person can help people in a virtual manner, but also in a way that's not necessarily one-on-one. Unless you're dealing with deep traumatic stuff, if you're a psychotherapist as an example. However, there are still ways to do that in a group setting because not every single interaction with your clients needs to be with you. If you brought 10 women together who are all dealing with the same issue, they have a community now. They're part of a tribe of other women who are like-minded and they're like, "You're going through this too!? Let's support each other."

Isolation kills, community heals. I think it's in our client's best interest to put them in a supportive environment. And then whatever way that looks like in terms of your support and coaching, there's tremendous ways to help people beyond the one-on-one. There's definitely ways, all it comes down to is being creative and willing to adapt as opposed to being very stuck in ways that may not support you.

What about those who want to serve an audience who don't have the capacity to pay? How do you provide the support that you need for an audience that you might be super passionate about, but you obviously don't want to burnout in the process? I mean if you're spending all of your time servicing clients for a dollar a day, you're going to reach a point where you burnout and you're not able to help anyone.

Who you choose to serve is one of the most important questions that's going to determine the success of your business and your life. Because if you want to help everyone who doesn't have money because you have a connection to that, that's amazing. But you have to understand that if they don't have money they can't pay you.

A lot of the typical marketing or business advice is start people low and then build them up an ascension ladder to a higher point. Our philosophy is the exact opposite. For people to get transformational results it doesn't come from a $7 ebook. It comes from a higher level coaching program where you work with them, they get an amazing result, you fill up your cup financially, they get amazing results. You now have more social proof that can feed back into your marketing and attract more clients like that.

Who you choose to serve is one of the most important questions that's going to determine the success of your business and your life.

If you fill up your cup first, let's just use dollars and cents as an example, then you have more dollars and cents to then give back to the 95% of those other people who would not be able to afford your services in the first place. It's almost like a Robin Hood type of approach. I don't even want to say you take from the rich give to the poor, but you work with people at a higher level who can afford your services, who signup because they see the value in it at least.

First and foremost you have to take care of yourself because, if you don't, you can't take care of anyone else. But then you'll reach a point in your business where you can take a portion and give it to charity, or you set up a foundation. I think so many people get caught up in all these little products, $10 here, $97 here. I was that guy, I had hundreds of products in a previous business.

And with Healthpreneur we have two: we have our coaching program and our mastermind. Pretty much everything else is free because we can give it all away, because we don't need to make sure that everything turns into some funnel or a book sale or whatever. It's like if it helps people we can give it away for free, mostly because we're ticking, we're good because of this stuff. That's my approach. It's worked tremendously well for us, it makes a lot of sense for our clients because a lot of our clients feel like martyrs in the service of others. And that's not a good place to be. I think we're all here because we want to help a lot of people, but you got to help yourself first.

You've worked with so many high achievers all around the world. What's the difference between the top 0.1% of people who might be 7- or 8-figure entrepreneurs, or at the absolute pinnacle of their industry — what do they do differently? Or is there a common trait that they have that other people don't?

Such a good question. I'll give you two very clear examples of this. We have a client who last February as the whole pandemic is just about to start, he's interested in working with us and I told him, "I think you're a little bit early." And he was making about $800 a month at the time as a health coach. And he told me, "I can do this. Watch me." And I was like, "Okay."

Twelve months later he's doing $100K a month, and helping thousands more people than he ever was. That statement says everything, "I can do this. Watch me." Embedded in that statement is a massive amount of self-belief. That is the single most important ingredient anyone can have to achieve success. If I see someone and their answer is, "Well, maybe." You're finished, it's that instantaneous. Versus someone who's like, "I'll figure this out, watch." That's the big thing right there.

Self-belief is the single most important ingredient anyone can have to achieve success.

Second quick example is we had a client who in November 2019 was on the verge of bankruptcy. He was a chiropractor, had six people in his office, five daughters at home. He had to take a $40,000 loan just to survive. He comes across our stuff at the end of November and he's like, "I need to do this, this makes a lot of sense." He starts working with us, and the first post he made inside of our Facebook group was celebrating that he was negative $14,000 in the hole.

I was like, "This guy gets it." He's like, "I'm so excited we spent $14,000. While we haven't seen a single return yet, we have 300 prospective client calls on the books for the next month and a half. I'm like "This guy's going to kill it." By July of 2020 they're doing $1.5 million a month.

And what's the difference? The difference again in his case was a belief in himself that he would do this and he would figure this out. The example of the first client I gave is the same thing. Self-belief is huge, and the second thing is courage. Especially as an entrepreneur there's no guarantee, if you're like, "Hey, what's the guarantee for this? I want to know it's going to work out." The very fact that you asked that question tells me this is not going to work out for you. Because people who have courage and belief in themselves know they're going to make it work, and that's a big thing.

The courage to step into the fear, to step into the unknown, because you believe in yourself enough to make it work with the right type of support around you. I think those two things beyond anything else make the biggest difference at least in my experience.


Check out the YouTube or podcast version where Yuri Elkaim does the Win the Day Rocket Round, answering questions about his favorite quote, what advice he’d give his 18-year-old self, the one thing on his bucket list, and a whole lot more🚀


The courage you mentioned there reminds me very much of faith, which is one of the principles of Napoleon Hill's Think and Grow Rich, which I'm sure you're aware.

That first one that you mentioned, self-belief, how coachable is that in your experience? Is that one of those things where it's like you have it or you don't?

I'm sure parenting has a piece in this, for sure. If you're brought up at a young age with parents who are like, "I believe in you, you can do this." That probably helps a lot. But I think the thing is if we really think about this, we all have many wins in our life. It's just those I think who have a little bit less on the self-belief side, they tend to focus on the things that didn't work out as well for them. Because self-belief I believe is something that you can dial up or dial down, and it changes based on the situation. I don't have a lot of confidence in dancing, but you put me on a soccer pitch and I'm very confident.

But the reason I'm confident in soccer is because I played it for so long, and I had so many wins and reference points. But I also had many failures. I also got a really good because of those failures and the mistakes. I tell my kids, "Guys, as a goalie, when I was 10 years old, I was playing on teams and we lost 15-0." That's 15 goals against me! That kills your confidence but again it's perspective. It's like, "Hey, I got the benefit of facing 25 shots. 15 of them went in but I saved 10." The other goalie maybe didn't have one.

I don't know. I think perspective is a big thing, it's like how we see a coin, is it this side or this side? I think makes a huge difference now into the future but also in the past.

Confidence is all based on momentum.

For those who are a little bit low on self-confidence or self-belief, try this simple exercise — and you can do this every day. Look back on your life and make a note of three moments that were, let's say, big successes for you. It could be a sporting success, it could be an achievement in school, it could be giving birth to kids — whatever it is. And don't discount those. Really think about, "Man, that's a big deal. That was remarkable."

Understand that if you do that there, that success leaves clues, and success is transferable. Building that success muscle I think is important, because the more you can do that, and then on a daily basis focus on what three wins you had today, it's going to build. Because confidence is all based on momentum. And if we focus on the right things, and we do it more, that's going to build our self belief, and we're more likely to have courage to take on more things in the future. That's what I would recommend for that.

Love that. Great advice.

You and I are both very much focused on continuing to grow. Is there anything that you include in your calendar to make sure that you're getting out of your comfort zone on a regular basis to keep growing?

Yeah. First thing I do every morning at about 4:00 AM is I jump in a cold plunge. Four degrees Celsius and I sit in there for three minutes. And I do that for the health benefits, sure, but for me it's like if I can do the most challenging thing of my day at 4:00 in the morning, everything else will be a little bit easier. That's the first thing.

I like putting myself in situations where I'm sympathetically challenged. In a cold plunge, it unleashes fight or flight, and that's where I try to find my calm. I call it the calm in the eye of the storm. Trying to center with my chaos. I've got four kids under 10. That's 24/7! How do I center myself and stay calm with the chaos? I'm not perfect, I lose my cool sometimes, but I think that's one thing I do. I like to get uncomfortable first thing in the morning.

In a cold plunge, it unleashes fight or flight, and that's where I try to find my calm.

The second thing I would suggest from a growth perspective is that I listen, or I read, a tremendous amount, or listen to a lot of podcasts. Growth is a major value of mine and our company in general, and so always learning and growing has been huge.

I'd say what's even more challenging by an exponential amount than sitting in an ice bath is having hard conversations with other humans. That's always been my Achilles heel and I've never wanted to ruffle feathers or whatever. And that's cost me a lot of time, frustration, and maybe some team members in the past that maybe should have gone a little bit sooner than they did. And I've really been aware of that and started to nip that in the bud to be like, "Hey, if I have to have a conversation with someone it's got to happen now, because I'm not going to tuck away this problem and expect it to go away."

That for me personally is probably more challenging than a tough workout, and more challenging than a cold plunge. Because of that I really have to be intentional about making that maybe not daily but a few times a week type of thing.

Final question, what's one thing you do to Win the Day?

I get my most important work done first thing in the morning.


Resources / links mentioned:

🌱 Want more Yuri Elkaim? Check out the YouTube or podcast version for the full interview, including the Win the Day Rocket Round.

⚡ Healthpreneur website.

📙 The Strong60 by Yuri Elkaim.

📝 Healthpreneur on Facebook.

📷 Healthpreneur on Instagram.

🎥 Win the Day with Gabby Reece (Ep 43).

🎢 The Dip by Seth Godin.

📖 The ONE Thing by Gary Keller.

🎙️ Have a podcast of your own and want to learn how to monetize it? Learn more about We Are Members, the world's #1 community for podcasters who want to generate attention, engagement, and sales for their podcast.

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