My name is Andrea Samadi, and if you are new here, I’m a former educator who created this podcast to bring the most current neuroscience research, along with high performing experts who have risen to the top of their field with specific strategies or ideas that you can implement immediately, to take your results to the next level.
I am beyond excited to have Shane Creado[ii] here today. He is a double board-certified sleep medicine doctor and psychiatrist who practices functional sleep medicine, integrative psychiatry, and sports psychiatry, putting all those skills together to uncover underlying factors that sabotage the patients, comprehensively treats them, and helps them to achieve their goals. That shows dedication.
I want to give you just a bit about Dr. Creado’s background that shows where this dedication to helping others improve their lives began: He completed an undergraduate degree in physical therapy, went on to do an MD. He then went on to a fellowship in Sleep Medicine at the University of Wisconsin because of the huge overlap between sleep and psychiatric issues. As he believed in optimization, not normalization, he devoted his time to optimizing brain health in professional athletes, executives and anybody who is interested in peak performance. If you have not yet listened to episode #71 from last week, I did a deep dive into his book to prepare for this interview so we could maximize our time together.
Welcome Shane, thank you so much for writing back so quickly and agreeing to come on the podcast. I know how busy medical professionals are--these days especially, and I know that you are working with patients in between this podcast. I didn’t expect that I would be able to get this time with you, so thank you so much!
After reading your book and recording episode #71 about the most important concepts from your book, I had so many questions.
INTRO/PRE QUESTIONS: Shane, I first heard you on Tana Amen and Dr. Amen’s Brain Warrior’s Way Podcast[iii], and then watched your YouTube Live with Tana Amen this week to be sure that the questions I ask you, don’t overlap with questions you have recently answered, but before we dive into the questions, can you explain what you do with Amen Clinics in Chicago? Why would someone come and see you?
Can anyone come into Amen Clinics for a SPECT SCAN[iv], or do you need to be referred with a specific issue?
Q1: I love how you named your book Peak Sleep Performance for Athletes, as I know you are talking about concepts that EVERYONE can apply. I always look at elite athletes, or friends I see in exceptional shape and always ask them the same question “What foods do you eat and how do you train” to see if I can learn something. When you wrote this book, what message did you want to get across to those who work with elite athletes, as well as the regular person reading it, who may not be an elite athlete, but wants to train, live, eat and act like one?
Q2: I came across something you said in your book that I thought was so profound, I instantly created a graphic and shared it as many places as I could. You mention “your brain health and sports performance cannot be optimized unless your sleep is optimized. Once this is achieved, your quality of life will skyrocket. When you sleep well, the fabric of your life will change. When this happens, it will have a ripple effect.” This podcast is all about improving our results with the understanding of neuroscience that I think is relatively new. 20 years ago, no one was asking me “what are you doing to improve your brain health, or what are you doing with your brain in mind.” Can you explain what research says now about the importance of our brain health and sleep as it correlates to our results (whether it’s athletic or just our day to day lives)?
Q3: One of the most powerful statistics I read in the first part of your book was that “60% of people with a traumatic brain injury (TBI) experience long-term difficulties with sleep” (p54) and that concussions cause sleep problems. Most people I know involved in athletics, have hit their head in some way, and I never would have made this connection between brain health and sleep, especially the fact that “sleep optimization is important before an athlete has a concussion, to reduce the risk of concussion.” (p58) Can you take us through the importance of sleep on the parts of the brain that are critical in sports and how sleep deprivation puts the athlete AND anyone else in significant danger of injury?
The parietal lobes, associated with spatial awareness (critical in sports with visual processing, sense of direction) are impaired with lack of sleep putting you at risk of poor form, positioning, footwork and performance. (p29)
Q4: When I was watching you with Tana Amen on her YouTube[v] live this week, she was asking you about nutritional supplements and you had mentioned of the importance of not just hearing that a supplement is good, and taking it, but to know your brain type. I know that Dr. Amen has assessments[vi] you can take online (I have done this one) but is the only way to know exactly what type of brain you have (busy or sleepy etc) to get a SPECT SCAN[vii]? Do you think that this type of scan is important to see what’s happening in the brain even if there are no problems showing to get a better understanding of how to improve our overall health and life?
Q5: In the deep dive episode to your book, I suggested 3 sleep improvement strategies. What do think is important to add to this list to help prepare ANYONE for improved sleep and results in their life? I know that you listened to this episode. What else could we add to this list to improve our sleep right away?
Adopting the Mindset of an Elite Athlete: We can all learn from the lifestyle and work ethic of an elite athlete to take our results to the next level.
Empower Change with Fear: Understanding Exactly How Sleep Impacts the Brain: I’m not sure which one of the many statistics would make enough of an impact on you to change with your sleep habits, but once you find it, here’s your answer to sticking to the change you want to create.
Your Sleep Routine: Pick one or two new strategies to implement to improve your sleep and log your results. With time, you should notice an improvement in areas that go far beyond your health and daily results.
Q6: I saw your course Overcoming Insomnia[viii] that you have on Dr. Amen’s Online University Classes. I’ve taken his Thrive by 25 Course which I loved, so I highly recommend these classes. Can you give an overview of this course? What if someone doesn’t have insomnia but just wants to improve their sleep? What types of supplements do you recommend for someone to improve sleep?What would I learn from this course?
21 exclusive evidence-based lessons
A comprehensive sleep evaluation + easy to implement protocol for better sleep
Cognitive behavioral strategies & recommended supplements for overcoming insomnia
Q7: My final question…I know you get asked this one EVERY time, but what’s the magic number? Is it really 7-9 hours of sleep that you want people to get? What about if we are getting 6.5 hours? I heard Dr. Satchin Panda[ix] (circadian rhythm researcher and sleep expert) speaking on Dave Asprey’s Bulletproof podcast and he mentioned that it’s 7 hours in bed meaning you can wake up and meditate or read at 6 hours… as long as you are resting in bed. Is this accurate, or would you still say, 7-9 hours asleep? (I get 6.5 hours and meditate for one hour…main reason I’m asking)
Q8: Any final thoughts?
Thank you so much Shane for carving out this time to come on the podcast to share your knowledge about this powerful book Peak Sleep Performance for Athletes and online course Overcoming Insomnia. I think this is a crucial time for us all to be proactive with our health, and sleep is one of the facts we can change. If someone wants to dive deeper into all of the ways that a deficit of sleep impacts health and longevity, I highly recommend buying Dr. Creado’s book, looking into his online course and following his work. You can find him on Instagram or YouTube @peaksleepperformance or his website www.shanecreado.com.
The good news is that we can all modify, optimize and improve our sleep routines for improvements that can have an immediate impact on our overall health, results and future.