Episode 1: How to Optimize Your Sleep State with Dr. Chuck Samuels

Episode 1

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There are countless theories about how best to optimize your sleep state, and today, we get to the truth of the matter. We are joined by sleep expert, Dr. Chuck Samuels to investigate the purpose of sleep, the factors affecting it, and how much sleep we need according to our individual constitutions. Dr. Samuels describes the sleep studies carried out at the Centre for Sleep & Human Performance and explains how to determine your optimal sleep hours. We learn about the best eating habits to optimize recovery during sleep, how to calculate your circadian low, as well as which stimulants and/or sedatives to avoid. Dr. Samuels also breaks down what sleep apnea is and what triggers sleepwalking, plus he shares some tips for promoting an optimal sleep state. Tune in to find out where you might unsuspectingly be going wrong and what you can do to ensure optimal recovery time!

Key Points From This Episode:

  • The evolution of research around the importance of sleep and the purpose it serves.
  • Recovery processes that occur during the sleep state.
  • The impact of sleep deprivation on performance.
  • Factors that affect our ability to compensate for sleep deprivation.
  • How you can determine your optimal sleep hours.
  • Why it’s important to have a consistent morning wake time.
  • The optimal dinner-to-bedtime window.
  • How best to distribute caloric intake over the course of the day, as an athlete.
  • How you can benefit from following your circadian rhythms!
  • Negative impacts of stimulants like caffeine and pre-workout energy drinks.
  • The science behind feeling tired.
  • How to calculate your circadian low.
  • The peak of human alertness in the 24-hour cycle.
  • Temperature and the important role it plays in sleep.
  • Indications that you’re not getting enough sleep.
  • Studies and treatments carried out at The Centre for Sleep.
  • What “proper” sleep looks like and what happens to the brain in each stage of sleep.
  • The effect of alcohol and sedatives on sleep patterns.
  • Triggers for sleepwalking.
  • The significance of dreaming.
  • Some of the damaging effects of technology on the brain.
  • How to promote an optimal sleep state.
  • What sleep apnea is and how brain arousals affect your sleep.
  • Four things that cause the airway to collapse.
  • Indicators of sleep apnea.
  • The accuracy of fitness trackers.
  • The true function of melatonin.
  • Dr. Samuels shares some startling sleep impairment stories.
  • What causes dark rings under the eyes.


“Sleep serves the purpose of a form of passive recovery.” — @DrCHSamuels [0:04:01]

“The anchor for the brain’s understanding or learning of the sleep phase is the morning, and that [has] to do with light exposure.” — @DrCHSamuels [0:11:08]

“You should be front-end loading your caloric intake as an athlete, and decreasing as you get through the day.” — @DrCHSamuels [0:18:22]

“Be reasonable, but don’t starve yourself and leave yourself a window for digestion.” — @DrCHSamuels [0:18:45]

“Every cell in the body actually has a clock, muscle cells, all of them, and they all run on circadian timing. Our whole body does. So, the rhythms you naturally feel are real.” — @DrCHSamuels [0:18:54]

“Sleep apnea is the physical obstruction of the airway during the sleep state that causes your oxygen to drop, your heart rate to go up, so you have a sympathetic overdrive.” — @DrCHSamuels [0:47:33]

Links Mentioned:

Dr. Chuck Samuels on LinkedIn

Dr. Chuck Samuels on Twitter

Centre for Sleep & Human Performance

Nathaniel Ernst

Nathaniel Ernst on LinkedIn


NATEFIT on Facebook

NATEFIT on Instagram

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Episode 1