Brain Health Matters! Lecture Series Brings in "America's Sleep Doctor"

Todays News

BY BRITTANY MATTIE SRQ DAILY WEDNESDAY PHILANTHROPY EDITION WEDNESDAY FEB 19, 2020

Brain Health Initiative (BHI) brings a transformative lecture series to the region—spanning over the course of eight months with a different talk topic presented each month to discuss healthful factors that better the daily performance of the brain. Founder and Executive Director, Dr. Stephanie Peabody, PhD, hopes the Brain Health Matters! Lecture Series will give the community an opportunity to learn the science and innovation behind improving their brain health and protecting against brain illness. 

“The first component of the Brain Health Initiative is really about raising awareness to create a brain-healthy community,” she says, “And in order to do that, we have to help the residents and workforce begin to speak a common language, use a common lense, share a common understanding and set common goals.”  

Part of Brain Health Matters! Lecture Series is bringing renowned experts to the area who have the ability to translate what they know into understandable, usable knowledge to the region. So, Dr. Peabody called on friend and colleague, Dr. Michael J. Breus, PhD, Clinical Psychologist and Board Certified Sleep Specialist, commonly known as "America's Sleep Doctor," with regular appearances on Dr. Oz, Fox and Friends, Live with Kelly and Ryan, and Rachel Ray. Dr. Breus also spearheads The Insomnia Blog, and can be found regularly writing for The Huffington Post, Psychology Today and Sharecare. He's served as the "Sleep Expert" for WebMD for over 14 years, in private practice for 20 years and been interviewed on platforms like CNN, Oprah, The View, Anderson Cooper, The Doctors, Joy Behar, The CBS Early Show, The Today Show and more.

In BHI's fourth installment, held Tuesday, February 17 at the GROVE Ballroom in Lakewood Ranch, Dr. Peabody presented why lifestyle plays a key role in brain functionality, tying in neuroplasticity and neurogenesis. Following, Dr. Breus’s lecture, ‘How to Be Better in Bed: Sleep is a Fundamental Pillar of Brain Health,’ discussed sleep mechanisms, the importance of sleep cycles and circadian rhythms, how sleep changes as we age and how we can all accommodate these changes. 

“The basics of brain health all seem to underpin sleep deprivation,” Dr. Breus says. “When we’re not getting good quantity or good quality—and that can be for a whole host of reasons: environmental, medical, medication, alcohol, caffeine, or what have you—we see everything slow down, almost immediately. We see cognitive decline, emotional dysregulation and memory deficits.” While many of us know that lack of sleep has a direct negative effect on brain function, and that regularly getting a good night’s sleep improves our health and wellness, one thing some may not know, is that REM sleep is when we move information from our short term memory to our long term memory bank. “So, when you’re not getting enough REM sleep, that is going to have a dramatic effect on your memory,” he says. “For a lot of people in this community being an older demographic, one of the first things they’re thinking about is loss of memory. They think, ‘Oh, my memory’s going—must mean I’m getting old.’ Honestly, in a lot of cases, just get some sleep. You may be really surprised at how that has a major effect on you.” 

According to Dr. Brues, everything we do, we do better with good night sleep. It affects every organ system, every disease state, cancer cells even multiply faster the more sleep deprived you are. “People are always like, ‘I’ll sleep when I’m dead.’ What we have to do is get people to understand that sleep is healing—when you sleep, you heal,” he says. And Dr. Breus isn’t going to be the guy that says everybody has to get eight hours either. He’s the sleep doctor and doesn't get eight. “I get six hours and 15 minutes every night. I go to bed very consistently at midnight and wake up at 6:15 naturally, and I feel good,” he shares. “The goal is to get people to get good, quality sleep, enough of it, and still enjoy your life.”

Dr. Brues provided techniques to help the room determine their own ideal bedtime, create a personalized pre-bed routine, develop strategies to avoid waking up in the night, and how to wake up feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day.

The next installment of the Brain Health Matters! series is Monday, March 16, with Dr. Uma Naidoo, MD, chef, psychiatrist and nutrition specialist, speaking on the topic of Nutrition.


Photo of Dr. Stephanie Peabody and Dr. Michael Breus, taken by Wyatt Kostygan.

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