Episode #1259 Daniel Amen: How Sleep Influences Your Brain

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Moe Abdou is joined by one of America’s most distinguished psychiatrist, brain-imaging expert, and a 10 time New York Times Bestselling author, Dr. Daniel Amen to discuss brain envy, sleep envy and the influence of poor health on your brain.  


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Daniel Amen

MD, Clinical Neuroscientist, Double Board Certified Psychiatrist, View Full Profile

Insights & Perspectives from Dr. Daniel Amen

Quality sleep is becoming more rare because people don’t care enough about it ...

Sleep opens the channels in the brain for it to rid itself of the toxins that build up during the day.  Without it, the toxins multiply and ruin your ability to focus, to remember, to feel good, and to lose the mental horsepower you are meant to have.

Having trouble sleeping?  Try saying a prayer.  A short prayer will slow your heart rate, set intention, and connect you to a deeper level of meaning and purpose.  Keep in mind that your brain makes happen only what it sees.

Nutrition & habits - if you don’t eat right you will not think right.

People who eat late have a higher incidents of heart attacks and strokes - your body triggers a stress response that’s likely to increase blood pressure and put you at risk for a stroke.

Fasting turns on a process that helps clean up the trash in your brain - try a 12-hour fast everyday - If you eat your last meal at 7 PM, don’t eat again until 7 AM the following morning.

Getting well is never about depravation - it’s always about abundance.

New Study - Despite overwhelming evidence, the sugar industry - Coke and Pepsi - lied about the fact that fat, not sugar was the biggest culprit of heart disease; when in fact it’s sugar that’s pro-inflammatory.

Hiring Tip --- If your next employee doesn’t currently average seven hours of sleep a night, she’s more likely to be stressed, make more mistakes, and struggle to reach her potential.

Brain Envy - The biggest opportunity that most of us are missing is the chance to rewire our brains.

Self-esteem comes from feeling competent - opt not to tell your kids that they’re smart - instead, praise and reinforce hard work and effort, for that’s what elevates their sense of self.

Next time you feel ‘less than’; try the one page miracle.  Write down the specific goals you have for your health, relationships, work, and your money & continually ask yourself ‘does my behavior get me what I want - which is love?’

A practical tip for the worrier… Journal.  Write down what you’re worried about.  Write down what you can do about, and what you can’t.  This simple act of writing gets it out of your head, and minimizes its impact.

It’s not wise to deal with worry before bed time - Next time worry shows up at night, visualize yourself holding a broom & sweeping the issue away till the following morning.   

A brain warrior is someone who commits to mastering his mind and body, and in the process turns pain into purpose.  

Mindfulness and mediation not only calms down the emotional side of your brain; more importantly, it fires up your prefrontal cortex - the most human and thoughtful part of your brain.  Practice it for a minimum of ten minutes per day.

What businesses don’t get is that their most precious resource is the collective brain health of their employees, managers, and investors - the better everyone’s brain is function, the smarter the decisions they’ll make, and the smarter they’ll work.

Next time you doubt yourself, write down your thoughts, correct your thinking and find the smartest people to help you with your specific problem. We’re either better together, or worst together.  

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