Dr. Amy Bender on the Science of Sleep

As soon as Dr. Amy Bender’s aunt took her to a sleep lab, she became fascinated about sleep research.

In fact, she was so fascinated that she eventually found herself landing a job as a sleep technologist at Washington State University, where she would go on to complete her Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology, focusing on sleep EEG.

She later became a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Calgary, where she worked with Canadian Olympic athletes—an experience close to her heart, as she was once an elite athlete herself.

Today, in addition to her role as the Director of Clinical Sleep Science at Cerebra, Amy serves as a consultant who helps executives, athletes, and everyday people sleep better.

Amy joins me today to discuss the science behind sleep and why it’s essential to the health and performance of athletes and the general population alike. She shares her advice for getting better sleep and discusses what individuals can do when they wake up in the middle of the night.

She describes how poor sleeping habits can impact health and affect the body’s hormones.

And Amy also shares her tips for optimizing sleep when traveling and overcoming jet lag, and underscores how breathing and cognitive practices can help us get better sleep.


There are many things we can do to optimize our sleep, and it all starts with sleep hygiene. – Dr. Amy Bender


This week on the Physical Preparation Podcast:

  • Amy’s background and what led her to the world of sleep science
  • The critical role of sleep for the body
  • Recommendations for better sleep
  • How much sleep athletes really need
  • How scientists like Amy evaluate sleep quality
  • What polysomnography is and how it compares to wearable devices like the Oura Ring
  • Breaking down the various phases of sleep
  • The benefits of using wearable sleep devices
  • Amy’s tips on falling back to sleep after waking up in the middle of the night
  • Middle-of-the-night routines: what they are and why you should have them
  • Breathing exercises and cognitive techniques and how they can help us return to sleep
  • The different chronotypes and why Amy is a proponent of naps
  • How to have the best naps to boost focus and performance
  • Supplements for better sleep and optimizing sleep for travel
  • The power of sleep hygiene


Connect with Dr. Amy Bender:


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