What’s my most hated recovery tip?

You may be guessing it is some horrible cold water immersion or boring AF treadmill work.

Good guess, but nope.

My #1 recovery tip…..

…..sleep more!

It’s a paradox since clients universally hated it when I talked about sleep with them; however, they loved the results when they actually did it.

Sleep is now the sexy thing to talk about to enhance recovery from exercise, health, metabolism, immune function, and much more (1-11).

While sleep is amazingly helpful, when I designed the ranking of interventions for the Flex Diet Cert, can you guess where I placed it in the modules list?


Dead last.

It was intervention #8 of 8 interventions.

Say what?????


While sleep has profound physiologic implications, I found when working with clients getting them to change their sleep habits was hard.

Very hard.

Yes, you can work on sleep hygiene and that’s helpful, but at some point no matter how many pair of red biohacking-glasses you wear, or how many devices you strap on, when you’re only sleeping 6 hours a night, you will need more sleep.

This means you have to get your sleep-deprived carcass into bed 1-3 hours earlier. Sorry Charlie, no more NetFlix binge-watching at night.

That is a difficult habit to change, hence why it’s my most hated recovery tip.

When I ranked interventions, I used a term I created called “coaching leverage.” ™

Coaching Leverage = Physiological Impact X Client Ability to Change

Sleep, for example, has a very high physiological impact at a 10.

However, the client ability to change is very low, at a 1.

For the math wizards, you see that 10 x 1 = 10.

Compare this to the #1 intervention which is dietary protein that clocks in at a 10 x 9 = 90. Telling clients who want better body composition to eat more of something is darn easy to sell compared to telling them to turn off the electronic box, put down their phone and go to bed 1-3 hours earlier.

In our current world, everything has changed.

I don’t need to remind you as you read this on lockdown or as you’re just coming out of lockdown.

For better or worse, this pandemic has opened up a time frame when sleep interventions can be turned upside down – to your advantage.

Why? I bet you have 1-3 more hours in your schedule you did not have a month ago.

This is the perfect time to run:

The Great Sleep Experiment.


Progressive overload of sleep, bro-sefus!

Each day, go to bed 10 minutes earlier.

After just 6 days, that’s an entire hour more a night of precious time in bed to get 30 winks or more.

Keep adding 10 more minutes a night until you routinely wake up before your alarm clock.

Heads up that if you are chronically sleep-deprived, it make take 1-3 weeks of massive sleep before you settle into a more routine time frame.

Don’t be shocked to start sleeping 8 -11 hours a night.

I’ve personally run this experiment many times over the years. My ideal amount of time in bed is 9 hours and 30 minutes. That’s higher than I see with my M3 online 1-1 clients, but if that’s what you need, get it.

It will take work.

It will take some acute sacrifice.

I guarantee it will be worth it though.

Do the great sleep experiment, try this recovery tip, and let me know what you find!

Sleep on!
Dr Mike

PS – Want to use a complete system for nutrition and recovery with your clients? Go to
References: (aka. Nerd fuel)

1. van Diepen HC, Foster RG, Meijer JH. A colourful clock. PLoS biology. 2015;13(5):e1002160.
2. Hursel R, Rutters F, Gonnissen HK, Martens EA, Westerterp-Plantenga MS. Effects of sleep fragmentation in healthy men on energy expenditure, substrate oxidation, physical activity, and exhaustion measured over 48 h in a respiratory chamber. Am J Clin Nutr. 2011;94(3):804-8.
3. Riede SJ, van der Vinne V, Hut RA. The flexible clock: predictive and reactive homeostasis, energy balance and the circadian regulation of sleep-wake timing. The Journal of experimental biology. 2017;220(Pt 5):738-49.b
4. Horne JA. Human REM sleep: influence on feeding behaviour, with clinical implications. Sleep medicine. 2015;16(8):910-6.
5. Bosy-Westphal A, Hinrichs S, Jauch-Chara K, Hitze B, Later W, Wilms B, et al. Influence of partial sleep deprivation on energy balance and insulin sensitivity in healthy women. Obesity facts. 2008;1(5):266-73.
6. Reutrakul S, Van Cauter E. Interactions between sleep, circadian function, and glucose metabolism: implications for risk and severity of diabetes. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. 2014;1311:151-73.
7. Pevet P, Challet E. Melatonin: both master clock output and internal time-giver in the circadian clocks network. Journal of physiology, Paris. 2011;105(4-6):170-82.
8. Vitale JA, La Torre A, Baldassarre R, Piacentini MF, Bonato M. Ratings of Perceived Exertion and Self-reported Mood State in Response to High Intensity Interval Training. A Crossover Study on the Effect of Chronotype. Front Psychol. 2017;8:1232.
9. Li W, Ma L, Yang G, Gan WB. REM sleep selectively prunes and maintains new synapses in development and learning. Nature neuroscience. 2017;20(3):427-37.
10. Thresher RJ, Vitaterna MH, Miyamoto Y, Kazantsev A, Hsu DS, Petit C, et al. Role of mouse cryptochrome blue-light photoreceptor in circadian photoresponses. Science (New York, NY). 1998;282(5393):1490-4.
11. Broussard JL, Chapotot F, Abraham V, Day A, Delebecque F, Whitmore HR, et al. Sleep restriction increases free fatty acids in healthy men. Diabetologia. 2015;58(4):791-8.

PS – You read this far so you much love studies my nerdy friend. Check it out www.flexdiet.com as it is completely referenced.