Sleep Unplugged with Dr. Chris Winter

Sleep Unplugged with Dr. Chris Winter

No holds barred, unscripted discussion on a wide range of sleep topics - from sleep disorders to current research and controversies in the field. No topic is off limits! Dr. Chris Winter is a clinician, a board certified neurologist and double boarded sleep specialist with 30 years of clinical experience. He is the author of The Sleep Solution and The Rested Child, and is a popular consultant and speaker, working for many professional sports teams. He is well known for his unique perspective and ability to demystify sleep, all of which he brings to Sleep Unplugged.


May 22, 2023 30 mins

Chronic pain is a disabling problem that could affect as many as 1 out of every 5 adult Americans. It is a costly and tragic collection of disorders that often has limited and disappointing treatment options. Could sleep be a central mediator of chronic pain?  Could it be a pathway for treatment? In this episode we will:

  • Contrast the relationship between pain causing disturbed sleep with the condition of disturbed sleep itself c...
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Now that lettuce water and melatonin spray has had their moments, mouth taping seems to be the latest sleep social media trend that everyone is talking about. What does the evidence say about the practice? Is it legitimately helpful? In this episode, we will:

  • Examine the functions of the nose in the respiration process (filtering, humidification, etc.)
  • Attempt to quantify the scope of nocturnal mouth breathing, both in the sleep ...
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It would be tough to argue that one of the most important factors that influence your sleep is right under your nose (literally, depending on what position in which you sleep). Our pillow plays a big role in our sleep comfort and quality. In this episode we will:

  • Touch upon when kids should begin using pillows for their sleep
  • Look at evidence suggesting that few people give deep consideration to their pillow and of those who do, ...
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Our identity as either a good sleeper or a bad sleeper plays an outsized role in the development and persistence of insomnia in individuals. In this episode, we will:

  • Explore the origins of our sleep identity
  • List the common ways individuals decide whether or not they are "good sleepers"
  • Introduce the Dysfunctional Beliefs and Attitudes about Sleep (DBAS) Scale, and how its components offer insight into the dysfunctional...
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Maybe the Rush lyric should have been, "I've got no time for sleepin'" because a huge population of people in this world participate in some form of shift work, and it takes a heavy toll on sleep, health, and the bottom line of their employers. In this episode we will:

  • Examine the inherent sleep deficit that comes with shift work
  • Determine how much sleep the average shift worker is losing
  • Debunk the idea that s...
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Everyone wants slow wave sleep, commonly referred to as deep sleep. It's the sleep of youthfulness. It's the sleep of performance. It's the sleep of recovery. It's the sleep through which growth hormone flows. Lots of things promise a deeper sleep, but what really delivers? In this episode we will:

  • Revisit the reasons deep sleep is so important for optimal health
  • Examine the research behind exercise and deep s...
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In Episode 5 of the podcast, we explored the confusing entity of mild/borderline sleep apnea and the treatment confusion it causes. In this episode we look at the other end of the sleep apnea spectrum...severe sleep apnea where the only confusion is, "Why didn't your primary care doctor order a sleep study sooner?" In this episode we will:

  • Define sleep apnea and learn how the Apnea Hypopnea Index (AHI) helps us cl...
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"I can't shut my mind off at night" is a very common refrain among insomnia patients. Is this a real phenomenon and if so, how does it relate to the disorder of insomnia.  In this episode we will:

  • Review the cognitive role of mental hyperarousal in insomnia
  • Explore how mental de-arousal is an integral part of managing insomnia 
  • Learn how insomnia patients raise their level of arousal as they approach bedtime and are...
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Sleep tips are everywhere and the more 'surprising' the advice is, the better. While the majority of what is out there is helpful at its core, over time, these tips can distort the actual goal individuals have to develop not only healthy sleep practices, but a deeper understanding and sturdier relationship with sleep. To that end, it's important to dissect these ubiquitous instructions and figure out what they are re...

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In episode 26 of the podcast, we began a discussion about narcolepsy...what it looks like, how it's diagnosed, and why it's so often overlooked. Diagnosis is just the first hurdle as many patients are unaware of or simply not offered the best therapies for the disorder. In this episode, we will: 

  • touch upon theories of treating narcolepsy include non-medication therapies
  • list the major pharmaceutical therapies
  • differenti...
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There is no chemical on the plant more tied to sleep disruption and wakefulness promotion than caffeine. As every research paper on the plant points out in the first sentence of the manuscript, caffeine is the most widely consumed psychoactive drug in the world. The consumption of caffeine as spawned its own culture and massive business machine. In this episode we will:

  • discover the history of caffeine research in sleep
  • learn abo...
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The explosion of both medicinal and recreational marijuana use (as well as its derivatives) has led to the obvious question: Does marijuana help an individual sleep better? If you pay attention to those who sell it, the answer seems to be a resounding yes...but is that true. In this episode we will:

  • learn about marijuana and the chemical cannabinoids that are often proclaimed to be sleep-promoting
  • understand that in many ways, us...
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Anyone who has traveled a significant distance has felt the effects of jet lag...the fatigue, the altered appetite, the sleep irregularities. The science of jet lag and sleep is topic of tremendous interest both scientifically and in popular culture. In this episode we will:

  • Define jet lag and how it relates to the circadian rhythm
  • Examine how jet lag can influence our general and cognitive health as well as cancer risk
  • Contrast t...
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The link between cardiovascular health and sleep is beyond compelling and is probably the most researched topic related to sleep health. This has taken on greater meaning as studies show the cardiovascular health of all age groups is declining. Recently, the American Heart Association added Sleep Health to its 'Essential 8'--a collection of the meaningful steps individuals can take to improve their cardiovascular health a...

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Back sleeper, side sleeper, stomach sleeper...which is the best position for quality sleep? Body position is a popular topic in the media, but how much evidence is behind the recommendations? In this episode we will: 

  • Explore sleeping positions and our ability to perceive and control them
  • Briefly touch upon considerations like facial wrinkling and glaucoma for which there is inconclusive evidence
  • Revisit how back sleeping in infan...
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Clickbait title comments aside, cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBTi) is the scientific gold standard when it comes to insomnia therapy. It's effective and medical governing bodies and consensus statements lauding its benefits are too many to count...but what exactly is it? In this episode, we will:

  • Learn about the overwhelming support for the use of CBTi for the treatment of insomnia
  • List the various medical boar...
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There are many controversial topics in the world of sleep. Not many spark more conversation and controversy than various forms of co-sleeping. In this episode we will:

  • Define co-sleeping
  • Learn about the various forms of co-sleeping: babies/children, pets, siblings, and spouses
  • Examine the research about co-sleeping and SIDS as well as accidental death
  • Look at the various risk factors surrounding co-sleeping with babies 
  • Weigh the pr...
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Perhaps no topic in sleep is more filled with more wild claims and unsubstantiated research than polyphasic sleep. The division of sleep into several distinct periods is not new. The question is, does it hold the key to enhanced health and performance? In this episode, we will:

  • Define polyphasic and monophasic sleep
  • Learn about the sleep of other animals and contrast their typical polyphasic sleep to the monophasic sleep of most ...
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Individuals who moan or groan in their sleep are not least we think so. Catathrenia, the medical term for the disorder, is poorly studied and poorly understood. Despite the relative lack of public awareness, bedpartners everywhere are keenly aware of the disorder. In the episode we will:

  • characterize catathrenia as a breathing disturbance (or parasomnia) distinct from snoring and sleep talking (somniloquy)
  • revisit t...
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Snoring is a common sleep problem that affects many individuals either directly or indirectly. There is a significant amount of confusion around the topic of snoring as it is often mentioned in the same breath with sleep apnea. Snoring is it's own entity with its own unique pathophysiology, risk factors, and treatments. In this episode you will:

  • Glimpse at some historical perspectives of snoring
  • Learn about the scope and dem...
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