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Dr. Sara Mednick on How to Restore, Reinvigorate and Recharge Your Brain and Body
The Power of the Downstate

Dr. Sara Mednick joins me to discuss why bringing yourself to the Downstate allows you to restore, recharge and reinvigorate your brain and body.

Professor Sara C. Mednick is a cognitive neuroscientist at the University of California, Irvine, and the author of The Hidden Power of the Downstate, which was released in April and Take a Nap! Change Your Life. She is passionate about understanding how the brain works through her research into sleep and the autonomic nervous system.

* Purchase The Hidden Power of the Downstate: (Amazon link)

* Purchase Take a Nap! Change Your Life: (Amazon link)

Trying to get to sleep at 10 o’clock is a great time or even earlier if you can because then it maximizes the amount of that deep slow-wave sleep before you get into REM sleep mode.

Dr. Sara Mednick

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What is the Power of the Downstate?

Quote by Dr. Sara Mednick From Passion Struck: "The amount of downstate restorative processes you need is almost impossible to find when you're living in a state of constant racism, sexism, or whatever it is that you're feeling in your day-to-day and makes you feel abused or unfairly treated.'eated.'

The Downstate is a concept that Dr. Sara Mednick developed in her lab, based on her research, or her labs research, that really encapsulates all of the restorative processes that we can engage in daily, both in the daytime and the nighttime to restore and replenish our resources.

And it comes with this idea that we are rhythmic animals and plants, bacteria, all animals on the planet are rhythmic, meaning that we have periods of Upstate where we’re super active, and Downstate is where we need to replenish those resources that get used in the Upstate. The Downstate comes from a sleep concept that is an umbrella concept of all of the different restorative processes that we need to engage in.

What I Discuss With Dr. Sara Mednick About How to Recharge Your Brain and Body

Dr, Sara Mednick joins the Passion Struck podcast to discuss why most people find themselves immersed in “upstate” moments that magnify our stress engines, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Dr. Mednick shows us how we can assess the most repairing and restorative aspects of sleep through moments and activities that occur in our day-to-day by diving into the Downstate.

Dr. Mednick’s seven-bedroom sleep lab works literally around the clock to discover methods for boosting cognition by napping, stimulating the brain with electricity, sound and light, and pharmacology. 

  • How we are guided by a natural Upstate/Downstate rhythm.
  • How our modern lifestyles disrupt these rhythms to our detriment.
  • How our vital organs and systems benefit from spending more time in the Downstate.
  • How to decrease the risk for Alzheimer’s disease, chronic illness, and early death.
  • How we can activate the Downstate through rethinking how to breathe, eat, sleep and exercise.
  • The four-week Downstate RecoveryPlus Plan.
  • The negative role racism and discrimination play on our health.
  • How to enhance recovery and sharpen thinking
  • Have any questions, comments, or stories you’d like to share? Drop us a line at [email protected]m!
  • And much more…
161 | How to Restore, Recharge and Reinvigorate Your Brain and Body | Dr. Sara Mednick | Passion Struck with John R. Miles
161 | How to Restore, Recharge and Reinvigorate Your Brain and Body | Dr. Sara Mednick | Passion Struck with John R. Miles

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More From My Interview With Dr. Sara Mednick About the Hidden Power of the Downstate

During our interview, I asked Dr. Mednick why we are only as good in our Upstates as we are in our Downstates?

Dr. Sara Mednick explains, “Yes, exactly right. When you consider a rhythm. Every rhythm has an Upstate and Downstate. If you think about a wave, the wave crashing on the beach is a system that first does an internal drawing in of its resources, drawing in all the energy, and pulling itself back into the ocean before it crashes. It has this outward activation. And this is the same as any rhythm right that you have this inward drawing in and an outward expression of activity.

The Power of the Downstate by Dr. Sara Mednick for the passion struck podcast book list

This is what a rhythm is; there’s an Upstate where the wave is crashing and a Downstate where it draws in. It goes up and down, and up and down. And up and down. We have this same system of ups and downs in every cell in our body. We have these little clocks that are basically looking for a time where it should be active, and at a time where it should be dormant. And these cells are grouped together, but they form processes and organs where a cardiovascular system has an Upstate and Downstate.

Our metabolism has an Upstate where it’s at its prime. The resources are primed and ready for eating, and a Downstate where we should stop eating and give it some time to restore itself and replenish its resources. Our brains also have this Upstate and Downstate where our frontal cortex, which is the part of the brain that does all of this executive function and attention and big thinking, that brain area actually has a period where it’s at its most powerful, and then it starts to recede, and it goes into the Downstate where it can replenish itself.

So at every level of analysis, you can see that these systems have the same idea of activity and repose. And not considering your Downstate not considering these rhythms is a good example of what we do all the time, right, what society is doing, emphasizing time in the Upstate, and not prioritizing time in the Downstate?

Thanks, Dr. Sara Mednick!

If you enjoyed this interview with Dr. Sara Mednick, let her know by clicking on the link below and sending her a quick shout on Twitter or Instagram:

Click here to thank Sara Mednick on Instagram!

Click here to thank Sara Mednick on Twitter!

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And if you want us to answer your questions or you have a topic you would like John to discuss on one of our upcoming weekly Momentum Friday episodes, drop us a line at [email protected].

Resources From The Show With Dr. Sara Mednick

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About Today’s Guest Dr. Sara Mednick

Passion Struck with John R. Miles thumbnail for episode 161 with Dr. Sara Mednick

Professor Sara C. Mednick is a cognitive neuroscientist at the University of California, Irvine, where she directs the Sleep and Cognition lab. Her first book, Tak a Nap! Change Your life put forth the scientific basis for naping to improve productivity.

Dr. Mednick was awarded the Office Naval Research Young Investigator Award in 2015. Her research findings have been published in such leading scientific journals as Nature Neuroscience and The Proceedings from the National Academy of Science and covered by all major media outlets. She received a BA from Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY, in Drama/Dance.

After college, her experience working in the psychiatry department at Bellevue Hospital in New York inspired her to study the brain and how to make humans smarter through better sleep. She received a Ph.D. in Psychology from Harvard University and then completed a postdoc at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and UC San Diego. She resides in San Diego, CA.

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John R. Miles is a serial entrepreneur and the CEO and founder of Passion Struck. This full-service media company helps people live intentionally by creating best-in-class educational and entertainment content. John is also a prolific public speaker, venture capitalist, and author named to the ComputerWorld Top 100 IT Leaders.

John is the host of the PassionStruckPodcast. A show focused on exploring the mindset and philosophy of the world’s most inspiring people to learn their lessons to living intentionally. Passion Struck aspires to speak to the humanity of people in a way that makes them want to live better, be better and impact.

Stay tuned for John’s latest project, his upcoming book, which will be published in summer 2022.

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