Dr. Gina Poe: How to Get Better Sleep and Boost Your Learning, Memory, and Energy


The Mel Robbins Podcast with Dr. Gina Poe


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Are you getting the sleep you need? Do you wish you could improve your sleep, but you’re not sure how?

Dr. Gina Poe is an accomplished researcher and trained neuroscientist with a PhD in basic sleep. Currently a professor at UCLA, Dr. Poe has been researching the functions of sleep for over 30 years and has authored nearly 200 publications on the topic.

Today, Dr. Poe is here to answer your questions like, Why do you sleep? What is your brain doing as you sleep? What is REM sleep? What are sleep cycles? What are circadian rhythms? 

And perhaps most importantly, you’ll get 5 research-backed recommendations from Dr. Poe on how anyone, including you, can not only improve their sleep but also get a “perfect” night’s sleep, as defined by a neuroscientist.

 In this conversation, Dr. Poe discusses topics such as:

What is the “perfect night's sleep”?

How long are you supposed to sleep every night?

What is a sleep cycle, and why should you care?

What is N1 sleep?

What is N2 sleep?

What is N3 sleep?

What is paradoxical sleep and how can you tell someone’s in that state?

What REM sleep really is and how often we must be in it

The physiological and neurological difference between being awake and asleep

What a neurotransmitter is and how it changes composition when asleep

What the functions of our brain’s two hemispheres are

How sleep cleans the brain

The connection between sleep and neuroplasticity

The link between sleep and brain health

The scientific reason why they call it “falling” asleep

How sleep directly affects longevity and vitality

Why you don’t remember your dreams

How sleep impacts how we learn during the day

What happens to your body and brain when you close your eyes at night

The one phase of sleep you cannot miss

A neuroscientist's top 5 recommendations for better sleep

What the purpose of vasodilation is 

Which hours of sleep are absolutely critical for memory processing

How many hours of sleep you really need for optimal functioning

Why a consistent bedtime is the start of the best sleep of your life

Follow Dr. Poe:

Instagram: instagram.com/poe.gina 

Webpage: bri.ucla.edu/people/gina-poe-ph-d/

Watch the episodes on YouTube: https://bit.ly/45OWCNr

My book! The High 5 Habit here: https://a.co/d/g1DQ8Pt

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Xo, Mel

In this episode:

  • 2:50: Why the heck do we even need sleep?
  • 3:25: The difference in our brain between sleep and wakefulness.
  • 6:15: Your teen’s sleep cycle shifts.
  • 7:05: A perfect night’s sleep looks like this.
  • 8:30: What happens in your body when you sleep?
  • 12:50: Your brain cleans itself during this stage.
  • 14:30: REM is not just a rock band; this is where your dreams happen.
  • 16:30: You need sleep to be more creative.
  • 24:50: The ideal number of sleep cycles you should have per night.
  • 26:08: The first half of your sleep vs. the second half.
  • 28:45: Good sleep habits can help your body heal from mental trauma.
  • 31:00: What is your circadian rhythm?
  • 32:20: Here’s how to help reset your circadian rhythm. 
  • 34:25: A consistent bedtime will produce this important hormone.
  • 36:00: What to know about melatonin supplements.
  • 37:30: How does a bath before bed help with sleep?
  • 38:00: Dr. Poe’s tips for a great night’s sleep.
  • 39:40: The sleep routine for the world’s top sleep researcher. Wait…what?
  • 42:20: Here’s my top 3 tips for getting a great night’s sleep. What’s yours?


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In The Mel Robbins Podcast, Mel takes you behind the scenes in real-time. Every episode is packed with tactical advice, hilarious screwups, compelling conversations, and the tools and inspiration you need to create a better life.