Dr. David Agus on His Joy Trigger and Prioritizing Sleep

“When I was younger, I’d pull all-nighters and then sleep the next day. But that doesn’t really work.”

Prioritizing my well-being is essential to me, especially since I have a crazy schedule: I’m up most mornings by 3:00 or 3:30 a.m. to be on CBS on the East Coast. I need deep sleep, otherwise I can’t perform. I try to go to bed early, at 8:30 or 9:00 p.m., so that I can get enough sleep. I don’t drink alcohol during the week, I try to stop caffeine by 10 a.m., and I wear blue-light glasses in the evening. We eat dinner so early that we have friends who will eat with us and then go out for a second dinner at 8:30 p.m.! 

Regularity and schedule is critical when it comes to well-being. When you get up, when you go to bed, when you eat your meals — it all matters. When I was younger, I’d sleep when I could: I’d pull all-nighters and then sleep the next day. But that doesn’t really work. In the medical field, when you’re on call, it’s not always possible to prioritize regularity — but as soon as I was able to make those changes in my routine and stick to a schedule, I saw a lot of positive changes in my well-being. It makes an impact, really being in charge of your schedule and planning. 

Clearly, I prioritize sleep, and there’s only one thing that can wake me up without making me upset: our puppy! She’s just always ecstatic to see me, and it brings so much joy to my life. Every moment with her is positive. No matter what happens during the day, when I see her, my shoulders come down and I relax.

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