Sara Mednick

• Cognitive neuroscientist at the University of California

• Author of 'Take a Nap! Change Your Life' and 'The Hidden Power of the Downstate' (2022)

Sara Mednick

Professor Sara C. Mednick is a cognitive neuroscientist at the University of California, Irvine and author of The Power of the Downstate: Recharge Your Life Using Your Body's Own Restorative Systems (Hachette Go!, pub date: April, 2022) and Take a Nap! Change your life. (Workman). She is passionate about understanding how the brain works through her research into sleep and the autonomic nervous system. 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. Her lab also investigates how the menstrual cycle and aging affect the brain. Her science has been continuously federally funded (National Institute of Health, National Science Foundation, Department of Defense Office of Naval Research, DARPA). 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 PhD 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.

Speech topics

The Power of the downstate

Sara speaks about the built in, renewable Downstate resources that keep you energetically vital, cognitively sharp, and emotionally calm. She explains the science of the autonomic nervous system, sleep, exercise, and eating in an easy to understand manner, with a special focus on how each domain contributes to longevity and vitality. She also provides practical action items to enhance each domain to optimize your life. She is an expert in healthy aging in men and women.


The Power of the Downstate: Recharge Your Life Using Your Body's Own Restorative Systems

Renowned sleep expert and UC Irvine professor introduces the “downstate”—the key to rest and rejuvenation on a cellular level—and how to maximize it for energy, balance, and vitality.

Take a Nap! Change Your Life.: The Scientific Plan to Make You Smarter, Healthier, More Productive

In Get It Done, psychologist and behavioral scientist Ayelet Fishbach presents a new theoretical framework for self-motivated action, explaining how to identify the right goals, attack the “middle problem,” battle temptations, use the help of others around you, and so much more.

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