If you’re not sleeping well, you’re not doing much else well either. Even just one night of poor sleep makes it difficult to spend money wisely, concentrate, work, stick to a healthy diet, drive, and be patient with those around you. If this happens night after night, chronic fatigue sets in and your entire body suffers. Did you know those who don’t sleep well have higher rates of obesity, heart disease, and diabetes? Clearly, sleep and health are intricately intertwined. That’s why learning all you can from one of the top ranked health coaches is so important. Thankfully, we have Certified as a Sleep Science Coach and founder of Sleep Science Academy, Devin Burke!
A lot has changed this year. You don’t need to be told that! This is one reason we wanted to check in with our favorite health coach to see how the pandemic and other stressful events are affecting people’s sleep, as well as what can be done about it. Without further ado, here’s everything we wanted to know from Devin Burke right now:
Question #1: What is “Circadian Wellness?”
A: Circadian wellness is tuning your body's natural biological clock to be in balance. It's taking steps to stay in harmony with our natural sleep and wake cycles through healthy lifestyle choices not only at night but also during the day!
Question #2: You’ve said, “Sleep is the single most important thing you can do every day.” Why is this?
A: Because when we don't get quality or enough sleep we suffer the consequences. This takes the form of:
- A slower metabolism. Less sleep slows your metabolism, possibly leading to weight gain even if all other healthy habits like exercise and diet remain the same.
- Eating more. Less sleep leads to an increased hunger and appetite which leads to more calories consumed. Over time, this can lead to being overweight or obese.
- Making poor food choices. It isn’t just being hungry, it’s what we reach for to satisfy that hunger. When we don’t get enough sleep, we choose foods higher in sugar and fat. This can impact our waistline and increase our risk for chronic disease.
- A suppressed immune system. A lack of sleep can increase inflammatory markers and make it harder for our body to recognize and fight illness.
- Poor decision making. Sleep actually cleans the brain. While you are asleep, your body cleanses the brain of all the toxic buildup from the day that has just passed. It essentially flushes out toxins and byproducts that have built up. This is why you feel groggy when you are tired, then refreshed and ready to tackle another day after a full eight hours of sleep.
Question #3: People are experiencing very high levels of stress right now. What are some coping strategies you recommend to people who feel “too stressed” to sleep?
A: Follow the “Powerful P’s” to master stress! Stress mastery takes practice and time so we must be patient with ourselves, and with others. This is why you’ll want to practice powerfully dealing with stress.
Here are a few ways to start the process:
- Practice stress mastery. Spend 10 to 30 mins per day in mindful breathing or mediation. Any style works, as long as you do it consistently.
- Practice paying attention. This is easier said than done in our culture of busyness, social media, and 24-hour news. Take the time to get better at the art of paying attention to what really matters.
- Practice good “sleep hygiene.” By definition, sleep hygiene is a variety of different practices and habits that are necessary to have good sleep quality at night and then full alertness the following day. This is done to resync your circadian rhythm.
- Practice movement. You’ll want to get at least 30 minutes per day of exercise. When you work out, your body is tired. When you’re tired, you sleep better. It really is that simple!
- Protect and prioritize sleep. Above all, keep your focus on sleep consistent. When we don't sleep, we feel more stressed.
If this year has left you struggling, get support. Asking for help is a strength, not a weakness. Find a sleep, health, or mental health expert to help you deal with stress to help you get the rest your body and mind need.
As Devin Burke has said in the past, “...getting quality sleep is the way to a more productive, energized, and joyful life because sleep improves every aspect of our lives – our health, relationships, careers, and performance. Sleep truly is one of the best ways we can spend our time to protect our health and our sanity and to accelerate our overall performance.” We could not agree more!