Your Sleep Makes You a Better (or Worse) Parent — Sleep Like the Boss you are with Christine Hansen (HPC: E41)

Will sleep become the new kale? Or the new cancer?

Adults are shorting ourselves on sleep in droves in our “always-on” culture, and I’m unfortunately leading the pack. That’s why I begged sleep science coach Christine Hansen to join me for a half hour to get some important tips!!

I started implementing a new way to wake up my kids immediately, and I know being a better parent means being well-rested (i.e. not angry mommy).

If you feel like you’re not getting a tight 8 in bed OR your sleep quality doesn’t feel optimal, this is a must listen. We talk about:

  • How adult sleep is so much more complicated than infant sleep.
  • Our brain’s many jobs during sleep – and why we can’t catch up! 🙁
  • Why caffeine and morning sleepiness are signs of sleep deprivation (ahem, anyone out there feel this??)
  • The anatomy of sleep and how to wake up at the perfect time
  • Problems for “night owls”
  • The BEST way to wake up your child (hint: it’s not an alarm clock)
  • As a nutritional therapist, Christine has unique and powerful insights into how our food affects our sleep!
  • We dig into kids: bedtimes, sleepy at school, and even how dessert affects their sleep!
  • How many hours DO you need? How about teenagers?

No time to watch the whole video? Here are the notes!

Sleep Like a Boss Video Time Stamps

  • 1:04: Christine is a Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner and Nutritional Therapist. She is very specialized and focused in on the area of sleep. She explains how she became so interested in sleep. She began sleep consulting with babies and then transitioned to helping adults.

FREE DOWNLOAD: 3 Ways to Build Brain Resilience

  • 4:26: There are lots of infant sleep consultants, but it’s pretty rare to find a natural practitioner who specializes in adult sleep. With babies the roadblocks to sleep tend to be behavioral, stress related and/or environmental.  With adults there are many more components at play. Lifestyle, time management, thoughts and mindset, career, family, life stage, hormones and diet are all potential impacts on sleep.

The Importance of Sleep

  • 7:01: We discuss the importance of sleep. It’s easy to look at sleep as a hindrance to productivity and devalue it. It’s only in the last 20 years that we’ve really begun to learn the role sleep plays in our health.

Humankind is the only species on earth that is consciously sleep depriving themselves. - Christine Hansen

  • 9:03: When we’re sleeping, our body performs certain processes that can’t be done while we’re awake. Our brain detoxes and sorts through and stores memories, hormones balance out and physical healing from sickness or cuts and bruises happens. If you’re constantly sleep deprived, all these processes pile up.
  • 11:58: If you’re tired and feel like you need a nap before lunch or need caffeine to survive through your day, that’s a good sign that you’re sleep deprived.

Sleep for Kids

  • 12:35: A child is undergoing so much development and growth during sleep. They will feel the effects of sleep deprivation just as much or more than you.
  • 13:09: Children tend to be better at regulating their own sleep than adults. However, the circadian rhythm of a child isn’t set to wake up super early like many kids do for school.
  • 13:57: As they enter their teens kids shift to needing more sleep and their prime hours don’t start until around 10. They may physically be present in class, but mentally they aren’t able to retain memories and think critically earlier than that.

Can You Make Waking up Easier?

  • 15:34: I read about a study done in the US where high schools shifted their start time back by about 45 minutes and SAT scores went up by 250 points! 😮
  • 16:09: 5 sleep cycles a night is the average. The stages of a sleep cycle are: light sleep, REM sleep and deep sleep (where most of the physical restoration occurs). If you wake up in the middle of deep sleep you’re likely to feel a bit dizzy and disoriented, but waking during light sleep is much easier.
  • 17:26: There are a couple different ways to set yourself up to wake up during a light sleep phase. Christine shares some options.

Sleep deprivation is just not worth it! -Christine Hansen

  • 18:56: Some adults are most productive working late into the night and then sleeping until mid-day. Unfortunately that doesn’t work for most of us. If you must work during working hours or have kids dictating your sleep schedule working with the natural light by using blue blocking glasses after dark and then using a sunrise alarm can really help.
  • 19:40: Sleeping in on the weekends can create a jet lag state. If you’re constantly sleep deprived and sleep 2-4 more hours one day a week it might make you feel better, but it isn’t a long term solution to sleep deprivation during the week.
  • 20:07: Listen in here for Christine’s tips on the best way to wake your child up.
  • 21:53: Christine has a free video series about her five-part process for great sleep. The five parts are: sleep foundations, hormones, gut health, thyroid function and nutrition.

Do Diet and Food Affect Each Other?

  • 23:13: We discuss how food and sleep interact. There are two hormones that communicate feelings of hunger and fullness. When you aren’t sleeping enough, they get thrown off and you tend to eat more. Blood sugar stability is also impacted by sleep quality. Unstable blood sugar will cause cravings.
  • 24:52: We can also eat things that will positively impact our sleep. Starting the day with protein helps stabilize blood sugar and energy throughout the day. Healthy carbs (low glycemic index) in the evening helps slow energy to promote sleep.
  • 26:10: I get Christine’s opinion on the best time of day for dessert. Grumpiness or being tired but not able to fall asleep are common signs of blood sugar or cortisol being too high.
  • 26:56: Christine says that often a child’s sleep window (when they are ready for bed and will fall asleep the easiest) is often earlier than parents think. Rubbing eyes, starting into space and yawning are signs of readiness for sleep.

Get Your Kids in the Kitchen with a Free Lesson

  • 27:53: Teachers are seeing signs of tiredness or overtiredness in the classroom. We think it’s behavioral problems, but if a child is waking up too early, going to school overtired and then getting cortisol spikes throughout the day, they can’t sit still and pay attention. If your child is sleep deprived you might be surprised how much proper sleep can change their behavior.

What is the Right Amount of Sleep?

  • 29:02: The proper amount of sleep is very individual. A good rule of thumb to know if you are getting the right amount of sleep is that you want to fall asleep within 15-20 minutes of laying down and wake up feeling refreshed. If you’re able to test this out over the course of a couple weeks you can figure out the number of hours you thrive on.
  • 29:52: Through toddlerhood, children need around 12 hours of sleep. That can be really hard when you have evening activities, or don’t even get home from work until 6 and have to be up early in the morning.

If you need less than 6 hours of sleep you're most likely fooling yourself. -Christine Hansen

  • 30:30: The perfect amount of sleep for an adult varies more than for a child. 6.5-9 hours is the norm. If you need more than 9.5 hours and still feel fatigued, there’s probably something wrong.
  • 32:19: We chat about mitigating the negative effects of interrupted sleep due to babies and little kids who wake during the night. The answer probably isn’t what you’d think.
  • 34:29: Christine thinks it’s very important for young children to be sleeping through the night to ensure that they are getting enough quality sleep.
  • 35:05: We have touched on adolescents already. Because their circadian rhythms are not lined up with standard school start times, letting them sleep in and get their sleep on the weekends and during breaks is a good idea as they go through those years of needing more sleep.

Resources We Mentioned on Sleep Quality

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