Today’s post features a few key takeaways from a recent Wellness Your Way podcast interview. Find the full episode here and be sure to subscribe to Wellness Your Way so you don’t miss future episodes!
Guest Bio: Devin Burke
Devin Burke is an international and TEDx speaker, the bestselling author of “The Sleep Advantage,” the founder of Sleep Science Academy, and one of the top health and sleep coaches in the world. His books, keynotes, programs, and videos have inspired thousands of people to improve their sleep, energy, and life.
Top Insights from Devin Burke’s Interview
- Sleep issues are incredibly common. The average sleep for Americans decreased from 9 hours in 1910 to 6.8 hours in 2019. Devin believes the cause is twofold: increased stress and increased technology. Our full-time jobs, constant virtual connection to stress, bringing technology into our bedrooms, and more are tough on our bodies, and it’s a bidirectional cycle (stress causes sleep issues and sleep issues cause stress).
- Learning how to solve sleep issues starts by learning to use our stressors and technology for our benefit. We can’t master what we don’t measure. Using devices like the Oura ring (here’s a discount!) can help us see the data and develop self-awareness. Still, our bodies are the most important communicators: there is no technology more advanced than your body’s wisdom!
- There are different classifications of insomnia. Onset insomnia is present in people having issues with sleep latency (falling asleep); maintenance insomnia is present in people who have issues in staying asleep. Prevalence is about 50/50, and the good news is that both can be solved!
- Waking up in the middle of the night is not a problem! We come out of sleep cycles every 90 minutes, and we gently wake up, but often we are not even aware of it. If we really wake up and get into a state of hyperarousal that leads to hours of being awake, that becomes a problem.
- If you do wake up in the middle of the night and are awake for more than (about) 20 minutes, remove yourself from the bedroom. We want to anchor our bed to sleepiness, not wakefulness! Don’t look at the clock, but when it has felt like about 20 minutes, get up and leave. You need a pre-meditated place and plan for what you’ll do if you wake up at night. Do something relaxing like reading, coloring, praying, stretching, or listening to gentle music until the ”next sleep bus” comes and you naturally feel sleepy, then get back into bed. But do not add more energy to it by stressing out!
- Sleep is not something you can control or force. When we try to control or force sleep, we’re actually creating more stress, which is pushing it further away. So when you’ve gotten up at night to read (or knit or stretch or whatever), don’t tell yourself you’re reading in order to get back to sleep. You’re just reading to read, and if sleepiness comes, that’s great!
- If you wake up early, that’s fine! It’s not a problem! Your anxiety about it is creating the actual problem. The sleep itself isn’t the problem. We need to bring in acceptance that our body will sleep when it needs to. Listen to the episode to hear Devin talk about how to overcome this!
- If you have a chronic sleep issue, you do not want to nap! When we nap, our body flushes out adenosine, which is a neurochemical that builds up “sleep pressure” (like a “hunger” for sleep). So when we nap, we’re reducing the pressure, but we actually want the pressure to be high so that we’ll fall asleep appropriately at night. If you don’t have sleep issues and just have an occasional /situational poor night of sleep, a nap is fine!
- Having caffeine first thing in the morning is not ideal for circadian rhythms. Waiting to have caffeine until an hour after you wake up, when your Cortisol Awakening Response (CAR) begins to come down, is going to mess with your circadian rhythm less. Plus, we lose about a liter of water while we’re sleeping from breathing, so we need to replenish that – first thing in the morning is the best time to drink water!
- If you’re not getting enough quality of sleep, you increase the risk of every major disease, including heart attack, stroke, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and more. Our immune system repairs during the night, so even fending off shorter-term illnesses depends on sleep!
Want to hear the full episode, including how to know if your body is feeling stressed even if you don’t “feel stressed”, how to adopt a state of acceptance with insomnia, how caffeine works molecularly to make us less sleepy, which clean coffee brand Devin recommends, the impact of alcohol on sleep, all of Devin’s tips to improve sleep issues, and so much more?
Head over here to catch the full episode with Devin Burke!
Now it’s your turn! What is one thing you learned from this interview? What’s one thing you’re committed to changing after learning from Devin Burke?
🎙️ Want to hear about this topic in audio format? → Check out the podcast episode here!