Have you been counting sheep more than you should before sleeping?
Our body is in constant movement and mind in the constant swirling of thoughts throughout the day. By the time we get to bed, our brain is still processing everything we’ve experienced during the day. In today’s episode, I am excited to speak to Devin Burke, a licensed sleep science coach and the founder of Sleep Science Academy. We will get answers to a lot of questions about the problems of insomnia. Wanna know how to click the switch? Let’s listen.
“Are people not sleeping because they are stressed and anxious or
are they stressed and anxious because they’re not sleeping?”
“You can’t just treat the symptoms, you need to find the
root problem for solving the sleeping problems.”
1:05 How frustrating is not falling asleep on time?
1:33 Devin Burke has done some major research and shares with us
2:25 Sleep is a HOT topic and a great part of wellness
2:52 Storytime: diving deep into the science of sleep
5:33 How do you dive into analyzing the quality of sleep?
7:53 Each stage of sleep and perfect duration of sleep
11:46 Breaking down myths about dreams
12:30 Is there an ideal timeframe we should be falling asleep?
16:23 Witching hour- going past the normal time
17:29 Mastering the mindset around sleep- acceptance
19:40 Stop forcing yourself to fall asleep faster
22:30 Does counting sheep help?
23:08 Sleep Science Academy- what’s it’s all about?
25:42 Habits that we need to break
26:33 That one meal
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[00:00:00] This is such a simple shift, but it’s extremely powerful to just literally accept whatever the night brings, whether it’s great sleep or not shifting into acceptance, not trying to do more things so that you sleep is extremely simple and extremely powerful.
[00:00:23] hi, I’m Maria. Otherwise known as the fit foodie. I’m a chef holistic nutritionist. Inventor and mom, and I want to welcome you to my podcast. It’s called recipes for your best life. And with every episode, I’m peeling back the onion on fitness, nutrition, health, wellness, and family. The truth is your, the chef of your life.
[00:00:46] And for every important pillar, there’s a great recipe worth sharing. So every week we’ll explore them together. Think of it as food for thought that you can really sink your teeth into. So join me and let’s squeeze the joy out of this life because you only get one. Can I get a fork? Yeah. I don’t think there’s anything, nothing worse than waking up in the middle of the night and not being able to go back to sleep.
[00:01:11] I mean, how frustrating is it to just toss and turn and then finally. Forget it you’re done the next morning. You’re worthless. You have no energy, no focus. You feel hung over and completely unproductive. Well, imagine feeling that way all the time. That’s what Devin Burke and international sleep experts.
[00:01:38] Was hearing from people and it led him to his practice and creating the sleep science academy. He’s one of the top health and sleep coaches in the world. And he’s the best-selling author of the book, the sleep advantage. He’s. So many people with his books, his keynote speeches, his [00:02:00] programs and videos, inspiring them to improve their sleep and get their energy and life.
[00:02:07] Back in today’s episode, we’re going to dive into why sleep so is so important and what you can do to get better sleep night after night, if you’ve been counting sheep one too many times, this episode is for you. Let’s dive in. Devin welcome to the podcast. Thanks Maria. Excited to be here. Great to have you on and sleep is such a hot topic.
[00:02:33] It seems like in the world of wellness, I’m really glad we’re diving into this, but you have a very personal story of how you even embarked on this path. Can you share a little bit about that with them? Yeah, I’ll give you the quick, the quick, uh, highlight version of that. Um, essentially I’ve been helping people for over a decade, um, with their health.
[00:02:54] And one of my clients I was working with had issues with his sleep up in that point, it’s studied a lot of mind, technologies, nutrition, exercise, physiology, uh, psychology, all different types of, you know, mind, body technologies, but never sleep. And so I, um, I looked into what was available to help this particular client and realize that.
[00:03:13] Um, there were very few options. And, um, after looking at what was available, sleeping medication, or CVTI specifically, I said, Hey, well, listen, I, I studied a lot of things. I don’t know that much about them. But let me, uh, let me dive into the science of sleep and see if I might be able to help you. And after, you know, really diving deep into the science of sleep and understanding, sleep at a, at a deep, psychological level, I was able to help this client sleep.
[00:03:42] And if I could help one person, then I can help thousands of people. So that’s, that’s really what leads me up to today with the work that I’m doing. Have you ever had problems with sleeping? I’m actually a professional sleeper. I am a pro and it’s interesting. Cause a lot of people that do this type of work [00:04:00] supporting, uh, clients or transformational work, um, as I like to call it, it’s out of their own pain.
[00:04:07] Mine actually. Wasn’t like, I, I am blessed. I take, I used to take, I should say sleep for granted. I used to think it was a waste of time. I didn’t really understand. How powerful and important it is and how, how big of a problem it is if you’re not getting sleep. And, um, so you know, my sleep isn’t perfect when I started to really look into and there is no perfect sleep by the way.
[00:04:29] Um, but when I started looking into like the quality and depth of my sleep, which I had been for the last four years, I realized, oh, that there is some work I can do. You know, I thought I was a fantastic sleeper. Like I have no problem getting and things. Yeah. But I noticed that the quality of my sleep, uh, based off of lifestyle habits and different things that I did or didn’t do throughout the day, dictated that.
[00:04:52] And when I started to optimize that quality of sleep, specifically, deep sleep, Delta sleep and REM sleep, um, deep sleep in Delta sleep, same, same category there. Um, I noticed, wow. I actually had more focus. I had more. I made better decisions. I was a nicer human being. I was more present. And, um, so that, you know, I, it really, for me, it was really around optimization of the one.
[00:05:19] Of our life that we spend in bed, but the way that I support people is on the other spectrum of that, which is people that really can’t get or stay asleep and have it have a major problem with, um, with how it’s affecting their life. Yeah. So let’s dive into that because I can only imagine that.
[00:05:38] Combination of stress and lifestyle. And certainly our, all of our gadgets have a role and have played a factor in the ability to get sound sleep. But. How do you, I mean, how do you kind of dive into analyzing that with a person? I mean, you [00:06:00] are a certified sleep science coach. Like this is a thing, this is something that you don’t just do.
[00:06:06] I, I used to love the bumper sticker. Like I’ll sleep when I’m dead. Well, if you want to accelerate the path to death, go ahead and don’t sleep. Right. How did we, how did we find out that as a society? Was a problem to where the science of it has become. So well-defined yeah. Great question. And it’s hard one to answer because it’s kind of like the chicken or the egg question, you know, are people.
[00:06:35] Anxious and depressed because they’re not sleeping. Are they not sleeping because they’re anxious and depressed. And, you know, we have, uh, you know, the world health organization said chronic stress is an epidemic and you know, so sleep and stress go hand in hand because they’re, bi-directionally linked.
[00:06:52] So the more stress and anxiety you experience, the worst you sleep, then the worse you sleep, the more stress and anxiety you experience. And so that in combination. The availability of data and the amazing leaps in technology has allowed us to realize while asleep isn’t a waste of time. It’s actually one of the most profound things that you could do to protect your health, to increase your longevity, to restore your mind and body.
[00:07:23] Um, and you know, as. Sleep trackers became more and more popular that just confirmed, uh, more and more of that, uh, hypothesis and science and like the sleep labs. So it’s, it’s pretty cool. I mean, we’re, we’re living in the age of the quantified self and that has its pros and its cons specifically when we’re talking about sleep and we can get into that.
[00:07:45] But I think that that’s really where I, I see that, the answer to that. Yeah. Well, and you know, There’s a lot that happens when we sleep and each stage of sleep contributes to different aspects of health. Can you just give us [00:08:00] a high level view of what that looks like? And is there a certain time that we should be going to sleep?
[00:08:07] I mean, if we get seven to eight hours, I know that’s a good thing, but isn’t there a window of time where we should also be falling asleep. Yeah. So those are two separate questions. So yeah, I’ll just the first and then what will be, I’d be more than happy to, to get into the second. And there, there are definitely intertwined and linked.
[00:08:25] So in a high level, you can think of there’s, there’s a couple different stages of sleep. So there’s REM sleep and non REM sleep. Those are two buckets within non REM sleep. You have light sleep and you can think of just light sleep. Just to really keep it simple and basic for people to understand. So every 90 minutes we go through, what’s called a sleep cycle, a sleep cycle where we’re coming from light sleep to deep sleep to REM sleep.
[00:08:51] When we talk about quality of sleep, we’re really talking about deep sleep and we’re talking about rendering. Okay. So again, every 90 minutes we’re going in and out of these, these different stages of sleep. And if we’re asleep, you know, between seven and eight hours, that’s anywhere between four and five cycles.
[00:09:09] So as far as the timing of, of sleep, it’s it is they found. You know, the first quarter of the ninth. So if you look at the night, like a football game, the first quarter of the night, that’s where you get most of your deep sleep. So from the hours of 10:00 PM to 2:00 AM, that is when you’re getting. Most of your Delta deep sleep.
[00:09:34] And that’s an important stage of sleep because that’s when our bodies release growth hormone. That’s when our body’s repair recover. That’s when our, you know, our T-cells are floating around and killing cancer cells. That’s when, you know, you can think of that as, as like, if you took your car into the garage and a master mechanic came and started replacing parts and cleaning off the rust, you can.
[00:09:58] That’s what happens during that [00:10:00] stage of sleep. For whatever reason, the first quarter of the night. And there’s, you know, because of a lot of different, you know, the circadian clock and sleep pressure and all these other things, I don’t think it makes sense to get into on this conversation. Um, the first quarter of the night is really important to protect and to optimize, uh, the last quarter, the night.
[00:10:21] So we’re talking the fourth quarter right before you cross. The, you know, the line to wake up. That’s the touchdown line. That’s the most of our REM sleep and REM sleep you can think of as emotional first day. That’s where short-term memory is getting show. It’s a long-term storage. It’s when are we’re working on emotional traumas throughout the day?
[00:10:40] That’s what we’re dreaming. That’s what we’re coming up with. New creatures ideas. Um, that’s really important for emotional health and stability. Um, so, and again, First quarter in the fourth quarter, you’re also coming in and out of, of, uh, light sleep and REM sleep and deep sleep as well. It’s just, it’s not as pronounced throughout the entire sleep architecture of those groups.
[00:11:05] Why is that? Why? The other night when I had the weirdest dream and I’m a really good sleeper to thank the Lord, because I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have good sound sleep and I was an insomniac, but I had the weirdest dream that. I was at my dad’s place. And. I’m like, dad, what time is it? And I had just woken up and he goes, it’s one 30.
[00:11:30] And I was like, wait one 30. Is this the same day that I went to sleep? Or is it the next slip to one 30 the next day? And I was like panicking that I had slept too much. That was my dream. And then I woke up. Wow. That’s interesting. Yeah. I mean, you know, there’s, there’s, there are people, I’m not one of these people that really can break down what dreams mean, at least they’re, they, you know, they ha they have a system and a hypothesis around, you know, in dream [00:12:00] interpretation.
[00:12:00] That’s kind of a, an art, less of a science, but, um, yeah. I mean, dreams are fascinating. I mean, there’s so many inventions that have been. Created throughout the night, you know, I just thought it was funny that like the dream that I remembered that I slept so soundly in my deep RMS. Um, you know, when I woke up, it was because I was drunk.
[00:12:22] I was sleeping too long. So that’s, it is a bit ironic. Yeah. So talk to, talk to us a little bit about this, and I did throw two questions at you at once, but is there an ideal timeframe that we should be falling up?
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[00:14:14] Yeah. You know, depending on your chronobiology. So we each have a unique with what’s called chronotype and traditionally, this is like the morning person or the evening person, like the night owl or the morning Lark. Um, and so certain people, really, their body clock is, is more sinked to go to bed a little bit later than other people.
[00:14:36] Um, and so. Depending on your chronotype, your unique chronobiology dictates. Okay. When would be the most optimized time for you to be in bed, but you definitely want to be in bed within that sleep. When that, that really critical deep sleep window between 10:00 PM. And 2:00 AM. So 2:00 AM is pretty late, regardless of what chronotype you, you are.
[00:15:00] I, you know, it really is, um, you know, being in bed, even if you are a night out before 12 o’clock would allow your body enough time to get the deep sleep it needs. If you’re also allowing enough opportunity for quality sleep. So a lot of times. They stay up too late and they get up too early and that’s where we get into trouble with what’s called sleep debt and sleep that carries over into the next day.
[00:15:27] And then it’s, it becomes a vicious cycle. So again, those money sleep hours, if you will, are 10:00 PM and 2:00 AM, but I always like to recommend, Hey, don’t really, don’t go to bed later than 12:00 PM, regardless of your chronobiology. If, if you have control. You know, what’s interesting is, um, even if I get eight hours of sleep, but I go to bed past midnight, I wake up feeling hung over and I just, I don’t feel like [00:16:00] I really did get rest.
[00:16:01] And it is something about kind of going past I’ll call it the witching hour for me. Um, where I just, I don’t feel the same. If I were to go to bed between, you know, normally between 10 30 and 1130 for me is kind of is my window. Is that a very individual thing based on your chronotype, would you. Yeah, it is.
[00:16:26] And it’s really interesting about what you said is again, we’re talking sleep quality, but it’s also what stage of sleep you wake up in. So what can happen is if you’re consistent with your sleep schedule, and then all of a sudden you have a night where you go to bed too late, it throws off your sleep architecture, and you might wake up during like a deep sleep phase or.
[00:16:48] Um, really a deep sleep phase, which then kind of, regardless of the quality of your sleep, if you wake up in deep sleep, you’re going to feel groggy. You’re going to feel off. Um, and it’s not ideal. So, you know, now there’s some really cool technology coming out in mattresses that they’re able to sort of tune that to your.
[00:17:08] Your circadian clock and wake you up at the right sleep cycle. So you don’t get those, those kind of groggy hangovers. Yeah. And boy, talk about like setting yourself up and I bet we could have a whole nother podcast. What the best bedding is what the best mattress is. And I’m sure you have some recommendations, but I know that you mentioned to me that the mindset around sleep is something that you’re really interested in.
[00:17:34] Can you talk a little bit about that and how you work with people on, I guess, mastering their mindset around sleep. I would love to, because this is something that I’m very passionate about, and it’s very valuable for people to understand this, that especially people that are struggling with their sleep right now, um, first and foremost, sleep is a natural biological process that happens when you remove the [00:18:00] barriers to it happening.
[00:18:01] And what I find in the work that I do is that a lot of those barriers are actually between our ears, um, meaning our thoughts and our beliefs. So, what can happen is sleep is the one thing that the harder you try at the worst you get at it, because you can’t force and control something like sleep. It actually, what that’ll do is it’ll actually create more stress and more anticipatory anxiety, big word, which then keeps the cortisol dripping and keeps you.
[00:18:34] So first and foremost, it’s really important for understanding the people that have issues, either getting or staying asleep, especially the anxious type of people and who doesn’t have some anxiety right now with what’s going on in the world. Right. It’s really important that you do not fall into the trap of trying to force or control yourself.
[00:18:56] So, this is such a simple shift, but it’s extremely powerful to just literally accept whatever the night brings, whether it’s great sleep or not shifting into acceptance, not trying to do more things so that you sleep is extremely simple and extremely powerful frame of mind to take. If you’re somebody right now that is struggling with sleep it’s it’s, it’s one of the.
[00:19:27] One of the simplest things that people can do is literally stop trying to sleep. It’s crazy. It sounds so simple. Oh, and you know, here’s how I would equate that to, it’s kind of like, you know, when you have a lot of anxiety about getting up for something like, I, you know, I would get a lot of anxiety if I had to get up early for a flight.
[00:19:51] Or if I would have like an early, you know, uh, interview live interview or something like it it’s like that [00:20:00] anticipation of that thing that is looming. And, you know, I think we’ve all had nightmare situations where we slept in, or we slept through an alarm or whatever the alarm didn’t go off. And then you get up in a panic.
[00:20:13] I think that same sort of anxiety. Can happen when you don’t sleep well and you have this obsession about, oh my gosh, am I going to be able to fall asleep? So I’m sure there are lifestyle aids though, that can help you overcome that. Is that part of your approach to helping your clients? Yeah, it is. It is.
[00:20:35] And that, that is a type of anticipatory anxiety that attaches itself to sleep. Um, so when we work with clients, we, first and foremost, we, we address. Mind. So the ways that the mind gets in the way of the body, then we address the body and then we addressed the environment and most people, um, try to just address the environment and then maybe they’ll start to get into the body.
[00:21:02] Totally disregard the mind and a great night of sleep actually starts as soon as you wake up. So what you do throughout the entire day is going to dictate whether or not you’re going to have a piece. If you’re eating a lot of sugar and processed foods and empty carbs, and maybe your diets not there, maybe you’re dehydrated.
[00:21:27] Maybe you’re not exercising and moving your body. I’m just saying like, it’s all about the healthy choices that we know that we should be making every single day. How, how much of an impact does that contribute to your ability to sleep? It really does. It really does. I mean, what’s good for your health is also good for your sleep.
[00:21:48] So it, you know, people definitely need to understand that. If you’re, if you have issues with your sleep, you have to be open to some habit change. [00:22:00] You have to really look at well, what are the foods on meeting? When am I eating these foods? You know, am I hydrated? Am I mastering my stress? Not just managing it.
[00:22:11] Um, you know, am I doing things that are. Conducive to my mental health so that I don’t have a racing mind at the end of the night. That’s one of the most common questions I get is Hey, ha ha. I have a racing mind. How do you turn off? How do I turn off my mind? My mind keeps, mm, does counting sheep work? I wish it was that easy.
[00:22:34] Um, if counting sheep work, we wouldn’t be serving the hundreds of people that we’re serving, uh, to help them with their sleep. Like for some reason, that little image of sheep rolling around, I mean, it was such a. I don’t know, growing up for some reason, I heard that over and over again, but, um, I think the idea is to meditate on something maybe, or to kind of distract yourself into.
[00:23:03] Falling asleep. And I know that you have a whole sleep science academy where you teach people everything from how to balance their sleep cycles, to essential strategies, to getting more deep sleep, to supplements, and you know, things that maybe enable that. Can you share a little bit more about your sleep science academy?
[00:23:25] Yeah, well, essentially we it’s a holistic approach based in science. So we work with people just in that way. We look at how every aspect of their life impacts their sleep and how improving their sleep impacts every aspect of their life. And so we have a very methodical, systematic approach that we take that gets people amazing results with them.
[00:23:45] Sleeping medication, or even the need for anything, really a new mattress or sleeping pills or supplements or anything like that. Like those, those, there is, there is a time and a place for bedroom optimization and making a sleep sanctuary, and those can help with quality of sleep, but [00:24:00] we take it way further than that.
[00:24:02] Um, you know, really looking at the psychology of sleep and the psychology of what creates. These triggers of arousal, um, and biochemically what’s going on in the body that, that creates, you know, um, dysregulation of the circadian clock, which is our body clock, which keeps us, you know, in this natural, healthy sleep cycles.
[00:24:23] So, so yeah, so we, we believe that the body will heal when you remove the barriers to it doing so and sleeps. Sleep issues. Aren’t the problem. Insomnia is a symptom and it’s really important to understand that. And if you address the symptom, you, you know, it’s it’s, if you address the symptom with treating the symptoms, you’re not going to get sustainable results.
[00:24:46] You got to really look at what is the root cause of why am I not sleeping? And that’s what we do at sleep science. I would really encourage all of our listeners and we have the link in the show notes here to download the, um, the sleep science solutions. So we have a link here and you can get all of the information that Devin’s talking about today.
[00:25:08] In a way that I think will be very easy for people to understand. And why wouldn’t we, I mean, I think ultimately if, and I love that you have a talk called the ROI of sleep. I think that’s brilliant because I talk about the ROI of eating better. Um, and it’s so much bigger than just. Uh, uh, a fit body or great abs, you know, it’s, it’s just the ability to thrive and the ability to go and get your dreams, so to speak, uh, pun intended.
[00:25:38] So I think, you know, this is something that we can all use and, and benefit from. If there was one thing, just one thing that you could share. From your work and, um, and what you’ve seen with people, what is one habit that we need to break when it comes to getting [00:26:00] sound sleep? Is there one thing unanimously that you see across the board?
[00:26:05] Oh gosh. Um, one of the biggest, the first thing that comes to mind there, there a lot, but I think it’s eating too. Eating cause that gets in the way of deep sleep. So it’s, it’s, you know, you should have at least a three preferably a four hour window between the last time something touches, crosses your lips and, uh, and, and, and your bed and bedtime.
[00:26:28] I love that. And that leads me to our final question, which you teed it up so beautifully. I ask all my guests the same question. If you could have one meal prepared by anyone, what would the meal be and who would it be? Uh, you know, it’d be my mom and it’d probably be your lasagna. Oh yes. I love that. You were so you didn’t even have to think about that one.
[00:26:53] Yeah. Yup. Is it meat? Lasagna? Is it veggie? Lasagna? Like what? What’s so great about. Uh, she, she makes it with love and sometimes it’s me and sometimes it’s veggie. It doesn’t matter to me. It’s comfort food, you know, Italian, Italian comfort food, which I don’t really eat that much these days. But every once in a while you got to indulge Devin.
[00:27:16] Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom and your knowledge. And these great insights on sleep, uh, for our fit tribe. Make sure you check out the link in the show notes so that you can get into the sleep science solution as well. And what’s a good place to follow you down. Uh, Devin Burke wellness on all the social channels, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube.
[00:27:39] Um, yeah, so I put a lot of stuff out on YouTube for those people interested in learning more. Perfect. Thank you again and have a blessed rest of your day. Thanks. Thanks for having me on take care. Hey, thank you so much for listening to this week’s episode. I know you have a lot of choices out there. Of what to listen to what to watch.
[00:27:58] So it means a lot to me [00:28:00] that you’re here with me. And Hey, if you love this content, would you hit the subscribe button? I want you around. I don’t want you to just show up for one episode and leave. I want you to hear part of the conversation. A seat at this table. And while you’re at it, would you share this with your friends and family?
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