Positively Midlife Podcast

Unlocking the Midlife Sleep Puzzle: A Conversation with Sleep Coach Kali Patrick - Ep. 72

October 18, 2023 Tish & Ellen Season 2 Episode 72
Positively Midlife Podcast
Unlocking the Midlife Sleep Puzzle: A Conversation with Sleep Coach Kali Patrick - Ep. 72
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Get ready to embark on a unique journey to conquer your sleep struggles with our special guest, Kali Patrick, a seasoned sleep coach with a rare perspective on sleep. With her tech background and passion for yoga, Kali presents an intriguing concept of treating sleep like a puzzle. We promise that you'll gain a fresh understanding of the complexities of sleep and discover how to solve your own sleep puzzle, one piece at a time.

In this episode, we explore an array of topics with Kali, including the role of yoga and meditation in achieving a balanced lifestyle and the perils of overvaluing productivity at the expense of sleep. We also take a deep dive into the correlation between sleep and the immune system, especially in the context of vaccinations. Learn why it's essential for adults to aim for seven to nine hours of sleep and how to create a rhythm to supplement sleep as we age.

In our conversation, Kali generously shares her insights into sleep coaching, emphasizing the importance of setting up microgoals and cultivating positive self-talk. We also discuss her unique, customizable coaching process that caters to each individual's specific needs. So, are you ready to embark on a journey to better sleep? Tune in now, and let's decode the sleep puzzle together, because this isn't just about sleep, it's about overall health and wellness too. We're excited to embark on this journey with you!

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Tish:

So, Ellen, are you getting all of the sleep that you need right now?

Ellen:

You knew? No, I'm not, and I haven't for years. And you know what Tish? Nobody in our friend group or our age group that I know ever talks about great sleep, but we always talk about our bad sleep, our poor sleep.

Tish:

You know, I thought that once our young children were grown, that we would be rewarded with this great nights of sleep. But what I have found here in midlife is I really continue to struggle with chasing that dream of a good night's sleep.

Ellen:

Yeah, it's really. It's been my biggest struggle too, and you know, when you see teenagers sleeping for 12 or 13 hours, you just want to kill them, right? And I feel like I've done everything, Tish on the sleep hygiene, the noise machine, the melatonin I tried, no screens before bed, the limiting coffee in the morning, and I still can't seem to solve this puzzle.

Tish:

You know. So today we are going to have Kali Patrick, who is a sleep coach. Sleep coaching is a relatively new field, I think, in the field of coaching, but she's going to have this very unique approach to how we can solve our own sleep puzzles.

Ellen:

I'm really excited. Kali calls Boston home and she comes from the tech world. She's an author, a yoga teacher, a health coach and some of the other things. She is a West Coast swing dancer, a cat lover, a world traveler, an ESL teacher, so she is really dynamic. But before we meet her and talk about sleep, which we both need to get a handle on, let's quickly get to our obsessions. Tish, what do you got for me this week?

Tish:

Oh, so I have a fall wardrobe staple that everybody needs. It's this one piece layer that you put on. It's like leggings, but it goes up into a tank top and it kind of holds you in and gives you this nice streamlined look. But I'm telling you, you can put it with an oversized jacket or your favorite flannel shirt or even an oversized sweater. But this, if you're going to buy one piece this fall, I'm telling you these one piece, and you see all these TikToks and stuff about it. They call it. It snatches you in, but it kind of just, without feeling like super constricted, it pulls you in and it just gives you such a nice thing. So that's going to be my obsession and I'm wearing it right now, no less.

Ellen:

Oh, so it's something that you can sleep in too. It's a many, many functions, many functions. I'll have to check that out, tish. It sounds like a great base layer for a lot of fun outfits.

Tish:

Yeah, what about you, ellen? What is your obsession for this week?

Ellen:

Well, as we head into fall. I am now again obsessed with this. Everything for Everybody, e&o brand coconut lime hand sanitizers. I hate those really harsh hand sanitizers like Purell, and I know we had tea on talking about all that chemical junk that we put on our bodies. So this smells amazing. It's plant based and it really moisturizes you. It has a lot of aloe, and who doesn't like something that smells like coconut?

Tish:

Oh, I like that. That one, the coconut and lime, I like that. I don't have to try that one out because you know I don't like all those chemicals and hand sanitizers. So this one I definitely need to try out.

Ellen:

Yeah, and you can fit it in your purse. Have one in your car. I have one next to my desk. It's great. All right, we will have links in our show notes to those obsessions. But today, as we said before, our guest is Kali Patrick, and she is a nationally board certified health and wellness coach specializing in sleep. She is the author of Mastering your Sweet Puzzle, which Tish and I both read cover to cover, and her book has a 12 week guide to sleeping better. Welcome, kali, to the podcast. Can you tell us a little bit more about yourself and your background?

Kali:

Oh gosh, well, you gave me the most thorough. There I feel like you know a lot about me, but yes, so thank you so much, first of all, for having me on your podcast, your great show here, and good morning, I know it's early there. So, yes, I started out working in corporate environments in high tech I did website back when they were brand new things and worked in those environments for, you know, 20, 25 years and throughout that time I suffered from my own sleep struggles. I was a self described insomniac, dealing with a lot of stress and anxiety, mostly around work and you know performance, always busy, both with work, with hobbies, with, you know, just with life. And yeah, and in 2010, I experienced burnout. Didn't really know what was happening. You know jokingly called it my midlife crisis and you know now it's unfortunately so such a more popular thing to experience burnout. But back then it wasn't even a clinical diagnosis and I really had to take a look at what I was doing in my life, in my career and in other areas, and address some of these health challenges right and deal with the stress and find ways to manage the anxiety. And it's not that I hadn't been trying. Within the context of, you know, day to day life. It was very challenging and I didn't quite know how to do that, and so I stepped back from my career. I left my marriage, unfortunately, and started to work on healing myself and through that experience is where I finally learned what it was that I needed to do to build stress resilience to be able to get more consistently refreshing sleep right. It's not that I sleep perfectly every night, but you know what's the norm? right Is the norm bad sleep, and the exception is that you have a good night and then you go wow, that would be awesome to have more frequently. Right? It's not that we never have a bad night but what's typical and my goal now in coaching people is to help them find a typical rhythm. That is mostly good, and a poor night is it will happen right and it's fine, and then we move on and we go back to our rhythm of sleeping well.

Tish:

So I love how your approach to sleep. You look at it as a puzzle. Can you explain to our listeners why you approach getting better sleep as putting together this sleep as a puzzle?

Kali:

Yes, I think. Well, it's. That metaphor really came to me from working with private clients, and one client in particular, I think, really summarized it best. She said I didn't realize how many little things contribute to my sleep, and by contribute to, I mean, you know, either positively influenced or negatively influenced, right? So we have this idea that sleep is one thing. Right, we have often this idea that we can somehow control our sleep, but we do not control our sleep, as you know. If you've ever woke up in the middle of the night and said to yourself get back to sleep right now. You know how well that works, right? So? you know you know, logically, that we don't control our sleep. We influence our mind, we influence our bodies, and we do that all throughout the day with all sorts of small decisions that we make. And so for me, it was a really good metaphor to say look, there are a number of different things that contribute to the puzzle. You need to know what all those things could be, because if you don't know, if there's a, I do. My boyfriend and I, as you probably know from reading the book we do jigsaw puzzles, which was also part of what this came up, and we did it. We did a bunch of them during the pandemic, but there's a piece on the floor. If there's a couple pieces stuck in the box, you could try your damnedest and you're never going to put that puzzle together. And so what I often saw, too, is that clients would not be aware of something that was really important, and so they would try and try to fix the sleep, to fix the sleep, but they're never going to, because that piece is stuck in the box. So I wanted to raise people's awareness of those lots of little things that influence sleep.

Tish:

I particularly liked yeah, I was going to say I particularly like that because it's there's not one solution. It's not just going to be a medication or a routine or a whatever. It is lots of different pieces. This is a complex thing to get us back to. You know, sleep, and if you are in this mindset that it's going to be a silver bullet that's going to get you to what you want, that's not the case. So that's why I loved this idea of a puzzle of being pieces.

Kali:

And you're bringing up an important point too. I think this goes along with this idea of controlling sleep, right. There are so many quick fixes. There are so many band-aids out there. We've been just straight at $65 billion last I looked. I'm sure it's more, and I often joke. If I just endorse a potion of pillow, I think it would be rich right now, but I'm not going to because it's against my philosophy. Right, those things are nice to have, but they're not going to solve the underlying issues that many people face and they're really distraction and I want people to really think about them that way. Right, when they see this program add, for you know, this pill. Right, that's a distraction because it's implying that you can control your sleep with a quick fix.

Ellen:

Yeah, you know, callie, as somebody who's done every one of those quick fixes and still not had good sleep. I can just say that this idea that everyone's different, everyone's puzzle pieces are different, what you need to put together, I'm sure, with each of your clients is so different. A couple of things that struck me. One is that what we do during the day we carry into the night. So if you have this very stressful, crazy life but expect great sleep, it's kind of hard. But I really enjoyed this idea of using therapeutic yoga to sleep better too, and it's the first time I've ever heard of this. Can you give us a little bit more about this? Did it come from? You know your bad sleep? Where did this kind of method come from?

Kali:

Well, as you know, I started out as a yoga teacher. Right, that was my one of my first, I guess, experiments with these modalities. Right, I was when I suffered burnout. I had been practicing yoga for years already, but not consistently, you know, I'd go to a class and do some stretching, do some breathing, whatever, and I had also explored meditation as kind of a separate modality. Right, I'm going to sit on my cushion for 10 minutes a day and try to stop my thought, which is another thing where we try to control something that's not controllable, right, and you know, to reduce stress, and I see a lot of people still doing that. Right, it's even more common now, right, that we try to meditate with an app or we try to do some yoga, get to a yoga class and say, okay, well, this is going to help me and it certainly can. But so I was already interested in those modalities, but in 2015, I did a sort of advanced study in yoga and it had a focus on the modality called yoga therapy, and this is somewhat separate from the yoga that we see popularized. Right, this is yoga kind of back to its roots, with one-on-one teacher and student interaction. It's therapeutic in that it's designed to support life. Right, it's not to stand on your head for an Instagram photo. It's to be able to, you know, manage your life, to be able to be mindful during the day of the choices that you make. It's methods to be able to rebalance your nervous system, which, as you know from reading the book, one of the primary root causes of people's underlying sleep struggles is a hyper aroused nervous system. That's just a fancy way of saying we're living in the stress response. We've heard this a million times. Right how do you bring yourself back into that rest and digest response? How do you engage your parasympathetic when you don't have a lot of time? Right, A 60-minute yoga class might do that, but who has 60 minutes? And then you have to get there or whatever, and meditation can certainly do that, but most busy people do not have the attention span, do not have the focus, do not have the ability to sit still and watch their breath for 10 minutes. And so these modalities and these techniques that I use are very specific to these kinds of nervous systems, to these kinds of things. Same thing with the breathing practices, right, and you probably have seen like there's a lot of those in the book, a lot of difference that maybe people haven't seen before, even if they have explored yoga or explored meditation, because they really incorporate the body, the mind, the breath all together in a way that's sort of engaging and multitasking but non-stimulating. It can help swing us back into that rest and digest response, so that the other things that we attempt to do aren't so much willpower and force and discipline. Right, they happen, which is what needs to happen for sleep right, we need to let go of a lot of things as opposed to control a lot of things. For sleep to show itself.

Tish:

You know, kali, the part of your book that really kind of I could relate to was about being that Gen Xer, that perfectionist type of personality, that eight-type personality, and the need to push yourself so hard that productivity means everything that the activity mindset and getting little to no sleep was like this badge of honor, like this work way of saying that we are more productive than anybody else because I worked through the night and I did extra, you know, and since we don't need more sleep that we are somehow like better, can you explain why this is such a dangerous way of thinking?

Kali:

Oh gosh. Well, if we think about you know, you all opened up with women of our age, right? Right, so we're mid-lifers, I guess, and I certainly don't feel that way. But so what's interesting, one of the things to know that I don't think a lot of people are aware of, when you think about aging and longevity and I'm speaking, you know, both physically and cognitively here, but mostly cognitively you know, the sleep we get in mid-life is crucial for our mental, our cognitive health in later life. So if you have a family member with some form of dementia and you are concerned about that, you need to sleep now, because more studies are showing that there is a correlation between poor sleep in mid-life and dementia in later life.

Tish:

Wow yeah.

Kali:

So to me that's certainly a motivator. One of the other things that I think people are hopefully more aware of now, given that we're sort of on the other side of the pandemic, is that our immune system relies on sleep. If you've ever been sick and all you want to do is sleep, you know that's true, and so you are not sleeping well if you are getting a vaccine for any of these things. I got an email the other day. It had all the list of all the vaccines, right Right, We've got COVID, we've got flu, we've got pneumonia, we've got RSD, right, All these things. If you're getting vaccines for anything, you need to sleep for them to work well for them to boost your immune system.

Ellen:

And even if you're not, getting vaccines.

Kali:

You need to sleep well to boost your immune system. You probably have seen chapter three of the book talks a lot about my favorite benefits to getting better sleep and why we want to do that. And a single night of short sleep, right, that single night where you say, ah, I didn't need more than four hours or whatever. That's reducing your immune system capacity by 70% 70. Wow.

Tish:

That is one.

Kali:

Yeah, I know, and you're doing that over and over and over again.

Ellen:

It's really. It's something, though, kelly, that you know I hear all of this and, of course, the one about the way you know you can't wait and you're cognitive, and on some level, it would make me more jealous of people that could sleep, or more seeking of the sleep right, and kind of added a little bit of sleep pressure to me. I felt like, oh, if I can't crack this, you know, and that's when I started trying all of these things right, like the apps that you're listening to, and my particular issue is waking up in the middle of the night. It's not getting to sleep, it's not being able to get back to sleep, and I know other people that now wake up at 5 am, like my grandfather used to, and they're like I can't sleep long enough, right? So I think everyone's issues around this are so different. But where do we get started with your book? Like, tish and I have read it and we've started it, but maybe you can share with our listeners. What's the first thing? You have a four-part approach within the 12-week guide, so help us get started.

Kali:

I will do that, but I would like to, if I can call out something, because you said something very important in your question. You started out by saying I'm jealous of my son who's sleeping a lot, and then you see, you know, you see your parents unable to sleep right, and what's important to understand and to possibly relieve some pressure getting better sleep is that during different phases of life, we have different sleep needs. No-transcript. An average adult will need to sleep between seven and nine hours of sleep a night. I always aim for women toward the nine hours of sleep, because we do expend so much energy and we do, unfortunately. You know when you, when you hear about oh, you know, there's this health issue, there's this disease, whatever women are usually more susceptible to the long list of health concerns as we age right. So I like to err on the side of the nine hours for women. But you will not be sleeping like your son, because that's not where you are in your face of life. He needs that sleep to be able to grow and to form and to, etc. So that's, that's typical and normal for that age group. Now they are. You know, experts are really not clear on why our sleep deteriorates into old age, and this is why I kind of work with this midlife group of people, because when, when people are older, right, sleep does deteriorate. It's a, it's a function of the brain. We're not quite sure why that happens necessarily, and so in some cases we work around the problem.

Ellen:

You know the problem.

Kali:

An example of that would be, you know, when your kids were little. I don't have kids, but I know and I remember right it's nap time Right, Kids get naps for a certain period of time and then they outgrow that they no longer need naps. Well, it's almost like when we get to the flip side when we're older, we need to reinstate the naps because we're not having enough sleep at night, but that needs to be a regular thing. It needs to be a rhythm. Just like you put your kid down at this time, you put your parent down at this time, right. But it's not. It's not an intermittent thing. It is a supplement. Right for for not sleeping well at night, because we don't yet understand why. Why there's a problem. Now for someone in our bracket, right in the middle, an adult. Where do we start? One of the most powerful ways to start is to say why do I want this? So, ellen, if I can use you as an example yes, yes, so what? What will be different in your life if you get more refreshing sleep, more consistent?

Ellen:

You know, Callie, I think I would have more energy from sleep.

Kali:

I think maybe yes, what people say and what, what, what is that energy going to be used for?

Ellen:

Just throughout my day right, making me more cognitively aware, sharper, faster. You know I have one of those big legs in the early afternoon every day. I think it would take that away. I also am a cancer survivor and I feel like my body needs the sleep it's like I, I feel in my head, my, I know my body needs more rest and recovery that it's not getting, so I think it would help me feel refreshed, energized and cognitively aware.

Kali:

Okay, and if you were more cognitively aware and your body felt more refreshed? What?

Ellen:

else is different. I'm happier. I think it's a happiness thing. I have more, more room for joy. I'm not grumpy. To me it seems like something that would make me just more content on a day to day basis. On a day to day basis, yeah.

Kali:

And so see what we did there. Yeah Right, no one wants to sleep for more. I mean, we say, we want to sleep better. We want more energy.

Tish:

We'll prove what.

Kali:

We want to feel more joyful. Yes, yes, and. And how motivating is that to imagine yourself feeling more joy in your day, super?

Ellen:

motivating, super motivated.

Kali:

How would that show up? How would you, how would that joy manifest?

Ellen:

I think it would be more open to doing more things, you know, and and not feel like I have to push myself at work. I feel a lot of times I really have to push through my day and it would be a nice feeling to kind of get through my day Like I got that. That worked, you know, instead of okay, let me get some tea with caffeine at two o'clock, because I'm not drinking coffee in the afternoon because I'm chasing this week, you know. So I think in my mind it would give me, you know that, good energy all day. That good energy push A lot of days, especially if I wake up in the middle of the night and I'm sure, tish, you feel this way it's a real struggle to get through the next day.

Kali:

Yeah, so. So there would be joy. You would feel more happy, you would feel more content, yep, your days would feel more easeful.

Ellen:

Right and there'd be a flow, a better flow of my day, without the struggle.

Kali:

Yes, yeah, and so so what I'm doing here with you, ellen, is I'm trying to dig.

Tish:

It's not about peeling back that onion, peeling back that onion, it's not about sleeping better, right.

Kali:

It's about, you know, being healthy in your body, taking care of your body, making sure that your immune system is working well right, that you're feeling happy, joyful, that you're moving about through your work with some ease, with some contentment Right, and we do try to focus on the positive.

Ellen:

Yes.

Kali:

Many people when I ask them you know well, what do I? Well, I don't want this. I want to avoid that and we're very trained on the problem and what we don't want. When coaching we work on what do we want? How will it feel? What about that is important? Right, I spoke to someone yesterday who does a certain style of art, but that's not really. I mean that pays the bills.

Ellen:

Right.

Kali:

But, boy, I would love to do this other aspect of art, but I don't have the energy because once I'm just surviving the day, I don't have any.

Ellen:

Well, so, okay, so you want to sleep better because you will have.

Kali:

You will have the energy left over, or you will still have energy to dedicate to this thing that you are passionate about. Now why is that important? Now, you know, for reading the book. That's important because now, when you're faced with a decision, with one of those little choices throughout the day that you know it's going to either hurt your sleep or help your sleep, you recall how you want to feel, what you want to be, what it's going to be like in that six months or three weeks or whatever, or three months, and that's motivating.

Ellen:

Right.

Kali:

That helps you make the choice, in that moment, of something bigger and better that you want. It has to be motivating enough for you personally For you to be able to make those changes. Right. If you say something like, well, I want to stop and take a rest break throughout the day, which you know, reading the book is super important. Right, rest is a training for sleep. I say this all the time, but where do we have five minutes to rest? Well, you have to take it. You have to. You must make it Right. What can I help you make it? Well, I can answer another. You know I can spend this 15 minutes between things answering emails. That feels important. But then you think and go well, oh, but I, this is what I really deeply want. I want to feel joy. So I'm not going to do that, because there's always going to be more email. I'm going to take my 15 minute rest break.

Ellen:

I think that's really important, especially for women. As Tish said, our Gen Xers and other groups. We've been so proud of our multitasking abilities throughout life here.

Tish:

I think it's also a challenge because corporate environment and we've talked about this on other podcasts I've been in corporate environments where that was not acceptable for women. Women were not to take lunch breaks because that showed you weren't committed. Men could go and take lunch breaks. It's this idea that if you step back and relax and I think we really need to challenge these notions, especially in corporate America that you are going to get a better employee if that employee can break.

Kali:

It's interesting that there was a study somewhat recently I think Microsoft put it out about how they scan brains and how brains function when we go from meeting to meeting to meeting to meeting which used to be my life versus when we go to a meeting and have a break, and go to a meeting and have a break, and what that cadence looks like visually and how the brain functions. I do think in some cases we're getting more information about what many of us have felt. Studies and stats and numbers always somehow work better to convince people of things that we see innately. Yeah, the data.

Ellen:

The data.

Kali:

Unfortunately, there are a lot of environments where that still happens. I often tell a story of I did some consulting, some tech consulting, not too long ago. It was for a friend and I had to be on site in a meeting of sort of an all day meeting. So we're in a conference room and he started there at seven o'clock in the morning with this group of people I think I was probably the only woman in the room, as is often the case. I said, well, I'll be there at nine. So two hours in I show up and now I'm listening and getting up to speed. It was like the first meeting of this new consulting job I had. By about 10 o'clock I was feeling a little bit sluggish, I needed some water, I needed to go to the restroom, and there's no break in sight. I stand up and I say, excuse me, I need to step out for a minute and I leave, and I use the restroom and I get a glass of water and I take a deep breath or two and I come back into the meeting. We eventually, I think at some point, broke for lunch, and then the same thing happened in the afternoon. Around three, four o'clock, energy naturally fluctuates, sure, and by three, four o'clock you've expended energy, you need to rest, you need to replenish, and these guys are sitting there, nobody's moving. And it's so amusing because right before I burned out, I would have never left, I would have thought I cannot leave. I feel awful, but I cannot leave. But in coming back and then now, knowing what I know, of course it crossed my mind I'm going to miss something important. Oh my gosh, what are they going to think of me? That I got up and left and I said you know what? I don't care, I cannot do this again. And so I got same thing three o'clock. I got up I excuse myself. I stayed out for at least 15 minutes, maybe even 30, came back in by five o'clock, the guests had left and my friend, who was my boss, looked over at me and he said oh my God, I am so exhausted, I need a pizza and a glass of scotch.

Ellen:

I'm surprised there weren't chocolates on the table all day in the conference room.

Kali:

And I said to him you know what I'm okay.

Tish:

Because you had taken those breaks.

Kali:

Yes, and it was hard.

Tish:

It was uncomfortably yeah, and that's the pushback I was talking about. That, I think has to happen more, and I think especially women in business need to get braver about that. But I love this notion that our sleep is also tied to these rest periods during the day. So I know we've gotten a little off line a bit, but so you had talked about the first part of your approach. So what happens after that initial self-reflection?

Kali:

So, after we do the vision right, why we deeply want to make changes now, why we're going to prioritize this for ourselves, then that's the stage where we start to say okay, what are some goals? I can set Some longer term goals. If you are someone who goes to bed at one in the morning every night and I know some people who do your goal is not going to be. I'm going to go to bed by 10 o'clock every night, right.

Ellen:

It won't work.

Kali:

Right, that's not a reasonable goal. But we set those all the time. I mean, we laugh about it. But when we realize we have a problem and we want to change and we feel motivated to change, the goal becomes something that's often quite unreasonable, or we set too many. We try to tackle things with big areas at once, and that again goes to sometimes our personality or sometimes our training in other areas of life. So most people know when I coach them, most people have some clue of things that they're doing that are negatively impacting their sleep right. Being on a screen very late is often one of them, and they have a sense of what might be helpful right that well, I need to move more, or I need to get off the screen. So we set some bigger goals and then we break them down into I almost want to say for people of the overachieving type to an almost ridiculously simple level of my personal example of this and maybe this will be helpful for some folks I'm experiencing hot flashes at night. It's certainly something that I have personal experience with. I get it. You wake up, you're hot, you throw off the covers. Two seconds later you're cold, you throw them on, rinse and repeat all night and you have a night of interrupted sleep, right? So one of the ways that can be helpful that I get from yoga and Ayurveda, which is a related practice, is to put some oil on the bottom of your feet. It's often a coconut oil, or I'm actually using a sunflower oil right now. You put the oil on the bottom of your feet and put the socks on, and it's just a way to help cool the body, to again bring some rest and just like heaviness into the system, and so I wanted to do this for myself, right? My goal was initially I'm going to oil my feet every night. So that was my initial goal and I said, well, that's too big, you know, you know, you know from coaching clients. So the goal became for the first week my goal became move the oil from the bathroom to the bedroom.

Ellen:

Right, right. A micro goal, a micro goal.

Kali:

That was my goal. Move the oil, put it by the bedside. Don't oil your feet every night, don't da, da, da, da, da. Right, how many days did it take me to move the oil? Oh, I remember of now I forgot I did something else right Now. I remember. Now I forgot, three days in I moved the oil, right, yay, I checked off my goal. That's a small win, right? You know what happened after that, when I went to bed. I saw the oil right there, so you know what happened. I oiled my feet the next day night. I didn't have to make myself. I didn't have to say, okay, now I'm going to be strict, I'm going to be disciplined, I'm going to do this every night. I saw it and it happened.

Tish:

Yeah, those unrealistic expectations. You just made it more natural happen.

Kali:

And what we often focus on in coaching that's more important than the goal, is what is the support for the goal?

Ellen:

If you set a goal.

Kali:

Great. Now spend more of your time figuring out how am I going to help that, how am I going to make that happen? What is it? Whenever we start a project, as you probably know, you say well, I'm going to do this project, and then there are 50,000 steps to that project.

Ellen:

Great great.

Kali:

But we don't see those as very discrete things that we have to get a handle on first, and they can be super simple. And when you start to build the snowball of yeah I did that and now I did that and hey look, I just did that, and then we get things rolling and it's not so hard and it's not this pressure and it's not work. I work with people who have sleep as a full-time job, Right, this should not be a full-time job?

Ellen:

I think we've often felt that way at least I know I have between cutting out coffee and getting the blackout shades and putting on the music and right during the day, figuring out all of the pieces not the puzzle pieces in your book, but kind of the mainstream pieces that we see out and about in our world. So I think it's very interesting and I like this approach. Tisha kind of goes to those microjoys and microgoals of picking one thing at a time.

Tish:

Yeah, and building on those. Yeah, you know, kelly, what I think. What really struck me was your formula is not like making a batch of cookies you know very specific quantities of this and that and then, if you mix it all together, you've got your perfect recipe, but rather your approach is very customizable process. So how do you help people figure out what that is?

Kali:

It's through conversation Really. I mean, one of the things that I really think that sets coaching apart is that relationship Right, because you can certainly chat with coaches through apps, right, or you know, maybe it's a bot behind there, who knows or you can cross back and forth with a person, but when you sit down and interact with someone, right, you see their energy, where there's energy around something, where they want to do something, where they're resisting, where there's a discrepancy, right. One of my big conversations now around discrepancies is how we talk about our rest and sleep. Ellen you mentioned how you talk about your sleep, right, yes? And when we say things to ourselves right, oh, my sleep is awful. Oh, tonight's going to be another night of, you know, flipping covers off and on.

Tish:

Right.

Kali:

Oh, you know, I'm an insomniac. I've never slept well, right, all of these ways that we talk to ourselves about sleep are not productive.

Ellen:

Right, I absolutely agree with you on that. And yesterday Tisha and I were talking about this and I said it's like I'm talking bad to myself and I have to flip that. I really have to flip and reframe that because in any aspect of your life, if you go into it with, this is hard, it's impossible. I'm a bad sleeper, you know. If I label myself. If I put that out there, it is that self-fulfilling prophecy for me, right.

Kali:

Absolutely. And what people don't understand is that you know it's common, it's normal to have a few nights here and there of bad sleep, but what takes a one or two night or a three night situation and turns it into years of struggle is often the self-talk. It isn't self-fulfilling prophecy, and they've shown that. They've shown that through studies. The flip side of that, and the other discrepancy I want to point out for people, because I'm seeing it more, is the labeling of ourselves as lame, as old. If we're in our pajamas at nine o'clock, if we decide to leave a party early because we're just done, if we decide not to stay up to do whatever, right, there's no shame in that, but we are. We live in a culture where we shame each other for healthy sleep habits and we self-deprecate.

Tish:

Yeah.

Kali:

And you cannot say I want to improve my sleep and then be shaming yourself and other people about healthy sleep habits on the other side.

Ellen:

It's so true. You know, Kelly, in your book you talk about a clarity call. Can you share what that is with our listeners, Sure?

Kali:

So that is. That is the name of the basically free consultation that I do with potential clients, and when they schedule some time with me, I send them back a questionnaire. It's a little bit different than the one that's in the book. The one that's in the book is way more comprehensive and it comes a bit later, but I just get a sense of you know where people are struggling. Are they having trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, waking too early, etc. I want to get a sense of what they've tried before and I also want to get a sense of their pain, right how is this impacting their life? And a little bit of that vision, right. What will be different? And I do look very closely about how people answer that question, because the clarity call is really it's not about me solving their problem. It's about us in a conversation trying to learn if coaching is a good approach and people need to be willing to be coached, to be guided, but to be driving their own process. As you said, this is I don't know, when I first meet with someone, exactly what's going to fix that. I get some hunches, I see some areas that we might want to poke on right, but if I get a person who just says, well, I don't know, I don't know, I don't know, I don't know, tell me what to do. They're not a coach in Canada. That's how this works.

Tish:

I like that you have this mindset of being open for these kinds of solutions and stuff. When someone starts to work with you, how quickly are they seeing results?

Kali:

That depends, but there is a trend, so I'll share one exception with you. First, A woman just finished up with me 12 weeks and we spent a good portion of time on her vision, which is, you know, like we were just doing, and that changed everything for her. She created a vision that was so inspiring and motivating for her that guided all her other choices, Right when she decided she was an entrepreneur. She is an entrepreneur and she's like do I want to take on this new client? Well, how does that jive with my vision? Well, I guess what it doesn't. I'm phasing out into retirement. So even though I feel like I should say yes, my vision is the same. I should say, yes, my vision says no. So I say no. So just that first couple of sessions where we really spent the time and energy on the vision, that really started to change her life and her sleep pretty quickly. Again, that's kind of an exception, but I think it does show the power of the vision and why we start there.

Ellen:

Yeah, I think we all need the why, like you helped me at the beginning of the podcast. Without the why, Nothing else really makes sense. I know there are three types of sleep disorders Callie, and people can have one or they could have all three. I don't know before we know. I'm feeling like I have all three, but can you share with us what they are and how you work with each?

Kali:

Sure, so I wouldn't call them sleep disorders, right? Okay, so disorders are often medical issues which I do not deal with. Examples are sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, 10s nightmares, things like that. I focus mostly on disorder sleeping.

Ellen:

Okay, disordered sleeping, thank you.

Kali:

And so certainly trouble falling asleep, trouble staying asleep, or we call that interrupted sleep, fragmented sleep, et cetera, a sleep maintenance problem. Essentially, you can't stay asleep for long stretches of time and then waking up too early. And, yes, it's possible to have a couple of them, it's possible to have all three of them. And so the way we address those is different again for everybody. We usually pick one right, where is it the most frustrating, right, or where is it the easiest that you think it would be to address the problem.

Ellen:

Sometimes it's best to start where it's easy Right and have that win. Have that easy win right, Exactly.

Kali:

And so in terms of falling asleep and sleep maintenance, staying asleep through the night, oftentimes those things do respond very well to those daytime rest breaks, to that rhythm setting of, okay, my energy's up, my energy's down. I'm going to support myself. We can take the practices that we do as rest breaks throughout the day and bring them into the night. So if you do wake up at 3 am, you don't have to get out of bed the way many times people do. You can stay in bed and rest and even if you're not sleeping, you are building your resting muscle and the next night that can have an impact, right? So you know, in terms also of you know when do people see results? Well, how much do they practice, right in those situations, right, people who really put in the time and effort, I guess I would say that it takes to learn to train ourselves back into rest. They benefit a great deal. And I will say, going back to the prior question, that around six weeks in the program I usually do give people a customized movement, breathing and meditation practice. That sounds like a lot, but it could be 15 minutes and the people who do that, even though it seems kind of unrelated, oh, I'm going to stop during the day, do this 15 minute thing. That's like okay, well, what does this have to do with my sleep? It paves the way for that nervous system rebalancing. It helps you be more mindful of the choices that you're making during the day, and I have seen predictably in, you know, 95% of my clients, that when they hit that mark, when they get that practice which I give to them as someone who knows them and knows what they're going through and what their life is like they do that Things just start to snowball in the right direction, and so that's pretty exciting to see.

Tish:

You know we've been talking about a lot of stuff that affects women at midlife and their sleeping. Mine has been my dog and this this dog has was wanting to get up in the middle of the night. I thought, oh my gosh, I feel like I have a toddler again. But I started to, you know, see what the cause was and started doing more late night walks, before you know, before bedtime and stuff with him and I have got him sleeping through the night again, I feel like, but a lot of us have like you know these external things that are affecting our sleep.

Kali:

Absolutely. I have two cats that give me a quarter of the bed to sleep on and it's really amusing because the other night I woke up to get up to go to the bathroom. I went to the bathroom, I came back and like I basically have a little square from my pillow to about my waist and I was hot, so I grabbed my pillow and I laid on the floor in front of the air conditioner.

Ellen:

And.

Kali:

I was like a few minutes until you know, the flash passed and I thought they sleep all day, get out of the bed. But yeah, I get it. I mean, sometimes pets offer comfort, they bring a sense of security. Same thing with partners bed partners, human bed partner Sometimes that adds to the experience of sleep and it's a positive influence, and other times it's a negative, right? So again, that's going to be different for people. And you know your pet is training you, right, and you have the ability to train your pet. So, yeah, and it's again, it's those choices and recognize even I mean even myself I'm laying on the floor. Why am I doing this, right?

Ellen:

Right.

Kali:

Get the cat out of the bed.

Ellen:

I mean, kelly, do you feel that there are certain issues that are the hardest, or the hardest at midlife, to try and correct?

Kali:

I certainly think boundaries and saying no and doing less. I mean three different ways of saying the same thing, basically, but everything takes longer than we think it will. Life happens and so having space for those things, I think it's very hard for a lot of people. We want to do things. We're passionate about our work or our hobbies, or we want to help other people in our lives, we want to support them, we want to volunteer. We want to do all the things.

Tish:

Yeah.

Kali:

Often that's at the sacrifice of our sleep and our self-care time, our time to just really rest and decompress and process what we've already done. This is why I think a lot of times the mind chatter happens at 3 in the morning. We wake up and then there's that quiet and suddenly ideas come up.

Tish:

It's like being in the shower.

Kali:

There's nothing else to do. And then suddenly you have this great insight how do we make some more space for those things to happen? During the day, when we're slammed back to back to back, that doesn't happen. There's no space for that. Guess what? When you wake up at 3 AM, there's space for that. It's going to come up.

Tish:

No, I think. Another surprise for me about your book was when you have the significant lack of sleep, the negativity that enters your life, your negative thoughts, your negative self-talk. It leads to lower levels of gratitude, I don't know. It ignites drama in your life and just have just the overall impact that sleep has. It is amazing, whether it's our relationships with other people or ourselves. Can you give us some more insight into sleep and that negativity?

Kali:

Well, I think humans naturally have a negative bias. We also have a recency bias which, when it comes to our sleep, is a double whammy, so to speak. We remember the last bad thing that happened to us. Again, it's that focus on what's not working, what do I need to fix, what are my problems, versus training your brain to say, well, what is working? There's got to be something. What is one positive I can hang onto? What is one positive I can make more space for? Studies have shown that when we cultivate positive emotions and positive ways of speaking to ourselves and this is partly how coaching works, but we actually broaden our thinking, we see you and more creative ways to solve problems. That negativity and that self-talk is contracting. It's making us see fewer possibilities. This is why people get stuck and why the mindset and the self-talk is so important. There could be a solution right there, but you're not going to see it, because you are so focused and so tunneled on the negativity Naturally wired to have, that negativity is the survival mechanism. We need to intentionally practice bringing ourselves back into what is working Right. You have one night of good sleep and six nights, of course. What happened on that one night?

Ellen:

Right, take that away that I had a good night of sleep.

Kali:

You know what's good about that. Your body knows how to do it.

Ellen:

You just proved it Right. Well, I really enjoyed, Kelly, this idea of bookend routines in your book. I'm sure all of us remember when we had kids those of us that did it was like dinner bed, bath, story time, bed. It's like having those bookends I think is a really cool thing. But what I see from your approach is that nothing is really fast. It's a 12-week approach which I can see taking out to six months or always coming back to because it's that foundation. Maybe you can just share with our listeners again why this long-term approach is better and why combining it with this therapeutic yoga and coaching is really the holy trinity.

Kali:

Yes, Well, I think we talked about that a little bit when we talked about the quick fixes. Right, right, when people have been looking for tips and tricks and hacks and you've tried all the things and they are meant to be quick, yet five years later, 10 years later, 20 years later I joke, but I see clients like that all the time Right, clearly that doesn't work.

Tish:

Yeah.

Kali:

It's like anything else. These things are fad diets of sleep. You know what happens when you go on a fad diet you might lose five pounds, you gain back 10.

Ellen:

Right, it's a lifestyle change. You need a lifestyle change for sleep 100 percent.

Kali:

That happened slowly over time so that it sticks. It's part of why I do coach for 12 weeks. If you have to struggling for six months. Even three months is not too long. Set a foundation for not just improving your sleep now, but knowing how to adapt when things happen. We never sleep in a perfect situation, ellen you might get your sleep to a better place in your own home. But then you have to travel.

Ellen:

Right.

Kali:

Then you have a house guest or people have. They change jobs, they retire. I mean, life is a constant change. How do we learn the skills and the process of shifting when life shifts? That's what I want to do with my coaching. I want to look myself out of the job. I want to help people learn to coach themselves, to take a step, say okay, this is happening, I know what to do. Or I know what to experiment with. I know what to get curious about. I know how to get myself back in a rhythm.

Tish:

Yeah, yeah, kelly, I know we could probably talk another hour on this topic because it is so important to us, and I just want to just say to our listeners you need to get this book, you need to try this new approach. If you have tried all these quick fixes in the past and they have not worked for you, or you've been on long-term medication and you don't want to do that anymore, this really may be what you need to do. It's such a unique approach and I think that's what excited us so much about it and the reason that we wanted to talk to you today.

Ellen:

Yeah, I just want to add. I agree, it's called Mastering your Sweet Puzzle. We'll put a link to it in our show notes and, as Kelly talked about today, she is a coach and that is an option for some of our listeners as well, who want a little bit more than just reading the book.

Tish:

So Now, Kelly, we always have this one question. We're going to spring it on you today that we've asked a lot of our guests what do you think your superpower is?

Kali:

Oh my gosh, it's a little bit, maybe, weird. I have the uncanny ability to be invisible you might think of the bad things in some regards because I mean, I am out there, I do corporate talks, I do webinars, I teach yoga, obviously in front of people all the time, but I also have this ability to just sort of disappear and hide in plain sight, and what that does for me is it helps me to observe to really watch how people interact, to be sensitive to small movements or energetic signatures of how people are interacting with one another. And it's really helpful, especially in coaching, when I can pick up on those little things, because in crowds I can stand there and people will not see me. And it's also great because I'm a bit of an introvert. Again, I'm out there doing talks and coaching people and things like that. But I do need my time to be by myself and I can do that in public, which I think is pretty great because that's my rest. Right, that's my recovery.

Ellen:

I love it. What a great superpower. Kelly, thank you so much for being here with us today, and you are definitely helping me master my sleep, so thank you, until next week, midlifers.

Struggling With Sleep and Sleep Coaching
Understanding Sleep as a Puzzle
The Importance of Sleep for Longevity
Sleep and the Immune System
Understanding the Importance of Sleep
Improve Sleep, Set Goals Through Coaching
Importance of Sleep and Long-Term Approaches
Kelly's Invisible Superpower