Sleep! Are you and your kids getting enough? | 031


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About this Episode

Brett and Ellen discuss the importance of sleep for both children and adults, exploring its effects on mental, physical, and emotional health. They share insights on how sleep impacts learning and behaviour, offer practical tips for improving sleep quality, and emphasise the importance of establishing healthy sleep routines.

🎧 Tune into this episode on Apple Podcasts here. 

Key Points:

  • Brett’s Personal Experience: Brett shares his journey with sleep issues due to a broken nose and the importance of addressing sleep problems.
  • Sleep Studies: Discussion on sleep studies indicates many children and teenagers do not get enough sleep.
  • Importance of Sleep: Sleep is vital for physical repair, mental health, emotional processing, and cognitive function.
  • Stages of Sleep: Explanation of the four stages of sleep—light sleep, deep sleep, REM sleep—and their significance.
  • Teenagers and Sleep: Challenges teenagers face with sleep, including late-night habits and the importance of routine.
  • Tips for Better Sleep: Establish a consistent sleep schedule.
  • Parental Involvement: Parents should model good sleep habits and help children understand the importance of sleep.

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🎧 Tune into this episode on Apple Podcasts here. 


Brett (00:01)
Hello and welcome to another episode of Future Learners. I am your host, Brett Campbell, CEO and chairman of Euka Future Learning. And I’m joined by my amazing co-host, Ellen Brown, our amazing founder and head of education. How are you today, Ellen?

Ellen (00:18)
Very well, thanks, Brett.

Brett (00:20)
First of all, to our OG listeners and those listeners who do listen every week. we do put out a slight apology for the delay in our programming. if you are watching us on YouTube, you’ll probably be looking at me going, what is on your nose, Brett? I’ve got tape wrapped over my nose and, a couple of weeks ago, I underwent some surgery as it relates to, I had a broken nose about four years ago and you know, I didn’t get it fixed at the time and I let it slowly just become a normal thing for me and it started affecting my breathing and my sleeping and a whole heap of things. And, I decided it was time to get it fixed. So we’ve had to have a little delay in our programming, but we are back. and if you’re going to go poke some fun at me, go jump on the YouTube video and you can comment about the tape hanging over my nose. I’ve still got to have that on for a couple more weeks, Ellen. but interestingly, Ellen, you brought up a topic that you’d love to speak about. and that is quite, timely as part of my surgery and part of the reason why I had the surgery was to assist with my breathing, which effectively helped assist with sleeping, which is quite interesting. And that’s what you wanted to talk about today.

Ellen (01:32)
Yes, certainly a hot topic for parents. Some people think it’s a hot topic for parents with little ones in their house, but it’s also a really important topic for people who’ve got teenagers in their house. So that would be good to talk about.

Brett (01:39)

Yeah. Yeah. Just off camera, we were talking about sleeping and I’ve, I’ve spent a lot of time studying sleep over the years because of one, I’ve been fascinated with it. And, and I got introduced to the concept of sleep. you know, in the early days of being a health professional and, and this was circa, what are we talking 15, 16 years ago now? And then you start to uncover that, you know, sleepers and just shutting your eyes and then reopening your eyes and you’re energized and something magical happened the night before.

Yeah. There’s lots that go into it as it relates to sleep and we’re, we’re living in a time now, you know, as we’re sort of recording this in 2024, where there’s an entire sleep movement occurring, you know, and people are looking at all these little different nuances that they can use to hack to, to, to get that extra one, two, three, four, 5 % out of their sleep. to, you know, enhance their longevity and a whole heap of other, other hosts of reasons.

And for the sake of this podcast, we’re not going to go into it that in-depth right now. because you know, number one, we’re not the world-renowned sleep experts per se. And what I will do is just at the outset of this if you’re really fascinated by the concept of sleep, I would really recommend going to listen to there’s a podcast series, from a gentleman called Andrew Huberman.

I’m called Schubertman Labs and he’s, a scientist. and he, you know, specializes in brain function and so on and so forth. And he got, one of the foremost, you’d say leaders in sleep, onto his podcast called Matthew. I forget the gentleman’s last name, Matthew Wolf. I won’t, I won’t bungle that last name, but his name is Matthew anyway. And they literally did like a 10-hour, it was over like five podcasts.

a 10-hour podcast on all elements of sleep and the latest science and all of that. So what we’ll do is we’ll digest a fair bit of that and, and give, because I don’t think the majority of people need to go into that nuance of sleep and, and to the depths of it, because first things first are we really just need to start getting a good average night’s sleep. And there’s a lot of things that we can do ourselves as adults and also preparing our children in order to be able to, start at a basic foundation, you know, if you want to become superhuman, then you can go down all those, those rabbit hole nuances and take the specific certain supplement at a specific exact time before you go to sleep and daddy da. but this, for the sake of this episode, let’s, let’s keep, we’ll try and keep it,, as high level as we possibly can, but also with some really good tangible takeaways that you can utilise. And, like we always do, I think this podcast is to try and at least get you to go away and start thinking about this topic a little bit differently and seeing how important it may, well, hopefully, you realize how important sleep actually is in the overall benefit of your life as well. So where do you want to kick off, Ellen?

Ellen (04:59)
I thought it was really interesting. There’s a study that I had looked through and it was talking about, it was actually having kids themselves report on how they felt their sleep was and it was really, look, I think, I’m not sure if I think I might have sent you the figures, Brett, I don’t know if you’ve got hold of them, but just the fact that the majority of kids themselves didn’t feel like they were getting enough sleep was very interesting to me because it’s so interesting how when they’re young,

They feel like they just wish they didn’t ever have to go to bed. And then when they’re teenagers, it’s like sometimes a struggle to get them out of bed. So it’s such an extreme. So I guess we’ll just start with what should we expect as parents and even why is sleep so important is something we need to talk about. We all know we need sleep or we get grumpy, but what happens to kids and what happens to our brains when we don’t get what we need?

Brett (05:52)
Yeah, absolutely. And to your point there, that article, stated around one in 10 boys reported not getting enough sleep at the age of 12 to 13. one in eight at 14 to 15 years old and one in five at 16 to 17 years old. which is quite interesting. quite, I, when I looked at that, I was like, I reckon if you had asked me every morning when I was 16, if I felt like I had enough sleep, even if I had 12 hours, I would have said no.

Cause you to know, as, as a young, as a young boy, I think all I’ve wanted to do like now as an adult and having a, having a three-year-old, I couldn’t even fathom the desire to want to sleep till 10 AM or 11 AM. But as a kid, I loved it. You know, I loved it, but yeah, it’s that the point though itself is whether or not there is a perceived value of whether are they getting enough sleep. If they’re reporting that themselves of now I’m not getting enough sleep. That tells me one of two things either.

One, they’re actually not and they’re sleep deprived. Or number two is they are actually getting enough or even more than enough and they’re probably overtired from sleeping too long, which again, we can get into that. Or the most important element, which it sort of highlights to me when I see information like that is I just don’t think there’s enough education around. If you go and ask a 16-year-old or a 15-year-old or 14-year-old boy, how much sleep do you think you should be getting a night?

I’d love to know how many of them would actually get the accurate number. I mean, there’s a number thrown around eight hours, right? It’s a third of our life basically, which is I guess a good starting block and a starting benchmark. But when you get into the biology and the chemistry of sleep, it’s actually quite interesting because every single person is different. Some people operate much better off six hours of sleep. Some operate better off eight, some operate better off nine. There’s a lot of nuance in this.

Also just to be super cautious. And as we say with every podcast and everything, every bit of information we share is, you know, take the information and explore it further. And don’t hold every metric that you hear, especially even from us or anywhere out there on the internet as the actual gospel of, my God, I didn’t get this exact amount of sleep. You’ve got to be able to function how you best function as well. But there are sort of limits to it.

there are certainly limits to, how much your body really requires. but it comes back to what I just mentioned there is the education around it. I don’t think the majority of people really realise why sleep is important. Yeah. Sleep can almost be seen as a redundant something. So, well, I went to turn my switch off for eight hours. It’s boring. I don’t do like, I want to be doing things. Right. But we also need to understand how the body functions, how the body works, what the body needs, to be able to repair and yeah.

rejuvenate itself. So that’s a really good starting spot.

Ellen (08:47)
Yep. I like what you said.

Yeah, I like what you said there, Brett. I feel like that is absolutely the key when it comes to teenagers. You know, I’m right in the midst of teenagers, so it always comes back to my mind. And one of the reasons that I think that teenagers don’t necessarily value their sleep and they’ll often go to sleep very late in the night and things like that and sleeping in late is not understanding the benefits for themselves.

They often are still in that mindset where, well, it’s something I’ve been told to do by my parents. I’ve got to go to sleep because my parents are, but they’re not understanding that actually if they want to be at their peak, and they do, they want to be growing, they want to be able to, you know, perform as they want to with sports or with friends, and they want to have mental clarity, the things that they actually do want themselves if they can start seeing sleep.

as something they’re doing for themselves and not something that they’re doing to obey a rule because you know how teenagers feel about rules. So if they’re actually thinking this is something proactive for me, it’s a whole different mind shift in the way they look at sleep.

Brett (09:58)
Yeah. And so, so let’s start. I’ll give a real brief explanation of, you know, sleep itself and the, and the basic stages of sleep and why it’s really important. And also I’ll frame it in a way on how we can be sharing that with our children as well. Cause I think that’s the, that’s the most important part. So, yeah. Number one, you have to realise why don’t kids want to sleep. Well, cause they probably want to be doing other things that are fun. that they would prefer to be spending their time doing right. Playing video games, right? Or out. Yeah.

outward friends or you fill in the blank of what it is that they like to do. And like everything there needs to be a reframing as to the importance of it. So for me, as an example, and again, you know, I used to love playing sports. I’d play all physical sports, rugby league, et cetera, et cetera, as a kid. Little did I know that sleep was

a repair function, right? So sleep does a number of things that it helps us physically repair. So when our bodies have been hurt or bumped or bruised, or scratched, or we’ve just had a hard day, labour, picking weeds in the backyard, or whatever it is that we’ve been doing, not a few of those days, I tell you pushing that lawnmower, your body needs to physically be able to repair. And it’s hard to repair whilst it’s still in action and still in movement. Sleep

helps with the physical repair of any sort of ailments that we have. It also helps with the mental repair, right? So we obviously, our brains are functioning, you know, at a rapid pace every single day, you know, got circa 60 to 80,000 thoughts that we have every single day, which when you even think about that, it’s a lot of thoughts to be having and a lot of decisions that we need to be making. But our brains are very smart, right? Our brains are very smart, but your brain also needs a bit of a refresh, right?

you imagine that the software, so your brain is hardware, but it runs all these software programs, just like your computer. If you don’t, if you don’t restart your computer every couple of weeks, or even your iPhone if most people just went and turned their iPhone off now and restarted it, they’ll be like, my God, moves a lot faster. It’s working way better. Right? So there’s this, there’s this mental function that it needs to repair itself as well. Then there’s also the chemical and hormonal repairs that go on alongside all of those, yeah, physical and mental ailments, because

We don’t see what internally happens to our body when we’ve had a physically and mentally stressful day, right? But what it has essentially done is released a cascade of hormones into our body and our body’s fighting it with other hormones to bring it back to equilibrium and back to balance to where we should be operating as, you know, as a natural human being. The only time it really gets to appear is when you’re having rest when you’re asleep. So again, that whole thing of explaining to a young child that, you know,

Obviously sleep may seem boring, but sleeping is the superpower that we need to be able to function the next day to have more fun, to have better moods, and to have a better life in many cases. And that’s why right now there is this movement around sleep on how we can sleep hack and how we can do all these different things to help regulate that. So it starts with understanding that sleep functions like that. It also helps to understand that

Biologically, our bodies are designed to sleep and it is in relation to the sun. Right? Like it’s, if you look at there’s a hormone called melatonin that we naturally secrete in our body that when you start to get tired, sorry, when the sun starts to go down, your body will naturally start to secrete melatonin. This can start anywhere from like, you know, two o ‘clock in the afternoon slowly.

So that by the time it’s like eight, nine, 10 PM, you’ve got all the melatonin secreted. You know, your, your body’s starting to feel like, I’m tired. It’s, it’s not by chance that you’re tired. It’s not just because you’ve been running around the household day, right? There’s, there’s multiple studies being done in areas like Finland and so forth, where it’s like a 24-hour Sunday that they have to put themselves into the secretion mode or else their body starts to get disturbed because it’s not releasing hormones. So

sleep is an absolutely biological natural thing that has to occur and has been happening since the dawn of man. Right. And when the sun comes back up, your body starts to release cortisone adrenaline to be able to wake itself up to go, okay, I’m here now I’m ready. So there’s a natural circadian rhythm that your body actually follows itself as well. So those are the like the basic foundations that you know, sleepers in an accident.

It’s not optional. It’s, it’s really a compulsory part of living. and you’ll know that by when you have a lot of lack of it, you’re certainly not operating even remotely at a capacity that you should. So let me, let me explain how the general phase of sleep works. So, you know, we put our head down, we go to sleep. There are essentially four phases, four stages that we go through. The first is.

you’ll go into like a light sleep. Okay. And if you’re anything like me, so, you know, I’ve got the, the ring, the aura ring that you put on and you’re tested every morning. I’m looking at my app. I’m like, how much light sleep did I get? Okay. We’re like, and I get to track my sleep and it’s, it’s a bit, it’s a bit of a bit of gamification now, I suppose to me, but your first stage is you go into that sort of light sleep and your brain starts to slow down. you know, basically replaces the alpha brain waves that we have that

makes you start to become a bit more drowsy and your body starts to, you know, starts to relax. Then there’s stage two of light sleep where your heart rate and your body temperature both decrease, right? Body temperature put a big, big circle around that. Cause that’s a really big predicate to having a really good night’s sleep. And that’s why in the middle of summer in Queensland if you don’t have air-con, you’re going to be struggling in sleep because your body has to decrease its temperature in order for it to be able to relax. So

That’s what happens in stage two of light sleep. And essentially it continues your transition towards deeper sleep, which is the third stage, which is essentially the deep sleep. That’s when you’re like, you’re zonked out and your brain waves are basically at their slowest, right? Your brain isn’t doing too much. You’re in the, as a kid, I would have been in deep sleep once when

Literally 300 meters down the road from me, there was a motorcycle factory literally blew up and exploded. Everyone in the street, everyone in the street woke up in the morning. I was walking to school. I’m like, what happened here? Like, I think I was the only one in the street that didn’t wake up. So I was definitely in deep sleep there. So that’s when you’re like trying to shake someone and they’re like, yeah, they’re not moving right there. And they’re in a deep sleep. Okay. and in deep sleep, your body physically starts to repair itself. You start to boost your immune system.

And that’s where you restore your bone muscle and tissue. That’s where the physical, physical elements start to happen when you’re in that deep sleep. And then we move to the fourth stage of sleep, right? This is called REM sleep, which is essentially an acronym for rapid eye movement. Okay. At this stage, your brain activity looks very similar to how it would look if you were awake. This is essentially the dream state where, you know,

Yeah. Sometimes when you like your wake up, you’re like, my God, I’m still asleep. And you and you can go in and out and you’re in this sort of zone because there are the commonalities where your brain does look very similar to when you are awake. You experienced a loss of muscle tone, except for your eyes. and that’s what’s called rapid eye movement where your eyes are moving a lot faster. and your breathing becomes irregular and your heart rate rises. Okay. Cause you’ve moved out of the sleep phase and now you’re

your, your eyes, essentially, and they picked this up. Actually, there was a, they found this in infants, excuse me, when they were observing eye movement through sleep. And, it was at that stage of sleep that they realised that there’s, there’s a lot happening in the brain capacity. Cause your brain just basically lights up. And what generally happens is most people, if they do wake up throughout the night and myself, for example, so I’ll wake up once or twice throughout the night.

And I’ll, it’ll always be at the end of a rim cycle, right? It’ll always be at the end of a rim cycle. If I’m ever woken up in the middle of a deep sleep, like if, if you’ve ever been woken up in the middle, we all have, but if you’re woken up in the middle of a deep sleep, you’ll feel like it’ll be very like sudden shock to you because you, your brain is not, it’s gone from absolutely relaxed state to fight or flight immediately. my God, I shouldn’t be awake.

So that’s when you’re like here, bang outside and you’re like, you just get sudden, suddenly awoken, but that generally happens in that cycle can happen multiple times throughout the night. Right. so that’s a, that’s a very, very high level of the four stages. I’m happy, to hand it to you, Alan, if you want to share anything, then what I think will be valuable is I’ll share about REM sleep itself and why it’s really important. there’s got a few points around that as well.

Ellen (19:34)
I love what you’re sharing there. I’m certainly learning a bit about sleep myself because I didn’t realise the science behind it. But what I do realise is the consequences of not having enough of it when it comes to your kids. So, you know, when they’re… And this is the thing I think is interesting, the link between emotions and…

the way that they handle specific situations when they haven’t had enough sleep. And certainly, when they’re young, you always know it, you always say, they haven’t had enough sleep. You know, it’s almost the excuse for every bit of behaviour that’s out of the ordinary when they’re very young. When they become teenagers, as a parent, it’s really helpful to start thinking about how much sleep have they had. Not that you walk in every minute and go, are they asleep or where are they? But even helping them to track that themselves and will…

Brett (20:16)

Ellen (20:29)
It’s just another thing that helps you to understand where they’re at when they might be a bit snappy or they might be not able to really comprehend or process what you’re trying to share with them. And you can say to yourself, actually, I know that they didn’t have enough sleep. They need more sleep as a teenager than as an adult. That’s certainly a stage where they’re doing a lot of growing, a lot of things happening. And so, you know, the studies say they need a lot more sleep. So even as a parent, it helps you

to understand how to relate better with them when you can have a bit of an idea of how they are going with their sleep.

Brett (21:04)
Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. And there’s a few points there and we’ll talk about, we’ll get into sort of sleep timing and stuff in a minute, but I’ll just touch off because I talked a little bit about deep sleep where it’s more of a physical repair, et cetera. And again, I’m keeping this very high level. There are lots of nuances to all of this, but the REM sleep and its importance is there are really about five key drivers as to why REM sleep is really important. One is it is that dreaming state where that’s where the majority of dreams happen. You can dream in other states as well, but

REM sleep is generally where the dream element comes from. There’s the emotional processing, right? This is where in deep sleep, your brain fits, like your body’s physically repairing, but in REM sleep, it is the emotional processing. So your brain’s really doing a bit of cleaning of your software and giving you the latest version of yourself. So that’s a very, very important part because…

Yeah, there’s a part of your brain called the amygdala and your amygdala is the place that is the control center and it processes your emotions. And, you know, if someone’s waking up, you know, miserable and they’re not feeling great, or they’re just generally they, you could probably track that back to going, well, how much REM sleep did we get? Well, did we just have a disturbed night, et cetera, etcetera? The other is memory, right? Memory is a very, very, very powerful tool that can get

very, very affected. So I went through a stage of like really poor sleep myself. And that is one of the biggest things outside of feeling tired, because feeling tired, you can, as a human, we generally can, we can deal with that. Yeah, we’ve all been tired before sort of a means to an end. I mean, I’ve got a three-year-old now. I think I feel tired every day, but those are, those are just different situations. But when you start feeling your memory and you’re actually, I can’t remember like,

Ellen (22:33)
Thank you.

Brett (22:58)
you can start to feel the cognitive decline that you’re feeling. And for me, especially as, you know, when I’m communicating a lot throughout the day with multiple different types of people, I know when I’m sharp and I know when I’m really struggling to try and piece words together and explain certain situations. And that generally can link back to, and I can have a look at it. And I’m like, well, I just haven’t had the appropriate amount of REM sleep over the last…

And it’s not like last night I had bad rem. It’s like, it’s generally cascaded over a period of time as well. Right. So you don’t just look at your sleep and great. I had a great sleep last night, but I’m still feeling a bit bad or down or this or that. Yeah. Look at your sleep over a period of time, over days and weeks. Right. the other obviously is brain development. Brain development is obviously very, very important. and you have brain development, especially, for infants, is a really, really important area for brain development.

and then of course the wakefulness preparation, which is the other element of REM. You know, when I said earlier, you could, if you’re in a deep sleep and you just get shut it out of it, it’s like, it feels like the bloody world’s ending. You’re like, what’s going on? This is, you know, so the REM sleep actually prepares through the activation of your nervous system, to help you start to prepare, to be okay, to potentially be awake. If, you’re not going to drop back down into another sort of light REM, light, deep REM cycle as well.

so those are five really key important areas. And now we start to, when we combine all this information of the physical repairing, the mental ability, your emotions, your ability to cognitively be aware, the ability to have a desire to want to learn to et cetera, et cetera. These are all important elements that happen when you shut your eyes, right? We’re just so lucky and blessed that our bodies are these unbelievable tools that

figure it all out and we just have to literally all we have to do is pretty much lay there shut our eyes and go to sleep now again it’s not as easy as that so let’s talk about some things that we could do to prepare to hopefully get the best night’s sleep that we can possibly have so I’d love to hear any thoughts you have and then I’ll sort of I’ll share a number of fairly basic things that we could be doing just to be aware of

Ellen (25:16)
Sure. One of the things that popped into my mind as you were explaining how REM sleep helps you prepare for waking is the idea that quite often, certainly when kids are getting a bit older and certainly when they’re homeschooling, they can get out of rhythm with their sleep where they’re sort of staying up later because they don’t have to jump on a school bus tomorrow morning at eight o ‘clock. And so it can become a bit of a bad habit where they’re going to bed later and later and then they’re waking up.

you know, later and later. And as a parent, that feeling like, go wake them up and then we’ll get started. It really did make me think when you’re talking about that REM sleep, that the idea’s got to be to get into that habit of the earlier sleeping start, rather than thinking, just go wake them up and wondering why they’re not jumping into their learning that day. They are grumpy or they’re just emotional, you know.

Brett (26:01)


Ellen (26:12)
It’s another thing to think about as a parent of a homeschooler because it’s certainly a trap. It’s almost like every night’s a Friday night and it can be a bit of a trap as a parent.

Brett (26:22)

Well, what, let me talk to that point for a second, because there are a couple of really good pieces. Number one is if your child’s sleeping in long into the morning, again, if I looked at this in first principles and I’m trying to solve this as, what’s going on here? My first question would be, but when did they go to sleep? Right? Like I know there’s a, I’m a night person. I get like, I know people who go to sleep at like one, one 32 AM. I’m just like, my goodness. Like I understand.

why you’re doing it, because that’s currently how you’re living and that’s the situation, but they’ll sleep through to 10, 10, 30, 11 a in the morning. I’m just like, now I know some people, parents, especially on obviously shift work, I’ve done that before. When I moved to Australia many years ago, I was working in a nightclub during the night whilst I was studying during the day. So yeah, I’d…

Go to the nightclub at about 10 PM and I’d be walking home at 530 AM in the morning when the sun was up and I’d have to try and force myself to try to go to sleep. And then I wake up at about one PM in the afternoon. I’ll be like, my goodness. It’s like, I just felt so off-kilter and it was because I was off-kilter. My body’s trying to fight the sun and the way that our body chemistry is working now. You know, so, and again, it doesn’t take much. You don’t have to look at too many studies as it relates to shift working.

Shorter lifespans and so on and so forth. And it’s related to this unfortunate lack of sleep. It’s not about how long were you lying in bed. It was like the quality of the sleep that you’re getting. Okay. so to that point though, if your child’s sleeping in really long into the morning, I’d be going, well, what time did they actually go to sleep? Not, that we turned the light off at nine, but they’re on their iPad or phone or they snuck something in and, you know, busy till 2 am chatting to whomever on whatever chat site, right? Like,

the, we’ve got to be cautious of where that starts from. But to where you said, and this is a really valuable one instead of running and going, all right, get your butt out of bed or come on, it’s time to get up. Go in and open the curtains and let the sun wake them up. Right? Let them naturally, let them come out of their sleep. Even that is in itself. Right? I mean, it’s not going to kill them if you wake them up in their deep sleep, but it will naturally help set them, set them up for a bit of mood. Right? Because

Ellen (28:48)

Brett (28:49)
No one likes to be pulled out of a deep sleep.

Ellen (28:53)
No, and look, unfortunately, I think sometimes, I think most teenagers would say, I’m a night person because everybody’s available to talk to at night or to play games with at night. So it makes them become a night person. In the end, after many, many years myself, I had to do what we did when they were young and say, a routine works because if it doesn’t, how can you enjoy the weekend or how can you enjoy it?

school holiday time, if every day is the same, you don’t get that buzz that, good, it is Friday night, it is something different. And so working with them and certainly what you’ve said, even sharing this podcast with teenagers to understand why actually, you know, teenagers will go to great lengths to have the right protein shake to make sure they’re getting the bigger muscles and they do. If they actually understood that having sleep is a body repair and it’s actually going to put them ahead.

they’ll actually see the value of it, you know, and they’ll, and then it’ll be easier to say, well, what kind of routine could we set up? What would work for you? So you’ve got time to socialize at nighttime so that you can then wake up at a decent time during the week. And it’s hard for everyone to understand it’s never easy to get out of bed, especially when it’s cold like it is at the moment. So it’s not going to be easy to get out of bed, but that’s not a signal to stay in there. And just getting a bit of a routine that they’ve got buy-in.

because you don’t want your whole life as a parent to be walking and going, it’s 9 .30, you’re not out of it. You don’t want that, you want them to buy into this. This podcast will really help them understand why they can be their own best friend when it comes to sleep.

Brett (30:30)

Yeah. And the word you said there that’s key is routine. Okay. So a lot of the sleep data that you’ll find is, you know, some of the most basic tips that anyone can adhere to as it relates to sleep is one, having a consistent bedtime. So setting your time and whether you’re, you’re asleep by eight 30, nine 30, 10 30, having a consistent sleep time. So your body can get into that routine.

is absolutely beneficial from again, a lot of the literature coming out as well. even at the weekend, you know, I know it’s like, I’d like to have a sleep at the weekend. It’s like, well, yeah, again, the perfect world. Yeah. If you’re trying to fully optimize it it’s get up, go to sleep and get up at the same time. Every single day. I’m just lucky. I’ve got a three-year-old. There’s no sleep in the weekend. We’ve got to, we’ve got a fairly good routine that we’ve, we’ve managed to get ourselves into. I mean, by the time for me personally,

I’m the type of person that by the time we put a little bed, I’m having a shower. I’m probably listening to a podcast from doing some reading a book and then I’m on lights out by eight:30, you know? but again, that’s me because right? That’s, that’s where I’m at right now in my current phase. And I need a lot of them, the mental repair and the physical pair and so on and so forth. as well, because, you know, the funny thing is, is, is you realize how

How strong the human body is when it comes to having children, right? Is, yeah, I was told one of the biggest things by a lot of people would say, say goodbye to your sleep. I’m like, nah, it’d be right. Sleep is fine. I do a right off a little bit of sleep, but it’s, it’s not the, the overall time of sleep. It’s, the quality of sleep that you’re getting. Yeah. So as a highly strung person, when I say highly strung, just someone who has lots of things occurring and lots of responsibilities.

And we all have responsibilities. but you know, as it sort of compounds itself I’m the type of person that I’ve been, I’ve been working for years. When I wake up, if I’m not back to sleep within like three minutes, I’m, I’m up for 45 minutes an hour. My brain’s just going. Right. So I, I am, I’m almost in that. And that’s again, the attraction for me to go, okay, what are these extra two, three per cent is that I could do to enhance my sleep and track it and get it better because.

I know I optimize, as a far better functioning human when I’ve had good quality sleep. So a few things there is one is the regular time. number two is the wind down into sleep. Right. And I know pretty much 99 % of people listening to this podcast, I guarantee you the last thing you do before you go to sleep, as you say good night to your phone, you put your phone on your bedside table, after scrolling through whatever app you’ve been scrolling through. Right. The crazy thing is we all know it. We all know that that’s not good.

The light that admitted the blue light from your phone is not good. The last tweet that you have seen or the last tick-tok video that you saw whatever it was, some post on Facebook or this or that your, your brain chemistry and your body chemistry are reacting to what you’re seeing. Right. And this was a hard one for me. Cause I, again, I put my hand up here. I’m certainly not perfect as you know, I’m probably as addicted to my phone as, as a lot of people in many ways.

And I have to naturally force myself to put things in place that allow me to sort of separate myself from that. Right. Even down to the point where I had to delete certain apps. Cause I was like, this app is just consuming me. So I’m deleting it off my phone. Cause there is no way that I can just have it on there and moderately control it. So again, know your, know your vices, know your habits and put a plan around something that’s going to work for yourself. The best is don’t have your phone in your room.

I remember I was running a workshop, Ellen, probably about circa 2015. And I was talking about sleep and how we can optimize our sleep and some things that we could do. Got everyone in the audience. We’re creating out, you know, we’re creating a new routine. we’re like, and generally when you’ve run workshops and you’ve run them multiple times, you know, what pretty much every objection will be. And I got to the point where it’s like, okay, so no phones in your room. How about that? The first rebuttal is, what will I use for, my alarm?

So what did people use before they had a mobile phone or an iPhone? You know, like, so there’s always an excuse that we make, as adults. but I can’t do that because of this. I can’t do that because of this. It’s like, there’s other ways. There are actually clocks out there that you can go and purchase that you don’t need to have an alarm or a Facebook or an Instagram app on. Right. So that preparation into sleep. And for me personally, I suggest.

about an hour prior to your ideal sleep time. So if you’re aiming to be asleep by nine o ‘o’clock, then at least by eight o ‘o’clock, you need to separate yourself from, any technology,, anything that can put you into a totally different mindset. Cause you got to remember, you’ve got to prepare your body to go to sleep. It’s not a matter of, all right, I’m going to bed now. And then you just lay in there because there’s a thing called sleep latency and sleep latency is how long your body actually takes to fall asleep.

Right. Which actually calculates in and is a predicate to the overall quality of your sleep. Right. So if you’re someone and you don’t generally fall asleep within 10, 15 minutes and your sleep latency is going to, you know, it’ll give you a really bad sort of sleep score. Because if you’re laying and being like tossing turns, you can’t sleep. It’s because you imagine just going, walking out of a concert and then you just jump straight into bed. Like there’s from straight from the concert into bed. Now, obviously the concerts are very, you know,

higher out there alarming example, but the point is, is if you’re not sort of slowly cascading yourself off, because if you remember your hormones have already started at circa two o ‘clock to go, Hey, we’re getting ourselves prepped. And, if we’re fighting it with lights and TVs and iPads and all of these, these distractions, then we’re not preparing ourselves for sleep. Right? So again, preparation is very important. That’s more about the things you should avoid prior to sleep. And

Another main one is temperature. That’s a really, really big one. yet it’s interesting when I talk to a lot of people that go, yeah, I sleep really well in the hotel. And I’m like, yeah, it’s not surprising because most people when they go to hotels, they have the air con on and they have the air con on running all the time and it’s cold and you can sleep well in cold. That’s why most people sleep better in winter in most cases, cause it’s cooler, right? Body temperature is an absolute.

massive, massive indicator of whether are you able to fall asleep and then not only that stay asleep, right? There’s, there’s businesses now that are out there. I mean, when I was a kid, I had an electric blanket, right, which was a, in winter, it would heat you up. Right. But if we had an arm back then, you should have a cooling blanket on your bed that can actually put your body to a nice temperature. So you can start to sleep and stay asleep for longer.

Temperature is a very, very big one. Cause again, imagine a car and we’re just, it’s overheating. You need to pull over, you need to check it out. And that’s the same thing with our body. Our bodies will overheat. And again, that’s where it comes down to blankets. You know, some people, they’ll have their aircon on and they, they’ll go, they’ll set it to like turn off at like 11 PM or something, but they use it to fall off to sleep. What do you think is going to happen at 1105 PM when you’re

You’re under a set of blankets. You’re starting to get hot. The temperature of the house is dropping. You’re going to wake up and then you’re going to be disrupted again. So temperature throughout the entire night is really key. Great to help you fall asleep, but you really want to keep that temperature. And again, temperatures or the data that I’ve seen is anywhere circa, excuse me, circa 19 to 23 degrees Celsius, right?

I’m not going to say you should do it at 21 because that’s just what the study said. It’s like there are variants to it. Some people can operate a lot better. Some people can operate a little bit higher. There’s a company right now called 8 Sleep, which is blowing up. And basically they’ve just got this mattress, or they’ve got specific beds, but then they’ve brought out this new product, which essentially is like a big duvet, or sorry, a big underlay that goes over your bed and you can control your side and the other side’s temperature. So

you know, let’s say you sleep better at 21 degrees and you know, another person sleeps better at 23 degrees. You can, you can have that now again, that’s an investment. Obviously. it’s a big investment. and it’s not possible for everyone to be able to do that, but by the same token, I mean, one of the best things I think anyone can invest in is their bed. The quality of your bed and your pillows is paramount. Well, I’m the type of guy that I travel with my pillows.

I’ll have this half suitcase dedicated to my pillow because I’ve had too many nights in hotels where the pillow just wasn’t exactly right for my neck and it just disrupts me. So there’s a handful of things that we can look at and consider as it relates to sleeping. Anything else from your end or do you want to touch on there, Ellen?

Ellen (40:09)
Yeah, sure. So I think the things you’ve mentioned will be really helpful as a parent to think, well, is my child over hot? Are the blankets right for them? Is the room the right kind of temperature for them? And so while they’re younger, making those and keeping a bit of a track on that, because that way it will help you to start, especially if they’re younger, understanding whether or not maybe that’s the reason. And also, you know, that part about getting off your device.

before you go to bed, that’s always a tricky one for teenagers because that is what they’ve been doing before they’re ready to go to bed. So, you know, helping them to come up with something that they can do an activity they can do for a bit of time before they actually go to sleep between those two things. And like I always said, make sure that you’re getting by and talk through that with them, get them to give you some suggestions. At the same time, what you’ve been talking about and how that will help you as a parent.

is really important because we can spend all our time, I know I spend all my time wondering if is right for the kids or is that right or what to do with it. And I often forget about thinking through what I need. Am I getting enough sleep? Am I reacting to my child in this way because I haven’t had enough sleep and how’s that affecting me? So taking the time as a parent to think about your own sleep is a really great opportunity to say, well, I wanna optimize.

my role as well and make sure that that’s something important for me as well.

Brett (41:36)
Hmm. I think that ties into, pretty much every lesson that we try and share on the show is if you, as the parents start to pay interest in your sleeping, it’ll naturally flow down through into your children. Cause it’s your standard, your standard way of living. Like even now with Ayla. So she’s three, we’ve got a sleep clock when it goes blue at six 30 at night. That means she needs to be in bed in her bed, ready for her story and ready for her too.

to go to sleep. In the morning, it turns yellow. She can, ideally, that’s the goal. She can now come out of her bedroom and come and run up and down the hallway and do what she needs to do. It was funny yesterday. She, because Emily goes to the gym quite early. And so I’m on daddy daycare duty every morning and I could hear footprints down the hallway. And I look at the, I look at the door and

Ellen (42:30)
and I love it.

Brett (42:34)
She put her head around the door and I said, what time is it? And she goes, she goes, the clock is not yellow yet, Daddy. I said, well, you better get back into bed. And she ran back to bed and it was like literally two minutes later, the clock, the clock went blue and she ran down. She goes, Dad, Dad, the clock’s blue. the clock’s yellow. The clock’s yellow. And, but that, that took probably like two weeks of having this clock there. And again,

Who knows if she’s going to obey the current rule that we had set, but it’s starting to create a parameter around sleep and, and what we do before sleep. Because again, before she goes to sleep, we have the routine and this is where routines are very, very powerful. One, because it’s sort of like having a cashed-like computer screen where, you know, the reason why a lot of computer-like browsers can run fast is because it’s already got the memory stored there. And.

there’s less brain power. When you have a routine, there’s less brain power required because you know that tonight at six o ”o’clock, Ayla’s in the shower. Right? So that means you know that dinner is at this time. So you’ve got a routine. And when you create a routine, it’ll naturally start to become a habit and it won’t be hard or forced or you need to force it. And if you’ve got zero routine, it’s very hard because we are routine-based, you know, humans. That’s really

We love the routine of things. Now, of course, we love to also break it sometimes and go on holidays and just do things sporadically, but you know, to function, we really need to keep into that type of routine thinking. So it’s, you know, sit down with your, with your family and with your children and, and build out what our perfect night routine look like. Like what do we do? So I know that you know, when Ayla has a shower, I know that there’s depending on, you know, a couple of other elements she might get too.

She might get one or she might get three books tonight that we can read, but it depends on other elements that wrap up into sort of our family unit. And it’s more of a reward thing, you know? and then, so, but then we know that she’s not going to be running around the house, dancing to YouTube videos at six 29. And then the clock goes blue and she has to run into bed. If it doesn’t, that’s not good preparation to sleep. Cause then she’ll lay in bed for half an hour or come, out of the room.

Ellen (44:58)
and I just wanted to say goodbye.

Brett (45:02)
20 times and we have to say, get back to bed, no, get back to bed. And it’s just like, yeah, you’re banging your head against the wall. And that was our fault. If you don’t have the routine set up for success. So we need to set our kids up for success, by starting to set ourselves up for success. So on that, Ellen, I’m exhausted. I’m going to go to sleep. not, got a big day ahead of us. So, to those of you who have gotten value from this.

please let us know if there’s anything that you’ve taken away from this episode, drop us a five-star review. We’d love to see those coming through. Of course, if you know anyone who sleeps, or anyone who thinks that they could maybe improve their sleep a little bit, please share this episode with them. We would also really appreciate that. and if we get enough comments and we get enough feedback, we will, maybe do a round two and I’ll go into, a lot deeper.

elements as it relates to sleep and how we can hack ourselves to better sleep and a better life overall. So anything else to add finally there, Alan, before we wrap this one up?

Ellen (46:12)
Look, just that it’s not too late. Like everything, there’s still time to make changes and improve where we’re at. So it’s a call to action rather than feeling like we’ve already failed.

Brett (46:27)
Yeah, that’s right. The good thing is you sleep every day so you can retry and retry again.

Alrighty, thank you so much and we will see you on the next episode.