3 Common Misconceptions That May Be Hurting Your Sleep


by The Health Sciences Academy — Get free science updates here.


If you’re a nutrition professional working with clients, you may have at one time or another hit a roadblock with their progress…

Maybe there was something slowing down their weight loss in spite their best efforts… Or perhaps they just “had to” stop for fast food rather than making a nutritious home-cooked meal.

What could be the culprit?

Could not getting proper rest be to blame?

The sleep trap

Back in the day, mentioning sleep was a “nice-to-have” part of any client plan.

We don’t have to tell you that’s no longer the case…

Today, understanding how to support a client with their sleep is a MUST-HAVE.

Why?

We often overlook sleep when it comes to helping clients achieve their health goals, but it plays a crucial role!

Without proper sleep, brain performance, fat loss, muscle recovery, hunger signals, hormones, immunity, DNA repair – they all suffer.

However…

There’s a right way and a wrong way to go about helping a client to improve their sleep…

Usually, when we start to investigate our client’s sleep habits, trying to make adjustments, we don’t often go about it in the most optimal way.

That´s why we created this quick guide: to help you support your client with their sleep quality.

So let’s start by looking at three common misconceptions that may actually be hurting their sleep…

Misconception 1. Assuming it’s all about sleep hours

The number of hours that your client sleeps is a great indicator of whether they wake up feeling refreshed and ready to tackle their daily tasks.

But it´s not the only one!

Some individuals may get the recommended 7 to 9 hours of sleep but still need an extra dose of morning coffee to give them the jolt to get out the door.

So there’s a lot more we need to investigate happening behind those 7 to 9 hours… such as interrupted sleep or not achieving “deep” sleep at all.

Or if your client gets 8 hours of sleep one night but only 5 hours the previous two nights, they may still feel tired. Why?

Because quality and consistency are also key parts of the equation!

Let’s say your client lives in a city…

And every hour a very loud train goes by their home. What’s likely to happen there?

While they may not completely wake up, that noise from the train may be limiting their “deep” sleep.

In other words, getting 8 hours of “light” sleep may not be the best quality rest.

Misconception 2. Changing all your sleep (mis)behaviours at once

With your help, your client has decided to put their sleep as a priority. Hooray!

They have decided to kick the dog out of the bed, purchase a new pillow, stop using their mobiles 2 hours before bedtime, and start going to be at the same time as their partner.

Yet, for some reason, a few days later, the dog is back, their mobile is on the bedside table, and their partner is working on a laptop…

What could be the problem now?

Perhaps too much, too soon?

Maybe that is the problem!

Trying to change too many behaviours at once can be challenging – and often impossible to stick to.

Instead, focusing on the gradual introduction of at least ONE tiny habit per week is more doable in the long term.

This means identifying the factors which are contributing to your client’s poor sleep and then personalising a program based on their personal circumstances is crucial for a new sleep-related behaviour to stick!

Misconception 3. Relying on your watch or app to tell you about your sleep quality

Many of us (yours truly included) have used an app on our phones or watch to monitor our sleep.

But how accurate is today’s tech?

Should we be putting our complete trust in these devices?

Probably not.

Many of them only look at one aspect of sleep: how much you move.

But there are other areas which are also important to take into consideration when measuring sleep quality.

For example, if we want to be thorough, we should also be looking at:

• Heart rate

• Changes in breathing

• Number of awakenings

• Time spent awake

• Brain waves

Maybe in a few years we’ll indeed have personal devices to measure all these at once!

Our watches and phones may be “smart”, but they are not smart enough (yet) to pick up these other items as well.

Bottom line

Whether it’s weight loss, better-looking skin, less bloating, or improved heart health… you name it… if we don’t look after factors like sleep, chances are the best nutrition will not make up for bad sleep.

If your client has been trying to achieve their goals without success, maybe improving their sleep could be the item that makes the other changes more successful.

So starting with the tips in here can be a good first step.

Of course, there is a lot more to sleep quantity and quality that we can mention in a single post!

Your next steps…

If you are working with clients, wanting them to get the most out of their nutritional changes, learning how to improve their sleep quality could make your suggested nutritional adjustments stick.

In our Advanced Sleep Advisor Certification, we go into how designing a personalised sleep management program for your client can do so much more than just improve their sleep quality!

In it, we’ll be diving into the science of why we sleep and how we can improve it, PLUS you’ll be getting tons of hands-on materials to support your client’s personalised sleep management program – click here to find out more.


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