As women age, there comes a season of many changes - from hot flashes to mood swings and sleep disturbances. So we ladies (and our partners) must stay aware and prepared as we transition through perimenopause and into menopause!
Join us for an engaging conversation with Zora Benhamou, a gerontologist and the Hack My Age podcast host. Learn how she brings her unique perspective as a 52-year-old biohacker and digital nomad in revolutionizing ageist stereotypes.
In this episode, we'll discuss insight into how aging affects women's hormones, sleep patterns, and overall well-being.
We'll also get into an exploration into aging gracefully and biohacking your way toward longevity. Plus, tips on creating helpful morning routines to aid in managing transitions that impact several women today.
Zora Benhamou is a gerontologist passionate about aging and longevity. She is on a mission to disrupt ageist stereotypes in social media and is host of the Hack My Age podcast focusing on biohacking for women in menopause.
Zora is a 52 year old digital nomad, traveled to over 50 countries, lived in 8, and speaks 6 languages. She founded the website HackMyAge.com, the Hack My Age podcast, and is the author of the Longevity Master Plan and cookbook Eating For Longevity. Her social media and podcast following reaches over 100,000 people and is growing quickly. She is also a member of the Gerontological Society of America and the Aging Society of America.
Zora received a Masters of Gerontology at the prestigious University of Southern California. She is a certified sports nutrition coach and a Oxygen Advantage Advanced Breathwork Instructor.
In this episode, we discuss:
😴 What are some common sleep-related issues that women experience during perimenopause & menopause?
😴 What changes occur in women's hormones during the perimenopausal and menopausal stages?
😴 Should women get hormone testing at a certain age, or is it based on individual cases?
😴 Creating a consistent morning routine: Importance of exercise, breath work and meditation
😴 What things does Zora have on her nightstand and what does she pack while traveling? Apps and devices to create a relaxing environment.
😴 A Glymphatic drainage system deep dive
Huge shoutout to our sponsor: Biooptimizers!
They are my nightly source of magnesium supplementation
go to www.magbreakthrough.com/sleepisaskill for the kind I use every night!
The information contained on this podcast, our website, newsletter, and the resources available for download are not intended as, and shall not be understood or construed as, medical or health advice. The information contained on these platforms is not a substitute for medical or health advice from a professional who is aware of the facts and circumstances of your individual situation.
Welcome to the sleep as a skill podcast. My name is Mollie McGlocklin and I own a company that optimizes sleep through technology, accountability, and behavioral change. Each week I'll be interviewing world class experts ranging from doctors, innovators, and thought leaders to give actionable tips and strategies that you can implement to become a more skillful sleeper.
Let's jump into your dose of practical sleep training
and welcome to the sleep is a skilled podcast. My guest today is Zora Benhamou, and she is a gerontologist passionate about aging and longevity. She is on a mission to disrupt ageist stereotypes in social media and is the host of the hack my age podcast, focusing on biohacking for women in menopause. Zora is a 52 year old digital nomad.
Who's traveled to over 50 countries lived in a, and speak six languages. She founded the website, hack my age. com, the hack, my age podcast, and is the author of the longevity master plan and cookbook eating for longevity, her social media and podcasts following reaches over a hundred thousand people and is quickly growing Zora received a mass.
All right. So that's a lot of things. You're also just gonna love and endure as Zora and her passion and zest for life, her ability to inspire women to get curious around their own health and wellbeing at various stages in their life. And particularly as that relates to Sleep. So that's what we're going to, of course, be focusing in on today.
As always, if you have any questions throughout the course of this podcast, don't hesitate to reach out at www dot sleep as a skill. com in the lower right hand corner, we have a little sleep bot there and you can ask any and all questions. really, really committed that people have agency over their health and well being as it relates to their sleep.
So we never, ever, ever want people to be left feeling unclear. So just reach out if you would like to have any more information around this topic or otherwise, and without further ado, let's jump into the podcast. So I get a lot of questions around sleep supplements and I'm very hesitant to just throw out a whole laundry list of possibilities.
One, I don't think it's the most responsible thing to do. I really do believe in testing to see what types of supplements make sense for you. And two, because I really, truly believe that most of the things that you can do to improve your sleep are behavioral, psychological, environmental, and nature, and often don't cost a dime.
However, there is one supplement that I personally take every day and that I do feel quite comfortable with suggesting for most individuals to experiment with because of a couple of reasons. It's high safety profile and high rates of deficiencies in our modern society. Some put the numbers as somewhere around 80% of the population being deficient in this one area, and that is magnesium.
So magnesium has been called the calming mineral, and some report that magnesium can increase GABA, which encourages relaxation on a cellular level, which is critical for sleep. Magnesium also plays a key role in regulating our body's stress response system. Those with magnesium deficiency usually have higher anxiety and stress levels, which negatively impact sleep as well.
Now, before you go out and buy a magnesium supplement, it's important to understand that most magnesium products out there are either synthetic or They only have one to two forms of magnesium when in reality your body needs all seven forms of this essential sleep mineral. So that's why I recommend a product from my friends over at BioOptimizers.
They have created something called the Magnesium Breakthrough. And taking this magnesium before bed helps you relax and wake up refreshed wearables.
I will share anecdotally that many clients have reported improvements in their deep sleep trend numbers. Again, I don't want you going nuts on the sleep stage classification numbers on your wearables, but I do want to let you know about that because I know that many of you do reach out on questions of how to improve your deep sleep.
So I also love that BioOptimizers offers free shipping on select orders, and they offer a 365 day money back guarantee on all their products. Plus, they have a customer satisfaction rating of 99. 3%. Very impressive. And you can get 10% off Magnesium Breakthrough. Again, this is the same magnesium that I use every single night.
And finally you can get 10% off magnesium breakthrough. Again, that's the magnesium supplement that I use every single night by going to www dot mag m a g. So mag breakthrough.com/sleep as a skill, and be sure to use the code sleep as a skill for 10%. And welcome to the Sleep is a Skill podcast. This episode is going to be a treat.
My friend Zora is a wealth of information. It's just always a delight and a pleasure to have any sort of conversation with her, but particularly on such a needed area, which I was chatting with Zora before we hit record on how important this episode is. And I'm really going to use this as kind of a line of demarcation to.
intentionally have a whole slew of episodes devoted to sleep and menopause. So I'm very, very excited and grateful that Zora has taken the time to really dive in today with us on this topic. So thank you so much, Zora. Oh, thank you for having me and giving a space and voice to women going through menopause.
It's so needed. So needed, absolutely. So first off, Where to even begin on such a huge, huge topic. I know, but just to begin even a little bit of background on how did you end up becoming this face of menopause and how to explore and go through this area of life or this time of life powerfully and with energy on the other side of it.
How did this all come to be? I was gently nudged into it because I was doing content. I have hacked my age and then I created the podcast during the pandemic and I kept asking people, what do you want to hear more about? What is it? And it kept saying hormones and menopause. And I. wasn't really going through it as I knew I was, but I wasn't really interested.
I was like, Oh, and I was doing this when I was in my late forties. And then suddenly I realized, you know what? I think I should be paying attention to this. My. So, because, yeah, a lot of people were asking about it, and then I just delved right into it. There's just very little information on it, and nobody really speaks about menopause, or they, it's very hush hush, or it's taboo, or people are ashamed, or it's um, something that I really wanted to bring up in the open and make, just normalize the conversation.
Absolutely. So crucial. And what do you see are some of these common issues or sleep specific issues in the area that women experience during menopause and throughout these many years that we might be kind of navigating different periods of changes in our hormones. What do you see come up that can really shake women?
When we go through menopause, we have these fluctuations in our hormones and what happens this we get in terms of sleep. Well, night sweats are one thing that's really bothersome and surprising and you wake up in the middle of the night and you're hot and you're sweating and you have no idea why because it's winter time and your heat isn't that high.
And some people have trouble falling asleep, some people staying asleep, some people have these frequent awakenings or sometimes waking up early in the morning and just like too early in the morning and they cannot fall asleep. Some people have insomnia, then of course fatigue follows that. And then we have other issues that I think women are not as aware of, but I think you are bringing a lot of awareness.
to is sleep apnea and it's something that women don't tend to think about because you think of, you know, an overweight man or somebody who's snoring. And, and in fact, there's some studies that show from like 40 to 67% or so of postmenopausal women are reported to suffer from this. thing called obstructive sleep apnea, and that's a big numbers, 50, 60, 70, something like that.
And then there's the post menopausal women are just two to three times more likely to have sleep apnea compared to the pre menopausal women. So if you're confused, what's peripreco, you know, you have this menopause is a date and you know, one year after when you don't have your period and the five years around before you hit that day, it's just a one day event, menopause, honestly, it's called perimenopause.
Thanks. And then before that, and that happens maybe around 45 ish before that, that's called pre menopause. So pre menopause women are still not yet having those fluctuating hormones. So just to make a little bit of clarity on, on that. So yeah, once, yeah, once you hit that, you got to. pay attention to this.
So those are the typical things that women tend to really suffer from. And that's so often, not completely a hundred percent, but very often due to those estrogen progesterone falling and just loss of our hormones that are very sustainable for, for sleep. So it's really important. Those are the some of the issues now, but the solutions we'll talk about after that.
Yes, absolutely. And underscoring a bit more about the particular hormones that can play a real role in sleep disturbances. Just underscoring a bit more if people are a little new to this conversation or just a little unclear on which hormones we need to be paying attention to, what are some common things that we might see, maybe ways to identify if we're dealing with some of those struggles, and that that could be part of the puzzle to some of our sleep disturbances.
So the two hormones that women know about most are progesterone and estrogen, and I'll talk about that in a second. But another one to really think about is cortisol and cortisol is your stress hormone, and that also plays a big role in disrupting our sleep. So but when we go through the perimenopause experience, leading up to that menopause moment, we have progesterone and estrogen, just up and down, up and down.
It's not predictable as it usually is during your. premenopausal stage where you have this gentle rise in estrogen and then progesterone and then it gently falls and we kind of know our periods when it's going to happen more or less but when you go through perimenopause your periods don't come as often or they're long or they're short or they're too heavy and it's unpredictable and that's the fluctuation and so when it comes to sleep progesterone has this but it actually has two rules it has both a sedative effect and an anxiolytic effect meaning it's gonna make you more anxious.
And when we lose that, it disrupts the sleep. And then it also has this, it's a stimulant for respiration, right? For, for our breathing, our breathing patterns. And so sometimes progesterone itself is used to treat some mild obstructive sleep apnea or OSA is that you probably read a lot of studies. Sure.
Thank you, Mollie. Uh, hundred percent. When we are losing progesterone, we lose sort of this, this sedative, this calming effect. We lose the control that we used to have with our breathing patterns. Not that we're out of control, but it's just not as regular. It's a different pattern. And then we have estrogen and estrogen, when you have less of it, then it kind of causes some of those hot flashes or night sweats.
Okay. These are called vasomotor symptoms. And it also plays a role in melatonin and how much melatonin we make. Uh, so when you lose it, well don't make as much melatonin there. It's also associated with the metabolism of norepinephrine, which is also no, adrenaline is sort of this neurotransmitter and hormone, and it's a sort of a, your fight or flight hormone.
And it also plays a role with, with the metabolism of serotonin, acetylcholine, and all these things. And all of this stuff affects your sleep pattern. And estrogen, so overall, estrogen can really have an effect on the whole sleep quality as well. So you may have, uh, take longer to fall asleep. You may have more awakenings and then you have that cyclic, you know, 2 a.
m. arousal every morning. And you're like, why is it every morning at 2 a. m.? And then just the whole total sleep time as well. It will affect that. So when you have estrogen, all is great and dandy, but when we. lose it. That's when we have these disruptions. Also regulates our body temperature and has an antidepressant effect when you have it.
And again, when you don't have it, then you have a little bit more moodiness, you may have more anxiety and you're just more susceptible to depression. So it's just so many things. And, and estrogen also helps. I remember you probably heard it helps with our muscle metabolism. And then when you lose it, then you can also get sort of collapse in your airways as well.
So you may snore more and then. some of that sleep apnea may, may play a role as well. It's just, there's so many things that estrogen and progesterone do. And once you lose it, then you, you're really sad to say goodbye. You realize how important it is. Absolutely. So well said. And I think so many people might not.
realize just how pervasive these changes are to things that we might not have correlated to your point around respiratory based disturbances and kind of can help us kind of fill the gaps on some of these changes that we might not have put all together and understood. So we might be missing certain really key important things like the diagnosis of sleep apnea, upper air resistance syndrome, uptick in snoring, and all these things that we can address.
And there's different things that we can do to treat these problems that just from a sleep perspective are at play, but we might have thought, Oh, well, I got tested for that a long time ago and I don't have sleep apnea, or that can't be me. I'm slender, I'm this, I'm that, and not fitting those particular stereotypes for what that type of person looks like.
So I so appreciate you shining a light on some of these changes that unfortunately they're just not discussed enough as you shared. So just even helping to articulate this is a really big deal. And you also mentioned some of those solutions that we might be wanting to take a look at as well. And that's a whole conversation in of itself.
But I feel like you have a particular kind of unique look at this. And you mentioned looking at things like purpose and meaning in life and positive social connections. So I'd love to hear more about just kind of bridging the gap of how you're thinking about this time in a woman's life and some of these more out of the box.
solutions that they can bring about intentionally. So, yes, we're gonna, that's the gerontologist in me is so passionate about certain things that help us live a happier and healthier life. So with goes without saying, everything that you talk about for sure needs to be done. All of those hacks, those usual sleep hacks and having your, your ambience right and exercise, all this stuff is, is really important.
One thing that if it hasn't quite hit you yet, that when we lose these hormones, you may go, well, how do we get them back? If we can, if you've even thought about it, some people go, I don't even know. Actually, we can get them back. Yes, you can. And it's called bioidentical hormone therapy. And it can be life changing.
And unfortunately, there has 2000s.
That said, hormone therapy causes cancer. So all doctors, everyone freaked out. No one prescribes this anymore, but in fact, there was a lot of errors in that study. And now the damage has to be repaired. So a lot of people are now trying to explain exactly what happened in that study, which we won't go into detail.
Yeah. In fact. what they're showing through sort of going through the studies again, that actually it is very protective to have hormone therapy. And so part of the, you know, we now have these things called bioidentical hormones, which is different than the synthetic and it's different than the ones that were used in the study.
And this was already, you know, more than 20 years ago. So there's been a lot of progress, but it's still hard even to talk to your doctor about getting some hormone therapy. So, but You really, really, I strongly urge any woman who's going through menopause right now or thinks she's a suspect, she might, because a lot of women don't even realize that if you're in your 40s and you're not feeling right, doctors sometimes give you antidepressants when in fact, well, maybe you should check your hormones and see where they're at.
Yes, I'm really passionate about that because I think it's a huge epidemic and not to overuse the term gaslighting, but maybe unintentional or just accidental gaslighting seems to happen for women going into their doctor's office with real concerns about what's happening to them and changes that are in symptoms that are just mystifying and leaving with prescriptions for antidepressants, anti anxiety medication, and it's a real, real problem, and to your point, not addressing that root cause.
So just even one quick solution there, do you suggest for every woman at a certain point at a certain age range to begin on that routine hormone testing? Do you have like a cadence that you suggest for people or is it case by case? Well, it always depends on what, if you have any symptoms, right? I didn't have any symptoms, but everyone was talking about it and I was already 48 or so and 49.
Actually, I think I had my first test when I was 50. But normally people would have symptoms of fatigue and moodiness or the night sweats or the hot flashes or weight gain, unexplained weight gain when everything's the same and nothing's changed. A lot of these little symptoms, yes, if you have any of these symptoms, no matter how old you are, I would definitely go look at your hormones and see where they're at.
It's a good idea just to know where you're at, even if you're in your twenties or thirties. You know, everything's fine. You know, you have a baseline when everything's good and normal. That's fine. And then the moment you feel a little bit off, well, then you can go test them again. And there are different ways to test and share a lot of that stuff on my podcast as well, because there's blood tests and urine tests and saliva tests and, you know, all this stuff.
So you just have to study and learn and it's a whole journey out there, but there is more and more and more information. So don't just. take your doctor's word and say, okay, I feel like shit. And my doctor says, everything's fine. Go home. If you're not feeling right, obviously keep digging deeper, but hormone therapy, there's two camps.
There's people pro the people against it, but I would just say, read the studies, read the books, talk to people. It's not for everybody. I'm very. Pro anybody who, who does decides what they want to do. There's, I don't pass judgment. It is, you have to be ready for it and you want it. But if you are having sleep issues, yeah, test your hormones and hormone therapy may just be such a game changer for you.
That really makes all the difference in the world. 100%. And still to this day, one of our most downloaded podcast episodes was with Aliza Vitti speaking to this conversation of cycle thinking. And one of the things that she called out was that there's even the possibility for some women beginning at 35 was her declaration around 35 for beginning to have kind of disruptions in.
hormones, and of course, you know, that can span, it can be a whole wide range and spectrum, obviously, but I think it's important for us to consider that that could be a part of the picture for different women that they might not have considered. So I appreciate you sharing that and starting to peel back.
some of the layers on certain conceptions or maybe misconceptions that we've had about hormone replacement therapy, um, and just this engraved and indoctrinated conversations for decades now and starting to reexamine. So I think it's really crucial. So hormone replacement therapy. getting clear just in the test, not guest ethos and getting some clarity on where we're at with our hormones.
If we are having some of these symptoms, having that relationship with a trusted professional to kind of guide us through that. If we are and make that choice, if we're going to explore hormone replacement therapy or not particularly, if we are dealing with some of these sleep disturbances. And then from there, just so in case anyone's listening and maybe they're resigned to menopause is challenging or what have maybe all kinds of different narratives that are at play.
Hoping you can help shed some light on various solutions that people might not have considered in this area or maybe reawaken and re empower us to know that there's so much we can do to navigate this powerfully. Yes, that's true. Absolutely. So definitely all the hacks that you talk about setting up your environment, consider hormone therapy.
If not, there's also adaptogens are also really great can help with symptoms and you don't have to go down the therapy route. But in terms of gerontology. And we like to look at happiness factors, life purpose, uh, knowing what you want, what's going to make you happy because when you're happy, you sleep pretty well, either you're too excited.
You don't sleep because you're going to Disneyland tomorrow, but you want to take a look at where you're at in life because, and I'm talking about deep introspection, which is a lot of hard work and nobody ever really wants to do it, but it is a game changer again. And you may not have. any other symptoms or you may not have any other problems.
You just may sleep like a baby just because you sorted your life out. Because why do we wake up in the middle of the night sometimes? It's not just hormones, but it could be a problem that we're dealing with. By the time you get to menopause, it could be you're an empty nester now and your purpose in life was a mom and your kids are gone or you're having a career change.
You hate your job. You've been there for 20 years and now it's kids are gone again. You're looking for a reboot. This is midlife, right? Maybe you're taking care of aging parents and they're dying or they're in a really bad shape and this is a lot of stress. So you Transcribed It could be the fact that you are really dealing with some major changes in life.
Divorce is another one. I mean, it really, it's, this is why you want to take the time to get a little bit introspective, getting a bit of perspective on your life and where do you want to go? I mean, we spend more time planning our vacations than we do planning our life. So it really does take, you know, you can sit down with a piece of paper or your computer and figure it out because being happy.
It's something that we, a lot of people just pursue in life. Not that we had to be happy and, you know, top of our game a whole time. Like, you just, that's not possible. We have happy moments and less happy moments. But there was a very interesting study done in 1938, and it's one of the longest longitudinal studies on human development.
It's called the Harvard Study of Human Development. Adult human, sorry, Harvard Study of Adult Development. And this was started in 1938. And what they did is, and they're still looking at people in their 80s. asking them questions, filling out questionnaires. Now they have, you know, MRIs and gene testing.
Back then they didn't. Now they include women before it was only men. Now they're including people from all different socioeconomic levels. And what they concluded, you know, they looked really at their diet, their exercise, and they looked at smoking. They looked at all these factors that can influence how people age.
And they said more than diet and more than exercise, more than genes, money, fame, and anything else. Strong, positive. relationships, keep us happier and healthier. Okay. And that's huge because in gerontology, we learned the more money you have, the more likely you're going to live a long life, right? Because you have the resources, which is totally unfair.
And there's big, huge disparities that need to be addressed, but it kind of shows you out, even if you don't have all the money in the world and you can't afford your CBD or seeing the best. Physiotherapist for whatever, you can still live a long, happy, fulfilled life because you have strong, positive relationships.
So this tells me, well, we should really invest our time and nurture our network and the people we want to be with, the people who support us, the people who make us happy, because you're going to live. I don't know how old these people are who are listening to the podcast, but you're going to live probably a long life.
You have a good chance and you want to make sure that you are happy. And in this study as well, they found out that those people who were the most satisfied in their relationships at the age of 50, With the healthiest at age 80, you know, they ask the 80 year olds, you know, and they've been following them since they were, you know, in their twenties.
So they have quite a bit of data here and that's a pretty profound statement to make out, you know, after the conclusion of this research. Thank you. Thank you. Again, take a look at relationships and you have time to cultivate them and you have time to sift and sort and get rid of people who no longer serve you or are bringing you down or making you sad, stressed, depressed.
They will not help you sleep. People will help you sleep and have good quality sleep are the ones who really do make you happy. So really focus on those, those, those connections. I'm so glad you're speaking to this because it's just so, so crucial and I think can fall in this camp of like, okay, yeah, nice to have, but give me the supplements, give me the gadgets, what have you.
And yet it is time and time again. I was just at this event in L. A. recently and, um, Sonja Libomirsky was speaking there who's a foremost researcher on happiness and said the exact same thing and all of her research and putting her whole life into this topic. that top was Connections, just above and beyond.
And she's also a huge expert in gratitude, and that was important. But Connections just trumped everything else that they found. You know, it's like wild. Uh, you could be smoking a pack a day. I'm not saying, I'm not advocating that. I'm not saying that. Of course, it's a little bit of a... false comparison for sure.
But I will say that it was just astounding the difference that was made in many, many studies that she was pointing to. And as you're pointing to the elusive Harvard study, so, so huge and crucial. And I see this all the time anecdotally in the people that I work with, particularly we'll see in what you spoke to some of those big life changes.
So we see a lot of people at that empty nest age, retirement age, big life changes, divorces, et cetera, that suddenly there's this missing of that sense of purpose that was there before and now what next? And what we see for that in the sleep perspective is just a whole. shift in some of the relationship to sleep.
We see a lot of kind of sleeping in and like a why bother, you know, why get up if you don't have the purpose or meaning. It might, things can start rollercoastering, depression, anxiety, all kinds of things can start to show up that hadn't been present before. So I'm so glad you're speaking to that. So, in terms of cultivating these things, do you advocate any people take like particular steps or just start to begin to really look and audit their lives and see is this an area that they're taking, minding, or are there kind of steps that you advocate for people to take in this area?
There are a lot of steps to take. I think it's kind of, you gotta choose your weapon, what's going to work best for you and what is. Possible. So I know a lot of people love it when they take say three days off or a week off and they go to a mindfulness retreat or a silent retreat. I mean, silent retreats are real hard.
I haven't done one, but I talk to book to a lot of people who've done it. Yes. And it is a life-changing because you're sitting with your thoughts. Yes. Meditating a lot. You don't really do that until you actually fall asleep and then your thoughts keep you up at night, but try to do six hours of meditation and you're you realize your mind really doesn't shut up.
It just keeps going and going and going and it takes. days for it to calm down and for you to think, what am I doing here? And so if you can, there are silent retreats that are free. I mean, you can go and it doesn't matter. You don't have to have a lot of money. You need to be able to take some time off, but whatever you do, you need to take to stop for a moment and think about your life.
And so that would be, I like that because it's structure. You're removing yourself from your own environment where there may be your, your spouse or your, you know, friends or kids or people who are influencing you, your environment and your own home. And, oh, I have to do the laundry or I have to do this.
There's things that distract you. So I really encourage you to get out of your, your space. Uh, some people just rent an Airbnb. Down the road or into another another city or it doesn't have to be very far and you take your phone away you take away your don't look at the TV. Don't look at the computer.
You just have a book and your piece of paper and you try not to connect in that sense with people you connect on a regular basis. So if you can write down and journaling is so powerful. And I know you talk about this as well. In my health coaching days, I would recommend this to my clients. And it was the one that they had the most resistance.
People just don't know, what am I going to do? I haven't journaled since I was 10. Like why? And once you start. It flows, especially if you have some things that are going on in your head and you really need to take a piece of paper and pen and do it, not just think about it or, or write it on your computer.
It is very, very powerful and, and, and you have to be very honest with yourself. And when you get the pen to paper, you may. Find thoughts of, of shame, of, of disgust, of, uh, fear, anger, aggression. Maybe you go, I, that's not me, but it, it may just come out and it needs to come out. And sometimes when you, you put these things to paper, you think, Oh, okay, I'm feeling like this.
How can I change it? And how can I be in a, in a better space? And then you try to build a plan and you can put in a plan. So I think you really need to think about who you are, what you want, what do you really want? Especially women. going through menopause, who've had families, who've raised families or had built careers.
You've dedicated your life to your kids or your family, your life to your job. And you didn't even think about yourself. You may not even know what you want because always the question, what should we do is best for the family? And you tend to put yourself last. I don't care. It's not important. You know, take care of the baby first or take care of the teenagers or take care of your husband and you lose yourself.
So you need to really. Kind of sit back. And I think, I don't think this is a hormonal thing. I think it's just a midlife thing and you have a new, you may need to find a new purpose. You may need to have a new thing. So you really have to ask yourself, it may be really hard to say, what do I want? I have no idea.
And you need to make time to sit and think. What do I really want? You've got another 50 years possibly and that's like you're midlife. That means you're halfway there. Like you got another 50 years probably and you don't want them to be dark or sick or lonely or whatever it is that you don't want. You want to be fulfilled and have some happiness.
And that takes time. It takes a lot of time. So I would say try to find whatever time you can alone. You can take three days or you can say every day I'm going to journal when I wake up. I'm going to journal twice a day. I don't know something, whatever it is that fits into your schedule. But it really is about getting inside some deep introspection and there are questions that you can find on internet or you can come to me, I can, I can ask you some questions that, that you can just write down the questions and then sit down one by one and answer the questions.
There's, there's a lot of stuff that's available online, but you have to go and you have to search for it. Ah, so important. And I'm so glad you're speaking to this because as important as it is, of course, to test, you know, we're often saying that get these tests done and measure, find out where your hormones are at.
And yet, one of the things that I think is so crucial is then, all right, then what? So you get the readouts that your cortisol is high and what have you. What are we going to do to really get at some of the root elements that are there? And we can often not divorce our psychology from our physiology. And if we are in that stress response state and feeling that lack of fulfillment, lack of purpose, disconnection, isolation, all of those things, it's clearly going to impact our well being.
We are social creatures and any sense that we're outside of the tribe or not contributing and all of those things can just give us a sense of unease. And what do we need to sleep well at night? We need a sense of ease, peace of mind. So it could land as like, Oh, well, that's a nice activity, but I'm busy.
I got stuff to do, yada, yada. But really, this is that reminder of the importance. So I so appreciate you kind of walking us through that. And I think this next piece could be really helpful to understand how you are doing some of these things in your day to day life. So we ask every person that comes on this podcast for questions to understand how you're managing your sleep each day and presumably we'll learn some things about some of the things you're speaking about in your practices.
So our first question we ask everyone is what is your nightly sleep routine? And I know you're traveling and doing all kinds of things so I understand that it probably shifts. been changes, but what do, what might we learn right now? It does shift and change. It ebbs and flows from fabulous to really, I need all these hacks.
Yeah, understood. Yes. Keeping it real. Yes, it's true. And, but we do the best that we can. I just say pretty consistently, no matter where I go, cause it's so easy is the blue blocking glasses. Yeah, that's, it's simple. And I also have all my devices on iris and night shift. Great. Yeah, it's kind of there. It's done.
It's automatic. So I usually I can get that in now on a ideal when I'm in a good, really good routine, good space. It's about an hour before bed. I create this spa like atmosphere, just like you, you share in your website as well. It's just, you dim the lights, you put on some music. I usually use Spotify either.
You just search sleep or spa or some singing bowls or something and you have this sort of in the atmosphere. Always without a doubt, put my phone in the bathroom. I'm not going to see it in the middle of the night or anything like that. That easy. Always do that. And then I clean my face. I have this routine.
I just wash my face, a mask or whatever I may do. And I usually put it under. The red lights, I have a little juice mini go because I'm a nomad so much as I can take. I know the flex beam, but I just turned that on while I'm brushing my teeth and I'm like, Oh, I'm getting collagen boost at the same time.
And it keeps my, you know, the room all, all red. And I have a chance from melatonin to, to kick in and all that. And then I, if my husband walks in, he's like, Oh, what does this mean? It's all red in here. We can find some human connection there, but generally I'll have again, the music, if I can remember it, I put the music on Spotify.
Now, if I'm feeling a little bit stressed and there's some issues I need to go through, I will definitely journal. Uh, journaling again is my, my new passion. I think it's just so powerful. Yes. And then some nights. Okay, honestly, I'll just catch up on texts or something like that and messages with my goggles on.
But I usually do that. If I do that, it's usually I try to kill two birds with one stone and I just got the flex beam, which is a red light therapy device. And I put it on my hip. my leg, my back, whatever. And so there's like this whole routine that's been given to me and it takes like 40 minutes. So I could either, while I have that on, I could either journal, I could listen to a meditation or some motivational content.
I'm listening to an audio book now or just Spotify. So. That'll do while the flex beam is on. I think, okay, I have the red light, the lights are dim and I'm just relaxed and the heat from that lamp is just really calming and soothing. So that's what I kind of been doing lately in the winter time. If it's really cold, taking a hot bath helps a lot too.
In the summer, I would take a cold shower. Definitely. I try to get the room as dark as possible, but being a nomad, you find yourself either in a hotel room or some Airbnb and it's not always that case. So I will always have my mask on hand. if I need it. Luckily, I don't need it a whole lot, but it's just there just in case.
I also, I also carry around my, my myo tape or my mouth tape. I've done the, um, the breathing instructor course, and so now I'm, I've learned how to breathe and I realize how important it is to actually keep your mouth closed at night when you see crucial. Yes. Huh. Exactly. So that's always on the side table.
I don't use it all the time, but when I was definitely in the, in training, cause eventually you kind of think, oh, okay, I'm, I think I've got it pretty, pretty much, but I have it there, especially if I'm sharing a room with somebody or, you know, I don't want to be snoring or have my mouth all open. I have that.
I also have on my bedside table quiet on shirt and noise cancelling earbuds. Yeah, and that is just a lifesaver. It's again, only when I need it. If my husband's snoring and I can't fall asleep or if I'm on a busy street stay, you know, sleeping in some hotel with bar downstairs or who knows, but it's always there just in case.
So brilliant. Ugh. And then what else I do? Oh, then there's the supplements. Every night I take spermidine and magnesium and that's just sort of my, my go to all the time and progesterone. So I take progesterone, I still cycling. So I have to take it from day 19 until the bleed. Your doctor, if you are on hormone therapy, some people have that all the time and it depends.
That's why you gotta talk to your doctor. In my case, it's, they take, they tell you to take it at night. because it makes you sleepy. So if you are taking that, you want to take it at night. Sometimes I do the NAC with glycine and a little bit of yogurt before bed. And I got this, this hack from Natalie Nidham, you know, the peptide queen.
She's the best. Love her. Yes. And yeah. And then any other supplements I may take, because I take so many supplements, some, you know, it's like the morning ones and the afternoon ones and then the evening ones. So, and I'm also, sometimes I get into cycles of taking a walk after dinner. And I feel so good when I do that.
It's so wonderful. And so I kind of go on these rampages where I stay on a kick and I can always do it. But I noticed wearing a blood glucose monitor that actually it's oftentimes I'll go either hypoglycemic or I get my heart rates really high at night through my aura ring. And it's like as if I did exercise or something and I'm only walking maybe 15 to 30 minutes max.
And I'm not doing it. I'm doing it a leisurely. So I figured out that on the days I do that, I'll have to eat a little something like less than a hundred calories, like the yogurt thing or with this NAC and glycine, or, or maybe like a spoonful of. lentils or something. And that, that sort of regulates the blood sugar for me.
Cause I was waking up at night going, why am I waking up at night thinking for no reason at all. It wasn't hot. It wasn't night sweats. And then I, when I wore the glucose monitor, I was like, aha, I think, and I was almost like a little hungry. I was like, Ooh. It's like somebody put food in front of me. I think I'd eat it in the morning was like, wow.
So I think that's my body. Like it's really waking me up and saying you should go get some sugar or something. But so I, I've right. I can regulate that. And I usually only happens when I take that walk. There's so much stuff we can learn about our bodies through that, that glucose monitor. What else do we have a biostrap, um, yeah.
on my, you know, I put that on at night before to bed. My aura ring I always have on anyways. And then I try to fall asleep before my husband. He started snoring. And, and he grew a beard. So the myotapes not working anymore. And, um, I'm going to find another solution. Oh my God. You have to get them the, uh, excite OSA.
Have you seen that one? What's that? I might have. So it's one of the only daytime treatments right now for snoring and mild sleep apnea. So it's almost like a TENS unit for your tongue essentially. And so you put it on for about 20 minutes so he can be You know, on his computer doing whatever, and then you're getting that treatment.
So it's strengthening the tongue muscle. And so then it's making it so it's not going lax and falling kind of back. And this can also be super helpful for women and that conversation, because that's. Part of what's happening often in these changes in our hormones is, uh, changes in muscle tone and other issues.
So this is like an exciting, no pun intended, with the name Excite OSA to be available to give us some of these other options for people that is outside of the realm of CPAP or, uh, oral appliance because just the compliance of some of these can be really, really tricky. So yeah, it could be something that you definitely check it out.
Let me know how it could work. Did you do a podcast on it? So yeah, we did a Instagram live with them a while back. We do need to do a dedicated podcast because they are so great as a another new option. It's relatively new. It's within the past few years that it's now become available. So and still so many people don't know about it.
So we will have to do another dedicated episode, but we do have an Instagram live kind of demonstrating it. Really, really helpful. Yeah. Oh, yes. And affordable too. Yeah. Yes. Definitely. And that is something I definitely have to try. I've never heard of it and I, you've got to do a podcast on it cause then we can take a deep dive on what that is and how it works and who's it for.
Yes. A hundred percent. Okay. So amazing. So we've got this sense of you've thought you've been very thoughtful with your evenings. That's on good days. Those are good days. Like the bad days, I'm on my computer and I'm on my phone. I watch a movie I'm out with my friends and I skip all the routines and I appreciate the realness.
Yeah. And honestly, that's. That's so important too because I know a lot of people listening can get really, really stressed and perfectionistic about the fact that, Oh no, I'm not doing it perfectly. And then that can be in and of itself its own problems. So I appreciate you sharing that because it's not going to be perfect every single night.
So that realness is crucial. So your morning routine, we make the argument that how you run your mornings can impact your sleep. So what might we learn from you there? Okay, since you spoke in the menopause energy reboot program last week and talking about waking up and going to bed at the same time and you stressed, that's what made the biggest impact on me in that talk because, you know, I knew that, but you stressed it, it was actually pretty short.
Like it was 30 minutes and I was like, Ooh, you know, I deviate probably about an hour, sometimes a little bit more. And so. Yeah. I am trying that now and it's, it's not so easy to be honest. It's I can do it. So when you're talking to a woman going through menopause and if you're waking up at night, so if I wake up at night and before it used to be once a year, I'd wake up at night and I couldn't fall asleep.
And then it happened twice a year and then it happened like only the week before my period or something. And it starts more and more frequently. Yes. Now, if I do wake up. It's usually even last night I woke up and I get these like a message I had to talk to my son about something that was bothering me.
I was like, Oh my God, I got to talk to him. How am I going to say that? It's two in the morning. I'm like, why do I do this? And then I do my breath work. I keep no, no, no. Now's not the time. I got to start breathing, focus on the breath count. And then my mind and it's hard. And I should, I didn't even know it bothered me.
I didn't know that night. Okay. So I woke up this morning and I called him, but other than that, so I got that off my chest. So tonight I'm going to sleep really well. But what happens is women are waking up frequently with things like this. I'm not, I'm not the only one. And it's either because of the hormones and the night sweats, or because something's really on their mind.
And when that happens, I sleep in. I'm one of those lucky ones where I actually can sleep in and I'll go, okay, I'll just catch up. And I still have amazing sleep scores on my aura and my bowels trap. Everything's like, yeah, your sleep's fabulous. And I'm like, I woke up at two 30 and took me an hour to go to bed.
You know, why are you giving me a crown? Yes. Right. But, but I did. And maybe it's perhaps, you know, I do get a lot of my deep sleep. in the very first half of the night. And then I, if I sleep in, I just recuperate and it works. So that's why I'm telling you, I'm, I'm struggling a little bit with the wake up at the same time, because if I do wake up in the middle of the night and I don't fall asleep, like right away, I just set that intention and I go, I keep sleeping until whenever, as long as I don't have a meeting or I really have to, somebody is waiting for me at a certain time.
Well, number one, I love that you're sharing this because this I think is this really overlooked piece of sleep that I see all the time and that's so often because it is it's so difficult and on a case by case basis when we are we had a rough night or something happened or we're really stressed or whatever.
It makes all the sense in the world that we would sleep in longer to make all of that kind of get handled and our ability to then take on the rest of the day. However, one of the things that we see for people is that when they take this kind of counterintuitive step where they then do wake up at around the same time, and of course you can swing it out a little bit, but to your point, maybe not.
so much as we might do on our own accord. So ideally, you know, 30 minutes, maybe it's crazy night, 45 minutes, what have you, but you're really still anchored at around the same time that what I often see is just this kind of general cadence where the first week stinks, the second week also stinks, the third week starting to get a little bit better.
And then, you know, maybe by the fourth or depending on how egregious the differences were for people, then. what we begin to see over time is now oh it just kind of works and then we're minimizing those wake ups and so that's the big thing. So I really appreciate you calling that out because I think it's important to see this as this kind of game where we're trying new things and we're never ever ever arriving as it relates to sleep.
There's always this opportunity to keep practicing and trying new things and then you think you got it handled and then hormones change, new Airbnbs, new stressors, all the things. So I love that you're clearly actively engaged in this conversation and I think it's so helpful for people to consider that and think about especially something that could feel like too easy.
Ugh, you know, get past that. It's the supplements I want to know about, et cetera, et cetera, but that. is one of the first things we always have people begin with. So I'm so, so glad you mentioned that. So great work there. I'm going to work. Yeah, I'm going to work harder on that. And I, and I think that's part of, so you might, I may say, Oh, it's a luxury.
This is, I could never do if I had small kids around still. So this is the benefits of becoming an empty nester, but, and also of working from home. But yes, at the same time, no, we like, here's what you're saying is no, you get up. You get up and don't sleep in and that's, that's something I'm working on. So that's my new morning routine is just still setting the alarm, still getting up and telling myself and wait for that to synchronize.
You just told me that, so I can't give you results yet. So that was last week. Great. Well, you keep me posted. Fantastic. That was a new one. Amazing. I always do some stretching. The first thing I do when I wake up, I just like, I, I'm a cat. I just stretch and I do breath work. And ever since I became an instructor, I'm like all about the breath and like try to squeeze in the breath work.
And also before I go to bed as well, as I'm in bed lying down, instead of the thoughts racing around, I do, uh, and it's literally like four or five minutes of breath work. And I'm, I'm pretty out after that. So it works for me. And I do the same thing for the morning routine, uh, about 15 minutes of stretching.
and breathwork in the bed. And then I get outdoors as soon as possible. I just, my eyeballs need to see the light. Shoot for a sunrise when I can, you know, it depends on the time of year and depends if I'm near a beach or something like that. But I love watching a sunrise. It is so powerful and getting that natural red light is, is wonderful.
And I'm, and I know it's setting my circadian rhythm. The way it should be, right? So that's where I try to do as much as I can. And then, yeah, what else I do? I drink water, even though it's, I'm not thirsty, but it's just such a habit to hydrate again for something else in the morning, to be honest. Then I go to the bathroom, I'm on the toilet and that's when I grab my phone.
And I'm there on my phone, but I don't sit in bed with my phone. I sit on toilet. I set my timer for 15 minutes. So if anyone's getting texts from me when it's my morning, you know, I'm in the toilet. I'm sorry, but, but I set my timer for 15 minutes, because if not, I'll sit on that toilet. I'm way beyond, you know, I'm very regular.
Everything happens in like five minutes, but. I could sit there for like an hour on my phone doing work and I'm like, I'm sitting on the toilet. Come on, let's like put this away. So I literally have to put a timer on. It's like my mom saying enough. Okay, put it away. Now go brush your teeth or, you know, get outdoors.
So that's where the phone kind of comes in. But I never wanted those people who sits in bed and scrolls the phone before they wake up. I, I never, I don't think I've ever been that way. I don't know. Maybe I read about putting your phone in the toilet a long time ago. Um, My latest thing also is journaling in the morning.
I prefer to journal in the morning lately and that can shift. Um, do that in the morning. And then of course, when I'm going outside, if I watch the sunrise, I do my breath work, more meditation, more breath work, all this stuff. And then I move. Exercise to me is super important, whether it's just yoga or going on a run or whatever that is.
That is something I do every single day is, is just getting a bit of movement. And that morning, that's my, kind of my, my lately, my morning routine. And of course things can shift. Ah, so beautiful. Love that. And then the third question we might have already kind of addressed. It's uh, what might we see on your nightstand or if you are traveling, kind of for a real nightstand, apps, ambience, etc.
I know you mentioned quite a few of them. Is there anything we left out on that one? No. Yeah. Pretty much. I don't know. If you look at my thing, I've got the Biostrop, the Sleep Mask, the Quieton, the, the tape. Um, actually this is the new tape I got for, um, my husband. Oh, beautiful. That is weird. Yes. It's different than the Mayo tape.
Let's try that one before, until we get the, uh, excite thing that you told me about. Oh, amazing. Yeah. Fantastic. Okay. So then the last question would be, what would you say has made the biggest change to your sleep game or maybe the biggest aha moment in managing your sleep? The biggest aha moment was when I found out about the glymphatic system that freaked me out.
That was an eye opener because I used to be one of these people who would burn the candle at both ends since I had little kids. And then when I decided I want to work and start my own business, then okay, you take kids during the day and then you work at night. And I thought it, I wore, uh, sleep deprivation as a badge of honor, like, yeah, you know, I can still function with five hours of sleep and I have too much to do.
I used to say, Oh, I'll be, I'll sleep when I'm dead. You know, one of those people. And then just cause I want to do everything and I want to do all, and I learned about the glymphatic drainage system and how this is our own sort of detoxification system of the brain and, and how it removes, you know, beta amyloid plaque buildup and how.
People with Alzheimer's disease may have a bit more of that. And I'm thinking, wow, I want to have this shampoo happening when I'm asleep because that happens mostly when you're asleep. And I don't want to put myself at risk for dementia and so many other issues. And even though they're still researching it, still trying to find out what, you know, what, well, it's quite a new thing.
Right. So, but when I found that out, I just, that was a game changer for me. I decided. to create a sleep hygiene routine and put sleep at the top of my my list when I wrote a book called the longevity master plan that was chapter number one was amazing music to my ears and you're right I mean it just was discovered our understanding
And it puts us back in the driver's seat suddenly in this area that seems to be correlated with things like neurodegenerative issues down the road that previously we might have thought, well, are we just destined to have these results? Is there anything we can do? It appears that there's very profoundly something we can do now.
And it relates to how we're managing our sleep. So I love that you said that because often we might have people say, Oh, it's, you know, about certain supplements or kind of, uh, gadgets or what have you. And I so appreciate that reframing of just the prioritization and the why being grounded in that why can.
be really, really important to get us to do the things that it takes to have great sleep to say no at certain things or leave, uh, you know, the fun gathering at a certain time and all of that to have that strong why it's so important. And for anyone, you know, I'm sure now people listening are going to want to know how can they follow you should absolutely be following you on Instagram bar none, but how are the other ways that they can follow and how can they follow you on Instagram?
How can they follow you across the board on all platforms? And I know you got some cool things that you're kind of creating for people with these small group programs and other things. So just what are all the ways to stay connected? So if you could remember Hack My Age, that is on Twitter and Facebook, on Instagram, the website HackMyAge.
com. And if you can't remember that, Zora the Explorer, right, like Zora the Explorer, and you just Google that. And you'll find me as well. And I have, the podcast is also called Hack My Age. And I just finished our first, uh, online, uh, program with Mollie. She joined us in terms of talking about sleep. She was one of our guest expert speakers.
And the program was called the menopause energy reboot program. So we, it was a four week program and it was so successful. We literally just finished it. And I so appreciate Mollie that you were a part of this. You gave so much knowledge. Everybody loved you. You blew their mind and now sleep is a priority for so many of them.
And it already was because they were struggling with it. And so the information that you gave was super valuable. And I will have. launch the program again because we launched it as a cohort all together and then we'll have some more programs where you could do on your own step by step, but you can, you'll have a choice.
So that's coming out really, really soon. Ah, amazing. No, and that was such an honor and pleasure. Your whole group was just clearly engaged and eager to make some of these changes in their life. So it was just. That's always fantastic to be in those sort of rooms, quote unquote, you know? Yeah. One other place of people that we're really active in is we have a Facebook group called biohacking women 50 plus.
So that one is, it's not called hack my age, but it's a platform. It's a group. It's a private group where women would learn about longevity after menopause. So anything to do with longevity, aging, and menopause. We're in there and not only we have people asking questions and we have this so great to know that you're not alone going through menopause, but we also have a lot of experts there as well.
Nutritionists and therapists and people who are sharing information, studies, other videos, lots and lots of stuff. So I highly encourage you to, to go and check us out on, on Facebook in that group so you can join. Fantastic call out. Uh, so appreciate the work you're doing and the just community and conversations that you are sparking and making happen and really demonstrating that this whole area and time of life can look totally different than we might have had these preconceived notions around.
So really, really important. Thank you so much. Thank you for taking the time here and looking forward to more collaborations in the future. Oh, thank you so much, Mollie. Have a good day. Thank you. You've been listening to the sleep as a skill podcast, the number one podcast for people who want to take their sleep skills to the next level.
Every Monday, I send out something that I call Mollie's Monday obsessions containing everything that I'm obsessing over in the world of sleep. Head on over to sleep as a skill. com to sign up.