Matty Lansdown is a scientist, nutritionist, and creative mind behind the popular podcast "How To Not Get Sick And Die." which has become a beloved source of health and wellness knowledge in Australia.
Through personal anecdotes and professional experience, Matty helps us understand the crucial connection between our diet, lifestyle, and preventing illnesses. He sheds light on a significant gap in hospital information that often overlooks these vital factors.
Matty also discusses how food mood affects your sleep and how to break some habits and make positive transformations.
Matty Lansdown is a scientist, nutritionist, and an Emotional Eating and Self Sabotage coach specializing in weight loss and self-confidence for women and busy mothers.
Starting out in the field of nutritional epigenetics and spending several years working in hospitals as part of a disease research team, Matty believes that most disease and illness is not due to bad luck but as a result of poor nutrition and lifestyle choices.
Matty’s extensive experience allowed him to uncover the deeper challenge people have with health which isn’t about calories or kale but, in fact, mindset and behavior change.
Having been on his own personal development journey, Matty is now super-passionate about showing people how to level up their health so that healthy habits and the best food choices are easy and natural.
Likewise, Matty’s weekly podcast “How to NOT Get Sick and Die”, provides his followers and clients with a deep dive into nutrition and how to develop healthy habits that last.
In this episode, we discuss:
😴 Matty's unique journey as a child science enthusiast turned nutrition advocate
😴 What inspired Matty to empower health through a holistic approach?
😴 Understanding the Link
- Bridging the gap between healthy food knowledge and lifestyle changes
- Understanding the link between evening mood and emotional eating
- How evening mood food affects sleep quality
😴 Uncover the Secrets
- Understand the deeper motivations behind your habits and learn how to break free from unwanted patterns
- How to achieve restful nights
😴 Productivity Boost
- The Anatomy of Habits
- Mastering phone habits and breaking the checking addiction
- How you can optimize your productivity amid dopamine-producing activities
😴 Sustainable Changes
- Matty emphasized the formula for sustainable behavior changes
- Mollie addressed B.J. Fogg's philosophy and new book “Tiny Habits.”
“Starting with tiny habits and celebrating small wins
😴 What we could learn from Matty's sleep-night habits
😴 What made the biggest change to Matty in managing his sleep?
😴 Women and mothers who have emotional eating challenges may find comfort in a Facebook group called the healthy moms collective
📈 If you want to raise your HRV AND get a free HRV consultation...
Mode + Method - HRV+ Code: SLEEPISASKILL15
🎢 If you're waking up at 3 am & suspect blood sugar...
Good Idea Code: SLEEP10
🎢 If you want to track your blood sugar for an affordable rate, that ships internationally AND integrates with Oura...
Veri Continuous Glucose Monitors Code: VSM-SLEEPISASKILL☯
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.
Hello all. And welcome to the. Sleep is a skilled podcast today. We're going to be talking about emotional eating. Why are we talking about that on a podcast around sleep optimization? Well, it is crucial to be mindful of the timing of our meals as it relates to strengthening our circadian rhythm and our sleep wake cycle.
And one of the more practical things that I see that really challenges people is the ability to move back, especially their. Evening meal timing, because in that journey, we're able to really improve our sleep quality and measurably. So, so any of you that are tracking your sleep with consumer grade trackers, or maybe you got a medical grade tracker, whatever you got going on over there.
You'll be able to see how much of a difference this can make in your sleep quality, but also just your biometrics like your HRV, your heart rate, your body temperature, your respiratory rate. So our guest today is going to really help us with the practical application of getting up under what is going on.
On when we really struggled night after night with this often emotional, habitual eating that's going far too late into the evening and start to uncover what is behind that. Why are we kind of self sabotaging there? So a little bit about our guests, Maddie Lansdowne is a scientist, nutritionist, and an emotional eating and self sabotage coach that specializes in weight loss and self confidence for women and busy mothers.
Starting out in the field of nutritional epigenetics and spending several years working in hospitals as part of a disease research team, Matty believes that most disease and illness is not due to bad luck, but as a result of poor nutrition and lifestyle choices. Matty's extensive experience allowed him to uncover the deeper challenge people have with health, which isn't about calories or kale, but in fact, mindset and behavior change.
Having been on his own personal development journey, Maddie is now super passionate about showing people how to level up their health so that healthy habits and the best food choices are easy and natural. Likewise, Maddie's weekly podcast, How to Not Get Sick and Die, how good is that title? Provides his followers and clients with a deep dive into nutrition and how to develop healthy habits that last.
Now, as a quick aside, Maddie is a close friend. We're actually in a mastermind group together with other podcasters and people committed to helping support others in their journey with their health. And Maddie is one of the top podcasts in Australia. You'll see why his personality just makes all of his content fun and engaging, but also really impactful in your day to day life.
Now without further ado, let's jump into the podcast right after a few words from our sponsors. If you've been listening to the sleep as a skill podcast, you know how passionate I am about understanding the metrics that impact our sleep. Well, I've got some exciting news to share. I've recently started testing a unique product from our newest partner Mode and Method.
Mode and Method is created by Longevity Labs and focuses on human performance and birthed.
HRV plus an innovated nutritional supplement. This supplement aims to enhance heart rate variability or HRV. You know, where I was talking about this, a key biomarker of our overall wellness by improving the endo cannabinoid system tone and reducing inflammation. HRV isn't just a measure of heart health.
It's a reflection of our sleep quality. Now, speaking in generalities. Largely, a higher HRV can equate to better stress management and quicker recovery and optimal mental performance, all contributing to deeper, more restorative sleep. HRV Plus hopes to promote a balanced autonomic nervous system, aims to bolster your immune system, and is composed of natural, high quality ingredients.
And here's a unique opportunity that Mode and Method has offered to us. They're extending a special offer to the first 10 listeners who use. Code sleep is a skill, all one word at mode method. com. Here's the cool part. You're not only going to receive a 15% discount on your purchase, but you'll also get an exclusive chance to participate in an innovative HRV study.
That's being conducted by longevity labs, along with this part made me excited, a 15 minute HRV consultation. And this is absolutely guaranteed for all of you that do purchase that 15 minute HRV consultation, which don't snooze on that one. That could be very valuable. And for the first 10 of you, you will get access to that HRV study and be able to participate in that.
So really don't miss out on this opportunity to further explore the science of sleep and make tangible improvements. We want this to be both objective and subjective. So visit mode method. com and use my code sleep as a skill, all one word and join in on the mission of revolutionizing our sleep. The C D, C reports that more than one in three Americans are sleep deprived, and it's estimated that sleep related issues like trouble falling asleep, staying asleep in sleep disorders affect around 50 to 70 million Americans.
This is problematic because, as you all know by now, if you've been listening to this podcast or on our Sleep Obsessions newsletter, please sign up if you're not already signed up. Or are part of our program, sleep is strongly tied to our metabolic health and over time, poor sleep can contribute to the deterioration of metabolic health.
So how do we fix this? Well, let me introduce you to our new sponsor, VERI, spelled V E R I. Which is a metabolic health company that combines a continuous glucose monitor or a CGM for short with an easy to use app to help you find the right foods and habits for your unique body. At Sleep is a Skill, we're all about finding ways to be our own best health advocates and take control of our own health using a tool like very allows me to experiment not only with food but workout stress management and of course sleep and see how each choice is affecting my blood sugar in real time.
It allows me to See which habits to keep and which I should consider dropping. It can be a challenge to measure which interventions are working, so just like tracking your sleep can show you exactly which habits have the biggest impact on your rest and recovery. Tracking your glucose is key to understanding how.
Sleep impacts your metabolic health because very is the only CGM company that also brings in sleep stage and heart rate data from your wearable. They also have a cool new integration with or ring as well. You can really see how sleep and metabolism are related. They're also great for people new to metabolic health because they built guidance features right into the app bonus.
They are available outside of the U. S. as well, which has been a struggle for me with some of the CGM companies for those of you who are international. So if you want to find the right foods and habits for your body while improving your health and of course, impacting your sleep, give very a try. They're giving listeners an exclusive 30 off your purchase using code.
VSM dash sleep as a skill at checkout. Now again, that's V S M dash sleep as a skill at checkout. And you can also check out our online store at sleep as a skill. com. Here at the sleep is a skill podcast. We're all about enhancing your sleep and a cornerstone of that journey often revolves around stabilizing your blood sugar levels.
That's precisely where Good Idea steps in. Good Idea is an innovative drink crafted by scientists in Sweden that actively assists in balancing your blood sugar. This sparkling water laced with a unique blend of amino acids and minerals synergizes with your body's natural metabolism to decelerate the sugar absorption from your meals, ensuring a smoother, steadier blood sugar response.
Now you may ask, how does that connect to sleep? Well, it's simple. Unstable blood sugar levels can lead to restless nights, frequent wake ups, a top complaint that I hear from many of you, and even nightmares. By creating a consistent internal environment, good idea paves the way for a more tranquil, restorative sleep.
So enjoy a good idea alongside your meals. Often I use it as an alcohol replacement, whether you're at home or on the move or at work. And here's some good news. We've teamed up with good idea to offer you a special deal. So visit www. goodidea. com and use the code sleep 10 for a 10% discount on your first order.
Now invest in better sleep and in turn in a better, more energized life. And welcome to the sleep is a skill podcast. This is going to be a fantastic conversation. This is actually a dear friend of mine and a rock star, podcaster, thought leader, all the things you're going to love and adore this human.
Maddie, thank you so much for taking the time to be here. Hey, Mollie, I get to hang out with you two days in a row. I'm stoked. Maddie is referring to the fact that we are both in a mastermind, just a, you know, small group of other just rock star people looking to make a real difference in health and wellness and somehow I got let in, so I'm appreciative.
So having said that, this is gonna be a fantastic opportunity to dive into all of Maddie's knowledge in the world, kind of behavioral change and how that really does apply. to our goals with sleep because ultimately, you know, we talk about a lot of things on this podcast of how to measure your sleep and how to think about your sleep and the tactics and gadgets and tricks and all that.
But if you're not actually implementing these things, what good does it do? So Maddie's going to help guide us on this. But first off, Maddie, just share a little bit about your background, how you became to be the host of the How to not get sick and die podcast, which I just love the title of that and help kind of bridge the gap for our listeners of how all of this can help us in our goals to improve our sleep.
Yeah, sure. So I went on a bit of a unique journey in the sense that I started out as a, as a kid in the countryside, mum was a nurse. Um, and so I grew up very much, you know, really passionate about science and medicine and thinking it was all super amazing. Um, and then. Uh, you know, I sort of grew up as an athlete as well, so sort of started to understand nutrition a little bit, um, because I needed to use it for fuel.
And then at university, I ended up living with some elite athletes and some coaches of some of the elite athlete, uh, teams here in Australia for Australian rules football, um, which for anybody that's interested in checking it out is very different to anything you've seen before. Um, it's, it's... It's our own Australian sport, which is not anywhere else in the world.
Um, and so, um, so I was just surrounded by all of these super fit, super healthy people, um, and. Despite that, I didn't really make the connection between my education. So I did a degree, um, in molecular biology. So forensics, I did forensic molecular biology at uni, um, which then allowed me to work, um, in all sorts of different settings.
I worked in a laboratory for nutritional epigenetics, uh, where we did super, like super customized, uh, nutrition plans in relation to somebody's genome. So it was really hyper personalized stuff. Um, and then from there. I ended up at the opposite end of the spectrum working in a cancer hospital for about seven years.
And so I'd gone from working, you know, in the extreme athlete health world, uh, across to, you know, people that were overweight, sick, dying, um, had no idea about basic nutrition and health and nor should they based on the guidelines that, uh, The government's put out and that our medical professionals get taught in their university degrees.
And so it was on this journey that I guess I, you know, I was in the cancer hospital and I was very much, you know, a very low rung of the ladder, um, in regards to the hierarchy. And I was just super curious where I was like. You know, I probably should learn about this cancer and, and I started by jumping on the World Health Organization website, which, you know, at this point is or is not a reputable organization, but we've learned a lot over the last couple of years, but we have, but I thought I should start at the start and, and I went to the cancer page and it said in the very first sentence that 90 to 95% of cancer is diet, lifestyle and tobacco.
And I thought, and you know, I was in my early twenties at this point, and I just thought, why is this building that I'm not in a hospital that's dedicated to cancer? Why is this not full of dietitians and nutritionists? Keeping in mind at this point of my life, I kind of thought that was woo woo ridiculousness because I was, I was so indoctrinated by the medical dogma and the, you know, the idea that unless there's a study to support it, it's all ridiculous, spiritual hippie crap, you know?
Um, and so. And, and so I went to my professor and I said, why is this building not diet and lifestyle? And you know, I grew up in the nineties, so I was around the anti tobacco marketing. So I'd seen that movement kind of happen. Um, and, and my professor just laughed at me and basically tapped me on the head and was just like, well, Maddie, if it was that simple, you know, um, like, you know, I'm this starry eyed kid that's like, we can fix the world, you know, um, and so I just, that just began my own journey.
Um, outside of my research job, uh, researching alternative perspectives to health and wellness and cancer. And not from a place of, you know, my mom's a naturopath and, um, you know, I believe in energy medicine and all of this stuff, just from the simple curiosity of a scientist being like, Oh, there's a mismatch here.
There's a mismatch in the information that the people that govern hospitals in the Western world are putting out and what hospitals actually do. Um, and so. I just went so deep down this rabbit hole and I learned about aboriginal medicine and Ayurvedic medicine and traditional Chinese medicine and how sleep works with our health and how stress management works with our health.
Health, and then nutrition because yeah, at one point I had this light bulb moment as well with nutrition that most people think of the word nutrition in the context of elite athletes. They think, I'm not an athlete, so I eat food. And athletes eat nutrition. And there was, and when I realized this, I was like, Oh, people think healthy food is for people that are trying to achieve performance rather than seeing them themselves every day as someone that needs to perform.
And so, plus I walked through clinic every day and visibly pretty much everybody's overweight. So once I did all this research and I was really convinced, and I also had a. girlfriend for about 10 years that, um, had some significant health challenges of which Western medicine did not help. And what I watched her go on a very holistic health, natural health journey after that.
Um, and it, you know, changed her life moving towards Chinese medicine and herbs and naturopathy and no longer taking the, you know, the oral contraceptive pill and all of these things that were just messing up her life. And so I had this, these two things, the personal life. thing I was watching with my girlfriend and the hospital thing and I was like, all right, you know, I'm going to, I'm going to do something about this.
So walking through clinic every day, seeing everybody was overweight. I was like, okay, so if being overweight leads to cancer or diabetes or Alzheimer's or Parkinson's, then I should become a nutritionist. So I did that, um, and then I started telling everybody that, you know, you should eat healthy food basically.
And I spoke at events in New Zealand and San Diego and Singapore and all these places. Um, and I realized that no matter the socioeconomic demographic, everybody already knew what healthy food was. Like I've never met somebody that didn't know steak and vegetables was a good idea or that chocolate for breakfast was not a good idea.
It's like everybody knows that. So that's what led me to the next step, which is where I am now, which is, why don't I eat healthy food then? If I know what to do, if I know what healthy food looks like, if I know vegetables are good for me, you know, if I know grass fed beef is good for me, why don't I do it?
And so it's that behavior change piece that I realized anyone on any health journey is that's the piece that they need, unless they've been scared by a diagnosis into absolutely transforming their life overnight. That's the piece that people actually need help with, unfortunately, because if we could just take a, you know, a pill, that would be great.
But, you know, as technology gets better, the world seems to be getting more fat, sick and nearly dead. And so, you know, obviously the current model is not working. So that's why I want to help people with emotional eating, because I think that's a... you know, it's a real key to helping people not get cancer because it's the food that then leads to the obesity or the, you know, destructive gut health or whatever it is that then sets you up for a disease later.
So I was like, if I can help people with behavior change, whether it be sleep, whether it be stress, whether it be food, then I'm going to help people prevent disease. Absolutely. Well, this is so cool for me to hear more of your backstory and to bridge the gap for the listener too, in case they're saying, Oh, well, you know, the sleep podcast and what does nutrition have to do with sleep?
Well, one thing that is so important is that I think one of the things that I've seen for people is Now that wearables are more in the conversation, they're starting to see on the ground the cause and effect of the choices that they're making with their foods and how dramatically they play a role in their sleep.
Not only that, I just released a newsletter a couple days ago that was citing a new study that just came out around junk food is kind of how they're titling it junk food, certain types of food and how that's impacting specifically deep sleep or slow wave sleep. And the amount of people that come my way and say that they want to improve their deep sleep alone is just staggering.
So when we start to help people draw these conclusions and bridge these gaps of how important what we choose to fuel with. And I love what you said too of performance that we're all performing every single day. And so these choices become so and so, so important. And many of the people that are listening are either testing with things like continuous glucose monitors or have heard rumblings of these things.
And so from that perspective, they can also start to draw conclusions that. Instability in our glucose can show up in wake ups or just our quality of our sleep throughout the course of the night. So having said all that, then one of the things that I'm so happy that you're here for today is to speak on this component of emotional eating and that behavioral space that you began to fall in love with, how we can go beyond the knowing and actually shifting our behavior measurably.
Especially if you can help us too in the evening, because I hear so many people say this is when they just, things fall apart. They start, you know, rummaging in the kitchen and all of that. So help us kind of think newly about this area. Yeah, I think you point out a really important time of the day, because The evening is when we're the most tired, we're the most stressed.
We've collect, you know, collected stress across the course of the day and challenge emotional challenges with arguments with a partner or putting up with the kids or, you know, difficulties at work. And so by the time we get to the end of the day, we've got decision making fatigue where, you know, we're really starting to not.
care as much as we did at the start of the day about our decisions and our life. And so this is the time when even if your diet is pretty good, that you, yeah, it's more likely that you're gonna, um, have these, I call them mood food. Um, and the reason I call them mood food is because a lot of people that I work with have a really challenging relationship, um, with the idea of, uh, stigmatizing food, good, bad.
And when we, when we put the label bad on it, um, or junk or, you know, some kind of negative connotation, it triggers their inner rebel to be like, You know what? I'll do what I want. So we call it mood food. Um, so if we have these mood food situations of the evening, um, you know, it's, and you've probably talked to this on the podcast before, but you know, our decision making and rational and logical thinking and our prefrontal cortex at the front of our brain, we physically.
withdraw the resources from that part of the brain. So we're making less logical decisions, less rational decisions. And so that's why we're more likely to be like, you know what? I deserve the chocolate or I deserve a glass of wine or whatever the thing is. And you know, that's totally up for you to decide.
However, if it is affecting then your sleep, it's either harder to get to sleep because you've got a massive, you know, glucose spike, or, you know, you've got to wait a few hours until the insulin pulls it all out of the blood. Um, all the wakefulness that happens throughout the sleep because these, uh, you know, this cycle of, um, glucose and insulin going up and down all the competition with body temperature.
Um, you know, like where our digestive system works at the temperature that our body is during the day. But when we go to sleep, and I'm sure you've talked to this as well, we drop our core body body temperature. However, if you've eaten too late and particularly hard to digest mood foods, um, then your body, you're going to be continually waking up or really restless because your body's going to be like, all right, we need to drop the temperature for sleep.
Oh, hang on. We need to bring it back up for digestion. We want to know we're going to take it back down for sleep. Oh, hang on. We need to bring it back up for digestion. Right? And so we've got this fluctuation in body temperature and you can feel sweaty and like, you know, throwing the doona on and off and on and off.
Um, and so, so yeah, the way that we navigate that evening is, is really important in the way that we sort of begin sleep, our sleep routine. Um, and sure, we're all going to have the times, you know, on the weekend or at a birthday or whatever. Um, but ideally we want to move that to the once a week, once a fortnight.
You know, kind of, and Americans don't say Fortnite, do they? Every two weeks. I like it. Sounds exotic. So yeah, we want to, yeah, we want to be able to move that into the, the sometimes category, those kinds of choices. So they're not disrupting our sleep. So if someone's listening, is part of this, do you have people just beginning to distinguish what some of their patterns are or their triggers are, or, you know, what are some of those kind of philosophies or tools or strategies that you would have people begin to kind of unpack this, if this feels like an area that's either feels sometimes out of control, or what I often see too is just resignation that listen, this is what I do in the evenings and enough, or just guilt and upset at themselves.
For taking these steps. So how can we choose new pathways for action? Yeah. Well I think that's, it's a really good question, and I think the first step is reflecting on the past because a lot of the case in this health and wellness space is just be different, you know, and, and I, I kind, kind of pride myself on being the anti diet.
And what I mean by that is that a lot of transformation programs in the health space are just, just be different. Just do it. Just do it. Like, you know, as of Monday, you'll be an entirely different person as if the person you were being before didn't serve a purpose and function. And so if we don't fundamentally understand the habits that existed before, then we're not going to be able to change them because we have the habits we've got now because we see more benefits than drawbacks.
If that was, if we didn't see that, then we wouldn't do it. And when I say a benefit, Not just clinically speaking. You might find benefit in overeating food. And this is a bit of a heavy example, but it's pretty common, particularly for women. You might find benefit in overeating food on a very regular basis to maintain a state of being overweight so that you're no longer sexually appealing to men because it protects you from a trauma that happened a very long time ago.
And so. You know, that's not a clinical benefit because what we would say on paper, like, Oh, you shouldn't eat this food. You're overweight, but to the individual, that's a very important, high value, self protective benefit. Right? So we fundamentally have to get to the core of like, why do I do this? And why have I done this for 10 years or 15 years?
And it's not until we can understand what's going on there. And it's not always like a super hardcore trauma for many people it is. Um, but it can just be that I was conditioned by, you know, billion dollar advertising and marketing over 40 years of my life. Right. Um, which was the job of that marketing to convince you that this is a great idea.
Um, and so, you know, whatever the thing is, once we understand it and I have a little exercise called the why times five, where we just peel back the layers, basically, it's like, why do I do this? I'm hungry. And it's like, why am I hungry? And then we go to the next layer and the next layer, and it can get to some deep stuff like self worth.
I'm lonely. I'm bored. Um, you know, a lot of people feel like they need to eat during their work so that, you know, because they hate doing spreadsheets and it might be actually. The why that's really driving the lollies or sweets that I've got with me here is that I actually don't really know how to do this task and I kind of need some comfort because I'm a bit confused.
And, and so it's all of these little reasons which we just never dive into because the truth is uncomfortable. It usually leads to us being like, Oh, there's a part of me that's sad or depressed or, or happy, you know, really a really heavy emotion. So once we're there, then we can start to figure out how do we nurture that space.
That emotion or serve that emotional need in a way that doesn't involve food or doesn't involve insert unhealthy behavior. It doesn't just have to be food. We can apply this to, you know, maybe there's a pattern in your relationship where you're bickering over the same argument for like the last 10 years.
It's just like keeps coming around and around and it's like, why do we feel the need to do this? You know? Um, and, and the same for our sleep patterns. It's like, Oh, I hear Mollie talk about all of these things and I just never seem to implement them. Like, yeah. Why is that? You know, why am I still doing the thing I know isn't good for me?
Um, and so, yeah, we have to go down that rabbit hole and it can be uncomfortable and confronting and, um, but equally it's sometimes it's not that deep. Sometimes it's really just a, Oh, I've been doing this for 20 years and I began it because. You know, a doctor told me a long time ago and I just, it's really difficult to change because I've been doing it so long.
Okay, that's so well said that some of these steps that we can take, I love the five whys you said? Five whys, yeah. So keep going deeper, even if you think you figured it out as to the why that you're doing this, throw on another why and maybe another why and another why. So so powerful from a behavioral change perspective and that awareness what can come up can be surprising.
And do you find for people, so now they're starting to peel back these layers, starting to get more awareness. Now there's a dialogue and conversation happening for themselves and with others. And Are there steps that you suggest for people to take to replace now some of these habits or is, uh, does that go, is that unique for each individual?
What do you see for that? So, meaning like people discover, so I'll use myself as an example, popcorn is my thing. Like this real love hate relationship. I love having popcorn. I so link it up as some sort of just like I am off. I am done. And yet I'll see what it does for my sleep, for my glucose, for all kinds of things.
And it's often like late when I want it. So I've done a lot of work to kind of move this around or get replacements or certain things. Now I'm curious in for someone in a similar situation and it keeps kind of coming up for them. Do you suggest for them to come up with different swaps or ways to think about that particular trigger?
What do you see there? Yeah, well, swaps is basically what we call them. We call them routine swap outs. If we think about the anatomy of a habit, and you might think of, you know, the atomic habit, James Clear stuff. So we've got the cue or the trigger. Uh, we've got the routine in the middle. And then we've got the reward and the thing with most diet culture and when most people beat themselves up for not being strong enough, we're basically pretending that the cue or the trigger won't happen.
It's like, of course that stuff's going to happen. You know, life happens. Life is stressful. You're still going to go to the same supermarket and see the product that really lights you up and you're just like, Oh, I've got to have it. You know, like these things are going to happen. And I think that, that idea of diet culture and immediate behavior change also pretends that the brain is no longer seeking the reward.
The brain is still seeking the dopamine or the serotonin or, you know, the oxytocin or whatever it is that like, we're still being driven. We're driven by that stuff on a core level. So. If we think of that, that anatomy, the routine is in the middle and currently the routine is the unhelpful part. It's not that the brain gets a reward and it's not the triggers, the triggers going to happen, right?
So we put together a list of routine swap outs and I encourage people to get 10, as many as possible. And the idea is that... You know, in the beginning, most people don't even realize they're in the situation until they're having the brain fog, like I've stuffed, just stuffed my face full of food, or they're lying in bed and they're like, why did I eat so late?
So they haven't seen the anatomy of their own habits. So we spend a few weeks just starting to peel it back. And it's like, you sort of, you start picking up on what's going on as you're doing the routine. And then you pick up on the trigger as it's happening. And then you get to a point where you're like, Oh.
This is the situation where the trigger happens that leads to the routine, and then so you're becoming self literate. And then once you're there, we've got all of these routines swap out. So it's like, okay, when this trigger happens, I'm going to do any one of these other 20 or 30 dopamine producing, Activities that are not food related might be 10 push ups.
It might be hugging your partner. It might be a walk around the block. You might have to do multiple of those. And James Clear, you know, calls the habit stacking, right? So you might have to do routine stacking basically to try and produce, produce that same amount of experience. However, we're still also on an emotional level.
We're still escaping the situation. So the food is often an escape from the truth. And so this is still an escape from the truth. It's a much healthier escape from the truth. Yeah. But we also then have to dedicate time to actually processing and that might be talking to a friend, talking to a psych, doing some journaling, you know, having that difficult conversation that you're avoiding, whatever it might be.
So, you know, it's because I think as well in the behavior change space, like a lot of people can just swap. Unhealthy behaviors for healthy behaviors, but they're not still not dealing with the core issue of, you know, I'm super lonely. I'm just super disconnected. I've got trauma that needs to be dealt with, you know, whatever it might be.
So, um, so I think, yeah, that process of the routine swap outs is where we start. And, you know, Anything that makes you feel remotely good or produces any of that dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin stuff is a really good place to begin. And yes, it's not going to be the same as wine and chocolate, but we're starting to train your body slowly into being that being the alternative.
So good. And have you seen for people doubling down on the awareness of like the actual costs that are the hit to them that they're experiencing enough to make this behavioral change? For example, one reliable thing that I see for people because every person we work with is wearing at least an aura ring.
So we'll see for so many people that Unequivocally, they see, especially for alcohol, how much of a hit this makes on their sleep results and their stats. So often, they start pairing then alcohol with those poor numbers paired with their subjective experience. So the objective and subjective. So now they start to have a really clear image of like, Oh, I don't want to feel like that.
And it's so clear. There's no questions about it, that it is linked up to that alcohol that they had because you start to see the pattern emerge. seems to be so evident that they start to play with either minimizing or swapping out the type of alcohol or doing things to really change that. So they're minimizing that cost and that just negative experience.
Whereas I've found for some people where it's sometimes a little less obvious with the Food that they're eating. So do you encourage people to kind of sit with you know, not to make them sit in misery or anything but just Notice, okay This is how it feels in these moments and I have a say over this and I don't necessarily have to recreate this Is that any part of your philosophy?
Well, I think you raise a really good point, which is that You know, in this hyper stimulated world where dopamine's available in absolute excess, you know, in our phones, computers, you know, access to people, access to food, you know, you can get, go to 7 Eleven at 3am on a Tuesday and have your dopamine needs met, right?
You know, which is very bizarre for our, animalistic bodies to be able to do that. And so I think you raise that point, which for me comes up as, are we not resilient enough to be able to, to navigate life, right? Is, is development of resilience important? And I think, yes. And I think that inevitably this, this process also builds resilience because the 10 pushups and a hug.
It's not going to be the same as chocolate, you know, chocolate's going to be a 10 and those things might be a 7 and in that, in that gap, you know, we're building resilience and we're creating space and we're beginning to be able to take back control of our decision making, which is a really important sort of part of.
The thing that I work with, with people is they feel so out of control that they're just driven by food. They're controlled by food and they're stuck in this cycle or this habit and they can't break it. And so slowly we're clawing back control over time. And I think a really important part of that is the development of resilience and creating space between me and dopamine.
And we start, and you've probably talked about this loads as well. We start with turning the phone off at night. You know, and just the idea that the phone is not 10 inches from your head. It's like, I have to get up and, and you could, you know, very loosely call that a transition into suffering. But if we talk about like ultimate dopamine access, having it right there turned on all night to being like, okay, now I have to actually do something to go and get the phone.
And I have to wait to turn it on. Sure, it's only 10 seconds, but this is a. This is where we start, right? Um, and then after 10 seconds, it's like, no, we wait 10 minutes to turn it on. And so, you know, this, and it's, I know it's potentially to some people listening to like, Oh, resilience, waiting 10 seconds, like, but this is where we need to meet people because people are addicted to sugar, they're addicted to porn, they're addicted to all of this stuff that the world is throwing at them.
And so, you know, I, I feel. you know, just like I want to help people because we've all got dopamine. We've all been addicted to something or got, you know, at some point in our lives. And so, you know, it's, it's hard to navigate this stuff. And then you add on top of it, kids and work and financial challenges and all of the stuff.
It's like, of course, they're out of control. Who wants to be in control of that mess? It's. chaotic and all over the place. So we have to start small. We have to start with just little doses of resilience and creating little gaps between now and when I do the thing. And, and you could even argue that like things like intermittent fasting, which I use a fair amount, um, and it sort of plays into that circadian, you know, sort of when to eat based on your circadian rhythm and your body and your chronotype and stuff is.
You know, there is the idea instead of getting straight out of bed and getting your coffee as soon as you get there and, you know, a croissant or a bagel or something, which is again, not ideal to start the day, but you're still trying to access that pleasure feeling, um, is that now we're going to push it out half an hour.
No, we're not going to go straight to 16, eight. We're not going to eat at midday. We're going to go instead of 7 a. m., we're going to go to 7 30 a. m. Because we're just going to slowly build that muscle of resilience. And if we don't do it slowly. We'll, we're going to slingshot back to where we began because so much has changed that feels so foreign and different that eventually we'll feel so unsafe and unfamiliar that we'll just end up back at 7am with the bagel and the coffee.
So we have to go 7. 30, couple of weeks, then we have to go 8, and then maybe 9. And then we do that over months so that we can cause long term permanent behavior change rather than temporary drastic change that leads us back to where we began. So wise. That's so important. It makes me think of BJ Fogg, kind of the, you know, father of behavioral change.
A lot of people credit him with in his book, tiny habits and the philosophy of if you want to floss your teeth, you start with just one tooth and you celebrate you've lost one tooth and that's hooray for that. So I think you're so spot on with this conversation, especially one of the things I find in the world of sleep is that.
People are often surprised how many things you can absolutely and really if you are in this true game of sleep optimization, there's so much in your life that can be attacked or can be addressed, not to attack it, but address it. And so with that, it can become sometimes overwhelming for people. Keeping it small, bite size, so, so wise.
And so that actually really nicely I think brings us into one of the things that we find people really, really enjoy is that when we have guests come on that have this level of knowledge in their particular areas, how they're managing their own sleep. And so people really, really enjoy kind of learning what They can kind of take away from this one book that I always think of is daily rituals, and I feel like we need to create the daily rituals of sleep.
And so we're going to do that with you and understand what is happening and how you're managing your sleep. And you perfectly pointed to the phone piece that cannot be underscored enough. And you actually pointed out porn, which we have not addressed on this podcast. And maybe we need to do a whole segment in that area because that's certainly a nightly or maybe daily routine for For many people.
So kind of unpacking these habits. So the first question that we ask every person is what is your nightly sleep routine looking like right now? Good question. So right now basically I've been doing this for years now, but I at about all the time, maybe 8 p. m Well, it depends on daylight savings, but it's winter here in australia.
And so About 8 p. m. All of the red globes go on so there's red globes in my office and in my um Bedroom and in my bathroom, and then the blue blockers as well with the orange lenses as well. Um, and it just, that was transformational for me, the amount of stimulation that I realized by when I started that habit, um, that was going into my eyes and my brain.
Um, it just really, really helps me. Just calm down more than anything, you know, not even less so than sleep. I've always been very lucky with my sleep. Um, I fall asleep in five minutes. I wake up eight hours later. Um, and it's. Yeah, it's pretty much been like that my entire life, and even if I go out, I still wake up at the same time, you know, the, the next morning, so, um, but yeah, it's mostly just centered around blue blockers, um, and reducing the, the blue or white light in my environment, um, and, and my bedroom as well is very much, there's nothing in it except for a bed and some plants.
I like that. Now, how do you relate to the phone? Because I know I've heard different things when you shared about some cool strategies that you've enacted with the phone. So what is the latest for you with the evenings and how you're managing that piece? Yeah, good question. So I usually go to bed about 1030 and in an ideal world, I'm turning my phone off at 930.
I mean, I've got my red filters. I have the red filter that's built into the phone, but I also have an app on top of that, um, as well. So I'm, I'm doing that from about 6 p. m. Um, but yeah, most nights I would say, uh, 9. 30, 10, the phone goes off. The, the, the area for me, which is more helpful is that I don't turn it on until 10 or midday the next day.
Um, yeah, that's where it's more effective for me because for me, it's less maybe about the... The stimulating fact of the blue or white light and more about getting on the dopamine roller coaster too early the next day, which totally derails my productivity and my focus. And as soon as I've begun that wormhole, it's like the day's over.
Yes. And I really admired the habit that you have. And didn't you say there are times when you even put it into like a physical object? So you put it into a cabinet or a box or whatever. Is that something that you kind of suggest people do or that you still are doing? Yeah, well I try and put it somewhere that I don't normally put it.
Um, I, I try and put it in a strange place, um, which. Might end up making you really angry when you can't find it, because that's been my situation a few times where I'm like, all right, I'm finished work. I need to go to whatever event or thing. And I've just like spent the next hour looking for my phone.
Um, Oh, so you'll do that too throughout the, throughout the work day too, to kind of just. Yeah. That's great. I actually just did that today. Thanks to our mastermind. I was sharing that I'm doing new productivity things. I'm going in different places. And so I was working from another spot and I radical didn't bring my phone to this other entire spot.
So I didn't have it the whole day, which was just very liberating. So, and if anyone's listening saying, Oh my goodness, I mean, I want to underscore how important this can be to have strategies to read. gain your control, regain that ability to not be at the effect of these things that are designed to really take over kind of our focus and where our days go.
So this perfectly leads us into the next question, which is what does your morning quote unquote sleep routine look like? And we say that on purpose from a perspective of where you start your day can certainly impact your sleep results. So what might we see there? Well, Mollie, I'm probably going to get a very bad scorecard for my morning routine.
So I went through a lot. I went through a long time where I did morning routines because you know, all the gurus talk about them and all the entrepreneurs talk about them. And so I used to, every morning I do a barefoot walk on the grass, you know, irrelevant of what's going on with the weather and people would look at me weirdly and be like, this guy doesn't look homeless, but he doesn't have shoes on.
Um, what is, that's a bit weird. So I do that and then, so I don't turn my phone on, it's in the kitchen cupboard somewhere, um, for a few hours. I'd sort of really enjoy that sort of peace and tranquility in the morning, um, and then come back and do some stretching or a workout or some yoga and then finally get into work.
However, the reality with my chronotype is that, uh, I've thrown out the morning routines entirely now because my effective productivity hours are from the second that I wake up until about... Midday ish. And then no matter what, I call it the dead zone. The dead zone happens between one, somewhere between one to 5 p.
m. And then I'm super productive at night as well. And so I realized that my morning routines, I was doing them because I was like, this is what healthy people do. You know, I was trying to be a, I'm like, I'm a health guy. I've got a podcast. I should have a healthy morning routine. But the reality is that eight, two hours of my.
usable, most functional hours every single day. So now my routine is I get up at 6 30. I haven't used an alarm clock. That's part of my life goals is working for myself is that I never use an alarm clock. Um, but I'm lucky that my sleep allows me to wake up at the exact same time every single day, but I'm up at 6 30 and within 20 to 30 minutes, I'm in front of the laptop.
Um, at that hour, I've got my blue blockers on, but it's just. That's what I've gotta do. Cause I know and then I can give myself permission later to actually step away from the computer and enjoy the dead zone for what it is, rather than trying to fight myself through it. So yeah, morning routine is wake up and work
I'm sorry. I'm sorry. No, I appreciate it. Cause part of what we're looking to do is design a life that. works for us and actually is leveraging our circadian rhythm. And, you know, it could make an argument, this is where it can get way more philosophical, but from an ancestral perspective, it's likely that with a limited amount of daylight that you would have had for thousands of years, hunter gatherer kind of day and age, when we were more connected to these rhythms of nature, which would be really an important aspect for circadian alignment.
What's likely is we would have probably gotten down to business because we knew we only had limited daylight available to us. Now how that would have gone unclear, um, lots of theories, but it's not too far off to think that we wouldn't have just like leisurely lollygagged for hours when there's, you know, viable time available.
To go out and, you know, hunt or gather whatever you need to physically do throughout the course of the day. So I think it's important for all of us to just reflect on what works for us. And then when we find that workability, I liked how you really leaned into it. I remember you shared things of like some of your afternoons doing fun things, whether it's a show you're into or, you know, whatever interests you during that time, because that is more of a downtime for you to kind of reboot and then take on the next half of your day.
So I think it's really important. Yeah, I think it's my inner Italian or my inner Spanish background. Not that I have either, but is the siesta. I need that siesta in the afternoon. Totally. Oh my God. I need to do more episodes too on the literal siesta piece, the nap piece and having people, how important that is.
There's plenty of books and studies and research on how effective leveraging and leaning into that from a kind of. second wind almost perspective can be so I think that's really important and that's just beginning to know ourselves and be the designer of our days. What might we see physically in your environment on your nightstand or if you're traveling maybe proverbial nightstand apps gadgets you know ambiance?
Yeah, very little. So yeah, I guess years ago when I got into this sleep stuff as well and learned that, you know, my bedroom should not be stimulating. It should be bland colors, all of that kind of stuff. Um, it's been that way ever since. So I have my bed, I have on the nightstand, what have I got? I've got...
A lamp, which has got a, um, a programmable globe so it can do any color. And it's really annoying when you're half asleep and you accidentally press green. That's really annoying. You're like, no, I want the red and a bottle of water. That's it. Like, Oh, and a plant I've got. Got some plants in there too.
That's, that's it. I don't do wearables or trackables. I mean, I've done phases of that stuff, but, um, um, but yeah, I don't do that at the moment. So yeah, it's just very bland. The colors in my room are very bland. Um, it's just, I love my bedroom. It's just, it's, it's such a sanctuary, but obviously not everybody has that privilege of, you know, I've got a couple of bedrooms here, so I can make sure that, you know, my bedroom is just a bedroom.
Yes, no, very wise. And I appreciate that kind of minimalism and just things that sound like bring you joy in that area, minus the moment when the lamp turns green, only the appropriate green times. But yes, absolutely. One of the things I've noticed for people is it is interesting how some people have so many things and so much that they're leaning into to improve their sleep, to deal with the stressors, to.
calm themselves down to etc, etc. And often, it is just interesting how the minimalism often seems to just lend itself to some workable, you know, sleep patterns, even from a building biology perspective, because we know that there can be concerns around when we have too many things in our space. We're, you know, talking about the...
Dopamine piece, but even the electromagnetic frequency piece, if we have any concerns around that, just why bother? Why risk it? Having extra things plugged in all around us, certainly there's an argument to be made that less could be more in that regard. Yeah, no, I totally agree. It's, and I think as well, when, once you do it, I think in the beginning people would feel a bit uncomfortable because it's a new environment and a new change, but after you've done it a little while and I'll, I've never had a television in my room, I didn't grow up with, with that either.
You know, the phone doesn't enter the bedroom. I've never, never work on my bed with my laptop. And so my mind just knows that this is, you know, freedom. This is, this is a place occasionally there might be a book in there, you know, occasionally, um, and it's only ever fiction. That's kind of the rule. Like there's no, you know, I don't want to be pumping my work brain.
You know, into this health and wellness stuff right up to the moment I sleep. So I try and use that space for like fiction reading and going into some ridiculous fantasy novel. Um, but, um, but yeah, it's just, it's just very tranquil when all the screens and all the things are turned off and not in the room at all.
I love that. Yeah, we just had, um, it makes me think of Brian Blazer from Test My Home. He's on the building biology board. And one of the things he said too, is that rarely, sometimes I mean the books will come into his bedroom, but often he might just do the exact same reading he would have done in bed, but outside until he gets into the bed.
So then keeping kind of bed. bed. So I like that. Yeah. Okay. And then the last question that we ask everyone is what would you say has made the biggest change to your sleep game or said another way, biggest aha moment in managing your sleep? Lockout curtains for sure. My, my bedroom is pitch black, like, and it is so good.
It is so good. And when I, when I figured that piece out. Um, I think, yeah, my sleep went to another, another level. I, like I said earlier, it's always been pretty good, but when it's pitch black, it's even better. And so it's, my bedroom is very dark. Oh, a hundred percent. That happened to us here. So when we moved here in Austin, there was a bunch of stages to get this place fully blackout in the bedroom.
Because just, there was like. Oh, you'd think you'd get everything. And then there's another stupid line of light that's coming through. And where is this light coming from? And it would, Oh, you know, it was a lot of steps, but I literally would see it on my wearables of the difference. Once I finally got it to totally blackout, the difference was so clear.
It's just so, so important. So you've been able to take the steps to make it totally blackout. Were there any extra things? Sometimes people get. Creative or have to bring in maybe not so attractive things. Garbage bags, tape, any weird things you had to use to get there. Yeah. There's a lot of double sided tape that's helping me out around the window, the windowsills.
So the, the, the blackout or the blockout curtains can sort of go wrap around. And so they're taped to the, to the inside. And so it, um, yeah, it's, I'm, I'm used to it. Like, so it's, it's fine the way that I put it up and I have to like squish all the tape together every single night. And then. Um, and then I use like the two, two of the bigger pillows that don't get used when I sleep, like lean against each of the windows.
So it blocks the, the bottom as well. Um, so. Yeah. So they've got a bit of use as well. So, um, so yeah, it's so good. And I have a, like, directly outside the window that's sort of left to my head is a street lamp, like right there. Um, as, as in, I'm at the level of it as well. And so, Yeah, it's so annoying. So annoying.
So, um, so yeah, the fact that I managed to get that all blocked out is, is very good. Oh, so important. And I've noticed in our programs, we take the first couple of weeks of really transforming people's environment. And so they send in pictures and kind of before and afters and what have you. And That element of just taking the time to do all the things like you were speaking about the difference in kind of that the energy in your space when you moved over to blue blockers and like lower the lighting in your space and then getting just totally blackout in your bedroom when people take this time and sometimes it can take a few days, weeks, you know, to get the extra thing and have it come from, you know, get it delivered or whatever.
But once we finally get that set up, just it's worth the investment because You're getting to benefit from this. So that's made the biggest change. That's fantastic. Well, thank you. And lastly, what I'll say is how can people learn more about you? Because it's clear that, you know, we just scratched the surface on so many of the topics.
that you discuss on your very, very successful podcast, top 1% of podcasts, we know you are one of the top podcasters over in Australia in your category, just doing incredible things. So I know people are going to want to learn all the ways to interact with you. So what's the best way for them to do that?
Yeah, sure. So I guess wherever you're listening to this episode, um, you can search for my show, which is how to not get sick and die. Mollie been on there. People loved it. So check out Mollie's episode. Um, and we're on all the platforms, Spotify, Amazon, Apple, you know, anywhere that you listen to podcasts, basically.
Um, and other than that, my website is just my name, Maddy Lansdown. Um, and if you do have challenges with emotional eating and you're a mother or you're a woman, we have a Facebook group called the Healthy Moms Collective. Um, so feel free to come and hang out over there, which it's mostly moms, but you know, if you don't have kids, that's fine as well.
Oh, amazing. So, so important. I mean, it's just such a critical part of our, how we feel, how we perform as you called out, no matter if you think of, you know, kind of the traditional ways of performance, but actually bring it back to day in day out for every single person. One of us, how we're showing up and the difference that you make for so many is just so clear.
So so grateful for the work you do and for taking the time to be on here really, really makes a difference. And I really appreciate you. I appreciate you. Thanks for getting me on. I'm excited that we managed to do this. Yes. And multiple time zones across the globe. So awesome. So appreciate. All right. Well, thank you so much, Maddie.
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.