Angela Foster is a Nutritionist, Health & Performance Coach and Host of the top rated podcast, High Performance Health.
As a former partner in a large law firm, Angela is no stranger to the demands of long working hours and a high-pressure environment. Angela left the world of corporate law after a serious illness in 2014 and used integrative health practices and biohacking to rebuild her physical and mental health.
Through her speaking, coaching programmes and online membership, The Female Biohacker Collective, Angela’s mission is to educate and inspire women to become the CEO of their health and optimise their mind, body & spirit by embracing their femininity. Angela is also the creator of BioSyncing, a unique program for the high performance woman who wants to step into the most authentic and empowered version of herself and achieve longevity in business and in life.
The Female Biohacker Collective is Angela’s exclusive biohacking membership for women with weekly live calls, masterclasses, Q&As, monthly transformation challenges and Biohacking toolkits to empower you to become the CEO of your health. Learn how to reach your ideal weight, boost energy, sleep better, balance hormones and optimise your longevity with Angela and her team as “your health coach in your pocket”. Find out more at www.femalebiohacker.com
Free gift for listeners- yourtotalhealthcheck.com
In this episode, we discuss:
😴 Impact of sleep on health
😴 Impact of daytime behavior on sleep
😴 REM sleep and dreaming
😴 Tagging events and stress
😴 Stress and HRV assessment
😴 Behavioral change and burnout
😴 Sticking with behavioral change
😴 A profound sense of peace
😴 Morning sleep routine
😴 Silk pillow-style mask for sleep
😴 Sleep hunger and variability
😴 Health optimization and high performance
🧠 If you “Can’t Turn Your Brain Off” at night… https://magbreakthrough.com/sleepisaskill
🎢 If you're waking up at 3 a.m. & suspect your blood sugar...
I drink 'Good Idea' before a meal that I KNOW I'll likely spike from since it has been shown to reduce glucose between 20 & 30 percent!
Good Idea Code: SLEEP10
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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.
Welcome to the sleep as a skill podcast. My guest today is Angela Foster. She's a nutritionist, health and performance coach and the host of a top rated podcast, the high performance health podcast. Now, as a former partner in a large law firm, Angela is no stranger to the demands of long working hours and a high pressure environment.
Angela left the world of corporate law after a serious illness in 2014 and use integrative health practices. And biohacking to rebuild her physical and mental health through her speaking, coaching programs, and online membership. The female biohacker collective Angela's mission is to educate and inspire women to become the CEO of their health and optimize their mind, body, and spirit by embracing their femininity.
Angela is also the creator of bio syncing, a unique program for the high performance woman who wants to step into the most authentic and empowered version of herself and achieve longevity in business and in life. Angela also shares how she has an interactive membership program and a free gift for listeners at Your total health check.
com. I think you're going to really enjoy this episode and Angela's vulnerability in her own journey, kind of the breakdowns and breakthroughs that she went through and just how much of a role sleep played in her story and some of the innovative ways that she manages her own sleep and the sleep of others and the sleep of the clients that she works with.
Now let's jump into the podcast, but first a few words from our sponsors. 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.
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Because Vari 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 Oura 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 US 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 V S M 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 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.
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Can decrease sleep quality by 39. 2%. A sleep foundation survey reports, not even mentioning all the indulgent food and late night effects that often come along with it. And as we know, sleep is the key to your body's rejuvenation and repair process. It controls hunger and weight loss hormones, boost energy levels and impacts countless other functions.
A good night's sleep will improve your wellbeing much more than. Just about anything else I can possibly think of on the planet. You know, I'm biased, but got to say that and sleep is your major to focus on as we head into the fall season and hopefully beyond. And that's why I recommend that if you're going to start taking some supplements on your sleep, often magnesium is a great place to begin, but not just any magnesium supplement.
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com forward slash sleep is a skill. I will also include this in the show notes as well. And welcome to the Sleep is a Skill podcast. Our guest today, Angela Foster. Thank you so much for taking the time to be here. I'm so grateful to have you. One of the last times we connected over Zoom, we were talking so much that we actually had to schedule another time to, you know, make sure we got each other on both of our podcasts.
So much incredible information. I'm so struck by your knowledge. So just one, love what you're doing. And two, thank you again for taking the time. Thank you so much, Molly. It's great to be here. We had such an awesome chat on my show. I don't think we were going to do an exchange, weren't we? But actually, we kind of only got around to interviewing one of us.
So great to be here today. Thank you for inviting me. Absolutely. I know. So of course, as always, our challenge will be to make sure we're fitting all the gems into a designated time frame. So let's see what we can dive into now. So starting at the beginning to give people context. Now, sometimes, you know, we bring people on the show and And we'll ask for a little bit of background and more just to hear the basics.
But with you, I think your story is a big piece of what can resonate and make a difference for the listener from that relatability aspect around how you got to the place that you're at and how sleep plays a role in that. Yeah, amazing. So, first of all, I love what you're doing, teaching people that sleep is a skill because it really is, right?
I've had problems across my life at various times with sleep. Um, but I think the thing is, I think often we can think, I'll get to that later, right? There's always a busy period, isn't there, in your life where you think, I will prioritize sleep when I'm just over this bit, whether that is a work project, whether it's having a baby or something else.
And that was true for me for so many years because I was, um, practicing as a corporate lawyer in London. Sleep was disrespected, right? It was actually, you're going to go through the night and work all night and sometimes successive nights with maybe just kind of catching an hour here, an hour there, even within, just within the office and not really going home, and to get the deal done.
And so I had a real background of sleep deprivation and doing all the things that you would say not to do, right? Where I would then try to quote unquote, catch up on sleep, which we know isn't really effective. Um, so I did that for many years and I think that kind of set the background for the burnout that was going to come for me when I had my kids.
And so I had my children really close together, I had three kids in sort of four and a half years. That was three sets of C sections, three sets of reflux babies. I just made partnership when I was eight months pregnant with my first child. So it was all kind of chaotic and I wasn't expecting to suffer with postnatal depression.
And I think that's an area that I. totally underappreciated the impact that sleep could have. Um, so for anyone that's listening, you know, had a baby, struggled with anything like that. And with my third child, I did prioritize sleep. I had realized the pattern, um, and I got a night nanny, but it wasn't enough to kind of prevent that.
That cycle that I had of falling into depression and that then morphed into clinical depression with bipolar episodes. And I went through a huge battle with my health that culminated with me ending up burnout in hospital, severely depressed with double pneumonia, um, fighting for my life. And, and, and I was neutropenic, um, by the time I kind of got to hospital.
So it was a pretty risky situation. And when I reflect on it, and obviously I completely retrained and I was seeing after the. Uh, coming out of hospital, a functional medicine doctor, I realized the impact that all those years of practicing as a lawyer, then skimping on sleep with my kids, not taking naps to make up for those sleepless nights.
Just what an effect that had been having in the background on my neurological health. So on my mood, um, my neurotransmitters, and also just on adrenal function and immune function. So I think it's so, so I don't think I can overstate from my own experience, just how important sleep is. Oh, absolutely. And I so appreciate you openly sharing your background and how it impacted your mental health.
People that may have been listening at different points have often likely heard me discuss part of my mission of why I feel so passionate on this topic of sleep is because seeing for myself and for very close members of my family. Some of their own impacts on their mental health and sadly some of them going down the path of long, long term pharmaceutical use and some of them to their own detriment not finding the workability as far as the path of how to support their mental health and certainly sleep being.
a piece of the puzzle that for many of them, they didn't get handled. And we saw some of the fallout of that. And so for me, I just hear time and time again of how some of these stories like you're sharing of it being at the crux of particularly, certainly their, their mental health well being. And so for you to share that makes just really moves me for personally, because I think so many of us don't openly discuss what that can look like.
And so I would love to hear. On the other side of things, I know you're doing all you've just given your life now to this topic of, uh, health and well being, how is sleep fitting in there for you now and the people that you work with kind of start to paint that picture of what we see today. So sleep now, I mean, with myself and my clients is now like a core principle.
Um, I want, and, and, and probably the, well, the foundation, I utilize something called a shift protocol and sleep is the first letter in that, in that protocol, which I'll come on to. But I wanted to pick up on something that, cause I think the difficulty with mental health as well is that when you struggle with mental health issues, That actually stops you seeping.
And obviously you know that melatonin is tightly tied with serotonin. So, there's this really difficult issue where your mood is depressed, but now you feel, and obviously depression and anxiety are kind of flip sides of the same coin. But even if you're not... Feeling overwhelming anxiety, which at the time I wasn't, I still felt I would get into bed and it felt like my head was kind of scrambled, almost like this scrambled computer program where I couldn't sleep.
And that obviously compounds the situation and the mood. And I think it just becomes this very, I really feel for anyone going through it because it becomes quite a destructive cycle. And I think then. Pharmaceuticals, which I at the time was relying on on heavily and multiple medications was the only real way, if you like, of kind of knocking myself out and you're effectively you're sedating with, um, you know, kind of antidepressant, antipsychotic medication at the time when it got really bad to actually get me to sleep.
Um, and I think it's, it's really difficult for people listening. I think I didn't, at that stage, know any of the things that we now. That you talk about extensively and help people with like circadian rhythm and things. Um, and so now sleep is like the core part of what I talk about in terms of health optimization.
So how do we shift into optimal health? Sleep is the first pillar because I think. Partly because it's so important, partly because everything else that you talk about health wise is so much easier to do when you're well slept, right? All of the things. To be well slept should be part of our kind of New Year's goals.
You know, people hire the fitness trainer, hire the nutritionist, and yet often we forget about those well slept goals. So I love how you phrase that. That's fantastic. And so with that, curious to learn a bit more about how you're putting that into practice. So, so for those people that are listening, maybe they are in that scrambled stage and the, and to share for anyone that gets concerned.
I think for many of us at some point in our life, we'll ebb and flow on the severity of it, but there's a period for just about all human beings where we'll, you know, maybe not be sleeping as well as we've known ourselves to, and it's this dynamic fluctuation. And what's possible is to ebb out of that.
state. So are people coming to you in that state? And then if so, how are we making a difference with that problem? Yeah. So I have a conversation, like most clients that are coming to me, they're looking for high performance, right? And sleep is obviously a really huge part of that. Um, some of them, uh, sleep is an issue for.
Most people can sleep a lot better than they are sleeping, even if they don't inherently feel it's an issue. I think one of the things that we've observed, so when working with clients will utilize an ECG and put them on or an ECG like device, it's a medical grade device that straps on and then they can physically see what's going on during their day.
So they can monitor in real time, obviously something like the aura ring or the whoop strap is going to give you your readings on your heart rate and your heart rate variability. When you're exercising, you'll see heart rate. If you're on something like a week overnight, you're going to see the HRV reading, and I think that morning HRV is very, very important.
And we can talk about that in a moment, but what this particular device first allows you to do is actually to see what's going on during the day. And how is my heart rate variability and my heart rate behaving and how is that informing my nights? And I think that's where initially I would say. I was, I suppose, to an extent, surprised by how much the daytime behavior and kind of not giving yourself daytime specifically during the day was impacting the night.
So what we see on that is you can see heart rate variability drop and a period of real sympathetic drive, which can happen for any reason. If you and I were wearing it now, we may find because we're engaging, we're in a kind of sympathetic drive, but we can see the duration of that and the intensity of it.
And as you know, if there's any kind of work output. There needs to be a period of recovery in order for you to have that restoration and bring that energy back, whether that's intraday or kind of across the week and certainly at night to be able to recover for the next day. And what we've seen is that some people will actually go to sleep and they think they'd be sleeping fine.
And what we see is periods of very high sympathetic drive during the night. Now, when it follows a pattern. Obviously it's not, um, we're not looking at brainwave states using this device. We are using it through the metric of heart rate and heart rate variability. But what we observe is if there's a kind of regular pattern, then it looks like this could be cycling in and out of REM sleep.
And maybe that's to do with dreaming. And maybe that person has a greater intensity in terms of their dreams, whether they're sort of lucid of it or not, but when it is more sort of sporadic and we just see blocks of red that are coming in or they're really peppered throughout. Then we look at what's been going on in the day.
And often what's happening with that individual is they are just pushing the envelope way too far all day long. Um, and they're falling into bed exhausted. And so then they're not getting that kind of slow way, deep restorative sleep. So we see that high sympathetic drive at night, but as you begin to correct, obviously all of the things that you and I both talk about in terms of like early access, morning sunlight, all of those things.
But specifically when you start to look at introducing micro recoveries, even things like. one to two minutes of breathing, taking some downtime, even funnily enough, like sitting in silence for a period of time, even if it's just a couple of minutes, we start to see that sort of recalibrate and then that impacts sleep as well.
Uh, so important. And if you can share more too about what that looks like for the individuals that you're working with throughout the course of the day, so much of the objections being that part of the reason I'm not sleeping is I'm so busy. I don't have time for these things. What does this look like in practicality?
How does this shake out? What do you see for kind of the trek for people in bringing this and spreading this into their life kind of on the ground? And then what are the impacts that you see over what stretch of time? Now, of course, bio individuality, lots of variables here, but are you seeing kind of measurable differences in a particular set of time or what does that all kind of look like?
So what we see is when, when someone starts to understand, I think the, the, the sort of trap is I've got to do more. Right. And certainly in a corporate situation, you're conditioned to believe that the harder you work, the better the results. That's kind of how it is. It's sort of a fairly binary. Whereas when you're in a more creative sphere, as you know, if you're, for example, an entrepreneur or podcaster, like, like.
You and me that relies on a high degree of creativity and getting into more of a flow state. And so I think you, I don't know if you made this or certainly like, cause I came out of corporate, you've got to make that shift going into entrepreneurship of understanding. Actually, the quality of your work is dictated as much by recovery as it is through what you do, because otherwise you don't have access to that creative and kind of flow states and things.
So, uh, part of this is a reeducation of people understanding that if you keep hammering away at it, it's almost like you get, your brain gets into that state where you've just got all these open tabs on your, on your computer and it's actually slowing you down and you end up with that scattered thinking.
Now, when you go to bed, you're not fully recovering either. So then the next day is compounded by that and there are behavioral habits like checking social media as soon as you wake up or email that contribute to this and put you on that spin for the whole of the rest of the day, right? The way, as you know, if you start your day is critically important.
Um, but when they start to step aside and think, okay, If I can recognize that I'm in this situation because you're not necessarily going to wear the device all of the time you can and many of them actually like to take multiple assessments over a period of months to really understand because the advantage of taking assessments is you can tag events so you can actually see all that's what I was doing then now I realize that actually that's a situation that is an overall stress on me and so consequently I know that when I'm in that situation I can adapt whether that is you You know, cognitive type stuff that you can do reframes or whether it is that you just introduce, if it's a situation you can't avoid more recovery afterwards, but specifically within like a working environment, it's about introducing micro recoveries.
And that might be something as simple as movement that, you know, after lunch, you go and get five minutes outside, you do some deep breaths, but I think it's about also understanding for the individual. What's, if I've got a set of tools, what's most useful to me at any given point in time, because you know what it's like, if you've got a really high sympathetic drive, you're feeling super tense.
You've got all this work piling up. And someone says to you, go and look at an NSDR script on YouTube and do some yoga and lay down and do a body scan. I can't like, it's just not possible. Do you know what I mean? I'm too stressed. But then actually what might be accessible to you at that point is movement.
And we know that movement because you're actually doing something, or it might be that you could do five minutes of box breathing, because when you're following the box, your mind is off, not focusing on your problem anymore, but it's actually been given a task to do. And that brings you back into balance.
So it's things like that, but it's, I guess it's about having a toolkit and understanding which might be the most appropriate one. Depending on how you're feeling, and that's just an education process. Oh, so well said. And I love that too, that it doesn't have to fit into a particular set script or rigid script that has to be the NSDR, the yoga nidra, it has to be look a particular way to bring about those recovery practices.
And certainly one of the things that I love about the movement kind of snacks or breaks or what have you is often that can support for many people being able to get outside, which at its core is so important for our ability to improve our sleep. It's it's almost so simple that we overlook it as maybe not being as high yield as investing in, you know, whatever big tons of supplements or gadgets or all the things.
And so when we compare these things to change that behavioral standpoint. and get ourselves connected with nature, even if it's as simple as just seeing the sun outside, that makes all the difference in the world. So with people, now you're working with them throughout the course of the day. And you also mentioned your thoughts or call outs around daytime HRV and maybe morning HRV readouts, curious call outs or protocols that you have as it relates to HRV.
So with HRV, I think if you want to take a specific reading, the best thing or to really understand it is to track the morning HRV measurement and that's what's been shown in the science, right? So is to take that reading within the first 20 to 30 minutes of waking up and be consistent with that time of day that you're taking it and then track those scores and have a look because really that's showing you after a full night's of sleep, hopefully full night, um, what, how much adaptive reserve have you built?
Like, what does that look like? Have you recovered from the previous day or days? And then you can start to get a baseline, um, and you want to do it under the same conditions. And generally I would set aside like two or three minutes to take that reading. Some devices, uh, will actually allow like two and a half minutes just to take a full reading because you want to stabilize your heart rate first.
Because as you know, if heart rate is elevating, HRV is going to be going down because they work in sort of opposite. So you want to lie down, stabilize the heart rate, and then take an HRV reading and see. If you're wearing a device like first piece. going to be monitoring it for you during the whole duration that you're taking an assessment.
And generally an assessment is going to be anywhere between 24 hours, three days and five days. And you select what that assessment would be. The advantage of taking that sort of block, if you like, where you can tag activities and what's going on is you can see. What the adaptive reserve looks like across the week.
So for example, if you decide, I'm going to have a look at my working week this week, see how things are stressing me. Um, what the impact of, for example, of my workouts are having and things like that is if you begin that on a Monday and then you close it out after five days, you'll be able to see how much after a weekend of rest.
How much did I come into? What was my HRV at the beginning of the week? And how much stress have I had? And it will give you an actual, a stress score in addition to a sleep score and a movement score. So you can see across the week. And for some people, what happens is they sort of start up here and we see them like drop.
Right down and then they're not building back up, right? Because they're working so hard, or if they're not working so hard, they're thinking about work. So they're not sleeping. And so you might see a little bit of a pickup, but not enough. It doesn't climb enough. And then it comes down. And that's when you're heading towards burnout, or you feel exhausted, or I don't know.
You know, even just on a very simplistic level, you become that person who works really hard or weak and you think you're going to have a great time with your family or friends at the weekend, but you're too exhausted. And so all you do is end up recovering and then you go and repeat this cycle again, which isn't really leading to kind of life satisfaction and fulfillment.
Absolutely. Yeah, we'll see similar things with people wearing things like the Leaf, L I E F, or HANU Health, different ways that we're able to kind of capture examples of their stress load, people's stress load throughout the course of the day, and the real massive impact that that can make in their sleep quality at night.
So I love that you're bringing in these different ways. Yeah, absolutely. something really powerful about that objective data helping to shed light or your subjective experience and marrying those two seems to make a real difference in making some real change. Now I'm curious as people start to see the signs.
All right. We've got burnout afoot. Is it one of the things that I've noticed for people is often a tendency to then say, well, I've got to do all kinds of get lots of tests. I need to take lots of supplements, et cetera, et cetera. And while I'm curious your thoughts on this time and a place for those things and how much of the elements of some of these simple behavioral change elements, and they say simple, not to override how challenging it can be for people to bring these into their day to day life, but I'm just.
Curious your thoughts on kind of the breakdown of how much of this now once we see the signs of kind of burnout coming, how much of your protocols go into testing and supplementation or other protocols and how much of that is behavioral change based and what you see there. It's a great question. I mean, I think the thing with this is, is it comes down in part to budget, but I also think when you look at devices like LEAF, like the work that Dr.
Jay Wild's doing, who's incredible with HANU, um, you have access to that to first beat. These devices are not expensive. They're much cheaper than testing. And the thing with a lab test, right, is it's going to give you a snapshot in time anyway. So we could go and test what your cortisol rhythm looks like in the morning.
Fantastic. Or even throughout the day and take multiple saliva tests, which I've done, and we can do something like the Dutch test and do urine alongside and see and see what your melatonin is like, but ultimately we're getting a snapshot. There's no substitute for getting this kind of data, which is really accessible with people like Harno and can get access to it on a daily basis and really start making changes.
The other thing I'd say is. You know, if extensive testing and working with a practitioner that is not within your budget, all of the lifestyle changes that we're talking about and that you talk about extensively on your podcast, um, are going to help and move the needle in the right direction. So I'm not sure how much I think in people who have very specific problems, right?
So it's clear that they have a problem with their gut health, for example, or it's clear that maybe they have something like Lyme disease or mold toxicity. And then I think it's necessary if their energy is really on the. And we want to try and personalize some supplementation and see, you know, how well, like, do they need B vitamin support?
Are there minerals and things like that, that they're lacking in? And there are obvious signs of that, you know, like heart arrhythmia, different things that can come up, hair loss, or, you know, you know, the science, right? Most people will know that there's something more going on than I'm just pushing the envelope.
But I think for the vast majority of people. Like introducing these lifestyle behaviors and not putting it off and waiting on testing is really, really important because the lifestyle is going to move the needle the most part, right? And, and aligning with your circadian rhythm and going and getting that access to sunlight and trying to see the sunset in the evening, getting some walks, managing your blood glucose, managing your stress.
These things are so powerful and they don't actually cost anything. Preach. It was interesting. We had, I'm not sure if you're connected with Brendan over at Holistic Savage. So he had come on the podcast and had spoken to some of his concerns on people searching for the root cause, which of course, so important, something that seems to be such a missing in allopathic medicine and certain standardized protocols.
And yet, the fixation on, okay, well, let me test more. Let me almost go to, it's like bringing that same ethos, but now to the functional medicine space. And just what you're sharing makes me think of the importance of not skipping those foundational pieces. And of course, there's a puzzle and a marriage in all of these things that can work together to find the solution for the individual.
But it just makes me think of how often we No pun intended snooze on these kind of building blocks of what it takes to have overall wellness and sometimes might think that because they're not shiny or new, then they aren't going to really massively move the needle. And yet, with consistency and practicality, consistency and bringing this into our lives daily, we can get some of those real changes.
So I so love that you're helping to Sherpa people through this. Are you finding that a lot of it is around? Underscoring the sticking with it, the behavioral piece that needs to come into play and not just, you know, doing this for a couple weeks and then looking for if we don't see immediate change, then throwing out the window.
Yeah, 100%. And I think, you know, health is a lifestyle, right? And exercise, if you can't sleep, as you know, is a great tool, right? Because if you're exercising with any kind of degree of intensity and you're producing more ATP, you're producing more adenosine, you're going to create more pressure to sleep.
If you're doing that at the wrong time and you're exercising before bed, maybe that's going to cause a problem and an increase in body temperature. I think, you know, it comes back to all these lifestyle measures. They're not sexy necessarily. They're not the latest kit and there's a place for it. I'm just like you, right?
I love biohacking doing all these things, but they're kind of like the icing on top. They would be, but I take, you know, when we're looking at the next level and we're going, okay, fine. Like. how can we reverse your biological age? How can we turn you into a kind of superhero? But they're not the place necessarily to begin, I think, because if you haven't got the foundations in place, then they're probably not going to work that well for you.
So I think from my perspective, I think getting those, that's not to say that. I don't test. We do do a lot of testing with clients if they want to it. I just don't think it should hold people back. And I think also that mental health piece that we were speaking about, which is so kind of endemic in society and so closely related to sleep is really important.
Because if you think about. Look at the work of people like Dr. Joe Dispenza, which is transformational, right? He's signaling, teaching, and Bruce Lipton, signaling, showing you how to signal new genes to work in new ways. And you can see a transformation in a matter of minutes when people access that right state.
I have first hand experience of that. When I was in hospital and I was really struggling with my mental health and repeated thoughts of suicide, and I was in a situation where... I had kind of created a prison in my own mind. I didn't want to, I wanted to take, I felt my kids would be better without me, but then at the same time, and I had so much self loathing and all the things that come alongside depression, feeling like they would be better off without me.
She sounds crazy now, but at the time it was, it was true for me. You know, at that point, I then became very, very unwell, the moment that I was admitted into hospital and I hadn't acted on those thoughts because I didn't want my kids to grow up and be the kids whose mom had taken their own life. I didn't want my husband to be widowed and, you know, his wife had taken her own life.
So it's really struggling and that's why it felt like a prison. neutropenic. Really fighting for my life with double viral and bacterial pneumonia at that point in hospital. I felt this profound sense of peace. I was okay being with me. I couldn't run anymore anymore. I'd been trying to run away from myself.
And here I was in hospital just with myself. And the moment I connected with that and the love that I had for my children thinking it was like a wake up, I've got to get well for my kids. My blood work changed in 48 hours. It changed dramatically and my white blood cell count started to come back up.
And that's not because of antibiotics and things, do you know what I mean? So, I think that the mental health piece, and I think sometimes what we can do is put loads of different things in front of us, like, I need to test for this and this and this and this, but actually it's delaying you taking action.
And even if you're going to do the testing, let's start putting the fundamentals in place now as quickly as we possibly can to get you back on track so that you feel better and as you start to feel better, you're going to start to sleep better as well. Ah, mic drop 100 percent so well said. And actually, as you speak to all that, I think that that's a perfect segue for us to hear because often we found that people love to learn from how people that clearly take sleep really seriously enough to come on a podcast like this and how they're managing their own sleep.
And so what we might see from someone like you that now maybe is bringing in some of the biohacks and all the things, how you're managing all that in your own life. So the first question that we ask, we always ask these four questions. And the first one that we always ask is what is your nightly sleep routine looking like right about now?
Yeah, we're not coming up, right? Yeah, yeah, totally. Thanks for making this time work, by the way. Amazing. Totally fine. It's actually, we're in summer here in the UK, so it's really, that's one thing I would say, is some of these things are more difficult, right, when you live in the Northern Hemisphere, and you get these huge swings, as you know, in daytime hours, because Um, you know, right now, actually, we're starting to get a close off to the day.
Whereas, whereas a month or so ago, it wasn't getting dark till nearly 10 o'clock at night and by 4am it's light in the morning. But those, I think are the protective hours, right? That Andrew Huberman talks, uh, most vehemently about and that we mustn't see blue light in those hours. So for me, the wind down begins, one of the things I have is a journaling habit where I talk about cap off your day.
Um, and the kind of cap off process is to celebrate the wins. So to write down what went well, because we remember peaks and ends. So if we had a peak experience during the day that was bad in any way, we're going to remember that. And often that's what you walk in and tell your partner or your family about.
So let's celebrate what the wins were. And anything that, uh, kind of didn't go to plan is an opportunity to learn. So I would celebrate those as learning things that are going to inform a better tomorrow. And then the A is. appreciate. So this is gratitude, just connecting with that feeling of gratitude.
What am I grateful for in my life? You can write this down, or you can just think about it. And then the P, and I find this really powerful to kind of close it off the sleep is to prioritize tomorrow. So to write down your top three priorities, because now they're out of your head and they're on paper. So that's generally what I will do is I will literally physically cap off my day in my journal.
When we finish up and that creates a really beautiful segue into my family life. And I could be really present with my kids then in the evening, instead of kind of trying to work or do other things or think I forgot about this. Um, so that's the first thing. Love that the cap off the day. That's fantastic.
How long you've been doing that at this point, would you say? That sounds great. I've probably it's morphed over the years, but following that routine for yeah, a good kind of 18 months, two years in that format, I'd say. Amazing. Fantastic. Okay. So cool. And then what might we see in your, what we call morning sleep routine with the argument that how you start your day could impact your sleep.
So the morning sunlight when we have the sun in the UK is a really big one for me. So I am a morning exerciser largely because it just fits with my life. So I'm not saying everyone should. I also, when I've done. chronotypes on Aura sees me as an early morning type. I've done Dr. Michael Brewster's questionnaire.
I've done DNA tests and everything says you're an early morning lark. So for me, it's great. I'm kind of like pretty energized and switched on. So I will exercise in the morning and then I will get outside. Sometimes I might. go for a morning dog walk. Sometimes it will be a gym workout. And then I'll like, this is the thing when we're talking about these micro recoveries is after an intense workout, I think it's really important you bring your nervous system back into balance.
So that's when I might head out into the park opposite the gym and do five minutes of breathing. So just small, even if it's two minutes, just something small to bring my system back into balance before I start my day. So those are my kind of. Non negotiables in the morning would be, um, movement, sunlight, and then also meditating.
I would say that I don't make that every single day, but a good number of days of the week, and that keeps me on track. I love that. Yeah. We mentioned Dr. J. Wiles, and that's a big call out that he's also made to the importance of post exercise than to be able to kind of bring our nervous system back online in a way that works for us versus being in that sympathetic state and having it just go wherever it might go, that we can kind of design it in a particular way.
So I love that. Now, what might we see in your environment, you know, so on your nightstand, if you will, or if you're traveling, maybe proverbial nightstand things in your environment, your space, ambiance, gadgets, supplements, apps, whatever. So I like to use in terms of waking up, I'll actually use, um, because sometimes I, I mostly wake up before an alarm, but I'll have it there.
And I use the vibrating alarm on my whoop. I actually just like that gentle vibration. I quite often use, there's a free app sleep cycle that will wake you up in your lightest phase of sleep. However, I will say this, qualify this. That does mean having a phone in the room. I'm pretty disciplined at not looking at it.
And we also turn off our wifi and everything is shut down. So there's no communication with the phone between me and the phone when that's happening. Right. So I would qualify it in that way. Um, I use, I have no affiliates with any of these by the way. Uh, but I use a sleep mask that I love called the drowsy sleep mask.
It's like, if you're hot, it's not going to be a good thing. But I don't know if you've come across it. It's like a big kind of almost pillow style mask. It's silk. So great for anti aging and it wraps around. Uh, it transformed my daughter's sleep. So she, yeah, she started taking my drowsy mask. She was struggling, um, when she was doing a lot of exams, like entrance exams for her new school.
And that we found the drowsy mask made a big difference. that and a fan actually. She likes the kind of white noise. But yeah, it's really kind of beautiful. So that's something I do. There are certain supplements that I take. I always take magnesium. That's a kind of always bedtime stack. Um, and then the other thing I do before going to bed actually, is I love to have.
chamomile tea, which obviously contains epigenin, which helps with sleep. And in that, I will add some inositol and some glycine. Glycine helps to lower body temperature. Um, and it's also great for joint health and skin health and longevity. So I'll take that in combination, that kind of with some N acetylcysteine as well.
Amazing. I love that. Okay. And then our last question would be, what would you say has made the biggest change to your sleep game or said another way, maybe the biggest aha moment in managing your own sleep? Being really consistent with the sleep time. And do you know, I've kind of a little bit obsessed with that aura when it says you hit the midpoint and when I hit it, hang on.
And I genuinely feel the next day I feel way better. When I hit it, I'm not a particularly long sleeper. And actually, funnily enough, when I did a genetic test, it said I didn't have a really high sleep need. So like I'm probably just below seven hours or so, like six and a half, six hours, 45 minutes, but when I'm really consistent with it and I get it in line with my chronotype, then I feel incredible.
So I would say consistency is the biggest one and stopping those swings where you don't sleep any sleep loads. Absolutely. I know it's so funny of all the things that we'll talk about the different topics and what have you. It often appears to be the least sexy and exciting is this topic of consistency, but you just cannot get around it.
These clocks and every cell and organ in our body love to be on time to remain on time to help ensure that all of our environmental cues and behaviors continue. sync up in alignment with those given times and the fact that sounds like you're really helping to support that. Do you find has that been something that has evolved in that largely ideally seven day a week level of consistency or what have you seen there as far as how to make that happen?
So, you know what the biggest challenge is, I think, is it does become a little bit socially impairing, right? And I think that's why people resist it because even if, if you're really consistent, when you then go out, you do kind of feel quite off because you're used to feeling so great. Even though I don't drink alcohol, you still feel like when you stayed up and I think it becomes harder and the more consistent you are, then the more likely you are to wake up regardless of what time you went to bed.
So I think that's kind of a little bit of a. Cruel trick in a way. However, the general payoffs are so much greater. So I'd say obviously social engagements can make it a little bit trickier. I think sometimes as well, having teenage boys growing up, their like body clock is sort of shifting later. So it's not always perfect.
I think the time I wake up is very, very, very consistent. The bedtime may vary within half an hour to an hour. Sure. Well, I think that's a great call out because one of the things we like to underscore for people is to begin with the wake up time. And then with the argument that we can certainly putting pressure on ourselves to fall asleep at a particular time can be problematic for people struggling with our sleep.
However, we have more of a say around the wake up time. So I love that you're pointing that. And it also appears that there's kind of this variable sleep need that emerges for different people, given the activities of the day, kind of equating. to an alignment with hunger. So our sleep hunger might be more, uh, if you, you know, did a marathon one day, you might have a higher sleep hunger versus a day where it's just kind of, you know, a day in on the couch or what have you.
So there's going to be that variability, but the wake up time is the place that we can have that anchoring process. So I love that you're really taking that seriously from the sounds of it and looking critically at your life as far as the social components and how to make it all work to have it all, uh, which I know can be an ongoing piece of the puzzle.
And you know, I do think the napping, like napping is great, but also meditating because I have noticed that. So for example, if you put a continuous HRV monitor on, and then you are a little bit under slept and you basically decide to do a meditation, I can see both in myself and in clients that you can go into that full parasympathetic green activity, which is kind of almost equivalent right to deep, deep rest for the, for the mind and body.
So I think that if you have had a poor night's sleep, give yourself some grace and maybe set aside a bit of time, 15, 20 minutes, if you can, uh, to take the time to meditate or visualize or breath work or something like that. Oh, well, I will definitely be doing that today. I shared with you before we hit record that my building had this weird situation last night where the power went out.
My husband Blake and I ended up in a hotel room for in the middle of the night, totally unexpected. So definitely sleep scores were a little funky. So I will be doing just that shortly a little bit later on today. So thank you for the underscoring. So important. Important because life happens for all of us.
So I think it's so great as you point to, of ways to deal powerfully with that instead of just, you know, what we might default think could make sense of, well, I'm just gonna sleep in and really push that, and we might be surprised by how much that is going to impact how we feel and our clocks and that there are other ways that we can manage those things powerfully.
So. For anyone listening then that is, you know, really loving what you're speaking to and really intrigued and maybe wants to know more too about all the biohacking that you speak to and all of it. What are some of the ways that people can work with you? I know you alluded to some of the programs that you bring people through and then also bringing in some of this really important tech and helping them to make that a part of their lives.
Let us know all of those ways that they could be a part of your world. Thank you, Molly. So my Instagram is Angela S. Foster. I put a lot of content on
there. My podcast, which Molly is coming on. Well, it has been on, we've recorded it due to air in the next sort of month or so, um, is high performance health. And we now have a high performance health community as well on Facebook where I'm kind of live educating people every week. But if you want to get a score, we didn't dive into the full ambit of like the shift protocol for sort of health optimization and high performance.
But if people want to find out where are they scoring on sleep, hormones, insights, their tracking, how they're feeling, fueling their body, how they're training their body and mind, meditation, everything, um, they can go to yourtotalhealthcheck. com. And if they take, it's like 60 seconds, and then we send you a free personalized report with your scores and recommendations on how you can improve in each area.
Ooh, exciting. Absolutely. Take those steps. Make sure to follow Angela on social. Absolutely. And so cool about the Facebook piece. I didn't realize about that. So that's amazing too, but just incredible high quality content coming out routinely. from over in your, your camp. So that's fantastic. And I just want to really underscore again, thank you so much for just sharing your journey and then demonstrating what's possible for people on the other side of some of these very real periods that we can go through in our life.
That was certainly part of my story. And when I was struggling, I just wanted examples of success cases of people, you know, getting through these really challenging periods and making it to the other side and not just surviving, but thriving. And I think you're really an example of that now, not only just for yourself, but helping others in the process.
So really appreciate the work you're doing and grateful to have had you on today. Thank you, Molly. It's been amazing to come on and chat to you today. Awesome. Thank you so much. You've been listening to The Sleep Is A Skill Podcast, the number one podcast for people who wanna take their sleep skills to the next level.
Every Monday, I send out something that I call Molly'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.