Andrea is a Functional Medicine Nutritionist and educator, who has led thousands of clients, and now teaches even more coaches and clinicians around the world in a revolution reclaiming ownership of both their own and their clients’ health.
As the host of the 15-Minute Matrix Podcast and the founder and former CEO of Functional Nutrition Alliance, Andrea draws on systems biology, mental models, root cause methodology and the therapeutic partnership to offer long-awaited solutions for the rapidly growing chronic illness epidemic.
After losing her young husband to a brain tumor in 2002, she discovered a passion for using food as personalized medicine and is now regularly consulted as the nutrition expert for the toughest clinical cases in the practices of many world-renowned doctors. She trains nearly four thousand practitioners each year in her methodologies so that they too can become the last stop for their clients and patients as well as a trusted referral partner for doctors in their area.
In this episode, we discuss:
😴 Personal health crisis and awakening
😴 The three tiers to nutrition mastery
😴 Spending time on assessment
😴 Pathology vs. Physiology
😴 Addressing sleep issues
😴 Testing and building a solid foundation
😴 Sleep and its importance
😴 Sleep and its impact
😴 Managing sleep and hormone imbalance
😴 Natural rhythms and health disturbances
😴 What can we learn from Andrea’s sleep-night habits?
😴 And more!!
🎢 If you're waking up at 3 am & suspect blood sugar...
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🧠 If you “Can’t Turn Your Brain Off” at night…
🧘 Need help meditating /HRV?! Check out my new favorite tool that you literally hold in your hand and feel it breathe with you, like a baby bird 🐤 Moonbird Code: 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 Eastman and I am the founder of Sleep As A Skill, a company that optimizes sleep through technology, accountability, and behavioral change. As an ex-sleep sufferer turned sleep course creator, I am on a mission to transform the way the world thinks about sleep.
Each week I'll be interviewing World-class. Experts ranging from researchers, doctors, innovators, and thought leaders to give actionable tips and strategies that you can implement to become a more skillful sleeper. Ultimately, I believe that living a circadian-aligned lifestyle is going to be one of the biggest trends in wellness, and I'm committed to keep.
You up to date on all the things that you can do today to transform your circadian health and by extension, allowing you to sleep and live better than ever before.
Welcome to the Sleep is A Skill podcast. My guest today is Andrea Nakayama and she's the host of the 15 Minute Matrix podcast and the founder of Functional Nutrition Alliance. Andrea is leading thousands of students and practitioners around the globe in a revolution to offer better solutions to the growing chronic illness epidemic by highlighting the importance of.
Systems biology, root cause methodology, and therapeutic partnerships. She helps historically underserved individuals reclaim ownership of their health. And of course, because this is The Sleep Is a Skill podcast, we talk all things sleep and how her unique approach could support your goals with optimizing your own sleep.
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And just a quick aside, I am using my Moonbird every single day and it's made a profound difference in how I'm managing my stress and improving my own ability to manage my health and well-being through heart rate variability technology. And welcome to the Sleep is a Skill, a podcast. Andrea, thank you so much for taking the time to be here.
I am so excited and I love that you focus so deeply on sleep. It's such an important factor of health. Oh, well see. I can already tell. We're gonna have a fantastic conversation. Anyone that appreciates sleep, and if you found your way onto this podcast, you're my people because you value sleep. And I was really excited to have this conversation today because.
You have what seems to be, from what I've discovered so far, and we'll discover more this really unique area of expertise that can help support people in their journey. So maybe we can just begin there of how you found yourself in this role and how this all relates to sleep. Yeah, so I'll start with just stating that I'm a functional medicine nutritionist and I have a school where I train thousands of practitioners around the globe in my methodologies.
So we'll talk a little bit about those methodologies. 'cause sleep is an important factor. But what got me into this work was like I've heard you talk to other people, a personal health crisis. That personal health crisis wasn't particularly my own to begin with. It was when I was pregnant in April of 2000.
Thousand and my late husband was diagnosed with a very aggressive brain tumor. Oh. So we were just seven weeks pregnant with our first and only child. He was diagnosed with a brain tumor and he was given about six months to live. So if we do the math there, he wasn't expected to even see our child born.
We did a lot to extend his life and support him through the many trials of, uh, having a chronic illness and. Really woke me up to a lot of the gaps in our health and medical system. I wanna say I'm not here to bash our health fund medical system. There are many wonderful things that were done, and at the same time, I realized where there were missing pieces, including seeing the person or the patient as an individual.
So that was really my wake up that led me to ultimately, after he passed. Away two and a half years later. So we did extend his life. Wow. That's great. Put myself back through school to really study nutrition to realize what was missing in the realm of nutrition and healthcare. And then to create my own methodologies, which are very much in alignment with functional medicine that I then have had the opportunity to teach, like I said, to thousands Wow.
Of people around the globe. So. In a nutshell, that was my journey and then also what I do, and I know functional medicine and functional nutrition can be confusing, so sure. We can also talk about that. Absolutely. Well, one, thank you for sharing your story and two, I'm so sorry to hear of the ways that you got into this.
I'm sure that has a lot of emotions and yet. To acknowledge the difference that you were able to make together in his life and the extension of his life. Oh wow. So certainly that passion is there. Yes. From that core component of what happened in your, in your world. So thank you for that. 'cause that's so important for us to understand, just like the motivations.
'cause it can make such a difference for our, the depth by which we'll go down the rabbit hole. Exactly. So my understanding, understanding is you've really gone down the rabbit hole to the point that you've created these unique methodologies. Um. Like some of the things that I had read about when I was intro to you were really interesting 'cause I haven't heard anyone talk about some of these things and the way that you're doing it.
So maybe we can look at that when, just on the topic of sleep, when people Yes. Are kind of coming your way or your training your people in your methodologies, what are some of these unique ways that you are thinking and talking about sleep? Yeah, so that's a great question. And yes, that experience in my own life is a huge part of my mission, which drives things forward, right?
Yeah. So understanding those gaps and where people fall into those gaps, especially people with chronic illness, is hugely important to me, and that's my passion. Working with people who do have chronic illness of any sort, from Lyme disease to autoimmunity and helping people to serve that population. And for me, sleep is a non-negotiable.
So one of the. Systems that I teach to practitioners and to patients is what I call the three tiers to Nutrition Mastery. Now, I actually think of those as the three tiers to epigenetic mastery, but nutrition is an easier term. Sure. Yeah. So we'll use that and we can talk about epigenetics if we have time, because sleep is an epigenetic modulator.
But those three tiers are the non-negotiables. Deficiency to sufficiency and dismantling the dysfunction. Most of the time when it comes to health, including sleep, we go for the dysfunction and how we want to dismantle it. My approach is that if we address tier one and tier three, two, we are inadvertently addressing tier three.
So it's like the soil around the root instead of just the root or the branch, which is the manifestation. So when I talk about the non-negotiables. Tier one. My non-negotiable trifecta for everybody is sleep. Poop and blood sugar balance, beautiful. If we don't have those in place, we're not gonna be able to build health and healing on top of that.
It seems too simple, but those, as you know, Mollie are complex issues to address, and then non-negotiables are gonna be different for every individual beyond that. But if we don't have those factors in place, we're not doing what the body needs to do to heal. Absolutely. Okay, so from there, my understanding is this topic of when people are coming your way and they're dealing with insomnia, or maybe they're sleeping, but they're still fatigued throughout the day, what kind of alarm bells go off for you or how you thinking uniquely about this topic?
Yeah, the first thing I wanna address is what is actually happening for them. 'cause those terms don't really mean anything without further inquiry, right? Absolutely. So I'm a student of the field of narrative medicine, which is also a newer field where we really do dive into what is happening for you.
So we use these terms like, I have insomnia, I am fatigued. What does that actually mean to you? And how do we dive in as. Step deeper so that I know what I'm addressing. A lot of times practitioners will throw a supplement at that, oh, you have insomnia. Take melatonin. Yeah. Or Take your B-six, or Here's a sleep herbal formula, or whatever it is.
I wanna know that I'm actually addressing the right. Thing I'm asking why not Just what, that's what it means to look for the roots. So the first thing I'm doing is a lot of inquiry. I'm doing a lot of interviewing for an assessment before I make a recommendation. And I call that the art of the practice.
Assess, recommend, and track. So for ourselves as patients, take a pause. Take a breather before you're looking for the hack. Consider what the questions are that you need to ask yourself. When I say I'm not sleeping, what does that mean? Am I falling asleep? Okay. Am I waking up in the middle of the night? Am I waking up feeling rested?
Do I have a regular bedtime? Do I have a regular waking time? Are there simple things that I can tweak that might actually lead to resolution before me putting more into my internal bucket? Ugh. And isn't that the missing man part of my personal story that you had pointed to? I went to the doctors in Croatia at the time when I was dealing with sleep meltdown and uh, left with sleeping pills and got maybe a question or two and there was not this beautiful kind of time spent of sussing out what is going on with this individual.
So I love that you are a stand for that, and then teaching others to bring that in. So when we see that symptomology then are there other cofactors that you might see commonly or, or frameworks by which you further go down the rabbit hole on this topic? And I hear you too. It's like part of it is what you're speaking to is this.
Interviewing and spending that time. And how much time also do you spend, I know I just asked you a bunch of questions, but how much time do you spend? I haven't done team doing that. I'm working on that, but it's questions. Go ahead. He, no, absolutely. So in our practice, we spend quite a bit of time on the assessment phase.
That's the phase that most people rush through. So we do a lot, there's a lot of tools that I. Teach practitioners to use to slow down. I It's the pause, right? It's that synaptic clasped where we're sitting in the, what's the question before we're going to the solution? And I know that's not culturally where we sit, so we spend, you know, probably a couple hours, some with the patient and some outside of.
The patient and they're spending time doing a very deep assessment as well. So to answer that question, sure, there's time put into the front end to be able to understand, wait, who are you? You are not assigned symptoms and diagnoses. You are a person. And this goes back to what I learned in my journey with my husband, because I saw him at.
32, 33, 34 years old, treated like a walking dead man. And that really struck me as like, wait a minute. He's not just his diagnosis, he's Isamu. He's my Yeah, beloved, right? Mm-Hmm. Like he's about to be a father or a new father. He is a brother, he is a husband, he is a lover, he, he's a musician. All of these things.
And I was like. Something's missing here. And so that really taught me about that process of learning who are you, not just what do we do for you. So that process is long then to get back to sleep. I know we're not talking necessarily about going to a practitioner, but that pause. Separating the problem from the solution is something I do believe we could all do for ourselves and take that pause before we are bringing something in, as I said earlier, and then I'm really thinking through what are our pieces that would be tier one.
So again, I labeled tier one as the non-negotiables. Deficiency to sufficiency and dismantling the dysfunction. That's in general for all health. I can also apply that to sleep. So my sleep non-negotiables would be, do you have a sanctuary in your room? Mm. Is there blackness? In your room? Darkness. Mm-Hmm?
Are you keeping it cool and the right temperature? Have you unplugged and allowed for no glow in your room? Are you catching the wave, which has to do with our hormones and our adrenal curve? Are you calming down? Are you allowing for rest and digest? And what substances are you consuming and when in the day?
So that's eight factors. I think of that as like a matrix. I think a lot in threes and eights love it of like, are these factors at play and is there somewhere you can move the dial? That shifts things a little bit for you, and sometimes I think of this as the simplicity on the other side of complexity.
I could talk to you about physiology and biotransformation and hormone function all day long, but we still need to take these steps that we might think, ah, that's too simple. This is what's really going on, but we still need to do those things no matter. Oh, I love these frameworks and models by which you've created for people to get in there and then start to see themselves in, okay, yeah, maybe I have the blackness in the space, but there's still the glowing, or I'm missing that wave.
Or, you know, discover what is missing. Because certainly one of the. Go-to approaches for sleep at the moment is supposed to be this reference or pointing towards CBTI, Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia. Yeah, great. And yet I get concerned that there's so much just resting on the laurels of often just two things in the whole two toolkit for a lot of sleep practitioners, which is CBTI and yeah, getting a sleep test.
And that's about it. And then they kind of end there. And to your point, it's much more in depth beyond that and really bringing in this physiology component. And to just piggyback on that Molly, like those are tier three issues for me. So when I talk about those three tiers, when we're talking about the behavior or the.
Sleep testing that might show sleep apnea. Those are pathological issues. And if we only see through a medical lens, we're only looking at the pathology of the case. And there's a lot of physiology that isn't on the scale of pathology. So from a functional perspective, we're looking at a narrower lens to say, yeah, you might not have tipped the scale into the realm of pathology, which is a diagnosis, but that doesn't mean you're feeling okay.
And so what's all that space that exists between Yeah, I feel awesome and oh my gosh, I have a disease that's now medically gotten some kind of label. There's a lot between there. Absolutely. You know, I have your site up as we're speaking and. You speak to leveraging the powers of nutrition, and we're talking about some of these things from a physiology or physiological perspective, and many people, you know that might be listening, that might be new to them beyond, okay, nutrition, so, well, I know.
You know, Turkey maybe makes me tired or some of these basic things. What, what does nutrition have to do with this conversation? When you think of this topic and food as medicine, how do you bring that in or how does that correlate for you with sleep? I. Yeah. So for me, nutrition is at its essence, growth, metabolism, and repair.
And sleep is a component of growth, metabolism, and repair. So for me, nutrition isn't just about food. It is where food meets physiology. That's a piece of it. Yeah. But there's a lot of other elements that help us with what I might loosely call nutrition. I know we think of nutrition as just food. Sure. But sleep is a huge part of growth metabolism.
Hair, and that's the definition of nutrition. So that's why when I think about sleep poop and blood sugar balance as those, that non-negotiable trifecta, we, we could be eating the best diet ever, according to whoever's decided what the best diet ever is. Certainly, yeah. But if. Other functions aren't working in our body, it doesn't matter.
And this is where I think we get caught on theory outside of understanding, wait a minute, I am different. I'm unique. What do I need to focus on? How do I build the foundation that's gonna allow me to receive all the goodness I'm doing? I'm sure you know many people who are following what they think are the best diets ever.
Yes. And they don't feel good. And so that's where we have to go inside and do the repair to enable the body to heal and sleep. It, it's a non-negotiable. Like it just is a non-negotiable. And for those people that say, I wanna sleep, I so want to, and so then, then they get all nervous when, oh shoot, well that's part of the steps for me to improve this and I can't, and I try to lay there.
What do we think for those individuals? Yeah, I definitely don't want sleep to be a command. Yeah. That makes people feel bad. I get that. There's going to need to be support. So again, how do we address those eight non-negotiable functions and see am I actually doing these things for, for me, one of the big things I see, well, they're all big actually.
Hmm. Yeah. But one of the biggest ones I see. See is that people stay up too late, they don't catch their curve, so they're not actually in sync with their circadian rhythm. And then it is harder to fall asleep and it is harder to stay asleep. And so knowing that our body is meant to follow a certain circadian rhythm and we need to retrain our bodies.
Skill. Skill to get back into that movement. That is a huge thing because I will hear from people, but I get my second wind. Yeah, of course you do. Yeah. That's your cortisol doing what it's supposed to do. Like all the ways and the reasons we stay up late are. Um, working, they're counter to our efforts to get good sleep.
So when somebody says, I just lay there. Yeah, I wanna ask a bunch of questions. Are you consuming caffeine? When was the last time you ate? What time did you wake up? This, I wanna understand again. Ask yourself questions because there's more to the story than that simple context of, I'm laying there and I can't fall asleep.
Then I wanna get to that tier two issues. So what, beyond those factors, those eight factors may be at play because those are foundational factors, but I don't wanna ignore that somebody may have. Hormone issues. They may have inflammation or adrenal issues or blood sugar imbalances, or there might be medications that they're taking or nutrient deficiencies.
So that tier two deficiency to sufficiency is helping me to see, wait a minute before I try to put a bandaid on this. Is there something contributing that we could address that doesn't lead to a whole other bunch of band-aids as it happens? Yeah, so it's just recognizing other non-negotiable factors that become deficiencies or toxicities.
I like to say tier two is deficiency to sufficiency. On the other side of that is toxicity. So it's a spectrum. We wanna be in the sufficiency realm. So do we have a magnesium deficiency? Well, most people in, at least the US do. Do we have deficiencies in or imbalances in our blood sugar, which are at the base of all of our hormonal functions.
Sure. That can. Keep us up, wake us up, keep us awake. There's a lot of different things physiologically that can be contributing to that frustration, and we all may need a little help with somebody who does do that inquiry and figuring it out. Sure. Well, I love this kind of battery of questions that you have at it's part of your flow and your system to ensure that we're not missing things by not asking the right questions.
And, and you also pointed to what sounds like potentially a battery of maybe tests or are there these, uh, go-to tests that you make sure that most people are taking? And if so, what are some of those things that you think just. You should make sure you have an ongoing awareness of certain levels. I know you alluded to certain things, magnesium, et cetera.
Is there kind of a go-to kind of lab stack? Yeah. So contrary to most functional practitioners, I do not believe in over-testing. Mm-Hmm. I believe in testing when we need more information. Okay. If somebody's going to sleep at midnight every night, I don't need to test. Them to know what I need to be working on.
Right? Yeah. If somebody is, uh, waking, you know, not eating breakfast and they're not following a plan where their body is adjusted to not eating breakfast, they're trying all these things like, yeah, I have blood sugar issues, but I'm intermittent fasting, or I have these inflammatory issues and I'm trying this pro like I already know without testing.
So I love. Tests. I love testing, but I wanna use them discriminately. And when I need more information for my therapeutic interventions, I prefer to always start with regular old serum labs. Those are the labs you get at your doctor. My list might be more extensive than what a conventional doctor would run, but those labs are gonna give me some good indicators about inflammation, about blood sugar, about.
Cellular activity. And again, if I don't build that foundation, I am working on quicksand, right? So if I hop to the GI map or the Dutch testing without building the foundation, which. So many people are doing today. They think they're helping themselves, but they're jumping too far ahead without building the foundation.
And then unfortunately, what I see is people who are really frustrated because they spent all that money on those tests, on those supplements, on those high. Clinicians and they're still facing the same challenges. So that's where I'm just like, we, we have to stop. Yeah. This, this like insanity. So really for me it's about building that solid foundation and saying like, you know what?
I can test your vitamin D levels in a serum test. Yeah, I can see your magnesium levels. I can see by what you're eating in having you track. Through food, mood, poop tracking. If that feels accessible to you, that you're not getting the diversity that you need, that you're not getting enough fiber, that your blood sugar's out of balance.
I can see those things pretty clearly from somebody tracking for themselves, which is what I would invite everybody to do, like Thank you. Track for yourself. Track, yeah. I think it's so important we exactly. Audit our behavior. Yes, yes. So when we track, we show up better in our clinical appointments, we know ourselves better.
I always like to remind people that when you go to see a provider, no matter what their background, there are two experts in the room and there's only one expert in you. Yeah, and you have to show up as the expert in you, and you don't do that by taking, doing, following the social media storm. You do that by tracking and saying, I notice when I XYZ, this is how I feel that's going to give that provider so much more information to get you further in their recommendations, versus you showing up as a blank slate trying to do their job.
For them. Absolutely. Yes. Uh, I love that. And I love that you're such a Stan for tracking. 'cause we'll sometimes hear people say, oh, well you don't wanna start tracking and you can develop orthorexia, or you can have these Obsessions with your sleep and this, that and the other. And yet, one of the things that I see, and granted of course there's case-by-case situations and not trying to.
Make blanket statements, but often the empowerment for people comes from the awareness and then pattern spotting. I mean that for me, this head in the sand ostrich approach, I don't think that that is particularly powerful for people. So I so appreciate that I. And you know, before we get, 'cause I'm super curious to hear about your, how you are managing your own sleep and these rhythms and all of that.
But before we do that, is there anything else that, 'cause I certainly feel, I've gotten the sense that you've thought deeply, uh, clearly about all of these topics. Um, and they are complex. I, I know and we're squeezing them into a short period of time. But is there anything that you wanna make sure we convey or that we left out in this topic of.
This big, huge topic. I know, I know. So I'll, I'll squeeze some other things in, but I just wanna respond to what you just said so beautifully about tracking and that there is a fear that it makes us overzealous about what we're finding. And I think that that's a. Fix it attitude. That's culturally part of how we work.
Sure. So when I'm asking people to track, first of all, we're not gonna track anything that you're uncomfortable with tracking. So Absolutely. If somebody can't track their food, I am not asking them to track their food. A lot of people get very triggered by that. Yep. But we're not tracking to fix you.
There's nothing wrong with you if you're. Sitting here talking to me, you are not broken. We're optimizing and we're not looking at the information in a targeted way. We're like you said, creating patterns, looking for trends. I'm doing that with labs too, and sometimes I notice with people that when I'm looking at their labs, I have to show them everything that's working before we talk about what is.
Maybe could be optimized because there's a lot of fear that there's something big and wrong with us. Yeah. If you're sitting here talking to us, listening to this, you're sitting up, you're doing whatever, you're okay. Yeah. Like you're, you're more functional than not. So I just wanted to speak to that because I love that.
Thank you. Tracking doesn't mean you're obsessing. It means you are right. Gathering information with curiosity. And then I just wanna talk like physiologically. Yes. Sleep is about rest restoration. It's about resilience. If we take it a step further, sleep is about energy production. It's about our neuronal and brain support.
It's about immune modulation and it's about biotransformation or detoxification. And so when we're looking like people will come to me and be like, what do you do for mitochondrial support? Sleep. What do you do for heavy metal toxists Sleep? Like you have to be doing these things first, and if you're not and you're reaching for supplements to help you with something at a deep cellular level, but you're not taking the time to focus on sleep, you're missing your body's innate opportunity to do what it needs to do sleep.
Is your sleep poop and blood sugar balance yes. Are your best ways to detoxify. And people are looking for all these hardcore ways. It's just if we get back to those core basics, they are physiologically sound and meant for our body to tolerate and be resilient to a lot more. So that's the what I wanted to say.
Like thank you physiologically well said, mic. Fantastic. So having said that, and I know I'm clear and speaking with you, that there's so much more, and yet maybe the, one of the next ways we can learn from you is to observe how you are managing things in your own life. And I know it's bio-individual, so this is in your world totally.
But it's always very noteworthy what we can glean from how people are thinking about this and what's happening for them. So our first question is always, what does your nightly sleep routine look like right now? Yes, I love this. So for me, it really is about patching the wave That is the most important thing that I've learned about myself over the years.
That I have to go to sleep by 10, 10 30, the latest, or I do feel that second wave. So that is a non-negotiable for me, that I honor that time when my body and my cortisol and my adrenaline are coming down. I live a. Super stressful life with the business this size. Yep, I have, and I have to be resilient and show up my best every single day.
I was a single mom. I am a single mom. He is just a young adult now. So yeah, different kind of single mom, but like that is so important to recognize that that is the key piece. My room is a sanctuary. I have no glowing lights. I move the computer out. I move the phone away. So really honoring the darkness, all those things I talked about.
But I will say number one for me is that bedtime. Yeah, absolutely. We can go so deep into that topic because then, you know, sometimes people get into, oh, well my chronotype, my this, my that. And I think one of the things that is beginning to emerge that I'm getting excited about is the more that comes out around this circadian rhythm piece, the more we align to the rhythms of nature and we mimic what had happened for thousands and thousands of years.
There wouldn't be the room. Yes, maybe there's some genetic drift and a little bit of deviation. Correct. But. Well, using myself as an example, back when I would be very justified and righteous and doing all the things not to do for sleep, I would say I'm an extreme night owl and go to bed at like 3, 4, 5 in the morning and say, well, I get my most creative ideas then, and yada, yada, yada.
Exactly. And then didn't connect the dots to the anxiety, the shingles in my twenties, the ulcers, the ugh. Yeah. So yeah. We know that even unfortunately for shift workers, that just simply doing active things at times that maybe we weren't designed for results in some impact for many areas of life. So appreciate what you're pointing to there, and that might spill over.
I'd assume then to your mornings, because given your commitment to your nights, it's, I'm guessing that we see particular things in the morning as a result. Yeah, I mean, my morning is pretty ritualistic because I feel like I need to prepare for the what the day ahead holds. Sure. Which is quite a lot. So I wake up at the same time every day.
I might that there might be a variation there on the weekends, but it's pretty much within a general time and I have a very elaborate routine. I do stretching in the morning. I do weights in the morning, feed the cat, put the kettle on, you know, get my supplements ready, I meditate. I shower, I just have, I connect with my boyfriend in the morning by phone.
Like there's a whole series of things that I'm doing. Drink my water. I just, it's, it's kind of like brushing my teeth at this point where it's really just a part of my routine and it's. Very sacred to me that it's my time before I wake up and I'm giving all of myself away to all that's demanding time of and from me.
And I think that bookend allows for me to have the resilience that I do need to navigate everything I need to navigate in my day. And without those bookends, the morning and the night, I don't think I could do it. So for me, that has become sacred territory. We're cut from the same cloth. I literally also use the bookend terminology.
Uh, I think it's so helpful just mentally envision that. And even, and I love that you're sharing, you've got a lot that you're up to. It's not like, you know, we're just meditating and doing yoga all day. It's not that there's anything wrong with that, but there's also room to carve out those sacred times.
Even in a successful business with all these people that you're. Responding to and working with and all that, that you've found that that is so important that you are willing to give part of your calendar every day to that time. So yeah, I don't think I could do, I literally don't think I could have built what I've built and done what I, without that time and space.
Yeah. And I do wanna say, because I think people are like, oh my God, you do all those things. Like I do 'em in little. You know? Yeah. It's little tiny moments. Like the longest something might take is 20 minutes, so Right. I'm like doing something that's little bits that then stack up to create maybe a 90 minute, two hour routine in the morning where then I'm ready to go.
Right. But like, yeah, it's, it's not these long extended times. Like I'm not meditating for an hour, I'm meditating. Right. And doing gratitude for like 10 minutes. And that's, I think, important for people to hear because it seems like if we're taking on a new practice, that it has to be this big, humongous thing.
And I'm a fan of the tiny little bites. Yes. And so great for behavioral change. Yes. And we can feel like this. Okay, I could fit that in. Let me try bringing that into these bookends, these elusive bookends know. If people aren't doing that at all, then how could we begin with something, to your point, bite-sized.
That's yes. Awesome. And visually, I know you alluded to your sleep sanctuary, which I love that the lingo there. So what might we see on your nightstand or proverbial nights of your traveling and it can extend out to the rest of your space? Yeah, so my nightstand is primarily just a light and some key supplements that I take before bed.
Mm-Hmm. Or that I have to take in the morning. Sure. And a book, like a Kindle, like, which I can then put away. So there's, it's, there's not a lot of stuff there. I'm not crowding that space next to my head. That's great. Love that. Okay. And then the last question would be, and I'm sure it's maybe continuing to evolve or what have you, but so far, what would you say has made the biggest change to your sleep game?
Or said another way? Maybe biggest aha moment in managing your own sleep. Yeah, it's gonna come back to that catch, what I call catching the curve. Yeah. And I really do like to teach people about what the adrenal but cortisol is doing and how connected that is to other hormones in the body. Blood sugar connected to cortisol, cortisol connected to DHEA, and then to our sex hormones, to our thyroid.
So much connection there. But I remember the first time I did do testing on my hormones and I saw how jacked up my adrenals were in the night time when I was trying to fall asleep. Yeah. And recognized that I was. I was initiating part of the imbalance that I was then complaining about, right? Sure. The signs and symptoms or what I was complaining about.
So I realized that that was so important for me to honor that and not bypass it. And I know I, I keep, you know, talking about that curve, but that for me was the. Biggest game changer because if I honor my sleep time, meaning when my body is naturally coming down, I fall asleep faster, my latency is better, and I stay asleep.
If I don't, it takes longer for me to fall asleep and my sleep is more shallow, and then I feel that the next day. It's not worth it to me. So what became worth it to me was to actually honor that bedtime and every decision we make has a risk and a reward. Yeah. So the risk might be, I'm not capitalizing on that next wind, but the reward is I'm capitalizing on the day ahead of me.
Absolutely. No, I love that you speak to that, that arc or that natural rhythm that is present. I often say that I'm acting like Nostradamus over here with my proclamations, that my belief is that these rhythms are going to become more and more mainstream in our conversations and, and. It's not as if that's a future that's novel.
It's something that we've been doing for thousands of years, but we've just gotten divorced from over the time that we've gone indoors, and there's this opportunity for us to get reconnected to that. It's only been, you know, since Edison and indoor temperature modulation and all these things that yes, we've had the opportunity to stay up till four in the morning watching Netflix or whatever we want.
All of that would've been very odd behavior. You know, thousands of years ago, not even thousands, a couple hundred of years ago. Yes. And so what you're pointing to can sometimes sound like radical or new or different or out of the, sadly, out of the realm of what we do in our society. And yet there's a call to arms to bring that in with the epidemic of sleep disturbances and many other health disturbances that you're seeing all the time.
So, so beautifully said. And I'm clear that in listening to what you're sharing and the deep thought that you've brought into this world of health, that people are going to wanna know more about how to follow you, how to work with you, how to learn about either be coached by you or to go through your practices or learn to be able to administer your methodologies to others.
So how can they do that? Yeah. Thank you. There's so much I wanna say, but like I know it's like yes and yeah, exactly. So smart's an at your age. Um, so you can find everything I do at Andrea Nakayama.com that will lead you back to the functional nutrition Alliance where the training happens, where we have a virtual clinic.
I don't work with people one-on-one anymore, but the writing I do over at Andrea Nakayama is. Patient-focused. Everything at functional nutrition Alliance is for coaches and clinicians who are looking to practice functional nutrition. So the training is there. We also do have a clinic that sees patients there.
So Andreannakayama.com will lead you to all the different places that you might be looking for. And, uh, same on all the socials. Andrea. Nakayama. Oh, fantastic. Wow. Well, it's just very evident to me that I. You have through, I'm so sorry, of the origin of this, you know, kind of really passion and mission in your life.
So again, I apologize that it came from that, but what you have built is so beautiful and making such a difference to so many people. And thank you so much for taking the time to share your hard one wisdom on the these topics and more. Thank you, Mollie. Thank you. You've been listening to The Sleep Is a Skill Podcast, the top podcast for people who wanna take their sleep skills to the next level.
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