162: Amanda Kuda, Alcohol-Free Lifestyle Expert, Sober Curious? How Cutting Alcohol WILL Support Your Sleep And What To Do About It!


Amanda is an alcohol-free lifestyle expert. She’s a holistic life coach, speaker and author living, working and playing in Austin, TX. As a coach, Amanda helps ambitious, soul-centered women stop drinking and start manifesting the life they deserve and desire.

She teaches a modern approach to personal development, self-actualization and spiritual enlightenment through the lens of elective sobriety. Amanda’s first book, Unbottled Potential: Break Up With Alcohol And Break Through To Your Best Life is out now (Penguin Random House / Avery) is available now wherever books are sold.

Her work has been featured on CNN, Business Insider, and The Skimm.

In this episode, we discuss:

😴  Amanda’s Personal Journey to Sobriety

😴  Benefits of an Alcohol-Free Lifestyle

😴  Exploring Sobriety: From Curiosity to Commitment

😴  Elective Sobriety

😴  Navigating Social Situations and Alcohol

😴  Tools for Staying Sober in Social Settings

😴  Shifting Mindsets and Building Confidence

😴  Establishing Healthy Sleep Routines

😴  Amanda introduces her book, "Unbottled Potential," which offers a heart-centered approach to living alcohol-free

😴  And more!


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Instagram: @AmandaKuda

: Amandakuda

Book: "Unbottled Potential"


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.

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  Welcome to the Sleep as a Skill podcast. My name is Mollie Eastman. 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 looks.

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 keeping 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 Amanda Kuda. Not only is she a close personal friend, but she is someone that is making huge waves in the alcohol free lifestyle space. Why are we talking about that on podcasts around sleep? Well, how can we not? Because if you are someone that has any sort of sleep tracker, I am sure if you've had a drink and you have your data next to it, you have seen.

the difference that shows up on your sleep results after even just one drink often, certainly multiple drinks. And it's probably one of the more common things that I hear back from people that they get just hit over the head with when they start tracking is how much alcohol will obliterate their sleep.

And I mean, I would love to be able to say, Oh, well, you know, you just have this type of drink or what have you. What I have found is that often there's really no way around it. The things that you can do if you are someone who does like to drink is you can move things a bit earlier into your day. So, yes, I am advocating if you are Someone that does like to drink every now and again for a bit of a boozy brunch or at most a happy hour.

But I will tell you that it is likely to show up in those sleep results and I'm sure you've seen that for yourself. So if you've seen that or if you just felt that, you might be making the next logical step to, what could life look like with less alcohol or even moving into a. Alcohol free lifestyle, and it can help to have a guide on that journey because often it takes quite a bit because we're not necessarily in a society that's set up to support a lifestyle quite like that.

So Amanda is going to guide us on that. So a little bit about her. Amanda is an alcohol free lifestyle expert. She's a holistic life coach, speaker, and author. Living, working, and playing in Austin, Texas. As a coach, Amanda helps ambitious, soul centered women stop drinking and start manifesting the life they deserve and desire.

She teaches a modern approach to personal development, self actualization, and spiritual enlightenment through her book. through the lens of elective sobriety. Amanda's first book, Unbottled Potential, Breakup with Alcohol and Breakthrough to Your Best Life, is out now, Penguin Random House Avery, and is available now everywhere books are sold.

So definitely check out the book. I've had the opportunity to read that myself and it is very inspiring. It takes a very different approach you to alcohol and this alcohol free lifestyle conversation. So without further ado, let's jump into the podcast, but first a few words from our sponsors.  If you're listening to this podcast, you're likely looking to improve your sleep.

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Sleep is a skill to get gifts with purchase up to two travel sized bottles of magnesium breakthrough. So you want to act fast on this. It's a limited time offer. Again, go to buy optimizers. com forward slash sleep is a skill. And I think you're going to be pleasantly surprised by the results.  Today, I'm very excited to introduce you to Moonbird, a pioneering biofeedback device that's revolutionizing the way we approach sleep.

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And welcome to the sleep is a skill podcast. My guest today is not only a guest for today's podcast, but actually a dear friend and someone that I'm so inspired by and really walks the talk. Amanda, thank you so much for taking the time to be here. Oh, thanks Mollie. I'm glad to be here. Oh, just really like an exciting event that was on my calendar for today.

You know, sometimes you just got things you gotta do at different points, and you have different emotions around it. Well, this was one where I was like, oh, yay! Excited! Yeah, I get to hang out with my friends! Get to hang out with my friends! You know, I'm so clear that this is an area that Absolutely have to do more content around.

So, of course, this is a sleep is a skill podcast. Anyone that's listening to this is looking to improve their sleep in some meaningful way. Are there many ways that you could improve your sleep more in a short period of time than taking out some big heavy hitters like alcohol. So this is going to be fantastic.

But let's start at the beginning. How did you become a bit of a queen of an example of how you could live a  powerful sober lifestyle? And I'm sure you have different language around it. You can help us guide us around the vernacular of all this. But how did this come to be? Yeah, totally. Well, it was a divine accident.

I'll say that because this was never my life plan or so I thought. I spent my late teens and my twenties as kind of a quintessential social butterfly party girl, girl about town, whatever you want to call it. And I really, you know, use alcohol as a social lubricant. I thought it was very normal that alcohol helps me come out of my shell and be a little less, um, a little less self conscious and a little more outgoing.

And so being a social drinker became part of my persona and my personality. It was something that I really, you know, grasped to. And I really had this fantasy that in order to be like a proper sexy, you know, woman that you needed to drink. And this kind of evolved from, you know, growing up around sex in the city and watching, you Carrie Bradshaw and all of her gals go out and have this great time.

And what did they have as an accessory but a cosmopolitan? So I was never classy enough for that. I drank like Sonic slushies with vodka. But whatever, um, you know, I, I did evolve throughout the years, but it was just this persona of this is what is acceptable and expected for me as a successful young social woman.

And so I had a pretty, unremarkable relationship with alcohol. It was very normalized. And around the time I turned 28, I really got turned on to the world of personal development and self help. And I started to see that there was this other life out there that I really aspired to live. Because if I'm being honest, I was checking all of the boxes of what it meant or it looked like to live a good life.

I had a master's degree. I had a good career. I had a house, a car, friendships. I was healthy, you know, all of these things, but I didn't feel good. Something just felt existentially wrong. And I felt really weird to admit that because I thought you will, you should just be happy. You should just be, you should just be grateful.

And while I was grateful, that also doesn't mean that you have to be happy and accept the status that you're in. So I started to kind of question everything and one of the questions that kept coming up that was, really uncomfortable for me was should you keep drinking? Should you continue your relationship with alcohol?

Because even though no one had told me it was bad or I didn't have a problem, I, you know, even talked to my therapist about it and asked if maybe it was something I should look at. And we ran through the questions and she's like, no, no, you're okay. Just maybe cut back a little bit. And so there was nothing.

Glaringly obvious about my relationship with alcohol, but yet I really sensed on a personal level that it was holding me back from living the life that I wanted to live in terms of health, wellness, productivity, just achieving my potential. And so in 2017, January, 2017, the January 1st, 2017 was the last time I drank alcohol and it started out as an experiment and that experiment turned into.

me actually really feeling good and a lot of the things in my life kind of clicking into place and I started talking about  change because no one in, you know, that was as we were talking now seven years ago, no one was really talking about sobriety from an elective standpoint, from just living alcohol free.

It was all recovery, addiction, that kind of, kind of language, which is very important, but It wasn't something that resonated with me. So when I started going down this path, I started kind of just loosely discussing living an alcohol free lifestyle. And it happened to be at a time where that trend was catching some steam.

And I ended up making a career out of it. I ended up having so many people come to me asking for help and support. And I have a background that like leans into that. So I just started working with people, mostly high achievers who want to quit drinking alcohol. And yeah, seven years later, I've written a book on the topic.

I am, you know, kind of an expert in the area and I've never felt better and my life has never been more aligned. So I think that it was a really cool and you know, just serendipitous transition in my life. Amazing. And not only have you done all that and created a whole business around it, I know just recently you launched your new book around it, and really speaking to this unbottled potential, to use your title, of what's possible for people, what can kind of blossom from this sort of lifestyle.

So I guess that could potentially be a place for us to begin. Like, why do For anyone listening, why might they want to venture into this arena or get curious on the benefits of this? Why that? Well, you know, the obvious reason that we're, we'll dive more into is because alcohol is undoubtedly harming your sleep.

There is, there's plenty of data to show you that. But I also assume that most of the people who are listening to the show are on a health and wellness journey. They're incredibly ambitious. They have some, you know, high pie in the sky dreams that they're, that they're wanting to achieve. And I can promise you, even though I'm not supposed to make promises, but I can promise you that if you get alcohol out of your life, if you're drinking at any sort significant rate and quantity.

If you choose to remove alcohol from your life, it's going to give you a competitive edge that cannot be matched. And it's going to make your dreams all that more achievable. In fact, I believe that it will make the dreams that you have now small in comparison to what you're actually capable of. And so I kind of started to develop this philosophy that, you know, you mentioned my book is called unbottled potential, because I believe that when you break up with alcohol, it gives you this space to break through to a life that you could have never imagined a life beyond your wildest dreams.

And that's really what I want to help people achieve. And so often it's something that we don't think about because it's such a simple yet.  not easy change to make in your life because it is so normalized. We're told that we need and deserve alcohol to survive and make friends and socialize and get through tough days and celebrate.

And so it's such a normalized anchor in our society that most people would never think. if they don't have a problem that maybe it could be problematic in their lives. And I really am here to debunk that and show people how much more lively, productive, and fulfilling their life could be if they maybe considered removing alcohol from it.

So well said and I happen to have your website up right now and you kind of point to these different paths that People might take and so, you know, no matter where the listener might be, there could be these different paths that they could take that could be new, especially as we move into these new chapters for us right now, moving into the new year.

But whenever you're listening, new actions you could take and you. Put it into some buckets of sober, curious, sober, serious, or alcohol free, and maybe beginning at the sober, curious, for example, group. How might you guide someone that is just a little sober, curious? They're, they're maybe not quite at the point to say, I'm giving it up all together, but they're, they're interested.

How would you kind of guide that type of person? Yeah, I think that if you're in that phase where you're sober, curious, that it's important to start to collect data. This is where I, I think that a lot of people are just lurking and researching and where you can do some kind of low barrier to entry things like.

Following people on Instagram who resonate with you who are in the alcohol free space, starting to read some of the, um, it's called Quitlit, which is quit literature all about quitting alcohol is the genre that I write in. Starting to read some of these pieces that maybe resonate with you and also starting to ignore the ones that don't because there is going to be plenty of content in the alcohol free sobriety space that Just doesn't resonate with your story and that's okay.

So finding people who their content resonates with you and their, their approach and their way of speaking resonates with you and just kind of lurking around and then considering, you know, knowing that there's really never going to be a convenient time, but could you decide to take a short break from alcohol?

And that could look like starting out a week, but I really recommend trying to take a closer to a month off of alcohol, which depending upon when you're listening to this, maybe you've participated in or are doing right now, dry January. And there's some really interesting movements around the world where you can take this very socially acceptable break from alcohol.

And I think that that's the first thing to do is just test the waters a little bit, lurk around and test the waters. I love that. So really setting yourself up powerfully to kind of get that out of your system, see what life feels like by not just defaulting to some of those potentially coping mechanisms or things, strategies that might involve alcohol, seeing what socializing, for example, might look like alcohol free, just even for that short period of time and seeing what comes up from there.

Now, for people that are testing the waters on that, I know just recently you just posted a great reel where you're speaking to some of the things that are kind of crumbling as we relate to alcohol, meaning that even recent this past year, certain studies that are coming out kind of going in the face of how we might have thought of alcohol in the past of, you know, there's certain ways that you can have it.

It can be a healthy lifestyle. And now we're kind of questioning that. Can you share a little bit about some of the things that we're seeing in the research that is starting to shake up our preconceived notions of what a healthy lifestyle with alcohol looks like? Totally. And you know, it's really interesting because on that, uh, Um, I originally posted it on Tiktok and it went like mega viral for me and there were thousands and thousands of comments and there were people who were really, um, grasping at straws to justify this behavior that I don't think is bad, wrong or evil.

I don't think everyone is intended to be sober or alcohol free. I'm not like a prohibitionist or anything, but I guess that for people who are getting turned on to it, that there's these little, these little, you know, um, false forms of reasoning that will grasp on to that. You know, that alcohol has anti or wine has antioxidants and that can be good for your heart or different forms of alcohol are good or acceptable or okay, or it's okay in moderation.

You just have to drink responsibly. But the fact of the matter is every single health organization, world health organization, American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, you name it, has changed their tune in the past. two or three years about what amount of alcohol is healthy. And they used to say, you know, this many drinks a week for men, this many drinks a week for women.

And now the number is zero. They have all changed that number to zero because there's no healthy amount that you can consume. Now, can you survive and still consume alcohol? Absolutely. But it's a known carcinogen. It is ethanol mixed with sugar so that we can tolerate the taste. And, um, there is no amount of it that's good for you.

So even though you might be reading studies about people who live in blue zones who thrive and have beautiful lives and they drink alcohol every day, well, they're healthy in spite of the fact that they drink alcohol, not because they drink alcohol. And we, we just use this kind of false form of reasoning to make their.

to make that mean that we should keep drinking because they've had such like long, uh, you know, vibrant lives. And that's not the case at all. What we know about alcohol now is that  And there's a couple of great podcast episodes that really delve into this. There's, you know, Andrew Huberman, I'm sure you've, um, shared this episode before, but in August 2022, he did an episode called Alcohol, um, How Alcohol Affects Your Body, Brain, and Health.

And he's going through academic study after academic study that all corroborate the same thing, that there's no healthy amount to drink, that if you're wanting the health benefits from antioxidants, you could Eat like blueberries instead and not simultaneously consume ethanol and you know the way that alcohol works is that or the way that alcohol works in your body is when you ingest alcohol even at a small amount I forget where this study was but I think that about the quantity of like a tablespoon once you go over that amount that your body has to halt the other processes that are naturally occurring or at least kind of do bare minimum.

For those processes that can devote so much energy to getting the toxin out of your body. So if you are on a frequent basis, distracting your body from doing what it's supposed to do to have it process this other thing, you're making a toy. You can't heal from disease. You can't. you know, sleep, you can't lose weight, you're not recovering after a workout.

If you have any sort of immunodeficiency or health concern, your body is not focusing on that, but rather focusing on the alcohol. So you're just distracting your body on a constant basis. And if you have a goal to be healthy and well, then there's really no, there's no moderation there because the The things that you have to do to repair from alcohol so far outweigh the dangers of it that it's really difficult to find any sort of balance because it's two steps forward three steps back and that's just no life to live if you're trying to be healthy and again there's nothing wrong.

wrong. It's, you're not bad if you drink alcohol, but if you're really wanting to be well, it's one of the fastest ways to optimize your health. Absolutely. Now a lot of people listening may be tracking, uh, different forms of their health and well being, whether they have, they're tracking their heart rate, they're tracking their steps, their activity, and certainly many tracking their sleep.

And anyone that's tracking and has experienced drinking and those results on those wearables, it's often very clear for most people, uh, those hits. And one of the questions that we get a lot is like, well, what can we do to still have our cake and eat it too? Are there ways around, you know, the hit to sleep?

So maybe, um, you can just share a little bit. I know you, touched on briefly as far as the impact of sleep, but just what can we expect alcohol to kind of do to our sleep? And then is there any healthy way, and I'm thinking out of what we've discussed, probably not, but is there any healthy way to have alcohol and get a good night's sleep?

Oh,  so that's a great question. Mollie, let me give you, I'm not a scientist and I'm not a doctor, so let me just clarify that. But I've seen a lot of trends developing recently where people are like, well, you should drink earlier in the day or you should drink this type of alcohol or you should you know,  drink it with activated charcoal or these supplements or whatever the problem or that you drink a glass of water, um, for every other drink, here's, here's the problem.

And I go back to what I just shared that when you drink alcohol, it distracts your body. So even if you put those minerals and those other, you know, do good things into your body, your body cannot process them to full effectiveness. And so it's, again, just distracting itself to optimize, to, you know, Process the alcohol.

And I'm, I haven't looked at the data and like looked at, I don't know if you have like specific data from aura or any of those other wearables that show if people are drinking earlier in the day, if that's actually more helpful. But that means that then if you are someone who's trying to have,  you know, you're trying to keep alcohol integrated, have your cake and eat it too.

Unless you naturally have social activities early in the day, Are you then going to just wake up and have a glass of wine just because you want to have it? Like, that doesn't make sense to me. I mean, I can't make that compute. But I mean, if you're naturally at an, at an activity, at a function that it's earlier in the day and you know, that's, that's the choice.

I don't know. I really don't know. But for me, what I'm hearing is you would have to actually wake up and intend and purpose to have that drink earlier in the day just so you can have it. But, um,  Here's the thing, you know, a lot of people use alcohol as a way to help them get to sleep, but really what you're doing is you're just passing out.

You're not getting good sleep. Your, your body is just like knocking itself out. And so, I mean, you have the data, the writing's on the wall. I know that you have shared with me the different things that you can tell just from looking at your client's data, if they've had a drink, even if they didn't tell you that they did.

So it's just. It's really interesting. I don't think that there's a really great way to hack the system. And I think a lot of the hacks are wishful thinking at best. Yeah. Um, because it's just, it's a hard thing for your body to process. You're just putting a lot of undue stress on your body. And again, not that it's bad or wrong every now and then.

But if you're really trying to keep it in your life. It's you're going to have to do so much ketchup work that it's, it's really not even worth it in my mind. Like I said, two steps forward and three steps back that you're always kind of trying to get back into homeostasis  because of this. this thing that you decided to write in.

Yes, uh, Breach, certainly to speak to some of the wearable data that we see. One, we often see one of the things that people cling to is, yes, people may fall asleep faster with alcohol, but that often is where some of the benefits are. appear to end as it relates to certainly just solely with sleep. Then we start to see body temperature go up, sleep fragmentation go up, impacts on sleep architecture, certainly HRV heart rate variability, kind of this readout of your ability to recover throughout the course of the night, the whole kind of one of the larger points of sleep, the ability to feel recovered that the subsequent day.

often really, really measurably clearly hit. And to your point, I think one of the ways we have seen people to have a bit less of an impact is solely just that time and putting alcohol use way apart from sleep. And yet, as you're pointing to, it begins to beg the question of the one, the why for that. Two, we start to often see things erode in practicality of the, Oh, that's a nice idea of putting it at.

your, you know, brunch time, but then brunch turns into happy hour turns into whatever and other poor decisions are made with the types of foods we're eating or what have you. So it kind of is a slippery slope as it relates to sleep. Now, if people are listening to say, okay, fine, I, I get it. I think it could really serve me to start experimenting and practicing with what could life look like without alcohol and navigate that.

So social situations. Those are some of the questions that I'm looking at. Some people had. Like how to navigate social situations can feel very kind of unnerving or any of us might get nervous in group settings or just feel anxious without that social lubricant kind of guide us on that like one specific question is.

Yes. What are some tools to use when not drinking but staying up late for a special event, presumably because then suddenly everyone else is getting drunk around you and you're just  like, yep, can we navigate all this guide us goodness? Okay, well, I want to give some mindsets that I think are really important to to consider and to explore.

But first, I'll give some practical tools specifically for that one. And I'm, you know, I'm someone now like I love our friendship because we if we go out, we're going home early. Like there's very few times where we are staying out and like closing the club down or whatever. And so really for me, one of the things that's helped is I've changed my behaviors and the type of people who I'm hanging out around.

And I think that that's really confronting for people at first, especially if you hang out with a party crowd who tends to stay out on the later side. It's considering maybe I'm not going to be exactly like those people anymore. And I just want to say that's scary. I totally get it because you worry that you're going to be a social outcast.

For me, if I'm going to do something that is going to keep me up a little later on the later side, I just try to plan for it. So I'm doing things like taking a nap in the afternoon, allowing myself to consume caffeine a little bit later and doing some things that normally I wouldn't do. Because what we're doing when we drink alcohol, when we go out is we're actually numbing ourselves to the fact that we're tired.

And so, yeah, we can go all night. Yeah. We keep going because we're forgetting that we're tired. Yeah. And when you're going out and you're not drinking, you're remembering that you're tired the whole time. Now, can you get swept up in the moment and end up having a lot of fun? Totally, but you can also, you know, optimize for that by maybe having a little bit of extra caffeine, whatever feels good for you, or just taking a nap to where you have a little more stamina throughout the day.

But on the flip side, on the mindset part of this, I would have you question, what is actually fun for you? What do you enjoy doing? Because I know that for me, when I stopped drinking, a lot of the things that I thought were fun before were no longer fun without alcohol included. And so staying out late, Became kind of unappealing because what happened?

I wasn't drinking, but everyone else was. And so then we kind of started to be on different levels. And they were talking about things that I couldn't give a flying F about when I was sober. And it just, it was gibberish. It didn't make sense to me. And I was, I was hungry for connection. And that connection was not able to be met because Everyone else was on a different level.

And so I realized that for me, it's not incredibly, you know, even if my friends are staying out until midnight, I'm going to go home at 10 because I don't think that much productive conversation happens at that point. Now, again, I've shifted into some friendship groups where that's more of the norm. But in those earlier days, I really just had to get real with myself and say, okay.

I can go out with my friends and not stay out until midnight and know that I'm not missing anything because actually after 10 p. m. or whatever time it is for you, I typically find at 10 30 or so is a pretty obvious time that the mood starts to shift and everyone else is on a different level and I don't have to stay just because they're staying.

I can go home, I can leave and that's okay and I'm really not going to miss anything. And I think just allowing yourself to shift that mindset of I have to stay out because everyone else is or I have to stay out or else I'm a loser is really an important part of the process in addition to some of the little hacks you might do if you do definitely want to stay out a little later.

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I've also seen you speak to that question that people will have around, how do I just even answer the question when people will ask, well, do you want to drink? Uh, you go to an event at a group, um, you know, someone that's hosting an event. Um, How do you answer that without getting super odd or weird or yeah, Yeah, because a lot of times we verbal vomit because we want to make sure people know that we're still going to be fun or we don't have a problem or whatever.

So I think it's really important that when you talk about a decision like this, that you have a plan and I'll give a, I'll give a little script for someone who is in your specific atmosphere because I assume again, you're focusing on sleep. So it is always helpful to give. a time frame to give an inarguable reason why you're not drinking and then to deliver with confidence and positivity.

So you never want to deliver it like, wah, wah, like you're, you're and really depressed. I already know that I'm a drag. If we can deliver the message with a little confidence, it's going to be so much better received. So let's just keep that in our back pocket. So the first part is giving, telling them that you're not drinking and giving a timeline.

So, hey, I'm actually not drinking for the next 30 days, for the first part of the year, for whatever your timeline is, because I'm super focused on getting my sleep under control right now and drinking doesn't help me. And our drinking really disrupts that. However you want to deliver that message. I, I often would say because I don't like the way that it makes me feel and I want to feel better.

People can't argue with you that you're not sleeping well and that you want to change it. That is a. Fact. And if someone does try to argue that and be like, Oh, just one won't hurt. That person has their interest at heart and not yours. So giving a time frame, an inarguable reason and delivering it with confidence and leaving it at that.

Usually people are just going to be like, Oh, okay, cool. What can I get you instead? Or that's cool. Tell me more about that. And then you can decide how comfortable you are with continuing talking about it. Love that formula. That is so good. And I think often, especially when this is new, this can feel very momentous of a moment where you are having these interactions and just waiting for what people are going to say.

And because it's new for us in and how to navigate. And yet, one of the things that certainly in my own experience that I've seen over the years, now living pretty much, I mean, like a handful of times have I drank in the last bunch of years. And so when now seeing that so often no one even cares. You notice, yes.

They're so consumed in their own world. Yeah, so consumed in their own world. Half the time you can get a, not get away, but kind of, without even discussing any of this and you just go up to the bar, get a sparkling water or whatever. Then no one's even,  No one's even, you know, probing, but to your point, I think that's so important, especially in these social gatherings and, you know, in home environments or atmospheres that it might come up to have that kind of in our back pocket.

I love what you said about the manner in which who you're being as you deliver this is a big, big deal. Because if we have something like it's weird or odd or, you know, a problem, latch onto it. Yeah. Totally, totally. So is some of the work that you often do with people just even getting clear on this potential new identity that they're starting to step into?

Is that part of the the protocol? Yeah, totally. My work is actually less about abstaining from alcohol and more about shifting your mindset and stepping into that confident space of who you could be as a non drinker. And a lot of times that involves flexing muscles that have kind of atrophied in your life as it and some of those are just learning to deal with emotions that you've.

Drink through numbing, learning to develop new skills, skills that you've kind of put on the back burner because you've cheated your way through the system with alcohol as a, you know, emotional crutch or a social lubricant. And it's more about the identity piece and getting your self confidence built back up to where you feel that you can navigate the world without alcohol and that you have what it takes to deal with whatever life throws at you.

And so often we, we've subtly. whittled that away with alcohol as kind of our sidekick or our crutch. And yeah, most of the work that I do is actually on that emotional and skill based level and even doing some things as working towards filling that void that alcohol leaves open with how can we look, how can we work towards some of your other goals or make sure that you are doing the things that are optimal for your wellness.

And most of the time, these things aren't rocket science. They're not incredibly difficult. It's just that sometimes when we've become ingrained in this very acceptable social habit, that we forget some of the tools that we have available to us. Like something that we both have, you know, in common in our work is sunshine is so important to our wellness.

Yes. And how often do we just need to go outside and get some fresh air and sunshine, but we want this the solution to be more complex or complicated than that. And so we deny this very readily available resource that could be really helping us just because. We want to make it hard for whatever reason.

Ah, so, so true. And I just, I feel like the approaches that we're taking are so complimentary because you're also speaking to one of the key components of sleep is maintaining workability in your life, having consistency since sleep loves consistency, leaving, you know, the party at the whatever break, you know, cut off time, the 10 30, etc.

And then so often becomes like, well, if I really do that, then what does my life look like? without the late nights that I used to have and sleeping in and all of these things. And I presume then it sounds as if then you're helping to forage this whole new arena that people can navigate of what does life look like?

It opens up the doors to, you know, hiking on Saturdays to what we do. We have all the time for our walk and talks on the weekends. just these different ways of managing life. So instead of it just being like a downer, oh, I have to go home early and what have you, instead, you're actually choosing powerfully to have a life of your own design.

So yeah, love the work you're doing now for every person that does come on the podcast, we ask them four questions and I already know a little pieces of how you're navigating your own sleep. So I'm really excited to hear more. But for every person, we ask these four questions. The first one is, what is your nightly sleep routine looking like right now?

I'm sure and imagine there's no night caps involved. Nope. I, you know, sometimes I will drink like a warm tea or some, what is that? Like tart cherry juice, but usually I just forget. And I'm like, Oh, I'm just, it's time for bed now. It's time. And so I do my, I don't have a very elaborate routine. You know, I wash my face and put on my like, My face oils and all those things do a little, you know, brush my teeth, do a little like cleansing routine.

And then I just get in bed and read. And I, my one rule though for that routine is, I only allow myself to read pretty light hearted fiction after 5 p. m. So when I get in my bed to read, I'm not reading to learn. I'm reading to, uh, Um, I'm reading as my form of checking out. And so I opt for this over TV. I opt for this over scrolling.

I opt for this over anything because I think it's really important that we let our minds get into this fantasy state. So I'm really conscious about the things that I read for bed are really light hearted and whimsical and nothing too hard hitting or educational because I just want to go to another place, right?

And I think that that's. It's really helped me have more peaceful sleep and also not try to work my brain too much before I'm going to bed either. I love that. And, uh, I think you had mentioned something to the effect of the types of tech by which you're reading these things on. Any call outs there? Yeah, so I, I read on a Kindle paperwhite at night.

Um, I know some people prefer like an old school book, but I, I like to have access to a new book like immediately. And I just don't trust myself to get to the library or Amazon a book in time. So I read all my books on paperwhite and I think that their blue light, um, ratio is pretty, pretty low. Of course you could, you could read on something else, but I like to, you know, when I'm doing, I think that the way that I optimize that book reading time.

Is that if you're someone who also likes to read self help, I do that in the morning. That's part of my morning routine when my mind is like juicy and ready for learning. And I usually do that on an audible, like audio book. And then I leave my like reading, reading until nighttime. And I find that usually I can't go very long before I'm feeling pretty drowsy.

And my eyes are like, okay, we want to close now. Good night. And it's just a nice feeling to like, not be distracted and just let yourself naturally get tired. Absolutely. And my, I think you had pointed to as well. So the type of tech that you allow in bed is just exclusive to that Kindle. No cell phones or anything else is my understanding as well, right?

Correct. So I don't take, I plug in my cell phone. Well, I do have a caveat, which I'll share, which you can, you can poo poo on. Um, but this is what I do as a safe fold. So I have my that is plugged in in the office in the other room. Yeah. I use my, um,  I can't say her name because she's in the room and she'll respond to me  as my alarm clock and she just wakes me up to like soothing meditation music and then I keep beside my bed.

I keep what I call my bed phone and my bed phone is  Internet only. It's just rolling off of Wi Fi.  And I don't have social media on it. The things that I have on it are Pinterest, Zillow, my meditation apps. That way, if I'm, you know, getting up in the morning and I want to do my meditation, I have a device with it on there, right there.

And sometimes if like, if I just can't sleep and I, the reading's not doing it, I do, I get on Pinterest or Zillow because those are things that don't. spike my they don't they they're just like my guess and I can look at it without any emotion or comparison or getting trapped in it and so even though it's not great to look at that like stare into that little blue light I like to have that in my bed as a safe hold and that I could also if I wanted I could use that as my alarm and still have my phone with all the social media and all the distractions somewhere else.

So my goal is to worry about have access to the things that I might need, but not have the temptation to scroll or stare into the phone. So that's my kind of compromise is going from, from one point to the next. I think that that is amazing. So for a couple of reasons, one, that is a bit of a fight that we might have with certain people where they say, but listen, the meditation, the, this and the other certain tools, there's such a cost benefit analysis and can be so fantastic.

And yet, With our slot machine ask new fancy phones, it can sometimes be a slippery slope before we're in the fun apps. So I think that is fantastic. And then as far as the light piece, then there's lots of different tricks that we can do around that, whether it's like  clicking on the side to turn it red, or we can get like, you know, kind of gel films to put over that to make it red or all different things to deal with that piece.

But I think the content piece, the auditing of the type of content we're taking in, I love your thoughtfulness on this, because I mean, it's not to belabor this topic, but I think it's just So the sticky point that a lot of people suddenly it's a difference between going to bed an hour and a half later than they had planned is often exactly what you're speaking to and you set up these boundaries to ensure that it's just not even really possible.

Now we do have um, Another company coming on the podcast soon that I'm curious around. It's called the Techless phone. Now I'm just learning about this. Okay. I've seen a couple of these that I'm like very enticed by. Oh yeah. I'm like, it's basically like the old school Nokia that we used to have that has nothing on it.

It just receives phone calls. So if you're someone who's like, Oh, hey, but I have to have my phone because I have elderly parents or my kids or whatever. I think that it's a small investment. Like I could have turned that phone in when I got my new one, but at the end of the day, the money that I would make on it, it was worth it just to keep this very, you know, three generations ago, cell phone, or you could do the same thing with an iPad.

If you have an iPad, just take all of the. the dopamine thing off of it because that's where we get stuck. That's where I always get stuck. Anytime I've taken my phone to bed, I'm like, Oh, I better just check my email or let me just scroll really quick, whatever else it is. And if you remove that temptation, I think it makes the device next to your bed so much less volatile.

So that's my compromise.  Yeah, no, I think that's fantastic. And, and to your point, it's available to many of us at some point we're likely to be upgrading our phones. some time and so then it can just become this, you know, kind of bedside option to kind of have it all. Love that. Okay, so then what might your morning quote unquote sleep routine look like with the argument that how we start our day can impact our sleep results?

I know you already spoke a bit to the sunshine piece. Any call outs with your mornings? So I try to, I think the great thing about not having your phone next to your bed, especially if you're using it as your alarm, is that you It's harder to hit snooze. And so I try to, you know, if I'm even, especially if I'm lacking on sleep, what I try to do is set my alarm clock for the last possible time I can get up that way.

I'm not Tom. I'm not tempted to snooze because we know that that snooze sleep is, is not good sleep. So if I know that I am not sleeping, if I might. Be tempted to sleep in. I just say, you know what, I'm going to call it. I'm just going to set my alarm clock for the last time. So what I always make time to do is I always get up, you know, I usually go to the gym in the morning.

So what I do is I get up, I go get myself a big liter of water. I have my little hydro flask here that looks nice and tacky with stickers all over it. I put some electrolytes in it and I sit there and I just drink a, and it's probably kind of nasty, but I'm just in this state that I don't even notice that I drink like lukewarm salt water.

Love it.  I drink my liter of lukewarm salt water. I truly don't. It doesn't taste, I, it doesn't taste bad. I like drink that and then I allow myself to have coffee. Then I head to the gym and sometimes I sprinkle in other pieces like my journaling, my meditation, depending upon what time my, my gym class is, but I try to get up and get my, my mind and body moving and I get up usually 6, 630.

I've, there have been times in my life where it's been way, way earlier than that, and I really enjoyed it. But right now, my kind of rhythm is around 6 or 630. Love that. Okay, fantastic. And then what might we see, I think you'd point out to some of them, on your nightstand or proverbial nightstand if you're traveling or on the go?

Yeah, I always bring a sleep mask, and I just got this new one that I really like that is, um, kind of pillowy, and it wraps around your ears. I thought it would be really annoying, but it It, I just, it's, I love it. I love it. It doesn't have like the eye cups or anything, which for me those are, I don't really like those.

It's just like a little face pillow, and I really like that. Um, it really helps me to make sure that I'm in pitch black darkness. Um, what else do I normally take with me if I were to travel on my nightstand? So I always have Um, I always have the eye mask and you know, I don't travel with this, but one of the sleep hacks I have is if I'm, if I am struggling, I have this really beautiful woven weighted blanket.

It was a little bit of an investment, but if I'm really struggling, I go and get that and either wrap myself in it like a little cocoon or just put myself under it like a mummy. And I, it really helps me. The compression just really helps me downregulate to where I can get to sleep. So if I could travel with that, I would, but it's like 18 pounds.

So it would really be a, an effort there.  But if I'm at home, if I'm at home and I can't sleep, that is one of the pieces that I'll, I'll pull in and implement. I love that. That is fantastic. Yeah, the weighted blanket is so interesting too, because we'll hear different takes on the weighted blanket. Some people like loving, loving, loving.

Some people feel like they're like in a fight with their weighted blanket or what have you with the weight of it or what have you. But it is amazing. I often find it to be this binary topic. There's usually not like a, uh, indifferent group. It's like love or not way to blanket people. So interesting. I think that, you know, for me, the reason I like it and maybe this will help delineate is I'm highly sensitive.

And so the compression feels really nice to me. And I think people who are a little more claustrophobic or run really hot, that would feel confining for them. But for me, it feels cozy. And I like that. I like that feeling of. That little feeling of constriction or being like held in a little blanket hug.

Yes, absolutely. No, I feel you. That's fantastic. And then our last question would be what so far has made the biggest change to your sleep game or said another way biggest aha moment in managing your sleep? Yeah, I mean, I don't have I wearables didn't exist really seven years ago when I stopped drinking, but I can tell you just across the board that that change has had the most tremendous effect on my health everywhere because let's let's just play the tape backwards or forwards or whatever that phrase is.

I stopped drinking so then I was making better food choices so then I was able to just like down regulate a little more easily. I was also going to Eating earlier in the evening and having just better sleep hygiene. So I'm getting tired earlier. I'm listening to my natural spot, natural body hues. I'm putting myself on a schedule almost every night of the week.

Even if I go out, I'm still, I'm still asleep within kind of a couple hour window. Whereas. On my in my my drinking days, I was going to sleep at 12123 in the morning. Like there were these huge swings on the weekends from drinking. Um, I'm also more mindful just in life. I'm more interested in learning. I'm more interested in reading.

I wasn't reading a book before bed when I was drink when I was back in my drinking days, even if yeah. Like I only drank Friday, Saturday, Sunday, but still Monday through Thursday, I wasn't reading because I just felt kind of like, man, I felt disinterested. So my level of interest and livelihood and creativity has increased.

So I'm doing different behaviors. Then I'm getting up earlier and going to the gym. Like my whole routine has changed just because I have the time, energy, and, Just the time and energy, period, to do all of that and it all rolls over together to make it easier for me to sleep at the end of the day because I'm feeling fulfilled, I'm less anxious, I'm not keeping myself up awake with thoughts because I dealt with the emotions instead of, instead of drinking to subdue them, I mean, it just has had this tremendous trickle down effect that has allowed me to optimize other things in my life that were disturbing my sleep, such as my emotions, such as my schedule, such as my eating, such as my, my fitness routine.

So all around, just game changer. Oh, fantastic. Yeah. Such a keystone habit that just trickles into so many areas of life. That's certainly been one of my experiences as well. And I like what you, you know, kind of in the beginning of this conversation too, just, It's also seeing which can feel scary in the beginning that your social group is likely could shift and morph a bit as you navigate this whole new world.

But suddenly imagine being around people that also value all those amazing things that you just rattled off and having those routinely in their life. And those are the people that you're around and you augment and get to experience that sort of reality for yourself. So just so inspiring. So. For the people that are listening to you and saying, I'm liking what she's serving up, how can they follow you and learn more?

And of course, read your book, tell us all the things. Yeah, well, I'm all over the internet at Amanda Kuda and that's K U D A on Instagram, mostly TikTok. Um, and then my website and then my book is called unbottled potential and you can get it on Amazon or wherever books are sold. And I think the cool thing about my book is that it looks at alcohol and sobriety from a really expansive versus a very shameful or, um, and also it's not incredibly scientific.

It's very, um, heart centered. And so I think that, um, people who want a, an expansive and inspiring approach to living alcohol free, the book would really resonate with them. Yeah, no, I really appreciate your perspective with this book. I had the honor of being at your book launch and just seeing, you know, you glowing and sharing, you know, really living a true life example of what's possible for us, not from a place of, Oh, I have a problem.

I have a disorder now not to take away from certain other conversations as it relates to alcohol. But I think there's this whole group of individuals that can really resonate with what you're sharing that this can serve as a path to really unlocking a whole new sense of possibility in their life. And it's just really fantastic.

So thank you for the work that you do and for taking the time to come on the podcast. Oh, thank you, Bren. Thanks for having me here. Oh, thank you. All right. Well, more goodness to come and certainly we'll share all in the show notes, all those details for people. So be sure to follow Amanda. And certainly, I mean, you're just such a rock star.

The sky is the limit. So keep up all the good work you're doing.

You've been listening to the sleep as a skill podcast, the top podcast for people who want to take their sleep skills to the next level. Every Monday I send out the sleep obsessions newsletter, which aims to be one of the most obsessive newsletters on the planet. Fun facts. I've never missed a Monday for over five years and counting.

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