090: Dr. Angela Holliday-Bell, Clinical Sleep Specialist & Sleep Coach, Sleep: The Secret Ingredient For A Productive Workforce

Sleep deprivation is a real problem. It impacts your physical and mental abilities, not to mention how it can affect your work performance or even your safety while you’re on duty caused by exhaustion.

Dr. Angela Holliday-Bell, Clinical Specialist, Founder, and CEO of Solution Is Sleep LLC, shares her insight about what happens when you skip a night's worth of zzzs - it impacts both your work and your life as a whole.

We dive into the common misconceptions surrounding sleep deprivation and strategies employers can implement to help their employees prioritize enough rest without sacrificing work efficiency or creativity.

And suppose you're thinking, "How am I supposed to get my employees to take advantage of this?". In that case, The D.R.E.A.M corporate sleep program strives to improve employee productivity and performance by providing solutions around this issue. 


Dr. Angela Holliday-Bell is a Board-Certified Physician, Certified Clinical Sleep Specialist, and Sleep Coach. She attained a Master's in Biotechnology from Rush University, her MD from the University of Illinois in Chicago and completed her training as a physician in Washington D.C where she went on to receive her certification in Clinical Sleep Health. Her sleep blog has been featured as 1 of the top 50 blogs in sleep and she has contributed to a number of online and print publications.

She is the founder and CEO of her sleep coaching company The Solution is Sleep LLC which was created to help people everywhere live happier, healthier, and more productive lives through better sleep.

In this episode, we discuss:

😴 What makes Dr. Holliday-Bell so passionate about sleep? 

😴 When did Dr. Holliday-Bell have a major sleep issue, and how did she recover from sleep deprivation?

😴 What is the most common misconception that people have about sleep?

😴 “Some studies show that 30 to 40 percent are more productive when employees get more sleep and are more efficient, happier at work, and less likely to have accidents.”
- Dr. Holliday-Bell

😴 The D.R.E.A.M Workshop by Dr. Holliday-Bell

😴 Sleep tips for those working from home

😴 What were the beneficial sleep hacks Dr. Holliday-Bell has been practicing?

😴 What is Dr. Holliday-Bell’s nightstand when traveling?



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.

Mentioned Resources


Huge shoutout to our sponsor: Biooptimizers!

They are my nightly source of magnesium supplementation

go to www.magbreakthrough.com/sleepisaskill for the kind I use every night!

Guest contacts


Welcome to the Sleep As a Skill podcast. My name is Molly McLaughlin, and I own a company that optimizes sleep through technology, accountability and behavioral change. Each week I'll be interviewing world class experts, ranging from doctors, innovators, and thought leaders to give actionable tips and strategies that you can implement to become a more skillful sleeper.


Let's jump into your dose of practical sleep training.


Welcome to the Sleep As A Skill Podcast. My guest today is Dr. Angela Holiday Bell. She is a board certified physician, certified clinical sleep specialist and sleep coach. She attained a master's in biotechnology from Rush University, her MD from the University of Illinois and Chicago. And completed her training as a physician in Washington DC where she went on to receive her certification in clinical sleep.


Her Sleep blog has been featured as one of the top 50 blogs in sleep, and she has contributed to a number of online print publications. She's the founder and CEO of her sleep coaching company. The solution is Sleep llc, which was created to help people everywhere live happier, healthier, and more productive lives through better sleep.


Now, let's jump into the podcast. So I get a lot of questions around sleep supplements, and I'm very hesitant to just throw out a whole laundry list of possibilities. One, I don't think it's the most responsible thing to do. I really do believe in testing to see what types of supplements make sense for you.


And two, because I really truly believe that most of the things that you can do to improve your sleep are behavioral, psychological, environmental in nature, and often don't cost a. However, there is one supplement that I personally take every day and that I do feel quite comfortable with suggesting for most individuals to experiment with because of a couple of reasons.


It's high safety profile and high rates of deficiencies in our modern society. Some put the numbers as somewhere around 80% of the population being deficient in this one area, and that is magnesium. So magnesium has been called the calming mineral, and some report that magnesium can increase gaba, which encourages relaxation on a cellular level, which is critical for sleep.


Magnesium also plays a key role in regulating our bodies' stress response system. Those with magnesium deficiency usually have higher anxiety and stress levels, which negatively impacts sleep As. Now before you go out and buy a magnesium supplement, it's important to understand that most magnesium products out there are either synthetic or they only have one to two forms of magnesium.


When in reality, your body needs all seven forms of this essential sleep mineral. So that's why I recommend a product from my friends over at Bio Optimizers. They have created something called the Magnesium Breakthrough, and taking this magnesium before bed helps you relax and wake up, refresh and energize.


And while we don't recommend that you go two nuts on looking at all the sleep stage classifications on all your wearables. I will share anecdotally that many clients have reported improvements in their deep sleep trend numbers. Again, I don't want you going nuts on the sleep stage classification numbers on your wearables, but I do wanna let you know about that because I know that many of you do reach out on questions of how to improve your deep sleep.


So I also love that bio optimizers offers free shipping on select orders, and they offer a 365 day money back guarantee on all their products. Plus they have a customer satisfaction rating of 99.3%. Very impressive. And you can get 10% off magnesium breakthrough. Again, this is the same magnesium that I use every single night.


And finally, you can get 10% off magnesium breakthrough. Again, that's the magnesium supplement that I use every single night by going to www dot mag m a g. So mag breakthrough.com/sleep is a skill and be sure to use the code. Sleep is a skill for 10%. And welcome to the Sleep is a Skill podcast. This has been such a long time coming this episode, and I could not be more excited for our guest.


So one, you have to follow this woman on Instagram, all the platforms, right, because she is putting out fantastic content, really making sleep. Fun, interesting, exciting, , you know, really rebranding sleep. So that's just one piece of the conversation. But beyond that, we're gonna dive into a number of things in this topic and in this podcast.


So thank you just so much for taking the time to be here. Really means a lot. Absolutely. Thank you so much for having me. I'm so excited. I always say anytime I can talk about sleep and, and, you know, educate the masses, I'm all about it. So I'm excited to get, get diving deep into this topic. Yeah, a hundred percent.


You know, and it comes through in, uh, your content that you put out, your excitement and energy around this, and clearly people have responded. In turn, you've really blown up in this topic of sleep and helping to provide education and enjoyment and fun and laughter so, Keep up the great work and you know, one of the things that we wanna hear is how did you come to this position to have this passion around?


Yeah. Well first of all, thank you so much. I do try to get people to understand that sleep can be fun and everyone needs sleep, so you might as well, you know, make it fun, make it enjoyable, and, you know, have it be a bigger part of your life. So thank you so much for that. I always like to say I'm someone who's had a long, deep, passionate relationship with sleep.


That at times has been complicated in that, uh, growing up. I'm always one who. A lot of sleep. I enjoyed sleep. I got my sleep. I am a physician and so going throughout medical training, medical school residency, that relationship was broken and I was not getting as much sleep as I normally would. And you know, it is a mixture of work hours, stress.


Um, just a lot that was going on at the time. What I realized is that it was, Affecting me significantly, both physically and mentally. I just felt like I was not myself, like I wasn't as motivated. I didn't have energy. My relationships were a little bit strange because of it, and I kinda got to a point that I was like, Something has to get, like, I can't go on like this.


This is not me. And so I started my own personal journey just to. Fix my sleep. I read every book there was about sleep. Even the one written by the founder of Sleep Medicine who like you know, discovered the sleep stages. I started to learn about therapeutic techniques to help sleep in insomnia because it wasn't just my inability to get sleep because of time constraints.


There were times that I had a time I just could not sleep like it was true insomnia. I started to volunteer in the sleep clinic in my hospital just at like elective time, and then I started to put those practices into place my own sleep, and I just became a different person. The best version of myself.


And after that I was like, Okay, I need to help other people do this. Because there's more to this than just feeling rested. Like sleep is really the magic sauce of life is what I said. Mm, Yes. And so I started a blog about sleep was, initially I was like, Let me just, how can I educate, you know? The masses.


So I started a blog and then I had people coming to me to, you know, help fix their sleep on a deeper, more one-on-one level. So I decided to officially get certified as a clinical sleep health specialist, and then I started my company. The solution is sleep and the rest is the student. Ah, amazing. Well, I also appreciate you sharing your own journey with sleep, and certainly I think a, an opportunity and a call for potential reform down the road of, you know, the medical path and the, just absolutely the upset that it occurs for so many people on that journey in the realm of sleep in particular.


So I appreciate you being kind of, Spokesperson on an example of going through that path and then being able to learn and take matters into your own hands and now educate the masses. So it's fantastic. And I know you also speak to this conversation or this concept of sleep as self care. I'm wondering if you can share a bit more about that.


Yeah, so I think one, one big thing that stood out to me even throughout my own sleep journey and my struggle with insomnia was the mindset to Rodney sleep. So many people have this mindset of like, Okay, I just gotta hustle and I just gotta keep going, and if I sleep, I'm lazy. And. I was like, I don't think that's true because me not sleeping has led to me being not my best self at all.


Yeah. And I became this better version of myself, a better doctor, a better wife, a better person in general when I poured it to myself first by prioritizing my sleep. And so that has led me to try to educate people on the mindset shift of like, you don't have to earn sleep, you don't have to earn rest, you don't have to like do enough and then reward yourself with sleep.


Like sleep is a necessity for being. Version of yourself and or being the best in each of those roles that you play. And that's the highest form of self care because it affects every aspect of your mental and physical health. So I want people to understand it. You don't have to, It's not this reward for something that you do.


Like you need to start with sleep, which is to me, the foundation of a healthy life. And then that helps you to be better in all of your other, you know, all the other aspects. Yeah, absolutely. And sometimes people can hear self-care and it's like, okay, it's a nice to have, but like you said, the hustle and all these things.


And so I'm wondering if you can share too, because one of the things that I know you've been starting to really, that you do a lot in your company is to work with. Corporations and businesses to help really bridge that gap of that thinking. That versus a nice to have or you know, an afterthought of, no, this is a priority in our kind of ecosystem, our community of how they're creating that so that then our productivity can go up this kind of a another angle in.


Making a difference in making real results in the business space. So what is that looking like for you? How are you helping to kind of get that message out when maybe it's has in the past fallen on deaf ears? Yeah, that is something that I am really deep into working on at the moment because just as you said, so many people think, Well, if I don't get enough sleep, the worst thing is that I, I'm just type in, I drink some coffee and I'm, but there are many things that come with, with not getting enough sleep, and I think.


What has been great is that in recent years there has been this shift in the corporate wellness space of employers focusing a little bit more on nutrition and and giving incentives for gym memberships because it's great to work out and it's great to be healthy, and they know that a healthy, happy employee is gonna be more productive and better for the overall business.


But there's a big piece that's missing from a lot of those things, which is sleep because. Sufficient sleep will help make better nutritional choices, will help you in terms of your fitness goals, and then will help you actually be, some studies say 30 to 40% more productive off of getting more sleep and more efficient, happier at work, less workplace accidents and less workplace conflict in between employees and management.


Mm-hmm. . And so you. Save money as a business. When you invest in employees sleep, then when you don't, and that's because a well rested employee or one that you have at least assessed for sleep disorders will be utilizing less healthcare costs, will have less middays of work, will be more productive when they are at work.


And so I think going at it from that angle helps to. Meet people where they are and really speak to what their goals may be because they may not necessarily resonate with, Okay, feeling arrested, blah, blah, blah. When I have to hustle, I have to work, I have to climb this ladder. But like, wait a minute. No, you can climb the ladder higher and faster and overall save money and make more money if you're investing in your sleep.


And so that's something that I'm really working hard to educate people on and really. Just get them to start with the simple practices and looking at sleep as a way to increase the company morale, the productivity, and overall kinda, uh, workplace wellness. Mm, That's great. And what does that look like? So for, if anyone's listening and they like, Well, I'd like to have that in my company, or you have a company wanna bring it in to really make a difference with their community, what have you?


What would that look like? Is it kind of something where speaking to particular companies and then having that kind of ripple out in the conversation? Or is it ongoing work with individual companies or Depends on what you're dealing with. Yeah, that's a great question. So I also, similar to my kind of individual consultation work, there are, uh, levels to the offerings that I provide.


And so I've had companies that are like, you know, we just wanna put it out there that like, sleep is important, that you should be getting your sleep. And so we just want someone to come in and just educate our employees and our staff on the importance of sleep and just like, General tips on how to improve that.


And so I actually call it My Dream Workshop. And Dream is an acronym for the different steps that it takes to overall globally improve your sleep. And then I have a workshop series that I do with companies that are like, Okay, we know that sleep is a struggle for our employees. Like it's more than just like, I want them to be educated, like there's a struggle and we want to help them on a deeper level.


And I actually dive deeper into each of those aspects with each one representing a different workshop. So it's a workshop series. We really go deep into crafting a sleep plan. Hitting those things that are really pain points for individuals when it comes to sleep. And then I offer group coaching for companies that want to say, Okay, for individuals who are like suffering from chronic insomnia, like they really need help, or they may have sleep disorders.


They have access to you as a sleep coach via the corporate program, as a part of their wellness, providing to say, you have access to this coach. You can kind of do it more in a, in a smaller group setting to really hit their individual points and really work on more cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia techniques and dive deeper into sleep problems.


So it really depends on what the company has identified as their pain points. And sometimes it starts with just like the overview dream workshop, and then we do a survey afterwards to determine. What people have learned, or if they want to dive deeper, if they need more help. And sometimes they're like, Oh, I didn't know that this was such a significant problem within our workforce.


And then we go into the deeper layers. Mm. So I love that acronym dream. And I'm sure, you know, certainly you would need sufficient time to kind of go through what that looks like, But is there any kind of high level or low level, you know, a skimming that's, that's what I'm getting at, Skimming at what that might look like to help us kind of understand this breakdown that you've created.


Yeah, so the kind of overview that what each kind of letter, uh, stands for, I guess is, so d is determine your sleep need. And I like to start with that because we need to start with a goal in mind, right? So many people have learned, do I need seven to eight hours of sleep? And I like to say sleep need is like a shoe size.


There's no one size fits all. Some people the average is have it to eight. Some people need more, some people need less. I need. To function optimally and I know that. So let's determine what that is for you. The next one, R is rise at the same time every day. Yeah, I think that that is crucial in really setting and reinforcing your circadian rhythm and we dive deeper into ways to make that happen.


Because it's much easier said than done. So like determining what weekend schedule is versus work schedule, what are the barriers to making that happen now? What's happening when your alarm goes off? Are you hitting snooze? Are you staying in bed longer than you should? Kind of diving into what barriers might prevent that from happening.


E is examining your environment. So a lot of what goes into our quality of sleep is the environment that we sleep. So like, not just like your bedroom environment, things like ambient life that can come in. Is your bedroom a calming space for your clutter? Or when you go in there, are you stressed and anxious because of the things you know that are there?


Are there other things that you can add into your environment? Um, sleep kind, All things to kind of set you up for the best possible sleep in your environment. The next one is adjusting bedtime behaviors. And so that goes into setting up a bedtime routine, making sure you. Uh, sufficient wind down time from the stress and busyness of the day to your sleep time.


Do you have a way to deal with, you know, racing thoughts and things that are interfering with your sleep? What happens if you're trying to fall asleep and you can't? What happens when you wake up in the middle of the night and you can't go back to sleep? What happens when you wake up in the morning, You're not ready to get outta bed?


So really adjusting those behaviors, and some of that is where mindset comes in, surrounding sleep and how to deal with those difficulties. And then m is managing. And I think that's huge, especially when I speak to the corporations and employees, because probably the biggest factor when it comes to insomnia and truly chronic insomnia, stress and anxiety.


And unfortunately, a lot of us can't just grid our lives of stress. I wish we could, but uh, we can't. There are things that are gonna, you know, stress us out, but it's how we deal with that stress and how do we stop that from spilling over into our sleep. And so building, uh, tools in an arsenal that you can use when those stresses come into play.


And then using your sleep as a way to build resilience against those stresses too, I think is really important. So that's kinda the overview, but we dive very deep into each of those. Oh, sure. Yeah. Oh, I love that. And one that stuck out for me was are the rise one, which hundred percent. So crucial. I'm curious for any.


People that might be listening or companies that might be listening and saying, Well, one thing that we would be really interested in is guidance if we have shift workers. So I'm curious if you, and I know that's a more layered and a longer conversation, but is there any kind of general guidance or is that a topic that you delve into with some of these companies?


Yeah, you know, shifts work is really difficult because it really, it really does not align well with the typical teachings of, you know, healthy sleep habits and routines. Yes, there are some things you can do to, to get around it, but it really depends on if this is a consistent shift or is it like, Night shift or is it rotating and how often does it rotate?


It gets really hard. What I try to, uh, one thing that I try to recommend if companies are able to structure it so that the rotation is consistently moving forward as opposed to randomly rotating, that is much better on the circadian rhythm than just like one day your nights and then your mid shift, then your morning shift.


I understand some companies it's difficult to get around that, so then we really, we really end up talking about healthy things surrounding. So like, well time melatonin to make sure you're getting sleep, having blackout curtains if you have to sleep during the day. But it's a, it's a little more nuanced than individuals who have kinda a consistent schedule.


Mm, sure. Absolutely. And do you find that too, and certainly, you know, we mentioned the medical community and some of the long shifts that say nurses might be on or what have you. So on these very long, And it might only be a couple times a week, but they have this lurking in their calendar, and so is that right in alignment with some of the work that you do too, to help them even prepare for that in preparation.


Then during that shift, and then the after. Yeah. Yeah. So I do go into that too because I definitely have a soft spot for shift workers and people like myself and, and the trigger for my insomnia and what that looks like. So really it's kind of like prepping individuals for when they're traveling across time zones and things like that.


Like if it's something you know is coming up, there are ways that you can slowly acclimate your circadian rhythm in your body so that it's not such a shock to the system. Yeah. The key in what I try to, you know, tell individuals, especially when it's not super consistent thing, is don't mess up the other sleep behaviors.


Trying to recover from that thing. So you may have something to disrupt your sleep, even if it's not your work schedule. It could be a work project that you're staying up late, you know, later than you normally would, or a stressor or a family member that's sick. There are things that are gonna interfere with our sleep, and that's life and that's ok.


The trick is to maintain those healthy behaviors so that when that stressor is gone, or when that change is gone, you can pick back up where you left off as opposed to engaging in behaviors as a response to that thing, but now it creates other problems. Ugh, so good. And all of this is so important I think.


I love that you're doubling down on corporations and various sized companies making this argument for productivity and workability, because one of the things that we do see, as you've pointed to, is just how much of a difference on the front end once we get this training in. It can make on the backend long term for sustained productivity and wellness and workability and emotional regulation and all those things.


I'm wondering if you're also seeing this being really important in the growing kind of workforce of remote workers as well. Absolutely. So what we have seen, and it's so interesting with like different clients that I've worked with, both corporations and individual clients, you know, with the pandemic and the shift to work from home, everyone assumed and thought like, Oh, I'll be sleeping great.


I can sleep in and I have more control over my schedule. Actually saw was that sleep habits worsened and more people started to suffer from insomnia. And I think it was hard cuz it was so counterintuitive for people. But that change from a consistent schedule really was detrimental to sleep because now.


You don't really have, like I said, that are, that rise at the same time. People are getting up at different times. Their workspace is kind of, you know, intermingling with their relaxed space and their sleep space. Their brain doesn't have a way to disconnect the two. Mm-hmm. . So the same space that you are up answering emails and doing meetings and constantly thinking and going is the same place you're supposed to relax and calm down and fall asleep and that is very difficult.


So a lot of what I do speaks to the work from home course. I'm like, ways to improve your environment, improve your. To help your sleep. Things like just getting moving because now you're at home and you're sitting in the office all day. At least you were able to get up, you, you know, walk somewhere, you'd go drive, you'd walk up the stairs, you know, there were things that you were doing to get moving.


You were getting natural lights because you have to go outside and now you're just kind inside indicate not moving all day, which is not great for sleep. So I do a lot of education around what that looks like and how to reform your daily habits so that you are getting, you know, the sleep that you were getting before the work of home.


MM is a common trend that you're able to help people or guide people through that kind of drifting. So drifting later and later. As a result of those lack of boundaries and structures in place, are you able to help kind of phase advance their sleep onset consistently with particular practice? Yeah. And so the, the thing that I start with is, so we used to say, Oh, go sleep at the same time, wake up at the same time.


It's important to try to go sleep around at the same time, but that is not a part of the dream framework for a reason in that it waking up at the same time each day is really the most effective way to train your circadian rhythm. Yeah. What I've seen happen in individuals who try to go to sleep at the same time every day in such a way that they are like, Okay, this is time to go to sleep.


No matter if I'm sleepy or not, I'm getting in the bed. Is that that actually leads to worsening insomnia. Because if you're not sleepy, you shouldn't go to sleep, right? Because if you're not sleepy, you run the risk of lying in bed, awake, tossing and turning, and that starts to. Have your brain connect the bed with tossing and turning, being awake and anxious.


When you keep the same rise time, no matter how you slept that night, you're then taking advantage of that sleep drive that's built up, right? So you have more of a drive to fall asleep earlier than you did the night before. So I think just implementing that rise time that's the same every day actually works wonders for that.


Yeah. And so there are some, uh, individuals who suffer. Disorders or they have a, you know, delayed sleep phase, and then you can do things like the, the lighting therapy and things like that. But for the mo, for the average, like individual, really just setting a good schedule, making sure you get natural light in the mornings is important too.


So, like I said, working from home individually get enough, they may walk into their office or delivering or stay in the bedroom and never see light at all during the day. And your brain is like, Wait a minute. How, how do I orient myself? So I'm like, when you. Open the blinds, like get natural light, sit, go for a walk if you can, like get outside because that helps to entrain your circadian rhythm and know, okay, when is it time to be alert and awake?


And conversely, at night have a cutoff time for when work is over, like you're not leaving the office so that, that those lines are blurt. Work should end at a specific time, and then when we're nearing that time lower, the lights don't keep the overhead lights on. If you can do night bedside lamps or even have dimmers in your home, that again helps to increase your melatonin release, help to train your circadian rhythm so that you naturally get sleepy.


That's so great And one of the things, you know, that can be a concern for different companies is like, okay, so we invest in someone coming in, but is it gonna last over the long term? So have you found that even just having this conversation, everyone's, now they have this language and the acronym dream and we're all, you know, kind of all the same page.


Is that some of what you found to kind of be sticky with the participants that are going through these program? Yeah, definitely. So I think we have seen some, I think the good thing about the sleep education and like the dream workshop is these are easily implementable steps. Sure. That can make big differences.


So even when it comes to things like, I think one big issue with, let's say weight loss programs or things like that within a work wellness is, is the consistency and how to keep things going. Yeah. Because it's hard to implement. These things are easier to implement, and I think even just opening up the conversation and the education around sleep allows individuals who don't necessarily have sleep problems, their biggest issue is prioritizing sleep and understanding the importance.


Now they know the importance and it's easier to do that. So I think for the most part, obviously there are some people who, for whatever reason, Fall off and, you know, don't stick with it. But I would say for the most part, it's just the, the light bulb that turns on that says, Oh, this is important. And if my company is giving me this education, then it must be something that I should pay attention to, and they're able to stick with it pretty.


So good. And for the people that do have some deeper problems with their sleep, so more in the disorder realm at the moment, and hopefully there's all kinds of things that we can do to help support them. What does that look like for that screening process and the potential return on investment for an employer providing that kind of spotting of those individuals and helping to make a difference with sleep apnea, some of this long and deeply.


Feels like embedded sense of insomnia or what have you. What does that look like and how do you screen for that? Yeah, so as a part of the kind of deeper second stage of the dream, um, workshop series, it includes a comprehensive assessment for each employee, and that is to pick up things like sleep apnea, rest psych syndrome.


I am a behavioral sleep specialist, so I don't actually treat those disorders. It's good to identify that this person may have this and now they know. Cause oftentimes they're not aware that they have this potential disorder, right? So they know to speak to their own doctor and sleep medicine physician about it.


What we know is that individuals who have obstructive sleep apnea and other sleep disorders utilize significantly more healthcare costs and. Often it associated with the effects of that disorder and other health conditions that occur subsequent to that. And so just by screening and identifying it and allowing 'em to get treatment, they utilize much less healthcare costs.


There is less absenteeism for missed days due to things secondary to that. There are less accidents at work. So it really does help overall to save money for the system simply by implement. A screening questionnaire, like literally checking boxes and going through a questionnaire. So it actually is the result of that page dividends over the investment in that screening process.


Sure. That's excellent. And I know one of the things that you point out and you, you touched on here and just wondering if you can underscore this one, some of the benefits of improving the sleep regularity and quality and other things. One of the. Being improved cardiovascular health. Curious if you can speak to, you know, we are able to identify sleep apnea and what that can do for some heart health and extend, certainly stress management.


Kind of a systemic ripple effect of the kind of positive nature of that. Yeah, so definitely, so the kind of, the underlying issue with sleep apnea is that you're not getting enough oxygen to your body, tissues, organs at night, right? So your hearts, your lungs, all those things require oxygen. And over time, that wears on your system.


Um, it can lead to things like pulmonary hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and it really is something. Can be so significant down the line, even though initially they feel like, Oh, I'm just snoring and things like that. Like you are depriving your body of oxygen during a critical time when your tissues and cells are renewing and all those things overnight, and so you absolutely are more likely to have these chronic diseases that are significant in terms of healthcare costs and just morbidity and mortality, unfortunately, for the individuals.


So like catching those things early. You're not only saving kind of money, healthcare costs and things now, but you're saving this person a significant amount of that morbidity, mortality down the line. In addition to helping them feel more energized, more motivated, you're decreasing their risk of anxiety, depression.


It really, it's even hard to quantify the. Effects of catching this and treating it as early as possible. Hundred percent. So good. And, and the more and more just discovering some of the long term neurodegenerative impacts or potential impacts of poor sleep. And certainly as we get into disordered sleep, a hundred percent so, so good.


And one of the things. Every episode we've done, people wanna know and get really curious from experts like yourself, they wanna know, Okay, so I hear all this. So how are they managing their sleep? What can we learn from someone that's thought this deeply about sleep and has made it their entire career?


So I'm really excited to hear what the latest, and I'm sure it evolves and shifts. Test different things and what have you. But curious to hear your answers for our four questions, which the first one is, what does your nightly sleep routine look like for you right now? Yeah. So I would say my routine is, it's very specific and if I'm that intricate, but I'm like very consistent with it because I always like say people, people assume that my sleep is perfect because I'm a sleep specialist.


I'm like, No, I work to get this. I went through issues of sleep, so I understand. So I am very specific about my routine because I found that it's what works for me. So it. About an hour before I go to bed, I try to go to bed around 10 o'clock every night. At nine is when I start my wine down time, so already, usually about 8, 8 30.


I have dimmers throughout my house. I like dim the lights, you know I'm hanging out with my husband at nine the night to him. I start my roots. I like to listen to music, so like soothing music that I really like. I do a skin care routine. I go to my room and I read a devotional and then like a few pages of whatever book I'm currently reading.


And then I have a blackout Bluetooth mass sleep mass that I use. And so I will listen to like a sleep meditation that lasts 10 or 15 minutes as I'm falling asleep. And yeah, by the time that that kicks in, I usually don't make it through the whole thing and. I love that. I love the devotional piece too cuz we haven't heard as many people point to that.


And have you found that really helped make a difference with kind of your generalized state and as you're going into sleep, is that something that just has kind of evolved to really support sleep? Absolutely. Yeah. So I am a, a woman of God, a woman of faith. My faith is really important to me, and as you know, things are going on, even times where I'm dealing with more stress from whatever family situations, work situations.


I find having something like that really calms me and gets me in the right mindset and the right mind space, and really helps me to kind of shift from the stresses and things of the day to a more relaxed. Full, you know, state. And so that is something that has been consistent. Like I look forward to that and getting my lesson from that and having that, that last thing of like, like I said, hope or you know, um, something to get from that before I fall asleep I think actually really helps.


So good. I love that cuz one of the things we'll hear is a gratitude list or certain inspirational readings or what have you. But I think that's such a great consistent place to go and bring in that spirituality piece, which I feel like we're not hearing as much about, certainly at least in some of these episodes.


So I'm grateful to hear that. And then the second question would be, what might we learn about your morning routine and how that could relate to your sleep? So the first thing I do in the morning is get out of bed. . Yes, you're already winning because not everyone does that , and it sounds like what, But so many times people, and sometimes I have been tempted to just linger in bed.


I'm like, Oh, I'll get up in a few minutes. I'll hit the snooze. But no, I'm like, Nope, it's the alarm has gone off. I'm getting out of bed. Like I don't even. I don't even think about it. Yeah, and I think that is really helpful to just kind of get me moving, get me up and going, and I kinda in the bed, the next thing I do is open my minds.


I get as much sunlight and natural light as I can in the mornings, and I think that's super helpful. I also start by drinking. Water. So I have this, actually have it here. There's like two liter jug and I just take a nice good chug of that and I actually feel like that gives me some energy overnight. We tend to get a little bit dehydrated, right?


Like you're not drinking, you may, you know, urinate overnight. And dehydration can present itself as fatigue, tiredness. So drinking a good amount of water first thing in the morning is actually helpful to get you up and going. And then I start my morning. So good. Yeah. I actually think one of the reels that I had seen from you, again, another underscoring for people to follow you, and I believe one of the symptoms that you were calling out from signs from potentially poor sleep, could be morning headaches and you know, some of the dehydration and other things.


Um, is that something that you see a lot for people coming in with, you know, maybe that mismanagement of certainly poor sleep, dehydration a. Slew of those problems. Absolutely. Yeah. And they don't realize that it's even connected. Like, yeah, wake up with headaches in the morning, but you know, I just, I drink my coffee and I keep going.


Yes. They're like, Yo, that's not, You shouldn't have headaches in the morning. So Absolutely. If you're not getting enough sleep, that's your body being like, Okay, something's off. Like, we must be in a fight or flight state because why are we not getting enough sleep? Let's shoot up the cortisol. You know, you have headaches.


And then same for dehydration too. So like hydration is actually super important and I think an underrated component when we talk about. Yeah, a hundred percent. I think that one's really an interesting one. Some of these things can land as like, Oh, okay, another nice to do, but what's the big deal? But it has these kind of snowballing effect, and certainly, and back to the productivity piece, if we are having employees that are waking up day after day, drudgery, zombie, like with the headaches and these things, when we could, you know, just.


Correct course along the way with some of these simple and often free practices can make such a difference. So really great. Excellent. So then our other question would be, what might we see visually on your nightstand or if you're traveling, maybe your proverbial nightstand. Yeah, so my devotional book, I have a lavender candle that I don't like every night, but if I'm really like stressed out from the day, that's like part of my ambiance, like we're gonna like that, we're gonna read.


And then honestly, my, my Bluetooth blackout mask is like my. Everything. Like I need that I, I will not travel if I've forgotten it. When I'm traveling, I'm like, what am I gonna do? ? Yes.


And especially when I travel, right? Cause at home I'll use it to like, you know, do a sleep meditation and then it turns off and I'm good when I'm traveling. There's so many elements that are out of my control Then. Can make it difficult because I need pretty, you know, specific sleep conditions. So that is something that allows me to control the amount of light that's entering to control the sound if I need to.


And so really helps me to recreate my home sleep environment as much as possible. I sleep amazingly with it. Oh, and then magnesium. I take magnesium gly every single night. I travel like every night. That is something that I take. So you'll find all those things on my. So good. And to that point around on a really stressful night, are there other practices that, you know, if you're really dealing with something, and certainly I know you've already got this great stack that hopefully catches a lot of those things, but are there any other practices you like to have people kind of bring in to help support, just, you know, tough times that they're going through?


Yeah. I like to have people have one or two relaxation techniques that are their go to. Yeah. And that's something that they have only done when they're in that state, because I find that relaxation techniques require practice. Like you don't want to only do them when you're in such a high stress state because then you feel like they don't work.


You wanna do it when your stress is low, when it may during the day and you're practicing so that it's kind of second nature to you. So for me, uh, guided meditation, sleep meditations are my go to. Like I have my kinda standard one, but then I have my longer one that includes some deep breathing exercises if I'm really stressed because I'll find that like, Okay, I'm breathing.


Quicker. Like, I know I need to think about my breath, and just having someone guide me through that is really helpful. But it's something that, you know, I've used in my mind. It's like, Oh, that, that's our go to. That's our secret weapon coming out. We're going to sleep. So really having that already in your case, in your arsal that you've used and practiced before, and then bringing that out if you're particularly stressed or worked up or thinking about.


So good. And to that point as clearly, again, you've thought deeply about sleep and really worked through some, you know, kind of struggles with your own sleep. I'm curious what has been out of your entire journey with, on this topic, what would you say has made really the biggest change to your sleep game or maybe the biggest aha moment in managing your.


Yeah, I have to give you two because one, Oh, great. One is more, kinda a broader perspective and another is more specific, but prioritizing my sleep. Yeah. And when I talk to my clients and uh, other individuals about this, that really is the biggest thing because for some people, just making it a priority will already make significant improvements for them in terms of their sleep.


So many people just leave sleep to. Then they're like, Okay, I'm gonna go through my busy day. I'm stressed. I'm gonna, you know, take care of my kids. I'm gonna go to work. I'm gonna cook and do all these things, and now poop time to go to sleep. And that it doesn't work like that, right? So just making it a priority, like putting, deciding you're gonna put practices into place, surrounding your sleep, will actually make a huge difference.


So that once I started to prioritize it, It changed the game for me. And then my bedtime routine, like my bedtime routine is solid. It's cause my husband already knows. He's like, Oh, it's nine o'clock. Ok. Like, I'm stay up and watch this show. Like this is my me time, the time that I give back to myself, that I allow myself to disconnect and, uh, wind down from the day.


So really prioritizing it and having a good routine in place has really changed me significant. Mm. And it so underscores your kind of mantra of sleep being self care. Right. And so have you found just a total transformation in your own relationship to, you know, wellbeing and stress load stress management by taking on this area?


Yes. I said that, you know, I believe that getting sufficient sleep is one of the highest forms of self care. Yeah. Cause it's literally builds you. And pours into you in every aspect of your physical and mental health. Like you, like Exercising is great and it takes care of your, your physical health and your mental health too, but literally sleeps.


All of those things, it makes you feel like a better per, like you're literally a better version of yourself when you've gotten enough sleep. It helps your relationships and it helps you to build resiliency. And I think that that is actually not something that is spoken about enough. Like you are actually, There was a study done and I just wanna talk about this very clearly cause that was very interesting on individuals who it actually.


Gave them the amount of sleep to get. So some people got less than six hours, some people got more than six hours, and then it showed them what would typically be a more negatively stimulating emotional event. And then it asked them to reframe it to be more positive. So basically look on the brighter, like what, in what way can you reframe this to be a more positive thing?


And the individuals who had in. Were much less likely and much less able to reframe it to be something positive. They just couldn't do it. They didn't have that built up as opposed to the ones who did get enough sleep. So you're literally able to look on the wider side of things. You're able to build your resiliency against life stressors that will occur when you're getting sleep.


And to me that's the one of the best forms of self care. So absolutely, it has positively impacted my life so much, which is why I'm so passionate about helping other people to do the. Ah, so great. Yeah, and your passion definitely comes through in all your communications. I absolutely wanna double down on letting people know how to follow you more.


And before we do that though, I wanna check in, I know we only touched on a sliver of your knowledge in this space. Is there anything that we've left out or that you wanna make sure you get across? For any listeners that might just be struggling with their sleep? We've found that there's really seems to be two listeners that we largely have.


People that are either just like right now they're, they can't sleep and they want some help right now, or there's the group that's sleeping, but they want to optimize and go up to this next level. So any of those listeners are beyond anything that we've left out that you wanna share? Yeah, not really. So I wanna reiterate, prioritizing your sleep.


Yeah. And then the next thing is asking for help. It's okay to ask for help for your sleep. Right. Because I think a lot of people, especially when I speak to, you know, our, the corporate workers just. Insufficient sleep as a part of life. Yeah. And being tired as a part of life. And you don't have to accept that.


I, I believe that everyone is capable in deserving of good sleep. It's just finding the things that work for them. So like, reach out, ask for help, and understand that you deserve to have good sleep. So great. Awesome. I love that message. And you know, I've shared that I really have enjoyed following you and also your blog, your fantastic blog that has gotten a lot of notoriety, so really amazing.


So how can people be sure to follow all the work that you are putting out and any of those offerings that you have as well? Yeah, so we can start with my, uh, website. The solution is sleep.com. I have. Offerings there. I do both one on one consultations and corporate consultations. My blog is there, so I get to dive deeper into the topics that I'm really passionate about there and just really educate on a deeper level.


And then for a little lighter kind of bite size, I like to call what, call myself. I'm a sleep there . Yeah, that's you totally, definitely are. That You can follow me on Instagram at the. Md I try really hard to give, you know, helpful educational bits, but in a way that's by sides entertaining and fun. And then also on LinkedIn, just Dr.


Holiday Bell. And then feel free to email me too. I'm open to, you know, questions if you wanna know about what I offer or anything like that. Um, or speaking engagements. You can email me at the solution to sleep.com. Sorry. Yeah, that's fantastic. And is, you have some, you have a free gift, I believe, on your site.


Yeah, yeah. It's seven days to Better sleep kind of bootcamp or so. It kind of breaks down just small things you can do within a week, within a seven day period to kind of transform your sleep. So if you go on my website, you can download that for free and start implementing practices to get your sleep on track.


Awesome. So a lot of different ways that people can follow what you're putting out there. They can, wherever they're at, be met with various different offerings that you have available. And then for any people that might wanna have you come into their company, absolutely clearly have an established kind of path that they can be put on for that.


So that's fantastic. Well, thank you so much for taking the time to share your knowledge with us and just for being such an example of what's possible. Really, really appreci. Absolutely. Thank you for having me, and thank you for what you you're doing. I think it's so important and so I'm glad that we're able to kind of reach the massive students.


Aw, thank you so much. You've been listening to The Sleep Is A Skill Podcast, the number one podcast for people who wanna take their sleep skills to the next level. Every Monday, I send out something that I call Molly's Monday Obsessions containing everything that I'm obsessing over in the world of sleep.


Head on over to sleep as a skill.com to sign up.


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