Christine gives us her expert advice on how help people who are tired of being tired to get their sleep, their health, their happiness back whilst working holistically respecting the body’s capabilities to heal themselves. She believes: “Sleep needs to be your most powerful ally.”
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Welcome everyone! Rod from Sports Adventure here. And today I will continue our fantastic interview series where I interview inspirational people from around the world to share their expert insights on exercise, good nutrition, and men’s health.
My guest today has been featured on many websites and magazines around the world. She has a mission to help people who are tired of being tired to get their sleep, their health, their happiness back whilst working holistically respecting the body’s capabilities to heal themselves. She believes: “Sleep needs to be your most powerful ally.” She is a certified sleep consultant and entrepreneur. And at that point, I would like to welcome from Sleep Like A Boss, Christine Hansen. Good morning to you in Luxembourg Christine.
Christine: Hi, thank you so much for having me.
Rod: No, thank you very much. I know as you mentioned earlier in between meetings, I appreciate your time and we will have a great chat I think.
Christine: Yeah. I am really looking forward to this.
Rod: Terrific. Thank you very much. We will go from the top. So what do you find Christine is so good about being a sleep consultant?
Christine: About being a sleep consultant, it is life changing. And that sounds a little bit strange because one would think okay it is just sleep, right? But it is so much more than that. So, I really call myself a sleep strategist and coach because it is a lot of more complex than just giving a little bit of broad advice, you know? There are so many different pieces that I have to do with sleep.
And what I focus on is most of the time the emotional stress life style change but also biochemical stress. And changing or implementing some tweaks can sometimes be unusual or something that we are not… you know that is just new and we tend to be someone who likes to stay in habits and it is just the way we all wound; so, that’s where the coaching comes in to really stay on the board, stay on the track, and focus on the goal that we set.
At the same time the coaching is also really looking at what is emotionally going on, you know? What is creating some toxicity not just in terms of chemicals but really in terms of your what’s going on in your life that is kind of stressing you out.
And then what I do as my function as an FDN Practitioner which is a Functional Diagnostic Nutritional Practitioner is to actually run functional diagnostic tests and to see what is going on inside. And the thing is there are so many surprising elements to this, that once we are done working together, as a client and me, so many things will have changed that it is like a completely new person and a happier version of that person and it is incredible the developments. It is truly life changing. So that’s what’s the best thing about being a sleep consultant.
Rod: Yeah. Certainly. And so many highly specialized areas that we covered there and you mentioned must taking a step back with people’s lives and making some small changes which most of us are so caught up in our day-to-day routines -sometimes we don’t quite know what we are doing right what we are doing wrong. And as you said coming to an expert like yourself same days from the other side of a fence and being able to make those small changes and get those big results must be very satisfying.
Christine: It is. It is. And it is hard, you know? Even having three different steps as homework for a week or even two weeks, it is very very hard. So it is also important that when I coach to make them clear that that’s okay if you don’t do it at 100% of the time. I am not a perfectionist at all so I really understand even though it is important to stick to a protocol depending on what’s going on. But I think it is very personal approach and it also really depends on the person we work whether we click or not. But I really understand that it is easy for me to say, “You need to change this, this, this, this, and this.” But people have a life, they have a job, they have a family – it takes a lot of focus. So, just an example is to have a true lunch time and really sitting down, for an hour and taking a counsel in that lunch time break in their calendar and chewing the food and if possible having a stroll outside, it is very hard for a lot of my clients. So we aim at doing it for first 3 times a week, trying to up that a little bit but… when you tell it to someone who is just listening it is like, “What do you mean? This is normal, isn’t it?” But the thing is for a lot of us it is not, you know? We are really busy, have so much going on, and prioritizing ourselves for something – first of all – that is very hard because everything else seem more important and so self care is a huge topic that I really embrace this well and coach my people in.
Rod: Yeah. That’s terrific. Great stuff. Can you give us a bit of background how you got involved in sleep consulting from the start?
Christine: Yeah. So, I would say it emerged out of pure selfishness. So, I have an elder sister who has three kids and she had two boys and a girl everything… when tube boys no problem at all in the sleep department and then her daughter arrived and she was a really poor sleeper and [unclear 5:18]. You could see her break down basically. She was pale. She had to take some days off work because she was just too exhausted.
So when I was pregnant, I was like okay this is not going to happen because I am a sleep evangelist. I need it. I truly need it. I don’t function if I don’t have it even if I miss one sleep cycle it will haunt me all day along. And at the time I was a teacher at high school so going into a room with 30 teenagers being not well rested, I used to say that’s not going to work. And I really wanted to go back to work full time and I was like, “I don’t want that.” And I was never a person who said, “Okay I really think I will rock it as a mother and I just know things.” I was like, “I need to prepare myself. I kind have need to have my patients.” And I knew that if I wouldn’t get the sleep it would be very hard for me. And so that’s how I got interested in sleep.
And then a year later, I decided to change careers because I wasn’t happy even though Luxembourg teaching is a very well paid job and it is well respected. But I was 32 and I was like, “I can’t do this because I had to think about salary everyday in order to get up.” Yeah other things happened and I just decided “Okay you have one life and you need to do what you want to.” And it was really coincident that when I had looked into to sleep my daughter I had found a program which was called the Sleep Sense Program and they were looking for candidacies to train their consultants. And it was just a perfect match. I was like, “Ohh you can do this, first of all.” And then in Luxembourg this term didn’t exist so I knew I had a niche and it was kind of sparking a flame that I had not known of a candle that was inside of me and that’s entrepreneurial spark for sure.
And ever since I have realized that I am actually born and bred entrepreneur but I never knew, you know? I didn’t grow up in an environment where entrepreneurship was celebrated or encouraged and so that was very new. Yeah, so I launched my business. And then I had one more adult asking me if I was working with them? And so I retrained in the holistic science of sleep method and then I added Functional Diagnostic Nutrition. And that has created – I don’t know – an all around package that I adore that I feel really confident in and that I know bring results when I work with clients.
So, I think myself I have now found the perfect kind of mix. Even though I still of course educate myself all the time because I am curious. But I think seriously it is something whatever you need, I can cater for accept for fairly physical stress which I refer out of chiropractic of physical therapist that I trust.
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Rod: Certainly. Can you give us your top 3 things that someone should know about sleep?
Christine: Yes. So sleep in the morning which sounds a little bit strange but it truly is. A lot of people that I worked with they have a slight bunch of [unclear 8:26] so it is nothing that is really health threatening simply in that way but it is really messing with a day. So they really crush in the afternoon and then they have a bunch of spike in the evening again which make it then hard, you know? So nutrition for me is key. It is one of the things that I preach and that I really… you know when you work with me you do get meal plans and recipes and I always say you don’t have to think I have it all… you know it is all done for you because that’s the easiest way of doing it. If you have to change nutrition it is tough so not to think about what to do is much easier but that creates a lot of lot change.
The second thing is that it is not your fault – which is my number 1 message. If you are really someone who has a lot of sleep issues and it is not necessarily medically related that say if you don’t have a sleep apnea which is really like a physical illness where you have to go to your doctor to get it treated, a lot of different elements have to do with sleep that we don’t know about. A lot of times it is hormonal imbalances. It could also be parasites that you have in your gut, dysfunctional gut. And those are things that we just don’t know. So that’s why I always say let’s get some testing done and see what’s going on and then it all make sense, you know? Sleep is always a symptom but it is never just sleep. There is always an underline cause. So it is really like when people and they can say, “I feel crazy.” Or “I don’t talk about it because it seems too trivial but I don’t know what else to do. I have perfect sleep hygiene for example…” Then I am telling them that there are so many different factors and it is such a relief to hear. So that’s my number two.
And then number three for sleep is and I always have to smile because it is one of most asked questions is: “Can I train myself to have less sleep?” And it is, “No”. You have to work with what your body needs. But what is the most interesting to understand and important to understand if you do respect that your day will be 3 times more productive than if you try to cut out sleep. You are not doing yourself a favor or your productivity. But knowing actually how much sleep you need figuring that out and also scheduling your day in a way that you get that kind of sleep is going to… you really boost everything in your life so much more. So those are three things.
Rod: Yeah. Some great points there. And also you are mentioning the benefit of good gut health which I think it is something that is quite overlooked and you have mentioned you focus on that area, you get some testing done and can uncut a whole world of health issues that individual might not be aware off and that can then comeback to contribute to better sleep. I am sure you would have some of your clients who have been overwhelmed with some of those results and finally getting good sleep.
Christine: It is amazing. Yeah, it is like from weight loss – which is a number one brilliant side effect – to obviously fatigue but also having it is true digestive issues, migraine, skin issues, you know? There are so many things that are connected. And those are all the positive side effects. When people ask me “What will happen?” I said, “Well, here are some of side effects. You will get thinner. You will look better. It is crazy. You will feel more energized. Are you okay with those?” So that’s why I am saying it is truly life transformational. And sleep is obviously my [unclear 11:57], I am focusing on that a lot but it is much more than that. But yeah people come to me because of sleep, first of all, and I get it.
Rod: Yeah. That’s terrific. Well done. Good job. What’s the best way someone can achieve better sleep? You have mentioned it could be whole range of things that may contribute to poor sleep. If someone came to you day 1 – how they can kick off?
Christine: Tricky. Well as I said I look really at their diet which is one thing and then have baby steps in that. Usually when they come to me they get a complete plan which they can use which makes things easier.
But the second thing is that you need to find a good balance between prioritizing sleep but not over prioritizing it so not transform it into a stress factor. Just for example, if you go to bed and you are already in stress, is this going to be a good night? Am I going to get enough sleep? Well, that’s not going to help. So you need to make peace with the idea that even if you have a really bad night you will survive, you know? It is not going to be ideal but you will manage. And that I find is already taking off some pressure, bring some relief… when you are up again at 2:00 am, make peace with it whether it is going to be crappy and you might have a really bad night. But it is going to be okay, you know? Ultimately it is going to be okay. And that’s much better than saying okay the clock is ticking and I need to be completely sharp and focused. So those are couple of things. And I have some techniques that I use with my clients also throughout the day to diffuse that stress and that anxiety basically.
Rod: Certainly. Okay I imagine your clients obviously come to you with a whole range of backgrounds and health problems all those sort of things – how long would it take for someone to start to get some positive results after starting with your coaching?
Christine: It really depends. It depends on how long the issues have been going on, how much clean up we have to do, how much re-balancing we have to do. And other times it is something pretty quick, you know? I would say the minimum that I usually do in order to create long lasting change is 3 months but it can also be 2 weeks, you know? And someone who just need or getting back on track or just needs to change some habits that can be 3 weeks and that’s where I use my group programs, for example. But someone who is truly committed and dedicated I would say 3 months up to year. It really depends.
A lot of my client had a huge transformation in her whole life like truly… I wouldn’t call it a mid-life crisis but or maybe but in a good way like a really really good way and she had a lot of work to do and that took a year. But the transformation that has happened is fantastic and she is just happier as she’s never been before. So it really depends what my clients come with and then we see how. A lot of people are worried or they are not ready to commit for a long time so we work on a monthly basis. There is always something that we can do.
Rod: Yeah. Terrific. You mentioned one of your clients then had a turnaround after a year. Give us some other examples of some of the problems people come to you with and how you are able to turn that around for?
Christine: Yeah. So most of the times they come because of sleep, for sure. And for her, she was… we talked to each other and she has a big business and so she was also worried about how she was interacting with her team because she realized she doesn’t have the patience that’s much. She is forgetting things. It irritates her lot. And then on top of that her immune system was sounding to act out so she started to have skin issues, some ultra immune symptoms and things like that. So those were things that we looked at same time.
And then another client, she was just someone who I adore because she is adorable. All of my clients are adorable, I have to say. But she was hyper sensitive which is brilliant. I love people who are hyper sensitive because they are usually really good people, very empathetic but is also really draining. So she needed to start to take breaks because if you are like that you need some time or when you are onto process so we changed the way that she lived a little bit as well. And she was a real perfectionist too and very harsh on herself which is happening a lot and putting a lot of pressure on herself that way. So that took a lot of emotional coaching to kind of practice [unclear 16:32] and taking away that perfectionist edge or keeping it wherever it is productive but identifying when it is not. So that was a completely different experience of working with someone because her physical health was great, you know? So, it is always different but it is really nice and interesting to figure out what the missing piece is.
Rod: yeah. Certainly. And your approach to men and women is similar? Obviously depending on their background and their health problems of what they are trying to achieve.
Christine: I really get men talking to me. I think it is one of these typical things where women are more open to look for help sometimes. And when I do talk to men, it is very different the way that I approach it. It is usually okay what can I do give me more of practical tips and then it would be fixed. But because that’s not the way it works, I tend to have a lot of difficulties to click. So, but it doesn’t that sound you need to be that way. It is very different.
I also have some people who know, they know I am drifting off and I am starting to go down a path but it is not working it well. I just don’t know. Can’t I talk to you? It take a little bit to get to know each other and to trust each other and then it is beautiful relationship; because, it is so much more than just how… and a lot of times these things that they just never talk about to anyone and having that stress [unclear 18:07] out of the system is creating wonders in all kinds of departments.
Rod: Yeah. Certainly. This is terrific. If you had a secret about sleep, what would it be?
Christine: That’s a tricky. I was thinking about that one. And I think the sentence that you should know is that sleep wants to be your ally. I think that is what people need to know; because, for a lot this is relationship. It is truly like a relationship on the rocks, you know? Where there is a lot of pettiness, there is a lot of anger, lot of frustration and that is not going to work harmoniously. So you need to know that sleep is ally. But there is some communication going away between the two of you. And what I do is helping you to figure out what is going on – whether it is your body acting up or whether there are some things on your mind that are making it difficult for sleep to settle down at night time. But knowing that you can always do something and that sleep actually wants to help is key.
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Rod: That’s terrific. Some of the common problems that people experience with sleep? Obviously that’s not being able to sleep at all. You refer to insomnia earlier on – waking up through the night unable to get back to sleep. Is there pattern or any trends there that you see with your clients?
Christine: Yes. One of the main trend is truly the 2:00 am 3:00 am wake ups and not being able to get back to sleep. And I usually detect that it is because of two different elements.
One is because most of the time there is gut dysfunction and so you have the liver kicking in at that time because you have huge detoxification process going on when you are sleeping because that’s when your body has the power and the rest to do it. And everything like the main detoxification progresses whether it is in your brain or anywhere in your body are happening during your sleep. The other thing is when your liver kicks in and you do have some pathogens and bacteria and so forth in your guy, your immune system is kicking in as well, creating some inflammation and that is producing cortisol which is a stimulating hormone so you are going to wake up. So that’s reason number one.
And then reason number two is that those people have a lot of stress and you have nothing else to do at night time. It is dark. It is quite. So you are adding your carousel of thoughts which is stressing you out as well which is adding more cortisol which makes it practically impossible to go back to sleep or very difficult. So that’s I think 90% of the time what’s happening.
Rod: Yes. Certainly. There are some great points that you have mentioned there and a lot of this have that 2:00 am wake and we start the day at 2 or 3 clock in the morning and [unclear 20:54] all the things we need to do as you said the stress cortisol. But the other point you mentioned there obviously linked back to our health again. I am sure there would be many people that would be aware of those issues that they may have that is effecting and is triggering that 2:00 am wake up and could be only used in good results and a massive turnaround.
Christine: And that’s what it is such a relief to know there is a reason, you know? That’s the worst thing. If you have no idea why this is happening to me, what is going on, and knowing that there is a reason that’s I think already such a big piece of inner peace, you know? Yeah it is crucial.
Rod: Yeah. Certainly. And I could imagine some of your clients would be suffering from long periods of time with poor sleep and thinking as you said it is them, it is all them, it is their world and it can’t be changed and you have proven with many of your clients and obviously your background study and things that you are able to help them and turn that around, it is absolutely fantastic.
Christine: Exactly. And it is important to know that it is very isolating not being a good sleeper; because, people don’t get it and it is complaining or just saying “I didn’t sleep well.” Most have that maybe once a month, maybe twice but having that 3 times a week is something completely different. So when you say I didn’t sleep well and someone else “Oh yeah I didn’t sleep well 2 months ago”, it is not comparable and so a lot of people don’t talk about it. And it is very common much more common than we think and so yeah one of my missions is to really get that out and we don’t say “Look you can definitely say something because it is not funny at all and it is not good for your health either.”
Rod: Yeah. Certainly. Yeah. You have mentioned obviously a number of people are going through your coaching and programs get to other side and have a massive turnaround in their lives, what have been those people able to do to maintain good sleep from that point on?
Christine: The thing is like because it is not a quick fix, you can’t go back. You notice things that you never notice before. Like let’s say… oh just for myself as well too, last week for example, I had a lunch time where it wasn’t a beautifully tidy restaurant and I had the best bad pasta dish in the world and usually I avoid gluten and stuff but I am not a perfectionist so sometimes I indulge. But the crash that I had at 3:00 pm it just knock me off my feet and I knew it is because of what I had at lunch time. And I had so much work to do but I couldn’t. I was just too tired. I have the luxury that I work from home. So I went to take a nap for an hour but I could never go back to living that way which I then compensated with lots of coffee and chocolate and stuff. So, I think that’s just you notice that a lot more because you have seen the other side, let’s put it that way. You have seen what your body can do. You have seen what your life can look and then you don’t want to go back. It is just you respect your body differently and you get to know it and then it is just… everything has changed so you don’t want to go back.
Rod: And that’s a great message that you had “you respect your body”, I think and be yourself, having lived the healthy life that you have, and then having that one meal and seen not an immediate reaction but pretty close to and feeling the impacts of all those things. That’s a pretty big contrast, a big turnaround and the morning goals would have been reap well and truly.
Christine: Yeah. Yeah. For sure.
Rod: Yeah. Where can people find out more information about sleep and also how can they get in contact with you Christine?
Christine: So the easiest way is how you have found me which is via my website sleeplikeaboss.com. And if you go to the website you can actually also join my free challenge which is giving you get sleep again to what it is like to work with me. And you can also find me on Facebook just look for Christine Hansen and you can find my page. And I am on all social media channel but I would really say email me or find me on Facebook or you can buy my best sign book which is called Sleep like a Book: the guide to sleep for busy bosses – which you can find on Amazon.
Rod: Fantastic. That’s a great interview and I really appreciate your time today Christine. You have gone through some fantastic stuff and I am sure listeners will get a lot of that and perhaps prompt a few things, good questions for themselves to ask where they are at and there are some other reasons maybe that their sleep maybe suffering and it is good chance so they turn that around obviously with a contact to yourself and may start a new life. I really thank you for your time here today. I know you got a busy schedule so yeah perhaps we can catch up again in future.
Christine: I would love to. Thank you so much for trusting me with your people. It was an honor.
Rod: Terrific. Thank you very much Christine.
Christine: Thank you.
To hear more great interviews from experts around the world on good nutrition, exercise and men’s health head over to www.sportsadventure.com.au or just on to iTunes or Stitcher subscribe to the podcast and leave a review. Thanks for tuning into the show.
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About The Author
Rod Bucton, mountain bike fanatic from Mid North Coast, New South Wales Australia… helping middle aged men improve their lives with exercise, good nutrition and good health and while you’re at it follow Rod on Facebook or Instagram.
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