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Mollie Eastman_Optimize Sleep for Peak Performance

Optimize Sleep for Peak Performance with Mollie Eastman (McGlocklin), Sleep Is a Skill

August 23, 2023

Entrepreneurs often sacrifice their sleep time to grow their businesses and chase their dreams. However, sleep is vital for your mental and physical health. That’s why it’s important to learn to optimize sleep to set yourself up for success and improve your well-being. In this episode, Mollie Eastman (McGlocklin) sheds light on the forgotten skill set of sleep and how we can optimize sleep through technology and behavioral change.

About Mollie Eastman (McGlocklin):

Mollie Eastman (McGlocklin) is the creator of Sleep Is A Skill, a groundbreaking company that helps people sleep better through a unique blend of technology, accountability, and behavioral change. After struggling with insomnia for years, she decided to take matters into her own hands and create a place for learning the skill set of sleep.

With a background in behavioral change from The Nonverbal Group and personal experience with overcoming sleep deprivation, Mollie is now on a mission to spread the skill set of Sleep through Circadian Biology. She also hosts her own podcast called The Sleep is a Skill, writes an educational sleep newsletter, Sleep Obsessions, and has a sleep course, Optimize Your Sleep

Optimize sleep to boost performance and achieve optimal health

Sleep deprivation runs rampant among many entrepreneurs. Since entrepreneurs are strangers to the typical 9-5 daily routine, they’re practically in charge of creating their own schedule. This can be both a blessing and a curse, as most business owners get caught up in the hustle mentality and lose sight of what a healthy daily structure looks like.

Unfortunately, this unhealthy lifestyle is a recipe for disaster. It’s a slow burner that will inevitably lead to failure and burnout. So, it’s essential for entrepreneurs to take control of their lives and create their own healthy routines. And avoiding those sleepless nights and eliminating unnecessary stress is the first and most important step. Sleep plays a fundamental role in every person’s well-being, and entrepreneurs are, of course, no exception.

When you optimize sleep and prioritize a healthier work-life balance, you set yourself up for success, both in your personal and professional life. Getting a good night’s sleep can be a huge turning point in your life, ultimately leading to peak performance and optimal health.

Episode highlights:

  • Healing your relationship with sleep can do wonders for your entrepreneurial lifestyle. Not only can it make you more productive and focused, but it can also help improve your overall health. (06:20)
  • Successful entrepreneurs are the best problem-solvers. They find a problem, and they become a solution. How do they do that? By staying laser-focused on their niche and fixing its most burning issues.  (8:42)
  • Digital tools are a great way to optimize sleep and outsource self-care, which is a win-win for busy entrepreneurs. For instance, Mollie suggests using the Oura ring as a good starting place for those looking to prioritize their sleep and improve their sleep quality because it tracks your sleep cycle and provides helpful data. (15:18)
  • Your circadian rhythm dictates your wake-sleep cycle, but it also plays a vital role in your overall well-being and business performance. To stay on top of your game, it’s important to learn to regulate your circadian rhythms by keeping a consistent sleep schedule, getting enough light exposure, and moving your body daily. (21:24)
  • Exposure to morning sunlight can significantly improve your sleep quality, performance at work, and overall health. By getting at least 30 minutes of sun when you wake up, you can balance your circadian rhythm and kickstart your body’s sleep-wake cycle, leading to positive changes in your sleep patterns. You also set yourself up for a productive day and peak performance.  (25:17)
  • Consistency is key to healthy sleep. Going to bed and waking at the same time every day can drastically improve your sleep, strengthen your body’s immune system, and ultimately help you achieve maximum productivity and focus, that are so needed in business. (31:31)
  • There are countless ways to optimize your sleep. From shifting your sleep-wake cycle to tracking your sleep, you can leverage different tools and try out different methods to make a huge impact on your sleep efficiency. And improved sleep means better mental capacity to grow your business and guide your decision-making. (45:11)

Mollie’s best advice for entrepreneurs:

“[…] what we like to have people do is the bare minimum, create an anchoring system for the start of their day. […] that allows your body over time, this will feel very uncomfy for the beginning, but over time you’re in training your hormones to have proper cortisol pulse on the front half of the day.” (24:40) 

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Transcript

[00:00:49] A.J. Lawrence: I really hope so because I’ve been going through your material and what I was just about to tell the audience, but I skipped was sleep has been something I’ve dealt with in issues over my own businesses over the years. And I think it’s been one of the major impacts I had in my last business where things didn’t go as well as I had hoped they would. And [I’m] just fascinated by the kind of the approach you’ve taken to helping people improve their own sleep. Could you maybe tell us a little bit how you got into this? How you really made sleep this importance?

[00:01:24] Mollie Eastman: Yeah, absolutely. Well, first off, I so appreciate you sharing about your sleep journey and certainly not alone. So many people struggling with sleep. It’s truly an epidemic and at least it’s been labeled as an epidemic numbers wise. Some of the things that we’re seeing of this upward turning trajectory, whether it’s looking at rates of sleep apnea, insufficient total sleep numbers, sleep quality, it’s really a lot of people are dealing with this. So I appreciate you sharing that.

[00:01:50] And certainly that was part of my story. I was not actually anticipating to go into the world of sleep. I’m beyond grateful for it now. It’s literally given me my life’s mission. I am dedicating my entire life to this quest to help support people in their journey to transform their sleep, even if they maybe didn’t even realize that that was a part of what wasn’t working in their lives, to help shed light on just how much this impacts overall health and wellbeing.

[00:02:15] So the original Genesis of this actually came from how I now think of my life in kind of a three part series. What it looks like in the first part of my life was a lot of labels and narratives around my sleep and a really affixed relationship to my sleep. So meaning that I would say a lot of things like I’m a short sleeper, I’m a night owl, it’s in my genes, I’ll sleep when I’m dead, all of these sort of things and ways of relating to sleep as if it’s just kind of the lot in life.

[00:02:46] It’s the cards I was dealt and that’s how it’s going to be and not much to do about it. Just a facet of kind of surviving it, working through it, having that just work for me as poorly as it was. And so that’s kind of how I related to that for many, many years. And that was in childhood, adolescence, college.

[00:03:04] And then what ended up happening for me was, I didn’t kind of account as I moved to Manhattan, serial entrepreneur, burning the candle at both ends really was that I didn’t correlate so many of my poor health outcomes and rising rates of anxiety, as well as some health signals that probably showed that I wasn’t doing so great with how I was managing my health.

[00:03:29] Examples being I got shingles in my 20s, had the beginnings of an ulcer. I mentioned the anxiety piece, but the kind of mood instability and insufficient or unstable productivity levels and as that relates to entrepreneurship, really problematic. But I didn’t connect this to the sleep part of the equation.

[00:03:49] And it wasn’t until then, maybe some of your listeners being connected or might relate to the Tim Ferriss as a reference, so took on a kind of a Tim Ferriss like approach to life. So my husband and I have been together for 12 years and we put all of our belongings into storage, did a one way ticket to travel abroad to be digital nomads a la Tim Ferriss, but with tremendous amounts of stress and responsibilities from the various businesses that both of us had and responsibilities and employees and all of that.

[00:04:21] And the amounting stress that came about with this kind of big upheaval and change manifested itself when I landed in our first location, this was in Madrid. And I’d never really experienced jet lag before, and growing up with really next to no money so I hadn’t really traveled a ton. And so I paired all that stress with now being on the road, jet lag, and started to have this experience of panic attacks and stress load. And now this started to spill over into my sleep results.

[00:04:53] So then one night, then I’m not sleeping. And then the next night, and then the next night, and suddenly started freaking me out from a place of, is this going to be my new reality? Is this just something that I’m going to need to grim and bear and work through and now be someone that could be beholden to sleeping pills? Or just that particular path and I’d seen people in my family go down that path, and it was very concerning to me.

[00:05:19] So at one of my lowest points, I went to the doctors in Croatia, left with their version of Ambien, and in that moment, really realizing that, okay, I’ve got to absolutely get up under this because, of course, these things don’t just happen in a vacuum. Like there was a lot of things that were not working in my life. And now it felt as if one of the most basic primitive things to get sleep was now not available to me.

[00:05:43] But the fallout of that was just extreme experience of anxiety and fixation on the sleep piece to the point that when the sun would be setting, I would start getting nervous of, I can’t face another night of this. I feel like I’m losing my mind and just fear, just tons and tons of fear.

[00:06:04] And so on the other side of that, I’m grateful now, at the time I didn’t think there was much to be grateful for about it, but it turns out tons to be grateful for because it actually was sounding the alarms of just how much the ways that I was managing my life was not working.

[00:06:20] And it really had me go down the rabbit hole on what it takes to get great sleep, but also in the process started learning some of the latest in- and I think we’ll touch on some of this chronobiology, the science of time and how time affects your biology. And it became a thing of, oh my gosh, why are we not all speaking about this? This is just mind blowing.

[00:06:39] It really changed the blueprint on how I manage my life and my organization of my days and how that impacted just my results with my sleep. But also in the process of now healing that relationship with my sleep and actually shifting the whole narrative, that identity previously had been one of I’m not capable of getting great sleep, and it turned out that that was not real. And then I could actually quantifiably get great sleep.

[00:07:04] So when that started changing, I could not stop talking about this. And then just organically started growing into kind of small groups, and then began a newsletter around this, and the company now as we know it, Sleep Is a Skill. And what came out of that was we now run online courses. We have the number 2 sleep podcast. So we bring on tons of sleep experts to really help shed light to this topic for people that are looking to improve their sleep. We have a particular niche in poker, so we work with a lot of high stakes poker players and really leveraging my background in behavioral change and how we can kind of gamify this process of improving our sleep.

[00:07:44] And we’re as well as in hotels, so we’re in things like Casa Cipriani in Manhattan and you know, just all of that. So I say all that because it never would have thought that this was possible. And so for anyone listening that might be struggling with their sleep, no matter where you might be, I am confident that there are things we can do to up level those results.

[00:08:02] A.J. Lawrence: Well, just one quick aside. What was sort of that transition then of like, you had your own other businesses, you were an entrepreneur in other factors, but then you were talking about there was this organic movement, the newsletter. But when did you decide to make sleep become your main focus here as an entrepreneur?

[00:08:20] Just because it sounds like, oh, you’re doing it. And then all of a sudden it just transferred. What happened?

[00:08:26] Mollie Eastman: Yeah. So granted, I am a pretty obsessive personality, for better or for worse. And on the bright side of things, what was fantastic about that was I just could not, it was like kind of this insatiable appetite for this area around sleep.

[00:08:41] And I think for me, from an entrepreneurial perspective, just saw this niche that because it really did take so much to translate some of the latest science that is out around what are some of these, which we’ll likely talk about. So one example being these time givers, which are known as zeitgebers, which these things in our behaviors and our environment that basically tell our trillions of clocks in our body and literally every cell and organ in our body, what time it is and what to be doing when.

[00:09:09] There’s so many of these things that you can place into your day to strategically help support your body to be able to know what time it is, what to be doing when, and really optimize your experience of life.

[00:09:21] So the translation piece on that took so much time, energy, and effort that to be able to help support people in this journey where so many people would still to this very day, have no clue that some of these things can be really impacting their sleep results and their health results. So became a very clear niche to help support.

[00:09:41] So I think because it’s so fundamentally changed my experience of life, then it was a really clear time in my life because previously a lot of my entrepreneurial adventures, there was still kind of this like the foot half out, which most entrepreneurs can likely understand.

[00:09:57] That’s probably not a good way to approach any business that you’re doing and I might be juggling different ones and kind of, oh, let me test the waters here. However, this was the first experience for me where it was this no poker pun intended, but an all in on this topic and just being so passionate about it that I’m happy to give my whole self to this topic.

[00:10:19] A.J. Lawrence: Very cool. I like that. It is sort of the dream of an entrepreneur to kind of solve our own problems and build the business around it. But I like that approach you just had.

[00:10:29] Okay, so you were talking about some of the technology and stuff, and I know through your site and stuff, the oura rings, since I have one, and other data points, how did you decide that this approach of looking at the available technology and diving into that was going to be important? What do you see as the value in using these technical tools?

[00:10:49] Mollie Eastman: Yeah. So currently, Sleep Is a Skill, we have one of the largest databases of oura ring users from a sleep optimization specific category. Meaning, outside of research and from a place of that, we have people consistently now looking at their data from a kind of team’s perspective and adjusting it accordingly.

[00:11:09] So I think one, with that now as it stands, it’s so, so helpful because it’s able to provide what we, from a psychological perspective, is referred to as the Hawthorne effect. So kind of the observer effect. When people have a sense that other people can observe or see their data, all of us tend to act just a little bit differently when we know we’re being watched than if we’re just kind of out on our own, kind of flying by the seat of our pants.

[00:11:37] So one, I like to leverage the power of that observer Hawthorne effect. Two, I think from my background in communications and rhetorical studies, which is really looking at behavioral change, reading people, nonverbal communication, and looking at what it really takes for us to have habits stick and that kind of long term change, that lends itself really nicely to the gamification of daily data points so that we can see and still continue to stay in the game of our sleep.

[00:12:10] So one of the things I think is really wonderful about our current wearables now, are there things that aren’t as great about wearables or problems? Of course, consumer grade wearables, there’s some limitations, but there’s also a breadth of knowledge that can be gleaned from all of this information that can really help provide a nice picture of what’s going on for the individual.

[00:12:32] And what I’ve seen is that it seems to both provide validity for people from an objective standpoint to be able to point to, okay, I clearly was running into this kind of stress response here because some of the metrics really point to not just your sleep results, I’m sure you’ve seen this with the Oura Ring and others, that you can also get a sense for your nervous system management.

[00:12:55] So even if you just hung out there, like I have tons of clients that come specifically to improve their HRV, their heart rate variability, which is for anyone unfamiliar with that term, it’s really the time between the series of different heartbeats. We might think of them as just being static and consistent, but there’s actually a lot of dynamic variability there. And that tells us a lot about how well we’re being able to recover second to second to second.

[00:13:18] And there’s an argument that that might be one of the more important metrics that’s coming out from your sleep wearable data. Because if, presumably, sleep is kind of modality that we are utilizing to improve our overall recovery, then a metric that is really pointing to our ability to recover can tell us a lot about what happened throughout the course of the night.

[00:13:38] So all that to say that I think particularly for entrepreneurs, it can be really, really important since a lot of responsibility can fall on our shoulders. And so to see how we’re managing those dynamic stress load that is coming our way in an objective sense can sometimes act as this cool way of outsourcing self care in a certain way, right?

[00:14:01] Like when you see a long streak of these scores or these numbers that are deviating from our baseline, it just becomes this unequivocal sign that, all right, there’s possibly an opportunity to improve upon those. Right? I’m sure you’ve seen that.

[00:14:17] A.J. Lawrence: Yeah. I mean, it’s one of those things where it’s like, oh, even if I fully optimize, that’s not going to make everything else in my life better. But over time, if I do work on it, it reduces the negative impact that bad sleep’s gonna have from other things, or I always call those knock on effects. It’s that idea that like, oh, when I’m not sleeping well, even just a little bit, maybe I’m a little more grumpy, maybe I’m a little shorter, maybe I don’t give it that extra little thought.

[00:14:49] So sleep is that foundation of just setting the framework of my day and then going there. And that’s why I like your approach of looking at what the tools can bring you. So looking at the data, do you suggest people start? If the entrepreneur really did want to get into it?

[00:15:07] Mollie Eastman: Great question. So one, I would say in 2023, and I preface that because there’s so many new things coming and so things could shift. But as of right now, I do highly suggest the oura ring as a starting place for people that are really serious about prioritizing their sleep.

[00:15:25] And to your point there, of course, there are many things that go into overall health and wellness, and yet, I do believe that there’s a possible stance that we can take where sleep becomes the baseline of our kind of health and wellness pyramid.

[00:15:40] Whereas before, often New Year’s comes, for example, and many of us will hire personal trainer, a nutritionist, we take these steps for overall health and well being. But we don’t think of, okay, what’s a new plan or challenge or thing I’m going to take on around my sleep, which has this bi-directional relationship with all of those other things in health and wellness, including what I appreciate you pointed to too, that like emotional regularity and the ability to regulate our kind of experience of life, how we’re interacting with others. Certainly very important is, from an entrepreneurial perspective, our productivity levels.

[00:16:15] And what we see from sleep is that there’s a challenge to find a single area of life that isn’t negatively impacted when we are not optimizing our sleep or getting insufficient sleep. And on the flip side, once we improve the sleep, then every area of life has measurable studies behind it that can often show some sort of correlation. So whether it’s cardiovascular health, whether that’s cognitive function, whether that looks at neurodegenerative diseases, all cause mortality, I mean, the list is just totally endless.

[00:16:47] So that prioritization of that really is clear. And so how do we manage that? What types of tech do we take on? So I would say again from 2023, at the moment, oura ring is really great approach for sleep. There are also other ones though as well, depending on your goals. WHOOP has some exciting new things that they’re bringing about.

[00:17:08] One thing that I’m excited about more recently is they’ve partnered with Andrew Huberman, which a lot of people in this health and wellness space can appreciate some of his information that he’s putting out. So he’s partnered with them for a stress monitor. So it’s showing your daytime stress load by pulling daytime HRV data and other metrics.

[00:17:27] So to give you a sense of your stress and then how you can dynamically adjust it accordingly throughout the course of the day. So that’s a nice offering as well as the sleep piece that they have, as well as the activity and they shine a bit more in the activity side of things versus Oura. If you’re looking for a really fantastic activity tracker, you probably wouldn’t get the Oura Ring. So there’s pluses and minuses to all these.

[00:17:49] But there’s also the BioStrap, there’s the Muse Headband for nighttime sleep readouts, and of course there’s Apple Watch, and even apps on native to your smartphone that you can also utilize as well. But certainly, I would underscore the benefits that can come from something like an Oura Ring to track over the longterm.

[00:18:09] A.J. Lawrence: Right before the oura ring came out, I did experiment with some of the apps on the phone. One with the watch or the ones you were supposed to be putting on your bed, it’s just like my phone ended up on the floor every time.

[00:18:21] Mollie Eastman: 100%.

[00:18:21] A.J. Lawrence: So that’s going to work really well. In looking at these tools though, where should [be] the first focus? Because I realized very quickly, like for me, couldn’t hide behind anything more than like just a simple one drink. Didn’t matter, went out the day. It was just like, all right, there it is. I could literally look back at my history and go, oh, those are the days I drank. Where do you suggest that your audience focus first when they are using these tools to try and improve their sleep?

[00:18:53] Mollie Eastman: Yeah. Well, one, I appreciate you calling out the alcohol piece. I would say out of all the data that comes out from these wearables, as far as the biggest behavioral change for a lot of people that I often see is change in what’s known as chronopharmacology. So the timing of our drugs and our drugs can be as benign as our coffee and our alcohol and our THC and our supplements and prescriptions and things of that nature, and then just the quantity that we’re having of those things and the timing that we’re having those things.

[00:19:24] But certainly alcohol just shows up again and again for people. And so that’s often one thing that over time I see the more people are in this game, then the more they tend to just drop the amount of alcohol that they’re taking in. They might try to your point, play around with the timing, maybe moving a little bit earlier, but almost always for most people, it’s still just shows up for the average individual.

[00:19:48] So one, I would say that’s just a clear low hanging fruit. So if that’s something that’s there, you can make tremendous differences in your sleep if you were to play with the dosage of that and the timing of that and just kind of adjustment and subtraction of that. So that’s one group, chronopharmacology. But I would say as far as the order of importance from a perspective of, I mentioned chronobiology, the science of time and how time affects your biology. I really anticipate that we’re going to see a lot more coming out in the mainstream on understanding this area of study and how this can kind of serve as this through line through so much of this information and health and wellness and making sense of it and actually providing kind of this blueprint from what we understand helps serve our sleep-wake cycle and strengthening it.

[00:20:38] A.J. Lawrence: Yes.

[00:20:38] Mollie Eastman: Right? So if we’re strengthening our overall circadian rhythm, that’s one, something for people to realize is that our circadian rhythm, this 24-hour rhythm, exists on a spectrum and we can either have a kind of weak circadian rhythm or a strong circadian rhythm. And like any great spectrum, you might be kind of hanging out in different places at many different points throughout your life.

[00:21:00] It’s not like it’s fixed. It’s very dynamic. You might be doing great and then you start traveling a bunch, long haul travel, that can totally mess with things. You get a lot of stressors. You take on a second project or job and suddenly where there’s workability, there can be disruption and dysfunction.

[00:21:18] So we want to have this goal to what’s known as entrain is the phrasing. So we’re looking to entrain our circadian rhythm to strengthen it. So how do you entrain your circadian rhythm? We look at those zeitgebers that I mentioned, which are German for time givers, and the most important zeitgeber or time giver that we’ve been able to uncover is light, dark timing. So this is the most impactful.

[00:21:45] And the reason for this is that the light is hitting your eyes each day and your eyes are really an extension of your brain and they’re directly connected to your suprachiasmatic nucleus just a little bit behind the eyes. It’s tiny, tiny little node that’s basically this master clock and it’s looking to keep all your trillions of other clocks on time that are in peripheral clocks they’re referred to and every cell and organ in your body.

[00:22:11] So they’re looking to stay on time and so they’re sampling the environment around us second to second to second and trying to make sense of all right, well, so if we presume that this is the beginning of this person’s day, so we’re going to do beginning of the day things. Right? And so that has all worked well and good for thousands of years when we were hunter gatherers.

[00:22:32] We’re outside, there was just very clear signals through light, dark, temperature, meal timing, exercise timing, the behaviors we’re engaging in, the thoughts we’re engaging and all those things just kind of aligned with these rhythms of nature, which turns out to be super important in this kind of equation. The problem that we’re up against now is, I often cite this study out of the EPA back in 2001, where they found that the average American was spending a little over 90% of their days indoors.

[00:23:05] And the reason that we point to that and why that’s problematic is because when we’re these indoor creatures, we’re now divorcing ourselves from those rhythms of nature. Even if you have a lot of windows, like I got a lot of windows in my space, cuts off a big swath of the type of light that tells us the right things.

[00:23:22] So while we’re indoors, the lighting is totally adjusting to something that’s very foreign for our bodies. The temperature is adjusting and a lot of our behaviors are adjusting. So because of that, then we get dysregulated circadian rhythm. And we know that there’s a big fallout of this with the World Health Organization has shared that shift working, for example, is listed as a possible kind of cancer-causing agent.

[00:23:47] And we know that if that’s just an example of working at times when humans are really meant to be sleeping because we’ll want to remember that we’re diurnal creatures so we’re meant to be active by day and at rest at night. And I think there’s been some conflating that’s happened over the years. I mean, I used to be one of these people that would say, well, I’m a night owl. It’s no big deal. I’m most creative at night, I write at night, I get my best work done at night.

[00:24:13] All of that would kind of come up and turns out that there’s been kind of this running with some of these labels and really starting to shift into this danger territory as it relates to the management of our sleep-wake cycle and really confusing all of those clocks that I mentioned.

[00:24:32] So having that context in the background, what are those things to keep those clocks on time? Now I mentioned light-dark cycle is so, so important. So if you get nothing out of what I’m saying, then what we like to have people do is bare minimum, create an anchoring system for the start of their day. And so what that would look like is you’re picking a wake up time that you’re going to maintain largely for about seven days a week on average, plus or minus 30 minutes.

[00:25:00] Now, of course, there might be a little change in seasons or what have you, but for most of the time you’re picking this wake up time and you’re sticking with that around seven days a week, which there and of itself can be life changing if people actually do that piece, because most people that I see are not doing that.

[00:25:14] And again, I certainly wasn’t for many years. So you bring in that anchoring wake up time. Now with that anchoring wake up time, that allows your body over time, this will feel very uncomfy for the beginning, but over time you’re entraining your hormones to have proper cortisol pulse on the front half of the day. So that’s like that natural coffee that we want to have. Stabilize that. But you want to have that consistent wake up time, that anchoring, and then do something that’s known as sunlight anchoring. That’s been coined by Dan Hardy out of Stanford.

[00:25:44] And so sunlight anchoring is where you’re getting yourself physically exposed to sunlight, not from behind a window cause many studies show that it takes anywhere from 50 to a 100x longer to reset your master clock from behind a window. And it’s not like a linear equation where you just say, oh, we’ll stay there longer. It doesn’t really work like that.

[00:26:02] So we have to physically get ourselves outside, expose our bare eyes, not sunglasses or anything, to light. And so we’re doing that consistently within about 30 minutes is really our goal upon wakening. So start there.

[00:26:17] A.J. Lawrence: What happens? Just because I noticed, first, I just moved back to the United States from living in Spain, and the two things that I’ve been told, I’ve heard that before, gazing through the light. Two things. One, Spain is on Central European time zone, even though it’s shuts out. So great late nights light out really late but the morning you’re not getting it until very late.

[00:26:42] What happens if you’re consistently getting up before, or like here back in the States where the high schools are way, way earlier than I ever remember them being, especially during winter, it would be an hour, hour and a half before sunrise would come after getting up. What about situations where you are in that? You’re getting up 5am club, and I’ve started seeing people do the 4:30 and I’m like, okay, good for you. Good for you.

[00:27:09] Mollie Eastman: Yeah, totally.

[00:27:10] A.J. Lawrence: But what happens if the sun is rising late?

[00:27:14] Mollie Eastman: Yeah, great question. So one, I would say I appreciate the call it’s between the difference in Spain and some of the logistical issues with the timing that’s still apparent. I mean, we’re dealing with that in the United States with problems for daylight savings time and how that’s really disruptive and so frustrating.

[00:27:33] So really one, looking to change the legislation around some of these things so that we’re not having an experience of life that’s so outside of the actual real solar time, which is kind of our closest approximation to real time. So we’d like to be an environment ideally where you’re actually dealing with reality and there’s really the proper times of exposure of light. So that’s our main ultimate goal.

[00:27:57] But in the meantime, until that occurs, I mean until we might not have certain obligations like your call outs around school timing, that’s something that the sleep community is really working on quite vehemently to be able to shift out the start time for schools so that we’re not seeing problems because there’s real measurable issues, car accidents, some kind of poor performance in grades, etc, etc.

[00:28:19] So aside from until that point happens, then there’s a couple of things that people can do. So one, if you are waking up before the sunrise, so I would say from a bio hackers kind of approach, the ideal is to expose yourself to as much red light as possible so that you’re syncing up right into the actual time when sun is properly rising, so that you can still be somewhat connected to these rhythms. Now, I will say if there are times when you’re trying to move yourself earlier because there’s a real cause and effect relationship for whenever you get that bright light exposure, then you can almost think of the first time you get bright light exposure that’s mimicking either the sun, like say with a sad lamp, seasonal effective lamp, or the actual presence of the sun.

[00:29:10] Then you can think of almost this imaginary sort of 16-hour countdown from the time that that happens to when you’re going to get sleepy again in the evening. So if there is a situation where you’re trying to move yourself a bit earlier, you’re trending later than you’d like, then I will say that could be a time where you could leverage technology and kind of have bright light exposure.

[00:29:32] I would still suggest to offset that with red light so that you’re not just getting such a giant shot of blue light and bluegreen rich light, so that red will be a kind of a healing light, if you will. And for many, many reasons, not just like a woo perspective, but for some of the health benefits.

[00:29:50] So you could leverage that if you need to move things earlier. But always our ideal is to have you as aligned to these rhythms as possible and then physically getting ourselves outside when the sun actually is rising in whatever way you can possibly do. Even if you’re in a car that’s still kind of like cracking the windows a bit from an element of the physics of light, that can still be very beneficial.

[00:30:12] I’ve done really weird looking things at different points when trying to leverage the light, but it might be a little inconvenient. Maybe I got some sort of zoom call or something so I’m like opening windows or maybe I’m wrapped if it’s cold, wrapped up like a burrito or something. But you’re still doing whatever it takes to just get some of that bright light exposure.

[00:30:31] A.J. Lawrence: I like that. And it is funny what you’re saying about aligning your sleep. I noticed that they did an update, their software, where your sleep pattern compared to your preferred rhythm on that. I did notice lightly just like, oh, if I at least kind of hit the middle to their middle, it’s like, oh, a little bit better on my day.

[00:30:53] Mollie Eastman: Totally. Yeah. And I think what’s interesting about that is it’s other ways at helping us bring about consistency. Because one of the most important things for sleep is consistency. Consistency is the thing that sleep loves just about more than anything you could possibly bring in. So even if I’m saying all this stuff about sunrise and what have you, if someone’s listening and they’re like, I am not even close to that.

[00:31:17] I mean, I work with a lot of poker players that just given their lifestyle. There is no way they’re waking up with the sun where they’re at at the moment. So I don’t want to lose people on this because if that is you, where we want to start is just, okay, what can we create that’s at least going to be that seven days a week? Begin with the wake up time because that’s something we have a say over.

[00:31:39] Now there might take some stumbling before our bedtime follows suit, because if we can have a lot of frustration for people if we suddenly mandate bedtimes and oh, this is when you’re supposed to fall asleep. And until we kind of regulate our hormones and get everything really working and firing at the times we want, it can just take some time, so at least having that consistent wake up time.

[00:31:59] The bedtime, that’s something where you want to give yourself a little bit of grace, but also set yourself up powerfully for that level of consistency so that those oura ring stats start to kind of align. And also though, know that those stats as well are dynamic, so they are moving. So they’re giving you kind of your running average. But suddenly, like I have some people that are shift workers and then they might work for a couple months on one particular shift so they’ll get these readouts. And then suddenly it changes. So don’t feel like you’re beholden.

[00:32:32] That’s the caution I would say for a lot of people I’ve seen. They’re like, oh, well, I took a quiz and I’m a dolphin, or I’m a whatever. And then it almost can be this clearance to now set up their lives in particular ways versus seeing and experimenting and seeing, is that true? Is that consistent? Is that fixed?

[00:32:53] Because also we want to be aware that there’s something known as kind of genetic drift. And while we might drift a little bit later than some of our friends, or we might drift a little bit earlier, it doesn’t appear that it’s so egregious that it’s going out into how I was managing my life, where suddenly I’m going to bed at like three, four in the morning. That doesn’t seem to align with what we would think for hunter gatherers and kind of from an ancestral blueprint side of things.

[00:33:22] And if you think about it, it’s a great way to look at, alright, if I was kind of mimicking how things were in the past, what we would have really been tethered to was much more of these rhythms. So post sunset, it was a bit more of kind of game over. The first biohack kind of, being fire, so that extended our days a little bit longer. But still, that took energy, time, candles were expensive, lanterns were expensive. So there was a cost to really being this like night owl type of person.

[00:33:53] And so it’s unlikely that you would see someone in the tribe walking around at three in the morning just because. But now we have Netflix and that’s normal. But we want to start to be informed by some of these things because when we think about the changes that have happened, it’s really since Edison that it’s been allowed to create this kind of 24-hour lifestyle. And is this working for us? It doesn’t appear in the numbers that it is.

[00:34:18] A.J. Lawrence: And I think it’s interesting because you mentioned earlier that this focus on sleep has helped you really work also with luxury brands, hotels, other lifestyle brands, and originally light, electricity, etc, was a luxury.

[00:34:34] Mollie Eastman: Yeah.

[00:34:35] A.J. Lawrence: But now we’re sitting here where people are spending all this money, in a sense, to be healthier and have these better opportunities from a health point of view. I spent a few days at the Equinox in New York City and they had like the whole sleep, like they ask you some questions, what type of sleep, temperature settings, all before I arrived. You know, special types of pillow.

[00:35:00] It was very interesting. Special drinks, and of course the bar there too. So it’s like, they’re 50/50, they know they still have to make money. But how did this evolve for you and where do you see that type of partnership going?

[00:35:14] Mollie Eastman: Oh, absolutely a good call out. I’ve gotten sent these articles a lot recently in the past couple months of sleep tourism being a new kind of term. And I think one, I absolutely credit wearables for making a big difference in this kind of conversation because now maybe some people that wouldn’t have been looking at tweaking some of these behavioral changes as much are suddenly now doing this and feeling the benefits. So I think it’s bringing more people into the conversation, which is great.

[00:35:46] I think also since 2012, there was a discovery of something known as glymphatic drainage with a G versus lymphatic drainage with an L. So many of us might know lymphatic drainage have that benefits when you get a massage and what have you, but glymphatic drainage seems to be very important.

[00:36:03] It’s got a lot of press because it’s this power washing of the brain, if you will. And so that only seems to happen largely throughout sleep and specifically, it looks like largely deep sleep. And so if that is the case, what they’re finding could be a possible correlation between insufficient glymphatic drainage and links with neurological difficulties like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, dementia, and some of these other more brain based disorders that previously we might’ve thought, well, we just fingers crossed, hope we don’t get these things.

[00:36:35] Whereas now it’s showing us that we might, decades and decades in advance, be able to set the stage to improve some of these likelihood or possibilities of having some of these fallouts. So I think one of those, because of that key discovery that sleep has shown up much more in some of the literature and mainstream conversations, but then also sleep has become this huge business where now we have kind of smart mattresses. We have cooling mattress toppers.

[00:37:05] A.J. Lawrence: Or sleepme and magic 8 or whatever they are.

[00:37:10] Mollie Eastman: Yeah, exactly. And then, we’re starting to have more and more accessibility to at home sleep tests and more people realizing, oh, wow. I didn’t realize I had sleep apnea or upper airway resistance syndrome or mouth taping, came into vogue with the bestselling book from James Nestor. Right?

[00:37:32] A.J. Lawrence: Yeah.

[00:37:32] Mollie Eastman: And then more and more studies coming out of the impact of poor sleep on many, many areas of life, kind of some of the things we’re touching on. So I just feel like it’s starting to be a bit more of this sleep renaissance, if you will, or revolution and getting more of its time in the sun, which is exciting.

[00:37:52] And I think with smart tech, like an internet of things, then we’re starting to see more of, oh, could we make a circadian-aligned hotel room? So could we have it so that the lighting goes down at a particular time? The temperature goes down at a particular time? Maybe the bed is set up so that you can have a warm awake feature, or it’s going to cool at particular points, call outs around guidance for things like having alternatives to certain alcohols now that sober curious movement has come about with part of the benefits being for sleep.

[00:38:27] So lots of different avenues, I think, for both of the financial benefits, so the business of sleep as well as the fact that many people are willing to pay more now to get a great night of sleep, I think, than they maybe had thought about in the past.

[00:38:42] A.J. Lawrence: Sounds like that’s going to be a lot of fun for you. Now, sometimes I do think that a lot of my desire to sleep is just being a parent. So it’s like anything, it’s just I need to just shut down. But having gone to some higher end hotels where there are these, it is fun to experiment and there are things to learn. So I think that would be a lot of fun for you. Really excited to see some of the things you end up doing with that.

[00:39:09] Mollie Eastman: Ah, well, yes. Thank you. It’s an exciting opportunity to partner with more of these establishments and some of them have been around for ages and ages and now are really bringing intentionality to a sleep in the marriage of hospitality and laying more of the emphasis.

[00:39:25] So less on the artwork in the room or kind of certain things that they might have spent money on previously, now being reallocated to both sleep experience and sleep education or options. So like some of the hotels that I work with, I might be listed on the kind of spa offerings. So say, if people have just done long haul travel, they’re coming in from Hong Kong to New York or what have you, dealing with jet lag so that they can kind of consult with some of the things that they could do given their specific situation. So just more and more so that these hotels are linked up with as great a night of sleep as humanly possible, given this confounds or the struggles of travel.

[00:40:07] So I think the more the consumer has that linked up that they’re on a journey with their hotel or their experience in travel, can be really beneficial. Same with flight with different companies or airlines that are starting to prioritize how can they help serve people to get better sleep even while flying. So it’s a whole world of conversation.

[00:40:27] A.J. Lawrence: I hope you do get many more because as someone who lived in Europe and Wisconsin before COVID going back and forth, it doesn’t matter what class you’re in. You do not sleep. There’s nothing. You’re just messed up the next day.

[00:40:41] Mollie Eastman: 100%. And so one thing I’ll share for anyone that finds himself in that situation, traveling a bunch or has some long haul travel coming up, highly recommend getting the time shifter app.

[00:40:51] A.J. Lawrence: I’ve heard of that. Okay. So it has worked for you?

[00:40:54] Mollie Eastman: Totally. Yeah. My husband and I ventured out unsuccessfully at first when the aim to be digital nomads kind of a la Tim Ferriss, now had the stumbles with the sleep. Literally had to go back to the States, get my sleep all handled, etc, etc. Then we did actually successfully become digital nomads down the road, which when I was at my lowest with my sleep, I thought that that wasn’t even an option. But once we started that, then we lived a lot back and forth between Southeast Asia and New York. And so that time shifter app became really, really valuable for some of those more long haul travel.

[00:41:27] Now, what’s beneficial about that app? We did two podcasts now with the founders there. And the reason we did that was because one, the time shifter app itself, [is] really cool. It’s using the same algorithm that NASA uses to keep their astronauts on time. And while they’re shuttling through the space, the sun is rising and setting around every 90 minutes. Super confusing.

[00:41:50] So they take very seriously this conversation of circadian rhythm entrainment. They have a very clear algorithm that they establish and kind of help guide the experience in the shuttle around that by lighting and kind of some of the behaviors and what have you.

[00:42:03] So time shifter does the same thing. You input your flight and by the way, I have no affiliation with them, just I’m a big fan. And so you put in your flight itinerary and then out pops a very nicely designed layout of things that you can do days in advance of this long haul travel. Even if it’s only a couple hours change, you can still make a difference to show up as your best and what have you.

[00:42:24] And the aim is that you’re using time shifter as kind of a verb so you’re dynamic. You’re actively time shifting before the flight and then during the flight and then after the flight. And then the same rules apply on your round trip and your return flight. So then you’re also setting yourself up powerfully to kind of get back onto your destination time and makes a huge difference.

[00:42:45] So that’s been something that I highly suggest for people. And then they did just come out with a shift worker version of this, which I’m definitely excited about because previously shift workers are just such a struggle, particularly rotating shift workers where their shifts could be changing dynamically, which can just really be challenging.

[00:43:04] So to have a kind of guidance or itinerary of how to manage these things from light timing to darkness timing to caffeine, if you use that, to melatonin, if you use that, now that’s a longer conversation. But certainly for dysregulated circadian rhythm, it can have some benefits. And then I would also say that you could extend it outside of the app to then know where to put things like certain meal timing, exercise timing, and otherwise.

[00:43:30] A.J. Lawrence: I remember reading about it and I think it was right before COVID. And I was going to do it and I didn’t and then didn’t have to travel again. And it completely left my brain into tension again.

[00:43:43] Mollie Eastman: Totally.

[00:43:43] A.J. Lawrence: I remember reading about it and some people talking. So thank you.

[00:43:48] Mollie Eastman: Amazing! Great. Yeah, let me know how that goes. Be very curious, especially for someone like you that’s traveled a bunch. And so to know what life looks like without it and then with it, be curious [of] that experience.

[00:43:59] A.J. Lawrence: Well, my son is going to St. Andrews in Scotland for university. He’s starting, so we’re going over. So that’ll be fun. I’ll get to use it later this summer.

[00:44:08] Mollie Eastman: Great. Amazing. Yeah, let me know. It’s really a cool kind of addition for both you and then especially if you’re doing with other people too. That can also help because then you guys can kind of guide where you’re using your blue blockers and where you’re turning off the lights when everyone else in the cabin isn’t and vice versa. So it’s really a cool thing.

[00:44:28] A.J. Lawrence: Okay, I will. I think it would be more of a case because teenagers.

[00:44:32] Mollie Eastman: Yes. Totally.

[00:44:33] A.J. Lawrence: They won’t do anything I suggest would be cool.

[00:44:37] Mollie Eastman: You might be solo on this. Got it.

[00:44:39] A.J. Lawrence: Yeah. But it would be good to just to see if it helps me at all compared to them.

[00:44:44] Mollie Eastman: Okay. Totally.

[00:44:45] A.J. Lawrence: Mollie, thank you so much for coming on the show today. How are some of the ways that the audience can find out more? I know Sleep Is a Skill. Where should they go? to learn more about things and to get in touch with you?

[00:44:59] Mollie Eastman: Yeah, absolutely. Well, one, thank you so much for having me. And two, I know we’ve gone in a lot of different directions and hopefully shared some practical takeaways for people. The last thing I would say for anyone listening, so I know we touched on in particular things like light and darkness, just know that that’s like just scratching the surface. That’s why we say sleep is a skill.

[00:45:19] So there’s so many things that can be done to improve our sleep results that extend to things like the temperature that your body is at throughout the moment you wake up to the minute you go to sleep and during sleep. Meal timing being a huge, huge one for people. And I often see that measurably changing their sleep results and their quality of their sleep, their biometrics, so just by nature of changing around when you’re eating and then the type of food you’re eating.

[00:45:45] So blood sugar stability is a big one. I often have people wearing continuous glucose monitors, HRV management. There’s daytime HRV trackers, your exercise timing, we mentioned drug timing. So just leaving people with the knowledge that there’s so many things available that we can start to bring in, and supplements of course are there, but it’s like just the cherry on top, largely for most people that I find barring true nutritional deficiencies or what have you. But there’s so much behavioral that can be there.

[00:46:18] Now, people are struggling. There are different things that we offer. So at sleepisaskill.com, you can take a sleep assessment and then you get kind of dynamic information based backed up of what you’re dealing with just to start you for free, just to make a difference there.

[00:46:33] That also includes a free PDF download. It’s called Optimized Bedroom. So high tech, low tech things that you can do to improve your bedroom sleep environment. Then beyond that, we mentioned the podcast. So we have now the number two sleep podcast, which we’re super excited about. That’s been awesome. And so lots of different experts coming on the podcast to share exciting kind of latest and greatest information in the world of improving your sleep. So highly suggest checking that out for free.

[00:47:03] And then we have that newsletter, so we call it the Sleep Obsession, that’s been for years and years running. And so that’s every single Monday. So we aim to put out just free takeaways that you can help implement or get aware of the latest things that are happening in the world of sleep so that you can improve your sleep right away for free. And then if you’re still struggling, we have online courses and group programs as well as one on ones. So lots of different ways that people can get support.

[00:47:31] Now, all the things that we do require an oura ring. So if you were considering getting an oura ring, maybe look into that if you want to be a part of any of those programs because that’s where we leverage kind of that Hawthorne effect and just the gamification of having you come in at a particular set of numbers, and then be able to, in a relatively short period of time, really measurably change those numbers for the better.

[00:47:54] A.J. Lawrence: Well, thank you, Mollie. And we’ll make sure, everyone, that we have all the links to our site, to the podcast, to everything, in the show notes, in the email, and then also in our socials for this.

[00:48:06] I’ve been reading Mollie’s materials now for a good few months and it is really fascinating and actionable. And I kind of pulled you around on many different subjects and we didn’t really go that deep. I know how much more you have for the audience So please, everyone, if you are interested in really working on your sleep, go check out Mollie’s material because yeah, sleep is a skill and each little improvement is just going to help you down the road.

[00:48:36] Mollie Eastman: Absolutely. Well, thank you so much for having me. I so, so appreciate it. And for the forum that you’ve created to help support people that are looking to do big things, get beyond 8 figures, sleep is certainly going to help support that goal.

[00:48:50] A.J. Lawrence: Yes. I always call it my aspirational because it’s like a few times into the sevens, but it’s always the difficulty of how things get louder and crazier. So better sleep will help definitely in that aspiration.

[00:49:06] Mollie Eastman: Absolutely.

[00:49:07] A.J. Lawrence: Thank you so much, Mollie.

[00:49:08] Mollie Eastman: Oh, thank you.

[00:49:10] A.J. Lawrence: Everyone, thank you again for listening to today’s episode. This was a lot of fun. Mollie was a great guest. And look, go to our site, sign up for our newsletter so the next time we have another wonderful entrepreneur like Mollie on the show, you’ll be the first to hear about it.

[00:49:25] All right, everyone, please have a wonderful day and I’ll talk to you soon. Goodbye.

[00:49:35] This episode of Beyond 8 Figures is over, but your journey as an entrepreneur continues. So if we can help you with anything, please just let us know. And if you liked this episode, please share it with someone who might learn from it. Until next time, keep growing and find the joy in your journey. This is A.J., and I’ll be talking to you soon. Bye-bye.

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