5 Apps That Pay Me to Work Out

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Even though I love being active, and I know there are countless benefits to staying active as I get older, I have to admit that I don’t always *feel like* getting up and running or lifting weights.

It’s one of those things where I’m good with it once I’m actually doing it, and afterwards I’m usually glad I did it, but getting myself to actually get out the door and move can be a challenge.

Pre-pandemic I had a regular schedule of dropping my son off at preschool and then meeting a friend at the gym 3 or 4 days a week. I did this for so long, I assumed my workout habit was so solid that there wasn’t much that could knock me off track.

… Cue March 2020.

Gyms were closed for at least 2 months. Our gym opened back up as soon as they were able to when quarantine was lifted. I was anxious to get back to “normal” ASAP but found I wasn’t comfortable working out with a mask on at the gyms.

We decided to take the money we would have spent on renewing our gym membership for another year and we set up a home gym instead

I was pretty confident that having a full gym conveniently located in my house would mean we’d be working out all. the. time. and back in our routine of regular activity.


Despite it being super convenient to walk down the hall and workout whenever I felt like it, I had a hard time getting it into a regular routine with it.

Once I was in the workout room and got started, I had no problem doing a workout. It was the inertia of getting myself in there and working out that was a big struggle.

I tried all kinds of rewards and motivational tricks to get myself into a regular routine using my home equipment but I couldn’t do it consistently.

I couldn’t understand it since I enjoyed working out, it was ridiculously convenient, and I had plenty of equipment to keep my workouts interesting.

What I realized was that my fitness habit hadn’t been as solid as I thought. After the quarantine hiatus, I was struggling to get back into the same routine I’d had prior to COVID.

I realized that the missing ingredient wasn’t the convenience, or the assortment of available equipment, but it was the accountability and my workout partner that I’d meet there a few times a week.

It wasn’t enough for me to want to work out, I actually needed someone to SEE me and be part of my workout program with me in order for me to actually do it.

Overcoming My Workout Inertia

With this knowledge in hand, I started looking for What finally helped me become more active on a daily basis was joining a StepBet.

In case you’ve never heard of it, StepBet is an app that offers paid challenges with the possibility of earning the entry fee back if you reach the daily and weekly personalized step goals, which are based on your own activity tracker history, until the end of the challenge.

As soon as there was some kind of visibility of my workouts and public accountability for reaching my daily step goal, I had a much easier time getting back into a regular activity habit.

I started joining multiple bets at one time, figuring if I was doing the work for one challenge anyway, I could be winning other challenges simultaneously and tripling my earnings.

Then I thought, if I was already moving, but maxed out on how many StepBets I could participate in at one time, I should find some other apps to earn rewards for the activity I was already doing. After some trial and error and lots of app downloads, I learned that the apps that work best to motivate me to get up and keep me moving have the following features:

  • Gamification – these apps celebrate consistent activity with awards, badges , or points when I keep my movement streak going
  • Cash and Gift Card Rewards – these apps that award points for activity give you the option to cash them in for actual cash or e-gift cards
  • Loss aversion – the fact that I’d put up some cash (even a small amount!) and I’d only get it back if I met my goal was a surprisingly good motivator. I was surprised how much I was willing to exert myself to NOT lose a $10 bet!
  • Public accountability / visibility– Even if it’s just strangers, knowing that someone somewhere was “competing” with me in these challenges got me up and moving

Fitness and challenge apps that I use


Evidation is a health data collection app that rewards members for tracking their activity through a wearable device and participating in health research studies. 

When you join Evidation, you can earn points for tracking actions like walking, sleeping, taking surveys, reading health-related articles, and participating in health programs and research. You can redeem your points for cash or donate to the charity of your choice. 

Evidation app pays cash for tracking activity and increasing fitness

Once you’ve accumulated 10,000 points you can cash in for a $10 reward. I sync the app with my Apple Watch and it tracks my steps and my workouts. Between my activity points and the points awarded for answering short surveys and reading articles, I usually accumulate enough points to earn my $10 reward in 3 to 4 months.

The Reward: $10 every 10,000 points 3 or 4 times per year


This app also awards points for tracking your activity. When I first joined Paceline in 2022, I would earn a $1 Amazon gift card for completing 150 minutes of activity per week.

There was also an option to save up your points and cash in for a higher value gift card at other places, like Starbucks, or redeem them for discounts on the health and wellness products available in the Paceline Marketplace.

It doesn’t sound like a lot, but it was $52 a year to spend on Amazon, which I was going to do anyway.

In 2023 they changed their points and rewards program. Now they award 400 “Pacepoints” if you complete 50 minutes of activity per week, 800 additional “Pacepoints” if you complete 150 minutes of activity per week, and 300 bonus “Pacepoints” if you complete 300 minutes of activity each week. This means the maximum number of points you can earn in one week is 1500 points.

Sadly, they got rid of the $1 Amazon giftcard, and replaced it with a Marketplace where you can cash in your Pacepoints on things like charitable donations, a two month free trial to Barry’s X, mystery gifts, and gift cards.

The gift card options are limited… you can get a $5 Starbucks giftcard for 24,000 points, a $5 Adidas gift card for 24,000 points, or an $8 Spafinder giftcard for 35,000 points.

Do some quick math, you can see this wasn’t a change for the better. I used to be able to earn $52 in Amazon giftcards each year. Now it takes me 16 weeks to earn a $5 giftcard to Starbucks.

Pacepoints expire 24 weeks after the calendar week in which you earned them. Because the app is synced to my watch, I automatically earn these points each week without having to manually track anything, otherwise I probably wouldn’t bother.

The Reward I choose: a $5 Starbucks GC every 4 months.

Dick’s Sporting Goods – Scorecard

The rewards program at DSG has 3 tiers:

  • SCORECARD – enrollment is free
  • GOLD – you’re eligible for this level if you spend at least $500 at DSG per year or if you are an active ScoreRewards credit card holder)
  • ScoreRewards – eligibility is dependent on being a ScoreRewards Credit Card Member

You’ll receive a $10 DSG store credit when you earn 300 points.

On the free tier (SCORECARD), you can earn up 3 points per day (per ScoreCard account) by syncing your wearable tracker with the app and doing any one of the following in one calendar day:

  • Reach at least 10,000 steps
  • Complete at least 3 miles
  • Complete at least 30 minutes of fitness activity

I can usually accrue the 300 points for the $10 reward in about 100 days.

The Reward: $30 DSG credit each year.


This is the app that started it all for me. This app only has games based on step count. The games vary in intensity and duration. Your step goal for each game is personalized, based on your activity/exercise tracker history so all participants are actually competing with themselves more than anyone else. StepBet has a community feature that allows you to post comments during the bets and cheer each other on.

Some games give out awards at the end for the member who invited the most players to participate or the member who provided the most support to the community. Some games have drawings at the end for health and fitness related items such as a pair of walking shoes.

StepBet membership is $59.99 per year and allows members to play up to 3 games at once and provides access to exclusive member-only games with prizes and unique challenges.

Because the Step Goals in each challenge are based on my own step history, the goals are within the range that I feel comfortable walking on a daily basis. Most games include a Power Day, which is when the daily step goal is about 20% higher than a normal Active Step day.

What does become an issue is that the longer you do these StepBets, the more your Step goals increase with each game. I found it necessary to take breaks every 6 or 7 games or so in order for my average daily step count to drop down to a level that was realistic with my schedule. I usually join the 3-week/$10 bet games and the winnings are usually between $12 and $15 per game, which is a 20-50% return on my investment.

The Reward: I can earn anywhere from $6 to $20 per month when I’m actively participating in games.


From the same folks that offer StepBet, this app offers a much wider variety of games focused on different areas of health such as nutrition and mindset, not just fitness. Games include activities such as running, drinking water, reading books, eating fruits and vegetables, meditating, and strength training.

I don’t love that this app mentions weight loss as a way to promote better health, BUT I will give them credit for branching out beyond DietBets, where they only use the scale to measure progress. It’s several steps in the right direction and I’m hopeful that they’ll continue to shift their focus away from weight as a measure of progress.

What I like most about this app is that they offer a wider variety of games, and they games can be quick and cheap. For example, I can participate in a 2-week game for as little as $10.

How it works:

  • For each game, the participants’ entry fees go into one big pot.
  • If you lose the game by failing to meet the requirements for the duration of the game, your money stays in the pot.
  • If you win the game by meeting all of the game’s criteria you’ll get your money back PLUS your share of the pot left over by the participants who lost the game.

So if I win my game, I not only get my initial investment of $10 back, but I also win a share of the entry fees that were forfeited by participants that lost the game.

Game duration can be from 2 to 8 weeks and cost anywhere from $10 to $100. Personally, I prefer the $10/2 week games because of the quick turnaround.

It does require a 6-month membership fee of $68.99. Members can participate in up to 10 games at a time.

The Reward: My $10 games have ended with anywhere between a $12 – $16 payout and my most recent $25 game had a $32 payout.

Final Thoughts

Even though I love being active, I’ve come to accept that a little external motivation goes a long way to get me moving. These fitness apps provide that extra nudge I need to stay consistent.

If you’re like me and looking for that push to get you out the door, on a walk, or in the gym, consider giving these apps a try.

Here’s to staying active, staying motivated, and collecting those points (and cash!) along the way!

This week’s Self-care Super Heroes – 5/3/24

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Weighted BlanketWeighted Sleep MaskApple Watch Sleep Tracker

This week’s featured Self Care Superheroes are all sleep-related, since May is Better Sleep Awareness Month! I recently released 2 podcast episodes talking about the 30-Day Better Sleep Challenge that I did at the end of 2023 to help me fix my terrible sleep habits!

In the first episode I let you listen in on my Better Sleep Strategy Session with Sleep Coach, Christine Meyer. This is where she helped me put together a plan to improve my sleep habits in 30 days. You can check that out HERE.

In the second episode I reconnect with Christine to share my Better Sleep Challenge results, and what I took away from this experience. You can check that out HERE.

If you’re like me (before the Challenge!) and you’re struggling with getting enough sleep, falling asleep, or staying asleep – check out these sleep-related Self Care Superheroes:

Weighted Blanket

This is my SUPERSTAR Superhero when it comes to sleep. If I could only use ONE of my sleep accessories, it would be this one!

The cozy compression of this blanket is probably the #1 reason my sleep debt is down and the quality of my sleep has vastly improved!

Weighted Sleep Mask

This Weighted Sleep Mask is my runner up! (Seeing a pattern here??) For me, pressure is very comforting and I fall asleep so quickly when I use it!

apple watch

Apple Watch

If it hadn’t been for my Apple Watch, I probably wouldn’t have even realized my sleep (or lack thereof!) was the issue.

Even now that I feel a lot better about my sleep habits and sleep quality, I still use my watch to track my sleep and look at the Health app on my phone to see how much time I spend in each sleep phase and how often I wake up during the night.

This week’s Self-care Super Heroes – 4/25/24

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InfinitiPro Curling IronSkechers Step-in ShoesHeadband Headphones

This is a new feature on RWR! Each week I’m sharing the 3 things I’m using that are saving my life. (Not literally. but almost.)

Each item I’m sharing is making my life easier today – or for future Laurie! It’s somehow saving me time, energy, money, stress, or irritation.

Here’s what is saving my life this week:

InfinitiPro Curling Iron

I would go straight to messy bun just to avoid having to style my flat, straight hair when I leave the house. I would love to be one of those people who look put together in public, but I’m not sure it’s ever gonna happen. This might be as close as I get and I’m ok with that.

How it’s different from the 47 other curling irons I’ve purchased, hoping they’d make me want to look like I tried:

• It’s FAST: It takes me no more than 10 minutes, start to finish, to add waves to my whole head.

• It’s DUMMY-PROOF: It does all the work. You just put a section of hair through the plastic guard and it winds the hair automatically and beeps to tell you to remove it.

• It’s BURN-MYSELF-PROOF: that plastic guard covers the hot part of the iron, so I can’t accidentally burn myself using it.

Skechers Step-in Shoes

Don’t laugh, ok, but I love these things. You literally just STEP IN to them. No hands! No bending down to pull them on or tie them! Plus they are super comfortable, I wear them to walk my dog twice a day and to run errands and whatnot.

Now I’ve seen people saying that these shoes are only for people with mobility issues who literally cannot bend down to tie their shoes… and lazy people (or that shoes like this are making us lazy? I forget.)

No. These shoes are for anyone who needs ONE LESS OBSTACLE to help them get out the door because they already don’t want to leave the house, but it’s necessary and they just want the process to be that much easier.

For the record, I am able-bodied, I can reach my shoe laces, and I can tie them.

I just don’t want to. Let me live.

Bluetooth Headband Headphones

If you listened to my podcast episodes about my sleep challenge, then you already know why I love these so much. They are a great alternative for those of us who want to wear headphones but earbuds are not a great option.
I can wear these to bed without bothering my husband with my music. If I wake up in the middle of the night I can put them on and listen to a meditation or music.

I’ve found that I also like to use them to listen to audiobooks while I walk my dog, and because they are over my ear, I can still hear what’s going on around me – like cars, other dogs, etc.

I’ve also started using them for running, but the ones I have are a bit thick and not breathable, so I’ll probably get another pair just for running in a lighter material.

My Sleep Challenge – Part 2: My 30-Day Challenge Results with Christine Meyer

Raise your hand if you’ve ever been personally victimized by your own bad sleep habits. This episode is all about my triumphs, from enjoying my evening ritual of Sleepytime teas to sleep-inducing hypnosis audiobooks played through headband headphones. Join me as I recap my challenge experience with sleep health coach Christine Meyer and relive the…

Key Takeaways:

  • Prioritize Quality Sleep: Recognize that quality sleep is essential for overall well-being, impacting mood, energy levels, and productivity. Make it a priority to improve the quality of your sleep.
  • Start Small: Implement small changes in your sleep routine, such as creating a relaxing sleep environment and establishing a consistent bedtime routine. These small adjustments can lead to significant improvements over time.
  • Adapt and Overcome Challenges: Be prepared to adapt to challenges that arise during your sleep journey. Whether it’s managing distractions or adjusting your routine, stay flexible and find creative solutions to overcome obstacles.
  • Notice Positive Changes: Pay attention to the positive changes you experience as a result of improved sleep habits. Increased energy, better mood, and enhanced productivity are all signs of progress on your sleep journey.
  • Take a Holistic Approach: Approach sleep improvement holistically by considering various factors that affect sleep, including sleep hygiene, stress levels, lifestyle habits, and physical health. Addressing these factors collectively can lead to more effective and sustainable improvements in your sleep quality.


  • “I had no energy, and [the lack of sleep] affected my mood, it affected my activities, it affected my work. It impacted everything.”
  • “It was little things. It was a lot of little tweaks, but they’ve made a big difference.”
  • “Sleep doesn’t just happen by itself. It’s not in a vacuum. So many things can impact your sleep and then your sleep can impact so many other things.”
  • “When you focus on it, when you’re intentional about improving the quality and the quantity of your sleep, it’s going to help you in other areas.”

Resources Mentioned

These are some of the items that we discussed using during my sleep habit makeover challenge (links to Amazon):

Daytime Sleep Helpers

  • Sodastream – In an effort to cut down on my afternoon caffeine consumption, I traded in my daily Dr. Pepper Zero for seltzer (or ‘spritzies’ as we call them in our house). Sometimes I drink it plain, but most of the time I add a little bit of flavor to jazz it up.
  • Water enhancer – I add this to my seltzer water to up the fun drink factor. I like Stur brand because it’s naturally sweetened, but there are no rules here.

Evening Wind Down

  • Reading light – This little gadget has been invaluable for my night time routine. It’s helped get back into reading more often, and it doubles as my bookmark!
  • Kindle – Some people are diehard physical book fans so if you’re one of them, skip to the next item. For everyone else, if you’re someone who falls asleep reading and drops their physical book on their face, this hurts less.
  • Headband headphones – As I mentioned in the episode, I have freakishly small ears and so I have a hard time with most headphones and earbuds. These bluetooth headphones are perfect as they lay over the ears. I’ve also started using them for listening to audiobooks when I walk the dog and when I go running. They’re great because I can hear my books/music but I’m also able to hear traffic because it doesn’t block out outside noise.
  • Essential Oil Diffuser – Studies have shown that certain scents can contribute to better sleep quality. I used eucalyptus and lavender essential oils in my diffuser, but different scents work for different people, so if those don’t do it for you, try something else!
  • Blue light glasses – If you use devices close to bedtime, the bluelight they emit can interfere with your sleep. Using these glasses can help minimize that effect
  • Downdog yoga app – Studies have shown that practicing yoga can improve sleep quality, including sleep duration and reducing the number of nighttime wakings. If you choose to include yoga in your wind-down routine, look for slow and relaxing practices such as restorative yoga or a yoga nidra (yogic sleep).
  • Yoga mat – Not required but makes lying on the floor a little more comfortable.
  • Bolster – A fancy word for a yoga pillow. You can use one to support different parts of your body during your practice.
  • Sleepytime Tea – This is a staple in my night time routine. I put it in a BIG mug and add a touch of honey. I was surprised to learn there were so many varieties of Sleepytime!
  • Bedtime Journal – During our call I mentioned I had a hard time turning off my brain at night so one of the wind-down options was a brain dump into a journal so my mind could relax knowing all the things it didn’t want me to forget were safely documented somewhere, and all those mental sticky notes could go right in the mental trash basket.

In bed/Sleeping

  • White noise machine – I had this left over from when my son was a baby and we recently brought it out of retirement to help mask the cat noises that were waking up the dog during the night. There are also white noise apps that can be used as well.
  • Weighted Face mask – I’ve had this for years, I think my husband bought it for me when I was having a lot of migraines because it doubles as a mini-heating pad. I find the pressure on my eyes while I’m falling a sleep very relaxing!
  • Weighted blanket – Another present from my husband (I think from a Christmas or two ago?) that I hadn’t really been using but pulled it out for the challenge and have used it nightly since! Note, these types of blankets can trap in heat, so while it was great during the winter, I’ll be switching to a Cooling Weighted blanket for the warmer months
  • The Rabbit Who Wanted to Fall Asleep’ hypnosis audiobook – For years I had no idea how this book ended because it was so effective at putting me to sleep. I now know how it ends (I won’t spoil it for you!) but this is really helpful to have cued up for those nights when I wake up and have a hard time falling back asleep.
  • Apple Watch – I use this to track my sleep, which is how I found out how much worse it was than I thought! It records your data in the Health app on your phone and it tracks how much time you’re in bed vs actually sleeping, how many times you wake up during the night, how much time you spend in the different sleep cycles, plus your sleeping heart rate and respiratory rate.
  • Rise sleep tracking app – This is the app I used to track my sleep debt. Even though I could feel it when my sleep debt was high and I knew I needed to prioritize getting caught up, seeing the actual number of hours of sleep my body was missing in the app made it more real and got my attention.

    What I also like about this app is that it can predict (with great accuracy!) when my energy will peak (and plummet!) throughout the day, based on my previous night’s sleep. What I used to think was just a post-lunch carb coma turned out to be a natural low point in my daily energy level. This made me feel less like it was “my fault” for being useless and brain fogged most afternoons between 2 and 3 pm.

I hope these items help you create a wind-down routine that works for you! And if you’re not sure which things would help you the most, connect with Christine for a Sleep Strategy Session so she can put together your own personalized Restful Roadmap!

About Christine: 

Christine Meyer is an Ace Certified Health Coach, Certified Health Education Specialist, and a Licensed Physical Therapist Assistant. She has over 14 years of experience in the health and wellness field and helps mid-life women go from foggy to focused, by helping them restore their restful sleep. Her coaching focuses on lifestyle changes, which includes stress management and time management skills. She is a wife, mom, and new Grandma and resides in Southern California.

Connect with Christine:


Episode Transcript:

Laurie: Welcome everyone. I’m here with Christine Meyer, who is a sleep health coach, to recap the results of my 30-day sleep challenge. Welcome back, christine. How are you? I’m doing well, thank you, I am drinking coffee, but this is it for the day and I’m done, I promise.

And I never I wouldn’t say never, very, very rarely even especially since, like the last month do I drink coffee in the afternoon, but I just there was some left over and I hate to. I hate to dump it out Like I can’t. I just can’t. So it pains me to throw out coffee. I just love it.

So part one is my backstory of how you were on the podcast. I realized I sucked at getting good sleep. I did some of your things. It improved a little bit, and then I got an Apple watch and I realized I really sucked. And then I was like, oh okay, I got to do something about this. And then we connected and then we did our session and then you gave me a plan. That’s part one, and so now this is part two where we’re doing the wrap up. So the recap of the strategy session and the action plan, and then summing up with the challenge week by week. So I don’t want to go day by day because that’s going to be a three day episode, no one will listen to it. Week by week what went well, what didn’t, and then the changes that I noticed each week, and then the biggest changes I noticed from the beginning to the end I do. I do feel like a bajillion times better than I did when we had our session. I think it was like two months ago now, night and day.

0:01:57 – Christine

0:01:57 – Laurie
When we had that session, you asked me what my struggles were, what my challenges were, what I wanted to get out of the challenge. How did I want to feel at the end of it? Like what was the goal, what was I trying to do? And I had told you and I just watched it, I just rewatched it to recap and I was, like I remember, feeling like just drained, like I had no energy, and talking about how it affected my mood, it affected my activities, it affected my work. It was just everything. It was like a like a bicycle wheel, like the spokes, like it just touched everything. And now it’s completely different. But I wanted to be. I wanted to be popular in my house again. I wanted to be somebody people wanted to talk to, people wanted to spend time with. I wanted to want to go and do things and just not be too tired to do it. And so putting this plan that you gave me into place really helped me kind of get on track with habits and boundaries. And it was little things. It was a lot of little tweaks, but they’ve made a big difference. So after the session, you gave me a plan and I said, okay, I’m going to put this into action.

And what happened was I had said I wanted, I wanted a few things. I wanted to read at night, I wanted some aromatherapy, and there was something else that I wanted. But when I went to start the challenge I was like, oh, I don’t have any of the things I need to do that, so let me go buy them. So I went on Amazon or I went shopping and I bought a little essential oil diffuser for my oils and there’s a funny story there that I don’t really have time for but basically I turned it on, used the oil and my husband was like, oh my God, it smells like a nursing home in here, Like what is happening. He immediately nixed whatever I was cooking up in there and he’s like no, no, no, whatever this is, ditch it. Like I’m not living this way. So I was like, no, I get it.

And then the other thing was I wanted to read in bed and you had said if you have a table lamp, that’s fine, not an overhead. And I have a table lamp. I had one on my nightstand but it was too small, like I had to read, like all hunched over and leaning over, and it was not conducive to good sleep. So I got one of these little USB rechargeable book lights with a little clip on it so I can clip it on my book and then read. And it’s a tiny little thing and I can just keep it in my book. It’s a doubles as a bookmark. So and I’ve read like two whole books in the two months, which is like sadly a record but it’s. But it’s that time and I get to read and relax and it’s just mine and I read my silly books and it’s, it’s fantastic.

But I had to go and buy my stuff that I needed. I already had a sound machine and I already had a weighted blanket and I already had a weighted face mask which I was kind of using intermittently. But those were the things that I wanted to help me in my plan. So once I had gone shopping and picked up everything, then I was ready to start. The goals were sleep goal number one create a relaxing bedroom environment. Sleep goal number two establish a nighttime routine.

A little bit of a delay there, but it’s okay, it worked out because week one of the challenge coincided with the time change. So my plan was to start my wind down routine at 9.15 and then lights out at 10. And in my brain and in my body it already it thought it was already later. So I was kind of getting sleepy anyway around that time. So I said, oh, this makes it really easy to like excuse myself and say I’m really tired, I want to go to bed, you know, and go up to my room and start my wind down. So that worked out great. What was kind of a funny offset was that my dog doesn’t understand time change and so she was still waking up at what she thought was six o’clock but really five o’clock. But if I hadn’t been going to bed earlier I would have been going to bed at 10 o’clock and getting up at five. It did work out for the best that I was going to bed earlier because I was still getting up early with the dog, but that first week I was tired enough to just kind of to go with it lights out at 9.15.

The other part of the changes that I was implementing was switching to decaf drinks after 2 pm, and we had talked about how I was drinking coffee and I would have a soda in the afternoon. I’ve cut out the soda. I do miss it, but I have seltzer, I have herbal tea and I have some other like fun drinks to have that are caffeine free, and so that hasn’t really been that much of a disruption. The other thing was getting more activity. I haven’t really done more activity, but I have the same level of activity of walking my dog twice a day. So that was one thing.

The third thing was turning off screens in the evening, because I was a notorious shut. Off the computer, go right to the phone, have the phone on basically all night until lights out, like I would be scrolling in my bed and then staying up too late watching reels and then going to bed. So putting the phone away, putting the laptop away, no devices after a certain time. That was one of my things and I liked that because it actually had a side effect of reducing my stress in that if I’m not on my phone, I’m not on my computer, I’m not doing work. So it helped me to kind of set that boundary around not doing work after hours, which you know as a as somebody who’s self-employed, somebody who owns their own business. It’s really easy to. I’m just going to check this email. Oh, I’m just going to do this. I’m just going to do this. Two hours later you’re still on the device.

You’re still doing work and you should have gone to bed an hour ago, so I really liked that. It helped me to be like nope, I’m off the clock, no devices can. Can’t help it.

0:07:44 – Christine
Yeah, you’ve got that buffer zone there. You know you’ve got some work boundaries and now you can prepare to transition for Tibet easier.

0:07:52 – Laurie
I definitely felt less stress, because that was one of the other things we talked about was kind of a brain dump, like I was having trouble turning off my brain and I had said I wanted to do like journaling before bed. But what happened that first week was when I, when it got to be 915, that first night that I was supposed to start this, I went into my room and I looked at my list because I’m very black or white, like when somebody gives me a checklist, it’s like you do all the things, that’s doing it right. If you don’t do all the things, you’re doing it wrong. So I looked at this list and while, as somebody with ADHD, I love lists because it helps me stay on track, I also get overwhelmed with lists because if I see everything at once, I go oh, too much. And that’s what happened that first night.

It said yoga journal, read lights out. And I was like, oh my God, like this feels like too many things. I can’t, I’m going to do one thing. And then that’s when I messaged you and you said pick one or two and then add one later and I was like okay, I’m going to start with the reading, because I know that’s easy for me to do, like I can just lay down, open my book. I know it’s going to make my eyes tired, I know it’s going to help me fall asleep. We’ll start with that and, to be honest, that’s working. I would like to do journaling or yoga, maybe like some restorative yoga or yoga nidra, at some point.

0:09:18 – Christine
But right now this whole situation is good. It’s important to keep in mind, because we can have all these ideas and you’re going to like one thing and maybe not another. Or I go through stages where I’m reading for bed, but then after a while it’s like I’m going to start doing yoga before bed, and so you can just kind of switch it up. The main thing is that you’re doing something for yourself, you’re keeping that routine. It doesn’t have to be like this rigid checklist all of the time. So it’s good to have that, that you know that menu of options that we talk about in coaching.

0:09:43 – Laurie
Exactly, and so that’s why I keep the plan out and I said, okay, when I’m kind of like over reading at night, I’ll add in the journal or I’ll print out some prompts and maybe I’ll just write a sentence or maybe I’ll just kind of like dabble in between the three. It doesn’t have to be a do this, do this, do this. You’re not trying to give me another job here. Yeah, you do what feels good, exactly. So I got ready for bed you know pajamas, brush my teeth, do all that stuff lay down my weighted blanket and turn on my little book light, read my book, went to sleep. So that first week, that works great.

The second week, I’ll tell you, I wasn’t as tired. At nine o’clock when it when it that time to start to wind down rolled around, I was like, oh, I don’t really feel tired. But I was like, oh, I’m not falling for this again, because I know that just because I don’t feel tired doesn’t mean I’m not tired, right, this is the line I give my son all the time. He’s like I don’t want to go to bed, I’m not tired. I’m like well, you might not feel it, but you are. But I have to tell this to myself Because I was like I don’t really feel that tired. And then, lo and behold, I would start the routine. I would read the book and I was like, oh yeah, I’m falling asleep, I’m tired. How about that Sneaky? It snuck right up on me.

And then by the third week, I’m going to tell you I was like pumped. Like after dinner I would have my tea, I had my sleepy time tea and I stocked up on all the different kinds of sleepy time tea. I didn’t know they had different types of sleepy time tea. They have variations. And I was like give me all the sleepy time. I love me some sleepy time, like everybody, just get in the basket, let’s just go. So I’d have my tea in the evening and then my son would go to bed and at 9.15, I’m like hell yeah, I’m out of here, I’m going to go do my thing, I’m going to wind down and I’m going to be in bed by 10. And it just felt so good, like I didn’t feel like I was being punished, I didn’t feel like I was missing out on anything. My husband was a little sad. On the other hand, I think he was kind of like I could use some quiet time.

I could use some time to myself. So I’m not totally broken up about it, it wasn’t. It was like he was like, eh, he was kind of like eh, eh. And I did have a few nights I wouldn’t say it was like a hundred I went to bed at, you know, on the time that I wanted to. There were a few nights that I did end up staying up later than I intended. Um, like, I maybe went downstairs to get my water or I forgot my headphones and I would come downstairs and my husband would be watching something fun and I would sit down and then the next thing I knew it was 11 30 and I was like this was not supposed to happen, but whatever, back. And then the next thing I knew it was 1130. And I was like this was not supposed to happen, but whatever, back on the horse the next night, not going to let it derail me.

One of the issues that I was having was waking up in the middle of the night, like three or four, and not getting back to sleep. And you had said, if that happens and you’re awake for more than 15 minutes, go somewhere else, like, get out of bed, go in another room, go sit like in a chair and I was like, okay, I can do that. One of the things that I thought I would be a good idea was to get these Bluetooth headband headphones and then connect it to an audio book. That’s hypnosis on my iPhone, but my phone was in the other room but I could use my watch to turn it off and on. I thought I was pretty slick with this and that worked great. And my son loved my headband headphones so much he wanted a pair, so I had to get him a pair too. So now we’re all headband headphone nerds over here and they’re awesome and they’re actually good for like walking and like and running and stuff because they’re comfortable. I have freakishly small ears.

So those earbuds never fit. Everything hurts. These things are great. So I’m a huge, I’m a huge fan of these. And that worked out really well because I would wake up. Am I falling back asleep? Sometimes I would, and if I wasn’t put on the headband, start the story lights out and I’m telling you this book. It’s called the Rabbit who Wants to Fall Asleep.

I listened to this at bedtime with my son for like two years, before I even knew what the story was about. This book would knock me out. I was like what is this even about? This rabbit wants to fall asleep. But then what happens? I don’t even know, I have no idea. I couldn’t even tell you.

And then by the fourth week, my husband was like you know what? I think I want to go to bed early too. I don’t know if he was lonely or he just saw like how much better I looked or felt or seemed. He was like you know what? Maybe I’ll do that too. So he’s starting to go to bed, not with me, but just earlier than he had. So but I will say like I noticed a huge difference between starting the challenge in the end, in my energy. I’m waking up without an alarm and I’m waking up awake, mm-hmm, I’m not dragging myself out of bed, I’m not hitting snooze, I’m not, you know, depending on coffee to wake me up, none of that. And it feels so good. So this has been a great experience and I’m so thankful and glad that you helped me get to this place. This has been amazing.

0:14:54 – Christine
I’m glad it’s helped you and, like you said, it’s not just your morning, but your whole day is different. Your personality is different, you’re more pleasant to be around. So sometimes we don’t want to admit that, but it is hard. So that’s great to hear, it’s great to hear. And, like you said, it was just like these small little tweaks. You kind of experimented with what did and didn’t work and you’ve you’ve got the routine with other options, in case you decide I don’t want to do this anymore, totally fine.

0:15:22 – Laurie
Exactly, and my goal was, you know, to do this for a month. I want to get caught up on my sleep. I want to develop some, some good habits around, you know, during the day, like things that I’m eating or drinking or doing that impact my sleep. Things I’m doing right before bed that impact my sleep, and then things that I’m eating or drinking or doing that impact my sleep, things I’m doing right before bed that impact my sleep, and then things that I’m doing after I’ve already fallen, it’s like in the middle of the night, that can kind of be impacting my overall sleep quality.

And I’ve achieved that, like I’ve done all these things and I said, okay, I’m going to do this for 30 days, and if I get to the 30 days and I don’t want to go to bed at nine o’clock anymore and I don’t want to do all these things, I don’t have to right, it was an experiment, it was a challenge to see, like how this could impact how I felt my overall everything. And I’m going to tell you like I’m going to keep doing this because it’s awesome when my son goes to bed, I’m excited for my wind down. That’s like my time to take it easy and just, I love having the boundary around that time and it’s just for me to unwind and ease into sleep.

0:16:25 – Christine
Yeah, and how do you feel this has affected you business wise, as far as, like, your creativity, your focus, your productivity? Do you know changes there?

0:16:35 – Laurie
It’s much better. I’m a little less distracted. So I do have ADHD, so I’m not going to say everything’s great, but I will say like being exhausted, like my whole issue before was that I would be sitting here with a list of things to do and just already tired when I sat down. And so looking at this list, it was like I already have trouble focusing on what I’m doing, but now I don’t have the energy to focus on what I’m doing. So while it helps my focus a little bit but that also you know that’s myths but having the energy to point my flashlight in one direction for an extended amount of time in one direction for an extended amount of time huge difference.

0:17:19 – Christine
Right, yeah, that’s great to hear.

0:17:28 – Laurie
So definitely impacting, like my productivity and my energy, when I sit down at my desk. And also, I had a podcast interview this morning. This is my second one today. Now a couple of months ago could I have done that? No, I would have been on the couch. I would have needed a nap after that. So this is definitely an improvement. Awesome, I need some kind of I need some outside eyeballs on what I’m doing to help me figure out. You know how I can kind of make some adjustments, make some tweaks that work for my lifestyle, work for my preferences.

0:18:13 – Christine
And just help me to get to a place where I am getting not only enough sleep but good quality sleep. So that’s what we do in my 60 Minutes to Better Sleep session is first thing I have you do is fill out that questionnaire that you filled out. It talks about your sleep hygiene, your stress levels, your lifestyle habits, your physical health because medical conditions and medications can have an effect as well and then we meet together and I talk about you know what’s standing out for me as far as you know, not only what your you know sleep sabotagers might be, but what you’re doing well that you want to continue with. And that’s where we come up with that 30-day plan. Typically, we’re going to pick no more than four things to focus on over the next month. You can implement them all at one time but, like you said, it can be kind of overwhelming. So I recommend, maybe every week you do one, maybe two things that you want to add in there.

Like you said, prepare for it, get everything that you need and just start to notice maybe keep that journal each day of how many hours you slept, how you feel, and it’s a subtle change. Like you said, it’s not like all of a sudden you wake up one day and wow, everything’s great. It’s just kind of like gradual. Over time, like you said, you noticed week by week things were a little bit different, and now that you’re at the end of it you just notice this huge change. And so that’s what we do, is work together. You know, I’m not telling somebody what to do. We’re deciding together. I’m saying here’s what stands out for me. What do you want to work on? What do you think is going to work best? We come up with that plan. I send a great little roadmap summary to you and then we can do like periodic check-ins to see how things are going and then, beyond that, if more coaching is needed on a regular basis for that, then we can definitely continue on with monthly coaching.

0:19:51 – Laurie
Awesome. So you mentioned keeping a sleep journal, so talk to me about that, because that’s something that you’re going to have available for any of the listeners who want to start tracking their sleep or understanding, maybe, what their obstacles are or what’s standing in their way.

0:20:07 – Christine
Yeah, you can find like sleep diaries online. They’re huge checklists of everything you’ve done throughout the day, which can be kind of overwhelming to look at the next day and connect all the dots. But with this journal, it just has a different prompt each day, just asking you a question, and it could be a question about your sleep, your stress levels, what you ate that day, just kind of you know things that you want to maybe take a look at and how did it affect your sleep. And it gives you more insight to maybe where, again, those sabotagers are. Maybe you don’t know how it’s affecting you and it gives you more insight to maybe where, again, those sabotagers are. Maybe you don’t know how it’s affecting you and it allows you to figure out more on your own those areas that you might need to dive into a little bit more.

Is it sleep hygiene? Do I need to work on my stress levels? That’s a huge one for people. Are there some medical conditions or medications that I’m taking that might be affecting it? So it’s good to look at so many different areas. That’s why I do like more holistic coaching, because improving your sleep isn’t just a one-shot deal. It’s not black and white. I can send you a checklist and that’s. It’s great for general ideas. It’s like a kind of like a little baseline blueprint, but everyone’s going to be different.

0:21:19 – Laurie
It’s like a kind of like a little baseline blueprint, but everyone’s going to be different. You just said something that that’s important is that you know sleep doesn’t just happen by itself. It’s not in a vacuum. So many things can impact your sleep and then your sleep can impact so many other things. Everything is connected, but sleep is one of these foundational like. If you’re not getting sleep, that trickle down is going to be substantial. It’s going to be more of an impact than you know maybe some other self-care practices that you’re ignoring. But sleep is foundational and I’m telling you, when you focus on it, when you’re intentional about improving the quality and the quantity of your sleep, it’s going to help you in other areas.

So now that I’m getting more sleep and I have more energy, now I have the energy to work out more and I have the energy to do things and I’m not stressed out at work, so I can take time off to like do fun things that I want to do, that that fill up my cup, like connecting with friends or going going to Costco by myself, with friends, or going to Costco by myself. No one tells you that. You know, when you become an adult, that one of the greatest luxuries is going to Costco alone. I don’t care what anyone says, I think like to me. That’s like I’m like Julie Andrews in the Sound of Music, just like spinning around. I’m like, ah, exactly, exactly. But it’s nice to just be able to have the energy to know like I’m not so stressed that I can’t take time out for myself during the day.

The other thing that I was going to say is that if we have listeners who are not ready to book a call with you, I’m going to be setting up a challenge where they can do their own 30 day track, your sleep challenge and see, you know, maybe, maybe, make some adjustments and tweaks, look at some of the things that I am doing and see if that helps you. And then you know, all of Christine’s information will be inside the challenge so you can connect with her that way. Christine, I’m going to be putting the link to the 30 day sleep journal and all of your social media links in your website inside the show notes, so I’ll have all of your links in the show notes for anybody who wants to connect with you. They can do that and see all of the good things that you have available.

0:23:30 – Christine
Awesome, I really appreciate it. I’m so happy to hear about your progress there. I know we’ve been kind of checking in here and there, but it’s so great to just hear at the end about your journey and how it’s helped you.

0:23:40 – Laurie
Thank you, Christine.

0:23:42 – Christine
You are welcome.

0:23:44 – Laurie
Thanks for listening and if you liked this episode, go ahead and leave us a review on iTunes or wherever you listen to podcasts, and be sure to subscribe so you’ll be notified when the next episode is live. When the next episode is live, check out our show notes for this episode, where you can find any of the links and resources that were mentioned during the show and connect with a health and wellness provider committed to helping you ditch diets and achieve results without restriction. Thanks for listening and we’ll catch you in the next episode.

My Sleep Challenge – Part 1: My Sleep Smart Strategy Session with Christine Meyer

In this episode, I’m letting you listen in on a private sleep strategy session that I did with a sleep coach to prepare for an upcoming 30-day sleep challenge. I was struggling with chronic exhaustion because I had garbage bedtime habits and I needed to do something to turn it around. I decided to embark…

Key Takeaways:

  • Consistency is key when it comes to establishing a healthy sleep routine. Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day can help regulate the body’s internal clock and improve sleep quality.
  • Creating a relaxing sleep environment is crucial for promoting restful sleep. This includes decluttering the bedroom, using aromatherapy, and minimizing noise disturbances.
  • Managing stress throughout the day can significantly impact sleep quality. Incorporating relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation, and deep breathing exercises can help reduce stress and promote better sleep.
  • If you’re unable to fall back asleep after waking up in the middle of the night, get out of bed and engage in a relaxing activity until you’re feeling sleepy again. This can help prevent you from associating the bed with being awake and promote better sleep efficiency.
  • Doing a brain dump before bed can help clear the mind and reduce racing thoughts that may interfere with falling asleep. Writing down tasks and concerns can provide a sense of relief and allow for a more restful sleep.


  • “If you’re not sleeping, you can’t do anything else. It just trickles down into everything.”
  • “I need to be more consistent and more intentional about what I’m doing during the day and in the evening to get better sleep.”
  • “Creating a relaxing sleep environment and establishing a consistent sleep routine are key factors in improving sleep quality.”

Resources Mentioned:

About Christine: 

Christine Meyer is an Ace Certified Health Coach, Certified Health Education Specialist, and a Licensed Physical Therapist Assistant. She has over 14 years of experience in the health and wellness field and helps mid-life women go from foggy to focused, by helping them restore their restful sleep. Her coaching focuses on lifestyle changes, which includes stress management and time management skills. She is a wife, mom, and new Grandma and resides in Southern California.

Connect with Christine:


Episode Transcript:

0:00:00 – I don’t think there are enough people who talk about the importance of sleep. You know, people will do like nutrition or workouts and stuff like that, but it’s like if you’re not sleeping, you can’t do anything else. I mean, it just trickles down into everything.
0:00:13 – (Laurie): I’m Laurie Mallon, and this is the results without Restriction podcast, the show where results have nothing to do with weight and everything to do with setting and reaching health and fitness goals that focus on what we’re achieving and not what we’re doing losing. We’ll talk about deprogramming from diet culture and get expert advice on reclaiming your relationship with food and movement. Join me on this journey to get results without restriction.

Welcome, everyone. Today’s episode is a little bit different. It’s part one of a two part episode where I’m sharing my experience participating in a 30 day sleep challenge that I recently completed with the help of sleep sleep health coach Christine Meyer. Now, you may remember that Christine Meyer was previously a guest on the show. If you listen to that episode, you’ll hear me admit to Christine that my personal sleep habits are not that great. They finally caught up with me a few months ago.

I found myself chronically exhausted, and it was having a negative impact on pretty much every area of my life. So I reconnected with Christine and she agreed to help me with my 30 day sleep challenge. The 30 day challenge started with Christine and I meeting virtually for a better sleep strategy session so that she could understand my current sleep situation and struggles. Then she sent me a restful roadmap, which was a summary of our call and printable action plan for me to use during the 30 days of the challenge.

This episode is a recording of our strategy session. In the next episode, I’ll be recapping my challenge experience and reviewing my results with Christine, so be sure to check out that episode after you listen to this one. So now have a listen in on my virtual sleep strategy session with health coach Christine Meyer.

[Beginning of the Consultation Recording]
0:02:02 – (Christine): Welcome. Basically, what we’re going to do is talk about your sleep habits. You know, what’s going well, what are you struggling with? And at the end of the session, we will decide together four action steps that you can start implementing over the next 30 days to help you with your sleep, and then I’ll be sending you everything we discussed and the goals that you’re going to be working on. Tell me what’s motivated you to seek help with your sleep.
0:02:27 – (Laurie): I’m so tired, christine. I’m tired all the time. I was at the point where I was just so tired all the time, and I was like, oh, my God, I’m dying. Like, something has to be seriously wrong with me because why do I feel like this all the time? And then I got an apple Watch, and I started wearing it to bed, and my watch was like, oh, by the way, you have a double digit sleep jet. And I was like, well, shoot, I had no idea my sleep was. Was that bad. Like, I know sometimes I stay up a little bit late or sometimes I get up too early and it’s like, we have pets and I have a kid and, like, things interrupt my sleep. So I was like, I didn’t realize it was that bad.

So I was like, okay, I need to do something about this. And then we had our podcast, and I was like, I definitely want to do something about this. Did a few things, and I can see when I do these things, it gets better. When I don’t do these things, when I do my own thing, that debt climbs. And I’m like, what I need is a routine, a habit. I need a block of time that I dedicate to establishing really good, like, sleep hygiene or, like, a nighttime habit. Because I’m getting to the point that when that sleep debt is getting high, I’m just useless during the day. I’m just counting the hours until it’s socially acceptable for me to go to bed.
0:03:41 – (Laurie) Like “please let my son go to Bed soon so I can go to bed.”
I need to be more consistent and more intentional about what I’m doing during the day and in the evening to get better sleep.
0:03:53 – (Christine): So when you’re doing the things you need to do, sleep is good. And you notice that when you don’t do the things you need to do, it’s not so good. What keeps you from that consistency of being in a routine?
0:04:04 – (Laurie): When I make the choice to go to bed early and I don’t have my phone at night and I get caught up, my sleep jet gets under 5 hours, I feel great. And I’m like, oh, I can stay up and watch tv with my husband or watch a movie after my son goes to bed or something, and it’s like, I can’t keep doing it because then my sleep debt climbs up, then I’m exhausted, and then we do the whole thing over again. So, yeah.
0:04:27 – (Christine): So you tracking your sleep debt kind of contributes to that pattern. It sounds like looking at the numbers and seeing what you’ve accumulated or if it’s going up or down, would that be right?
0:04:38 – (Laurie): I’ve made the observation that when that sleep debt goes down, how I feel, I feel a certain way. And when I feel that way, like. If I didn’t, if I saw the number and it said like four and I still felt like shit, I wouldn’t stay up. Like, I would be like, “oh, I really want to go to bed.”
But it’s like I’m just having the Awareness of how I feel And when I feel good and I Have a lot of energy, then I start thinking I can stay up and party like I’m 46 again.
0:05:06 – (Christine): So it’s keeping those patterns in place even when you’re feeling good. But a preventive measure in a way, right.
0:05:12 – (Laurie): I want it to kind of just be a routine where I’m not, you know, maybe staying up and watching a movie is a once a week thing or it’s like a Friday night thing, but it’s not like a bunch of nights in a row until I feel like I just am exhausted again.
0:05:26 – (Christine): So there’s an inconsistent sleep schedule. Like you mentioned, you go to bed at eleven, but that sounds like that can vary quite a bit.
0:05:32 – (Laurie): It can vary. When I’m really tired, I’ll go to bed. Before my son even goes to bed, I’ll just say, “peace out, I’m going to bed. I’ll see you guys later.” My husband’s like, “bye, go to bed.” If I’m really tired, I put myself to bed. But then I’m like, two days later, I can be up at 11:30 doing whatever, watching a movie, doing stuff on the Internet, like scrolling facebook.
0:05:52 – (Christine): How does this affect your day to day life? All of the inconsistency and kind of the back and forth with that.
0:05:59 – (Laurie): It affects how I interact with my family. I’m not popular here because it affects my mood and I’m just cranky, snippy. I don’t have the energy for things that I’d like to be doing, which is getting back into running and lifting. The idea of working out when I’m too tired is just, I just can’t because I just want to sit on my couch and just go to bed.
0:06:21 – (Christine): Okay, so the sleep and the moodiness affects others in the, in the household there?
0:06:26 – (Laurie): Yes.
0:06:26 – (Christine): All right. And how long have you been experiencing this?
0:06:30 – (Laurie): Probably like, since COVID hit as a parent, I already had like, a certain level of, like, low grade chronic stress. But then with COVID and then, like, things going on in the world, like, it just kind of got worse and I found myself waking up a lot at night. So even if I went to bed early, I was still waking up randomly and 2 hours later I can’t get back to sleep. So it probably started around three years ago where it got bad. But if I’m honest, my sleep hasn’t been great basically since I had my son nine years ago. I just kind of accepted that’s, that’s where we are, so.
0:07:02 – (Christine): Okay, so I did review the questionnaire, obviously, so I’ve got a lot of that information from you. We’re going to, you know, dive in deeper into, into some of those areas, but definitely want to call out, you know, things that you’re doing that are helpful for sleep and. Sounds like you exercise on a pretty regular basis, would you say?
0:07:20 – (Laurie): Yeah, I walk the dog twice a day for half an hour whether I want to, and I’m like a zombie or not. That’s like the bare minimum. Sometimes I do other stuff, but it depends on my energy level.
0:07:30 – (Christine): Okay. But it sounds like you want to do more. And like you said with the like weight training,
0:07:35 – (Laurie): I want to get back into running now that it’s cooling off, but I’m just like.
0:07:38 – (Christine): Okay, alcohol sounds very infrequent. You said maybe once a week, if that I can be a sleep sabotager. Uh, for sure. Especially in the evening time. Sounds like you’re limiting caffeine to early afternoon. Or would you say on the days you’re tired you are drinking it later in the day?
0:07:55 – (Laurie) I try not to really just try to pay more attention. I used to have two cups of coffee early. Between like seven and ten would be like I’d have my coffee done and then I would have a soda between like around lunchtime. And then I would try to just do water or other drinks, non caffeinated or tea or something in the afternoon. But on the days that I was really tired, I would make the mistake of like, I’m like, hey, I really need to like pep up here a little bit, have a later cup of coffee again. That keeps me up later, and then we kind of start the cycle all over, so.
0:08:30 – (Christine): Right, gotcha.
0:08:31 -(Laurie): But for the most part, I try to keep it well before, like the after, like mid afternoon, so.
0:08:38 – (Christine): Okay. It doesn’t sound like you’re eating late at night. You said your last meal is about 6630 and it sounds like you’ve got some outlets for first stress management. Aside from the exercise you’d like to read, I think you said you connect with your friends. You did rate your stress at about a seven out of a ten. You said you manage it fair? Tell me more about that.
0:09:02 – (Laurie): I’m just always in a probably that, like, low grade level of I’m always thinking about stuff. It’s hard to shut my brain off. So I think that is kind of like what I’m referring to. Like that I’m always trying to remember stuff. Did I forget this? I also have ADHD, so that’s like my default. Always trying to keep track of the sticky notes in my mind. Constantly running through that loop of what did I forget? What do I need to remember?
0:09:27 – (Christine): When you say manage it fair, I.
0:09:30 – (Laurie): Feel like I could do a better job of actively trying to relax, like doing a little bit more to turn it off. I don’t really try to turn it off. I just wait till it. It wears down.
0:09:43 – (Christine): Right.
0:09:44 – (Laurie): And I just kind of don’t know. But if I was like, you know what? I’m going to shut the door on this. I’m going to focus on this. That’s not work related. It’s not news, it’s not. It’s not stressful. It’s like fun. It’s like some kind of activity or game or whatever. That’s just for the purpose of relaxing, reading my book or something like that. So getting better at that intentional flipping of the switch of my brain is now in this mode.
0:10:11 – (Christine): Right. There’s that difference between, you know, doing things to manage stress, but like you said, also just unplugging and doing things that are not stimulating the brain as much and slowing down there. So. Okay, so it sounds like you wake up in the middle of the night at least one or two times a week.
0:10:31 – (Laurie): Yeah, probably. Well, so I’m not great about drinking water. It’s one of my things I want to be better about, but I’m not great about remembering to do it during the day. So I’ll like, get to be like, 04:00, 05:00 and I’m like, oh, I need to drink my water. And then I’ll start drinking water. And I try to stop before 08:00 but I feel like I’ll wake up at least once to pee during the night.
0:10:54 – (Christine): And so how often does that happen?
0:10:56 – (Laurie): Probably almost every night. I also have pets. I have a dog who sleeps on my bed. That probably wakes me up because she hears the cats. They can’t be together as a dog will eat the cat. So she hears the cat, she wakes up, she Wakes me up. So sometimes that’s what wakes me up, too.
0:11:17 – (Christine): Gotcha. And your husband snores as well, is that right?
0:11:19 – (Laurie): He does.
0:11:22 – (Christine): All right. So we’ve got some noise there. How long does it take you to get back to sleep when you’re awake In the middle of the night?
0:11:27 – (Laurie): Sometimes it’s easy, and then other times I’ll lay there for, like, an hour and a half.
0:11:32 – (Christine): Okay. And what do you do to try to lull yourself back to sleep?
0:11:36 – (Laurie): Sometimes I count backwards from 100. Sometimes I just try to remember things that I’ve memorized in the past, just to not think about the things that I know are going to hype me up. So I try not to think about, like, work stuff or the state of the world or things like that. I’m just, like. I try to go to, like, boring routine, like ABCD, like, just things that are going to kind of bore me.
0:12:03 – (Christine): So it sounds like you’re from what I read in the questionnaire, your sleep can vary anywhere. You’re in bed maybe about seven and a half hours, but you’re sleeping maybe six to seven. What’s different on the nights that you’re getting less asleep?
0:12:15 – (Laurie): I fall asleep pretty easily. So if I’m not getting sleep, it’s either because I went to bed too late, I stayed up because I waited too long, and then I didn’t feel tired, or I’m waking up in the middle of the night, and then I can’t get back to sleep. Those are my two big things. But once I lay down, like, and I turn off the light and take off my glasses, I fall asleep pretty quickly. I don’t ever lay there going, oh, hey, I can’t sleep. But it’s just when I wake up a few hours later and I go pee and I’m like, oh, I’m awake.
0:12:46 – (Christine): Okay. And you read in bed before you go to sleep? Table lamp or overhead lights?
0:12:52 – (Laurie): It’s just a little table lamp.
0:12:53 – (Christine): Okay. In the evening time, you tend to have the lights on in the house?
0:12:58 – (Laurie): Yeah.
0:12:59 – (Christine): All right. And you wear, like, any blue light glasses at all when you’re reading?
0:13:03 – (Laurie): No.
0:13:04 – (Christine): Okay. And you have regular, like, led light bulbs in your. Your lamps?
0:13:10 – (Laurie): I assume so.
0:13:11 – (Christine): Okay. All right. So what’s worked well in the past, you said, is reading. And what else? When you get in a good routine, what’s. What’s that look like for you?
0:13:22 – (Laurie): Tea in the evening, like after dinner? Yoga. Nidra read my book, and then, you know, lights out. So that’s usually, like, a good. For me. That’s been helpful.
0:13:35 – (Christine): Okay. And what would it take for you to get back to that and stay consistent with it?
0:13:42 – (Laurie): I would have to set a boundary and say, this is the time I’m going to do this. This is what I’m going to be doing. You guys like people in my house. You do whatever you want. Don’t involve me. I’m busy. I’m going to be doing this. I’m doing my yoga, I’m going to read my book, and I’m going to bed, so.
0:13:58 – (Christine): Okay. And then you said you’ll still make space for, you know, having an occasional late night for the tv.
0:14:04 – (Laurie): Yeah. So, like, once a week on a weekend, I don’t have to get up early the next day for school or for work out. I can sleep in a little bit.
0:14:12 – (Christine): So, based on what we’ve discussed so far, like, what really stands out for you? Is there anything that kind of jumps out at you, aside from the routine? Anything that we discuss that you feel needs to be part of your action plan?
0:14:26 – (Laurie): My room could probably be a little bit more relaxing, a place I want to go. And it’s easy for me to relax. Like, there isn’t a pile of clothes in the corner. There’s a bunch of donation stuff sitting on top of my dresser, and, like, making that space relaxing.
0:14:44 – (Christine): All right, so room environment, routine. Anything else?
0:14:47 – (Laurie): I think I would like some, like, aromatherapy, something next to my bed that smells nice because I mentioned I have a dog. So sometimes I go in there and I’m like, hmm, kind of smells like dog in here. Doesn’t bother me, but I’m like, it could be better.
0:15:01 – (Christine): And that kind of goes in with the environment of the room. And your nighttime routine with would get, you know, could be infusing that. So anything else I think, too, what.
0:15:13 – (Laurie): Would also help me is kind of a brain dump before bed. Like, I want to make sure I do this tomorrow, or here’s what’s happening tomorrow. I know I need to do this, this and this, but just someplace where I can just kind of get it out and then it’s safe. I’m not relying on myself to remember it because.
0:15:33 – (Christine): Right. That’s what kind of stands out for me with a lot of, this is, like you said, stress management, having those relaxation moments where you’re just unplugging and not doing and even, you know, not even just in the evening time before bed, but maybe even taking some kind of a timeout during the day. A lot of times we’re go, go, go, go all day, and it’s like, okay, it’s time to relax at night. And it. It doesn’t always work that well because we’re kind of wound up. We’re in that mode.
0:16:02 – (Christine): So how do you feel about doing something during the day to, even if it’s just a very brief moment, to just kind of step back and do some kind of unplugging relaxation type of activity or exercise? You mentioned yoga, nidra, and actually, those can be very beneficial. Midday as well, because it helps you to kind of, you’re unplugging, relaxing, but at the same time being aware. And so that could be something again, you know, looking at things that are more unplugging, where you were just calming your body and your mind and just being, like, calm in that moment.
0:16:43 – (Christine): Yoga, nidra, a meditation, deep breathing. Just something where you’re just basically your mind and your body, you’re being still, if that makes sense.
0:16:52 – (Laurie): Okay. Yeah. I could do ten to 15 minutes restorative yoga in the afternoon, 15 minutes before I go to get them from school. I can just shut the computer off a little bit early and do that.
0:17:04 – (Christine): Yeah. Yeah. And again, it doesn’t have to be anything really long. You could be sitting in your chair doing, you know, neck stretches, time of thing, but just anything to just kind of be in that decompressing moment. Because if you think about everything we do from the moment we wake up, it’s going to. It’s going to go with us to bed at night. Learning to just decompress during the day as well so we’re not carrying it all into the evening time can really be helpful.
0:17:29 – (Christine): Taking those self care moments.
0:17:31 – (Laurie): Okay. I like that sometimes it’s just taking.
0:17:34 – (Christine): A few deep breaths, just closing your eyes and stopping what you’re doing when you notice you’re getting wound up. I call it a mental timeout.
0:17:40 – (Laurie): So I never get wound up. Christine. I’m holding my hand.
0:17:45 – (Christine): Some relaxation during the day, making the environment more relaxing, having that routine. And this is all going to help with your stress management and. Right. It’s all wound up together there. The other thing that stands out for me is, you know, not getting. Being able to go back to sleep at night. It’s fragmented. What do you feel about doing something like a breathing exercise, a body scan some way, again, to not keep the brain active. What a lot of people do is they’re thinking, I need to get back to sleep. And then your brain is still thinking, you know, and it’s more stressful. So maybe, again, doing some kind of relaxing activity.
0:18:27 – (Christine): It’s actually recommended. If you can’t get back to sleep after 20 minutes, you should get out of bed, go into another room where it’s quiet. And again, you could do those activities. It could maybe be reading under low light, but doing some kind of breathing, listening to relaxing music until you get sleepy again, and then go back to bed. Because what can happen is we start associating the bed with not sleeping. If we’re laying there tossing and turning so many times, you know, it can kind of start affecting you, you know, mentally, that you’re worried about not getting back to sleep. So basically, about 85% of the time that you’re in bed, you should be sleeping.
0:19:03 – (Christine): And when I looked at your, your numbers, you know, it kind of varied from like six to 7 hours. But sometimes your sleep efficiency is, you know, basically anywhere from 80% to 90%. I don’t like hyper focusing on numbers, but that’s just to kind of give you a, an understanding of what that is. So you’re in bed seven and a half hours, but maybe only sleeping six to seven and a half. And so it may seem counterproductive to get out of bed when you can’t sleep, but it actually can help with you, you know, sleeping more while you’re.
0:19:31 – (Laurie): Actually in the bed. You know, if not getting out of.
0:19:34 – (Christine): The bed is not an option for you, you could just focus more on relaxation type of activities.
0:19:40 – (Laurie): Can I get out of the bed? But like, go sit in a chair in the same room and like a meditation or something over there. You can try that.
0:19:47 – (Christine): Another option too, like I said, is, you know, do just kind of, if you’re going to stay in bed, is focus on just doing those relaxing type of activities. Just focus on relaxing versus focusing on trying to sleep. That would be my suggestion for that. And then with the noise, obviously we can’t change some of the environment around us. I don’t know if you’ve tried earplugs or anything like that to help you sleep at night.
0:20:10 – (Laurie): We have a sound machine that we run in the room. Seems to be helping. I find it comforting if I wake up and I hear my husband snoring, that can kind of keep me awake. But what I do then is I pretend it’s the dog snoring and then it doesn’t bother me. I had pugs for twelve years, so I always found that, like, it was very. A comforting sound to me. The other thing I meant to tell you is I have a weighted blanket and I have one of those weighted eye masks that I like to sleep, like, with on my head.
0:20:36 – (Christine): Okay, whatever works for you. So your top four tips would be to create that environment in your room with aromatherapy. And you said cleaning up clutter.
0:20:49 – (Laurie): Yes, it’s cluttered.
0:20:50 – (Christine): Okay. How else could it become more sleep conducive for you?
0:20:54 – (Laurie): I don’t think there’s really much else other than making it smell better and just knowing it’s cleaned up and tidy.
0:21:01 – (Christine): It’s true. I mean, there’s actually research to show that having a cluttered room can actually contribute to stress and sleep. Just, it’s a subconscious thing, but it’s, it’s a real thing. So that sounds like that’ll be very helpful for you. So sticking with your routine of the reading, the quiet time, yoga, nidra. Now, routine includes like a sleep schedule. You know what would be an ideal one for you? Not that it has to be rigid and set in stone seven days a week, but I. Ideally, what time should you be going to bed and then waking up?
0:21:35 -(Laurie): Ideally, I’d like to be trying to at least sleep seven and a half to 8 hours. We get up at 630. So if I’m asleep by 10:30 with no interruptions, ideal. However, I’m going to have at least one interruption during the night. So I kind of want to give myself, like, padding. So if I could be starting my routine by 9:15 and then in bed, turning off the light at 10:00 I think would give me that buffer, like that time to unwind and then falling asleep early enough that if I do have some kind of interruption, it’s not gonna throw me off my schedule too much.
0:22:13 – (Christine): Okay. And are you always waking up at the same time?
0:22:16 – (Laurie): Yes, except on weekends, not as much, but during the week, that’s our standard. Everybody gets up at 6:30.
0:22:23 – (Christine): Okay, so 9:15, start the wind down routine. Be in bed by ten. How confident do you feel that you can do that on a scale of one to 10, being most confident, I.
0:22:34 – (Laurie): Give it a nine. It’s a matter of just prioritizing it and making it, establishing the habits.
0:22:42 – (Christine): Okay. And then it sounds like the brain dump will be part of the nighttime routine then.
0:22:48 – (Laurie): Yes.
0:22:48 – (Christine): And you may, just might need to experiment with it. And it’s, it may change. You may find, well, I don’t like doing it this at this time. And nothing has to be really rigid, but it’s knowing that we have kind of like that menu options of things to do. And you just know this is your time for you to wind down. What do I feel like doing tonight type of a thing? It’s perfectly fine. Sounds like the brain dumps going to be definitely part of that for you. So you can, you know, keep the brain from thinking too much. You know, even if you wake up in the middle of the night, it can definitely help with that. And then during the day, finding some time for some kind of relaxation would be the third one. Right.
0:23:25 – (Christine): And then we’ve got if waking up in the middle of the night, maybe going and sitting in a chair, if you can’t get back to sleep after 20 minutes, you said maybe do a meditation. What do you think you might do during that time?
0:23:37 – (Laurie): I think. I think a meditation might be good. And then trying to go back to sleep.
0:23:42 – (Christine): Okay, so how does that sound to you?
0:23:45 – (Laurie): That sounds good. That sounds doable. It sounds like really simple, like things that I can implement. Right. Nothing or nothing here is like heavy lifting.
0:23:56 – (Christine): And it sounds like you’ve got good support from your husband. If you tell him he can help hold you accountable, you can feel not guilty about it. He’ll reap the benefits.
0:24:06 – (Laurie): That’s going to be his biggest motivation, that I’ll just be overall in a better mood and more agreeable.
0:24:12 – (Christine): So what I’m going to be sending you is a summary of the four suggestions here and the tips as far as you know what you can do. And then there will also be like a resource page for some apps for meditation and breathing, some of my YouTube breathing videos. Another one’s a website for managing stress. But is there anything else that you feel would be helpful?
0:24:36 – (Laurie): I think that would be good. What I’m afraid of is overloading going too much in the opposite of like now. You know, I have a few things to do, but I’m so anxious to solve this problem. I’m going to try to do too many things. So I kind of want to keep it the handful of things I’m going to do.
0:24:50 – (Christine): As far as the session today, how was that for you?
0:24:53 – (Laurie): Very good. It really helped to kind of verbalize and reinforce, you know, why it is that I want to do this.
0:25:00 – (Christine): Okay, good. I will give you our summary and everything.
0:25:04 – (Laurie): This is great.
0:25:04 – (Christine): Thank you, Christine.
0:25:05 – (Laurie): Okay, you’re welcome. See you later.
0:25:10 – (Laurie): Thanks for listening. And if you liked this episode, go ahead and leave us a review on iTunes or wherever you listen to podcasts and be sure to subscribe so you’ll be notified when the next episode is live. Check out our show notes for this episode where you can find any of the links and resources that were mentioned during the show and connect with a health and wellness provider committed to helping you ditch diets and achieve results without restriction.