To be our best as coaches, we need to have an awareness of factors that help to move clients from where they are now to an outcome goal somewhere later in time. But there are many factors that can get in the way and undermine our hard work and strategies. We know that our client needs to eat properly and get solid rest in order to recover and have energy for a workout if we are also doing physical training. But all coaching types get better client results when outlying specifics – like sleep – are not sufficient. What if their sleep is short-changed?
Why is Sleep Important?
As coaches, we know the importance of sleep, and we also can use our understanding of how active the brain is during sleep as a coaching tool, to help understand or identify a client who is not getting sufficient sleep.
With sleep in mind, it serves as no surprise that the brain is the command center of the sleep cycle. In addition to making a decision, the brain also produces and consolidates memories. The brain forms ingenious connections, as well as detoxifying and the ability to learn and understand how to carry out physical tasks. In other words, if you want to improve your performance on any task, then you may want to consider getting your clients to sleep longer. Think of sleep as the environment for our mental housekeeper to stay and work for the best function.
While many people can be sleep deprived on occasion, there is a greater incidence of chronic sleep problems in those with mental health/psychiatric conditions. This includes post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and bipolar disorder. In the past, sleep disorders such as insomnia were seen as symptoms. Studies suggest that issues with sleep can play a larger role in contributing to the development of some mental health conditions. Addiction to substances such as alcohol or opioids has been shown to be disruptive to the sleep cycle.
Stress and Sleep
Environmental symptoms of stress can include social withdrawal or concerns related to changes in appetite, sleep, or even libido. These factors demonstrate how stress can have a significant impact on our physiology, psychology, and behavior. Due to strong evidence that supports mind/body strategies in published literature, Sleep Science Coaches are encouraged to experiment, using breath-based meditations and movements in support of improving sleep habits as an important factor in maintaining cognitive function. This includes enhancing brain reserves, to promoting emotional regulation, enhancing physical performance, preserving your physiological function, supporting a connection of the mind to the body, and promoting a deep level of relaxation and self-awareness.
It is not only acceptable for the coach or trainer to provide tips and strategies that can assist your client in adapting healthy sleep behaviors – it is often required for successful 1 outcomes. This is especially true when strategizing ways to improve brain functions that either support healthy sleep or require normal, restorative sleep. We are rarely called upon to consider interventions that can help clients with mental health conditions such as addiction and PTSD (it’s only discussed when it is within our scope of practice). It is important to remember that your role is not to diagnose the client with any medical condition but to use any such history to enhance their individual coaching experience if it relates to their sleep.
The brain serves as the command center that tells us when to feel sleepy and when to be alert and awake. Tiny amounts of brain cells are in charge of making us stay awake or fall asleep. Some of them encourage alertness and others encourage sleep; some cells promote stages of wakefulness and others promote levels of sleep.
The brain cells (neurons) that encourage alertness also work to prevent actions that encourage sleep, and vice versa. Maintaining a balance usually results in either a reasonably constant phase of alertness or a reasonably constant period of sleep. This is how the brain is believed to regulate sleep. The intricacies regarding exactly how the brain controls sleep, is not fully understood. Certain areas of the brain, such as in the hypothalamus, and the brainstem support mental alertness and wakefulness by releasing neurotransmitters, such as acetylcholine. These chemicals stimulate the cerebral cortex, which when activated causes us to stay awake. This is what happens when a person takes caffeine. It stimulates the cerebral cortex, which covers the thought process, and it also stimulates the medulla.
The latter results in decidedly negative effects, such as an increase in heart/respiratory rate and poor muscular coordination. If you are a personal trainer, this can have a direct impact on your client’s results. It can also delay their pursuit of a successful outcome goal. We can – and need to be aware of factors that help our client experience a restful night of sleep for all of the specific reasons stated within their planned goals; we can also provide some knowledge and learning as a supporting service to a client who is not getting good sleep. For this, we should also know ways to nudge them along in pursuit of optimal sleep hygiene.
Sleep Science Coaching
Not getting enough sleep increases the risk of obesity, memory impairment, illness, and even hallucinations or death. Falling asleep is a common problem. But sleep quality is also crucial for optimum brain function and recovery. Fortunately, there are many ways to train your body and mind to fall asleep more quickly and improve your sleep quality.
When you become a Certified Sleep Science Coach, you will learn how to help your clients dramatically enhance their metabolism, memory, creativity, immune function, hormone balance, hunger management, disease prevention, sports performance, accident avoidance, memory, reaction time, good judgement, surgery recovery, happiness and over 100 additional functions and behaviors.
Our programs are open to anyone with a desire to learn and help others. There are no prerequisites.
That’s it for now.