Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 00:10
Hey, it’s Dr. Marisa Lee Naismith here and I’m so honoured to be sharing today’s interview round episode with you, listen and you will be inspired by amazing healthcare practitioners, voice teachers and music industry professionals who will share their stories, knowledge and experiences within their specialised fields to help you live your best life every day. As singers, our whole body is our instrument and our instrument echoes how we feel physically, mentally and emotionally. So don’t wait any longer, take charge and optimise your instrument now. Remember that to sing is more than just learning about how to use the voice. It’s about A Voice and Beyond. So without further ado, let’s go to today’s episode. Do you have problems with falling asleep? Or do you wake up during the night and have trouble falling asleep again? Well, as it turns out, it seems you aren’t the only one because as a society, we are currently in the midst of a sleep deprivation crisis. And this is partially due to a new level of high stress we are experiencing globally. Sleep is something we take for granted. And this lack of sleep has become our new normal. Unfortunately, sleep deprivation and insomnia have tremendous impacts emotionally, physically and mentally. In this episode, we speak with Elena Wintel from the sleep expert who is a world renowned sleep and insomnia coach, and she shares with us some of the major reasons why we may not be getting that all important deep sleep, and that it is possible to train ourselves for better sleep. Alina does the myth busting, as many of us associate lack of sleep with things such as caffeine intake, eating carbs, late at night and room temperature, and there are many other myths. However, according to a leaner, these are not the real causes for our lack of sleep, and there are usually underlying issues such as stress and anxiety levels that are at the root of the sleep problem. Alina believes that everybody has the ability to sleep well, and a common sense approach is far more effective to dealing with sleep problems. In order to solve those sleep disorders, we must tune in and reconnect to ourselves to resolve any underlying issues that are affecting our state of mind, and in turn the quality of our sleep. She also shares with us the new and innovative techniques she has developed that have helped 1000s of people across the globe, reclaim their sleep and transform their lives. There is so much more in this interview with Alina that will help you reignite your relationship with sleep. So without further ado, let’s go to today’s episode Welcome to the show, Elena from the sleep expert. It’s so lovely to have you on here. How are you?
Elina Winnel 03:56
I’m really well. And thanks for having me. Marissa, I’m delighted to be here and to be able to share some information today on sleep with your beautiful audience.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 04:03
Well, sleep is something we all take for granted. And we really are in the midst of a sleep deprivation crisis. Now Yeah. And I was so thrilled that you accepted to be on the show, because I think it’s beneficial for all of us to learn about sleep. Now you’ve been labelled the sleep expert. You have you coach people on sleep, and insomnia. And you’ve literally helped 1000s of people all around the world with their sleep issues. Now I’ve doing a little bit of a background search, you’ve had sleep problems yourself. You are chronic, Insomniac. So tell us about your sleep journey and what led you to where you are right now.
Elina Winnel 04:58
Yeah, it’s interesting you know, when I first started working with people who struggle with sleep, they say to me, I feel so much relief just being understood. Yes, some people struggle when it when they’ve got a sleep problem, and people around them don’t know what it’s like to be sleep deprived, they can feel very isolated and alone. So I guess for me, that’s one of the gifts that I do bring to the people I work with. Because I have been there myself, and I really get it and sleep deprivation and insomnia have such a huge impact on people’s lives. So for me, personally, was many years ago, now I had was my sleep issues were absolutely chronic. And my journey was one of real struggle, because I went to so many, you know, so called experts and professionals to try and get help, and I couldn’t find the help that I needed. And I, you know, tried all of these different things that I was advised to do. And I just found that nothing really worked. So I set off on my own journey of trying to heal my sleep, and came up with some, I would say, new and innovative techniques to help people well, I help myself first, and now I help others. But in the process, the insomnia destroyed my, my, my personal relationship, but at the time, it affected all the relationships I had with my family, friends, you know, because I was grumpy and irritable, and I’m just not a happy person. I was lethargic all of the time. It affected my career, it affected my finances, every single aspect of my life was affected. You know, and before that I was someone who was a high achiever, and you know, go, go go, and that all kind of kind of came crashing down. But, you know, what was one of those, I suppose those stories where now I get to do what I love and help people every day with restoring their ability to sleep well, naturally. So in the end, it turned out to be a blessing.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 07:06
So what actually led to that insomnia? Were you in a high stress situation? Yeah, it’s
Elina Winnel 07:15
gonna be different for different people. For me, yeah. They it was a chronic stress at the time. But, you know, I didn’t necessarily realise that what was going on. And I see that a lot in my clients today. And one of the first things that we will often work on is just helping people to understand. Because it’s like, we’ve got a new level of stress these days, that’s become normal. And so people because it’s normal, people don’t notice it’s there. So that can often be an important starting point for people, not for everyone, but for a lot of people for sure. Yes.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 07:50
And I know in our, in the entertainment industry, there’s so many of us, especially the ones who have professional careers, that sleep is a problem that people if they do a gig, and they’re on a high and they have that adrenaline and then they get home, they’re still on that high and it’s really hard for them to come down. And it does lead to all sorts of problems. But so why do we need sleep? Why does our body and our brain why do we need that important sleep?
Elina Winnel 08:26
Oh, well, sleep is so so important to our health and well being. So if you say during the daytime, we are basically we’re breaking down were doing things were achieving, and the body and the mind are actually breaking down in some capacity. So it’s our nighttime where we heal and we regenerate and we restore. So without that we are just breaking down, right? So during the nighttime, what happens we what one important function a lot of people don’t realise is we detoxify. So our brain gets cleaned out and detoxifies and so does our body. It’s a very important function that happens at nighttime. That’s why when you’ve had a really good sleep, you wake up in the morning, you feel so good, you’ve really been cleaned out. And then also in terms of the other function, so mentally, emotionally, energetically, I would say even spiritually, we heal overnight. So on a physical level, we’re detoxifying we are our cells in our organs are regenerating. So it’s a fountain of youth. On an emotional level, our hormones are being rebalanced. And they’ve done studies to show that sleep is actually the number one determinant of happiness not money, sleep, so emotionally it’s very, very important. And obviously energetically If we sleep well we have so much Energy the next day. So it’s on so many different levels, but it’s really, like in a nutshell, we regenerate and and heal overnight.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 10:11
Yes, I heard somewhere that when we go to sleep, our brain goes into a dishwasher mode. It’s like, the dishwasher at nighttime. And then we wake up in the morning and all the dishes are clean. And it’s like, yes. And so while we’re sleeping, it’s like the dishwasher goes off dishwasher goes off in our brains. And it gets rid of all the debris of all that all those cells that are in decline.
Elina Winnel 10:40
and Weaver ology, yeah, yeah,
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 10:42
I love that. And that’s the only way I can remember it is through talking about it as a dishwasher. So what is the desired amount of sleep? Because I’ve heard it’s like seven to nine hours? What would you what would you recommend to your clients? And does it vary from person to person.
Elina Winnel 11:07
So seven to nine hours is good. And it will vary a little bit person to person. But it’s not just the number of hours, it’s the quality of sleep is so important, because you could get, you know, eight hours of very light sleep, and if that’s not going to be as healing or regenerative as eight hours of sleep, where you’re where you’ve got deep sleep, and then you know, REM sleep and the full array of different sleep stages that we need to heal well and regenerate. So if people aren’t getting into deep sleep, or if they’re sleeping too deeply and not getting enough, you know, dream sleep, then, you know, again, that’s not ideal. So it’s about the quality of sleep as well.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 11:52
Yes. So how do we know then if we’re sleeping? How do we, how can we gauge the deepness for lack of a better word of that we’re having the depth? That’s the word, the depth of sleep?
Elina Winnel 12:09
Yeah, you will know based on how you feel in the morning, right? So if you are feeling like a million bucks in the morning, you know that that’s, that’s the clearest sign. I would say that’s an even better indication than all the fancy apps out there and that kind of thing. But you know, you’ll know, because, for example, if it’s really hard to wake you up at night, so some people wake up with the slightest noise. But if you get into if you’re a deep sleeper, you know, that little noises don’t wake you up. So yeah, so it’s like, how easily do you wake? And then also, what do you feel like in the morning? Yeah,
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 12:47
yes. Now I have a mother in law, who has real sleep problems. And she said, Well, I for as long as I’ve known her, and that would be 30 years. She’s never slept properly. Now, mind, she is a highly emotional person. And we’re having this discussion between my husband and I last night. And I said, like, she is very, very emotional. She often finds herself in conflict with other people, and is always stressed, but now what’s happening is she’s in her mid 70s. She’s starting her body seems to be breaking down, as well, like, some of her organs are not working the way that they’re meant to like her kidneys are now starting to malfunction. She’s having tests for a pancreas. And all these little things are starting to happen. Would that be would sleep be contributed to that to that those problems?
Elina Winnel 13:55
Well, it very well could be if she hasn’t been a good sleeper for that many years. Absolutely. She’s missed out on a lot of really healing time. And it’s the deep phase of sleep where we get the most physical regeneration. different phases of sleep have different healing properties. But the deep sleep heals us physically. So if she hadn’t slept well, for so long, absolutely would have had a huge impact. Huge.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 14:23
I just have to share this though. I was staying with her in a hotel room. And I remember just rolling over at about five o’clock in the morning. Just rolling over casually my eyes happened to open and there she was with our eyes wide open staring at me. It was so freaky
Elina Winnel 14:47
is way right.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 14:49
hours? Yeah. So at the moment, we do have an epidemic of people who are having problems with sleep. So Why as a society? Are we losing the ability to sleep?
Elina Winnel 15:05
Hmm, it’s a good question. So, look at overall as a society, I would say we have quite a stressed society. So if you know anything about the nervous system, there’s like two main branches of the autonomic nervous system. One is the sympathetic branch, which is connected to the stress response. The other is the parasympathetic branch, which is connected to the rest and digest functions. And today as a human race, or mainly in the Western world, we’re spending an excess amount of time in that sympathetic branch, which is stress response, and we’ve got an out of balance today. But again, it’s because it’s become normal people don’t realise. And so we’re very good at doing and achieving and getting things done. But we’re not so good or strong at resting, and you know, digesting it’s no coincidence that digestion that issue today as well. They’re both they’re both sit on the same branch of the autonomic nervous system that were weaker in today.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 16:09
Yeah. So just going back to say, for example, my mother in law, and yeah, this may relate to a lot of people and like, she would say, I’m not a good sleeper. Say, and to me, I just go, how can you not be or I’m not good at sleeping? Or how can you not be good at sleeping? When we’re all born? The same? And we all sleep? The set? Both? You know, that’s something that we do instinctively?
Elina Winnel 16:38
Yeah, yeah, you’re right. It’s a natural function. But having said that, a lot of people have lost the ability to do it. Well, so we all most of us are born being able to sleep well. And and it did can deteriorate over time. So if she’s a highly strong, then yeah, that will be definitely be affecting her ability to sleep well, and then adding the belief on top of that, that is, yeah. So I find that interesting. A lot of people I meet a lot of people who say, I’m just not a good sleeper, that’s just the way it is. And okay, you know, if you choose to resign yourself to that, well, you won’t be sleeper, but it is within everybody’s ability to sleep. Well, as you say, it’s a natural function. So if we remember that, and basically, our system is out of balance, when we’re not sleeping, well, giving us information. So if you instead of resigning yourself to I’m just a poor sleep, but if you actually go hang on, my body’s giving me information here, what is out of balance, and you are depressed, that you can sleep well, again, as well as, find some things that are fundamentally out of balance in your system, which really would benefit you to address does that make?
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 17:58
Yes, absolutely. Do you believe that COVID-19 has created a bigger issue or a bigger problem that was there before the pandemic?
Elina Winnel 18:14
Yes, it’s such an interesting one, I find people have kind of gone two different ways. Some people are loving, like the extra flexibility they’ve had from home and yeah, in the travel time, and they’re actually sleeping better. And then there’s another group of people who miss there’s your social life and the boundaries that they used to have between work and home and, and a number of other things, and they’re sleeping worse. So it’s kind of depends, but two different types of impacts on people.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 18:46
Yeah. Do you find that with with your clients? Are there some Is there a particular industry where you seem to find more people from that that kind of work? Come to you then say another occupation?
Elina Winnel 19:06
Oh, yeah, there are. I’d say it’s more that there are patterns that come out tending on the type of industry so so definitely notice that there are certain industries I work more with because I’d say that these there’s probably more pressure put on certain industries. Yes, but, but in particular relevance to your audience. You I’m sure you have a lot of creatives list. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yeah. So a few common patterns I find with creatives. Often, a very common pattern is they like to stay up late because they have time. Yeah. So there’s certain things to be addressed around that. What else they can often a creatives can often be very emotional. personalities,
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 19:58
you can say highly strong But
Elina Winnel 20:04
Well, yeah, interesting. Some of them are highly strung, some just feel a lot. And so it’s like, So couple of things around this is like so going to bed late it might be working with, okay, how do we find creative time during the day, so you can still get to bed early, like really identifying how it serves him to go to bed later. And then shifting that or accepting, that’s the way it is. And just making sure that there’s quality sleep, you know, and you allow yourself to go to bed later and get up later if that’s the choice make. So that’s one area that can often come up with creatives. The emotions, it would be sometimes it can be around, like working or working with people so that the emotions don’t bleed out and affect everything. Yeah, keep retained to what’s actually going on at the time. Because Because our emotions absolutely affect our sleep. You’ve got to remember emotions are energy in the body. And so our energy patterns will affect how we how we sleep. Yeah, so yeah, there are particular areas for creatives.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 21:19
And what about demographic and gender? Do you find there’s a certain age group or more men or women that come to you?
Elina Winnel 21:31
Generally speaking, there be a few more like probably around two thirds women 1/3 Men, reflected in statistics as well. Women don’t actually sleep as well as men do. At least that’s what the statistics say.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 21:45
Yeah. I was going to say that perhaps men may not seek help the way that women do because men are not good at going to the doctor, etc. A lot of things as mamby pamby.
Elina Winnel 21:59
Yeah, exactly. Yeah, I definitely think that plays a part. In terms of ages, look, sleep affects all ages. So the majority of my clients would be between 30 and 50. So but it affects people of all ages, women, so as a generalisation, so this isn’t true for overall men, women tend to struggle more with falling asleep, men struggle more with waking up during the night. So yeah, some of those patterns are interesting as well.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 22:36
Yeah. So let’s go into some myth busting. Before we go into some of the problems, like we’re going to dig deeper regarding the problems associated with lack of sleep. But there’s so many myths. And I don’t know, what’s a myth? And what’s the truth? So yeah, example, caffeine, before bed, what’s the general rule of thumb around that.
Elina Winnel 23:04
So anything that is going to stimulate your system, you it’s, it’s helpful to sort of avoid that in the lead up to bedtime. But I just want to say this is it’s more a symptom of what’s going on rather than the cause. So the biggest myth that I I find around sleep is that if that hour or two before bed affects the, the ease and quality of your sleep, and whilst it does play a part, it is a very small part. So it’s our entire day that affects the quality of our sleep. So yeah, sure, you can cut out coffee or reduce coffee. And, and that’s definitely important, but he’s just one, I would say, often small factor, relative to the bigger picture. So if someone is drinking a lot of coffee, usually there’s someone who pushes themselves who’s trying to achieve a lot. He’s working on stimulating their systems, there’s a whole there’s a whole range of things. That, you know, maybe there are some beliefs that need to be changed, or maybe the person needs to look at working on being more than doing all you know, all of
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 24:18
that yes, in that sense. Because if someone’s wanting more caffeine, and they believe that they need that energy, they must be pushing beyond their natural energy levels.
Elina Winnel 24:32
Exactly. Yeah. But
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 24:33
thought of it that way. So it’s a nullity type or characteristic or a situation
Elina Winnel 24:42
exactly and in our society cultural as well because insists on doing and achieving in our culture and you know, pushing yourself yeah, a lot of my clients their to do lists are so long and it’s like, whoa, welcome to my world. But what did you get some time out to just be in rely? Yeah,
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 25:08
yeah, yeah, yeah. Well, I found the only way to do that is to schedule it in your, in your planner. And in your diary is to block out time for exercise or for a walk or whatever it is because otherwise it doesn’t happen. You have to really schedule it, don’t you? And then there’s a situation of food. People say that if you have carbohydrates before bed. And some people when they wake up in the middle of the night, go and hit the fridge thinking that that’s going to help them sleep. So what’s the association then? With food and sleep?
Elina Winnel 25:54
Yeah, so first of all, I would say it’s, I in an ideal world, but we don’t live in an ideal world. But in an ideal world, you want to avoid read a couple of hours before bed, and especially liquids, so you don’t need to get up and go to the bathroom at nighttime. Food can often be an emotional comfort people, it can help people have a dopamine rush or feel good, which helps them to get back to sleep. So again, it’s symptomatic of other things going on. So I would encourage people to actually look at, you know why they need to eat so close to bed? And are there some things that can be changed around that? Yeah, sure. Carbohydrates can help but they’re not necessary should not be necessary to be able to sleep well. Yeah, this thing missing if that’s necessary to have a good sleep.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 26:48
Yeah. And, like, for me, my thing that gives me a bad night’s sleep is alcohol. So for example, if I have more than what I would usually have only drink a couple of nights a week. But just say if I’m having a good time, and I have a glass or two more than what I would usually have, because celebrating or whatever. I go into a deep sleep the first four hours. Then, from that point on, I’m in and out of sleep. So I had that really deep sleep. And then I go into this, like, dozing for the next four hours. Yeah. Has there been any research around that? Or is that a thing?
Elina Winnel 27:39
Yeah, basically, alcohol changes out what we call it sleep architecture. Cycle is different. So it takes us away from what the ideal sleep architecture is. Yeah. So often, it will help people fall asleep, but it’s not ideal. Really, for good night’s sleep. Yeah, no,
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 27:59
no. I mean, I can have a stomach full of carbohydrates. You know, that wouldn’t worry me. But yeah, the alcohol is the thing that really disturbs my sleep. Yeah, yeah. And then I hear like, some people say that they sleep better with the room temperature. At a certain there is an actual, like, temperature, and I know, safe for me once again in winter, when when it’s cooler, and I’m under the blankets. I sleep so much better than saying summer when I’m sleeping on top of the blankets.
Elina Winnel 28:40
Uh huh. Yeah, right. Okay. Yes. So I mean, we do sleep better when we’re in a cooler temperature. So I think it’s around 15 and a half to run 19 and a half degrees Celsius is the ideal kind of range. But also, it’s partly because the more relaxed we are the cooler we are. First chicken or egg, right? So it’s like, you know, if you’ve done a really deep meditation, do you notice how you get cold? Have you ever noticed that is because when we relax our body temperature drops. So and when we’re stressed out, body temperature rises, so it’s chicken or egg, you can help yourself relax by cooling yourself, that can actually happen if it starts to switch on the parasympathetic nervous system. So cooler temperatures definitely help with better sleep for the majority of people, not everyone. So definitely making an effort to have a relatively cool bedroom can help. Yeah, but I also encourage people not to get too fixated on the physical side of things. Because if there’s one thing if I had to pick just one thing, I don’t like to pick one thing. If I had One thing that affects our sleep more than anything else, it is our nervous system. So it’s like a really, really want to encourage people to start to become aware of what’s happening in their nervous system. Are they in a stress response or relaxation response? So, in other words, are you contracting and tight and tense in a state of stress? Are you expanded open, relaxed? You know, it’s like, start to watch that during the day. Because the more in balance that is, the better people will sleep? Yeah, then you don’t have too much work on the room temperature. You’re doing it internally.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 30:37
I love this, because it’s kind of mythbusting, all the things that I thought. So what you’re saying is, these things will kind of be irrelevant. If we’re in that kind of more relaxed mode that as you call it, that expanded mode, then it doesn’t matter so much. Exactly. Yeah. Well, people can’t blame all this. So if you’re not a good sleeper, don’t blame it on external factors. Yeah, yeah. Okay, one last thing, and then you can tell me what other what mitts you’ve heard. But what about devices and the phone? So people who are on their devices right up until they go to bed? Or they sleep with the phone beside their bed, and all those notifications are going off during the night? Does that impact on sleep? Because I’m just thinking about the dopamine. And you know, those levels, people wake up in the night, and the first thing they do is they just look at their phone thinking that’s going to put them back to sleep?
Elina Winnel 31:50
Yeah, it’s such a good question. And it’s like anything where we can use it to help us or for we can use it in a way that negatively impacts us. So if you use your phone or your device to, for example, listening to a relaxation or, or placing calming music, then great, it’s gonna help you. But if you’re using it in a way that, you know, gets you wound up and you’re working through us in your brain starting to move really fast. That’s not going to help your sleep and definitely the volume is on at night. Yeah. So I would I really would encourage people to move it away from them, have it ideally off otherwise, in aeroplane mode, and only use it for purposes in the bedroom that are relaxing, not stimulating.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 32:41
And yeah, and go and buy an old fashioned alarm clock.
Elina Winnel 32:48
Yeah. Sorry. True. Yeah. Because then you can actually turn your phone off. Yeah, you can better wake up without no alarm. Oh,
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 33:01
well, fair, because I pretty much do. Yeah, very rarely does the alarm go off that I’m not already awake. Because I try to go to bed at the same time and wake up pretty much at the same time. If I have a late night, and asleep in, I find it throws my sleep for the next day. Well, if I have a routine that’s my thing, but I I have to I am very I wouldn’t say highly strong but I am a little wired goes with the territory. And and you know, I have my thing where I eat maybe three hours before bed. I try and disconnect from all my devices two hours before bed and go and I have an alarm that goes off an hour before bedtime to remind me it’s an hour before bed. So I have like a ritual around all this stuff. But that works for that works for me. You know? Yeah, yeah. And I can’t even watch you laugh at this. I can’t even watch a detective show. A murder mystery. Anything with blood and guts. I have to watch shows like The Real Housewives. That is so boring. And so insignificant and so do not stimulate my mind. They put me to sleep. So I have a good night’s sleep by watching that rubbish.
Elina Winnel 34:38
Yeah, yeah. Yeah, this is another interesting sleep myth and I brought that up, Marissa. So a lot of people are told don’t watch television before bed and it’s just to me this is not true. I absolutely agree with you that watching something if people want to watch TV Then as long as they’re watching something that is relaxing or a bit boring or also hacking RAM or or romance, then that’s fine because it kind of helps switch the mind off and gets you into a relaxed state. But if someone’s watching something adrenaline producing, like a murder mystery or something violent, that’s not gonna put you into or keep you awake or give you bad dreams. So, yeah, it’s again, it’s like how we use our technology. It’s what are you watching rather than don’t watch TV?
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 35:32
Yeah, so a show that I was really loving was Outlander. Oh,
Elina Winnel 35:38
yes. Love that I
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 35:40
could, oh my gosh, let’s not get me started. Love, Amy. Jamie, but actually was giving me night I couldn’t go to sleep after watching that even because there was so much suspense and drama, there was never an episode with something. The whole episode was something nice. There was always something bad. And you and so I’d sit there waiting for whatever it was, it was bad to happen. So I would go to bed really wide. So I couldn’t even watch that before bed. That’s how bad I am. But I own it. I own it. It’s okay, I get yet that stress level with me.
Elina Winnel 36:27
And that’s Yeah, and that’s exactly it. Mercer. It’s like you own it. So you’re, you’re aware of the effect it has on you. And then. And that’s one of the things that’s so important with sleep is for people to attune to themselves. So they know what works for them. And what Yeah,
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 36:43
so let’s unpack now, some of those problems associated with lack of sleep. So I’d like to go into the physical, the mental, the emotional, you talk about the spiritual as well. So what happens? In terms of the physical? What are some of the things that can go wrong with our bodies? If we don’t?
Elina Winnel 37:09
Wow, okay, well, so it comes back to the general principle before breaking down. So on a physical level, we are not healing so our organs aren’t healing like they need to. And muscles and bones are our brain, it’s, it’s not getting the the regeneration it needs. So on a physical level that can cause anything, you know, like muscle atrophy, or so if you have a good workout at the gym, and you’re not sleeping, well, your muscles won’t have the time to recover and regenerate, which is what is actually going to gym for you. It’ll it’ll affect your digestion, it will affect the function of your organs. If you have an illness, you won’t get the time to physically repair overnight. Like quite literally impacts everything that’s on a physical level.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 38:10
So sorry, in terms of the physical level, then is that then can we liken it to a car. So a car can keep going, like go and go and go, but eventually the motor is going to just conk out, because it’s just not going to make it anymore.
Elina Winnel 38:32
Absolutely, exactly. So it’s like driving a car and your foots on the accelerator. And that’s it. As opposed to sleep is like when you take it to the mechanic you get your service you you fill up with petrol, you know, all of those very things. Give the car clean,
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 38:50
or Yeah. And so even when it comes to sleep, then like if people don’t sleep properly, are they at higher risk of injuring themselves like having a workplace accident or a road accident.
Elina Winnel 39:09
So this is on the mental level A because some of the things that are really affected to our memory is affected. So because overnight, we that’s when things are moved into our memory, it’s like the filing occurs during our sleep so our memories affected. So if people don’t their memory is poor, it can be because of poor sleep, our concentration is affected. So it can be very difficult for people to concentrate the next day. And also our response times are affected. So exactly what you’ve said that can cause accidents at work, it can cause accidents on the road. It actually is a huge contributor to yeah to car accidents and I h&s issues. So yeah, absolutely.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 40:04
And I like the fact that you talked about without using the word intelligent, but I did read somewhere that it that it impacts on our intelligence, then it was proven in a in 50 years of sleep research that people who sleep better have more like a better quality sleep are far more intelligent than those who aren’t. So I I apologise in advance if someone is a bad sleeper. I’m not calling you dumb.
Elina Winnel 40:40
Oh, yeah, really interesting point, Marissa. So one of the things that happens when we sleep is the left and the right hemispheres of the brain integrate. So I would say it’s more about our capacity to use our whole brain rather than half about brain. So people are usually dominant in one hemisphere creatives, often a more right brained, analytical type people more left brained. So the more good quality sleep we get, that’s the time when our brain crosses over and really integrates. So from that perspective, yes, we are more intelligent If we sleep better.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 41:21
Yes, Lou. And interestingly enough, this this research affirms what you just said. And because it was across all industries, it wasn’t just necessarily people who were in a specific job. It was people across all occupations. So both sides of the brain, just doing Yeah. Okay. Now that the emotional, and I can tell you from my perspective, and this is a little incident that I’ll use, because it’s a funny thing. My daughter is a dancer, and she was dancing at a, an a Stanford, and I had to fully sequence along like a full length unit hard for her. And it was individual, individual sequencing and are supposed to have helped that person bailed on me. And I was left to do this, and I literally had all night to get it done. And I ended up staying up till five in the morning. sequencing, I had to be up at six. So I took my daughter I did a hair and makeup, she was only like about 10 At the time we get to this a Stepford. Someone just to I knew just said, asked me how I was. And I burst into tears uncontrollably, without even, like, it was just a response that I had no control over. And I and it’s happened to me that if I don’t sleep well, or go into a deep sleep, or if I’m sleep deprived, I am a mess, like I cry at the drop of a hat. Is that a thing? Or is that just me?
Elina Winnel 43:10
It is a thing? Yeah. Because we heal not only physically and mentally overnight, but emotionally. So one of the roles about dreams is to help us figure things out emotionally, right? If you’re not getting enough sleep, we don’t get that emotional healing overnight. So from that perspective, yes, we will be more emotional. And also it affects our hormone production and how imbalanced our hormones are. So overnight, we regenerate and heal on our hormonal level as well. Which means that we wake up with more serotonin in our system and more happy feel good hormones. So if you haven’t slept well, there, there will be less of those, which will mean we’ll be grumpier will be more irritable. There’s a lot of things that affect how we interact with others. Yes. Yeah,
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 44:11
yes. So probably explains the relationship with my mother in law. No she doesn’t listen to this. You know, my mother in law don’t tell her what about depression and anxiety and the correlation with sleep, lack of sleep?
Elina Winnel 44:40
Yeah. So it’s again, it’s one of those things it’s chicken or egg because sleep affects depression, anxiety and depression and anxiety affects sleep. So I always suggest to people you know, tackle it on both ends, you know, work on the sleep as well as work on the depression or anxiety or both. So What I tend to find, definitely in my practice, I get more people that struggle with anxiety whose sleep is affected than depression. Even though both anxiety and sleep, anxiety and depression affects sleep, often anxiety will prevent sleep, whereas depression will often cause too much sleep. It’s like people don’t want to get out of bed, you know? Yeah. So with anxiety, essentially, is the flight response. Right? So you know, you’ve got your fight and flight response. Yes. So someone is anxious, they’re in that fight or flight response. Now, what it’s very difficult to fall asleep if we don’t feel safe. So if we’re in fight or flight, we don’t feel safe, that it’s a survival response to not go unconscious, because we’ve got signals in our system that we’re not okay. With, we’re not safe. So of course, it’s yeah, we won’t fall asleep or less likely to. And that’s meant to help us. But when it’s happening long term, obviously, it’s detrimental. Yeah. Yes.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 46:07
makes so much sense. This is amazing. Thank you. Now, can we train ourselves for better sleep?
Elina Winnel 46:19
Oh, absolutely. Yes. Yes, we can. Yeah, ask me.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 46:23
Oh, okay. Yes, I want to know, because there are the conventional, there are the conventional methods that you can go to, to your GP, and they can prescribe you with sleeping pills. And I did have a time where I was having, going through a personal tragedy, and I was prescribed sleeping pills. And I would only take a quarter of a pill, I’m only a small person. And I would take a quarter of a sleeping pill. And I was knocked out for 24 hours just about like I could not. So they will no good for me. Hmm. So like, I don’t I don’t agree with them. But I would not tell someone that who’s been prescribed by their GP to take them. So what are the things that we can do? If we come to you? How can you help us.
Elina Winnel 47:26
So I take a very holistic approach to sleep. And you would have heard me speak multiple times in the conversation to today about mental physical, emotional energetic, so to me, it’s important to look on those, all of those different levels to really help us get good sleep. And just on the sleeping tablet thing, before we move on. It is creating like a fake type of sleep. So you know, if your doctor prescribes them, and in the short term, they may help some people but longer term, it’s not helpful for people to sustain that. So yeah, so looking for a natural solution, I would encourage and so when we were talking about sleep myths before, so when people read that information out there in the media, it’s usually focusing on those physical elements, you know, cut out coffee, go to bed at the same old habits.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 48:25
Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. But for people
Elina Winnel 48:29
who are really struggling with sleep, it’s just not enough. They’re very, it’s very simplistic that advice. So. So there’s more to do. So I would say, like I mentioned, for number one thing is really working on the nervous system to bring the nervous system into balance. Now, what affects our nervous system? So the way that we think and the way that we feel will be two of the biggest things that affect our nervous system. So let me give you some examples. So a lot of my clients will catastrophize like, think about the future and all of the things that may go wrong in the future. Yeah, of course, that does is it creates stress hormones in the body to be able to deal with that threat, which doesn’t actually exist in the present moment. It’s a perceived threat. Right? So that’s an example of how our thinking patterns can affect our nervous system and hence our sleep. The way that we feel will affect our sleep. So if someone is what’s an example, so you mentioned before loss, so let’s say for example, someone’s grieving the loss of a loved one or head or something like that. Then what’s important is to move the energy through the system. So it’s not you know, in our society we are taught to suppress so much yeah, and allow the emotion to move. So again, the nervous system comes back into balance because it gets stuck energy in the system. It’s and it’s no longer emotion, energy in motion, but rather stagnant energy, we don’t sleep as well. So it’s because it affects our nervous system. So the way we think and the way we feel will affect our nervous system which affects our sleep. So actually, something that might be of interest to the people listening right now, your audience, if they believe this is not necessarily relevant, then I’d like to invite them to do a little test. Okay, cool. I’d like a test. Yes. Great. All right. Place the hand on the upper chest and on the belly. Any okay? Yeah. Yeah, any hand it’s fine. It’s really just to notice where you’re breathing into. So I invite everyone to just take a moment, just notice. Are you breathing more into your upper chest? Are you breathing more into your belly? And don’t control the breath? Just allow it to do what it was naturally doing before? Or are you holding your breath? A lot of
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 51:06
I do that. I notice that when when I’m feeling a little uptight. I am holding. Yes,
Elina Winnel 51:14
yeah. Yeah. So if if people are noticing now that they’re breathing shallowly, high and fast in the upper chest area, that’s usually a sign of stress or anxiety. If they’re breathing into the belly area, then great, okay, that’s more relaxation. If they’re holding their breath, that’s more like the freeze response. And that’s, I hate to say this Mersa, but probably the more extreme of the responses. Yeah. And a lot of my clients are breath holders. Yeah. Or shallow breathers? Yeah. Yeah. So these are signs of what’s happening in our nervous system. So I’m not saying that is the cause of poor sleep, but it’s an indication of what’s happening in the nervous system, which affects our sleep. So you can also check it. So that’s one little test another is to check in with your muscle tension
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 52:06
or the shoulders are up around the ears. Yes.
Elina Winnel 52:12
Yeah, exactly. Yeah. muscles relaxed, and so we can kind of get an idea of what’s going on for you. Yeah.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 52:24
Sorry, I was gonna say because these things are habitual. And what I do is I set alarm triggers during the day to check in. So every couple of hours and it drives everyone absolutely insane. That’s around me. An alarm goes off, and I just do like a little check in of. Okay, how’s my body feeling right now? That’s just my thing. Yeah, yeah. Because it’s become really important to me, I like to try and improve the quality of life. I want to have more quality of life in every area if possible.
Elina Winnel 53:09
So my question for you Marissa would be what kind of alarm Do you have go off?
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 53:16
Oh, it’s just a phone alarm. Yeah, it’s so fun I wake up to in the morning
Elina Winnel 53:22
but he’s been offering is just you set an alarm to do one that’s gentle and soft and soothing. So that you’re not stuck
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 53:34
sorry, that’s so funny because mine startles everybody it is not it is not common soothing it Yes. Like it’s like a fire alarm I’m gonna try that thank you. Yeah, you can actually
Elina Winnel 53:55
set a change to change the setting so that you can have a song or something that is is your so called alarm, but just that word alarm it’s alarming right and it is so into the stress response for me I don’t wake up with an alarm. But if I but I do put one on just like at the latest possible time just in case I happen to oversleep and that so called alarm is just a beautiful slow relaxing song that gradually gets louder so that I’m not startled awake, but rather I just gradually eautiful slumber Yeah. Otherwise, this stress hormones that just suddenly flood the system and ideally, we don’t want that. Yes.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 54:45
And I’ve heard that that snooze button with that alarm is really bad. Like it’s a terrible way to start the day is to constantly go snooze, snooze, snooze. So that alarm is going off every night. I don’t know. 10 minutes?
Elina Winnel 55:01
Yeah. Imagine all the surges of hormones. The alarm goes off. Yeah,
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 55:07
we don’t need any more of those we have enough.
Elina Winnel 55:12
Exactly. That’s a new thing that many times I’ve probably not getting enough sleep, because otherwise want me to smooth. So there’s another issue going on there. Yeah.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 55:22
Yes. I love how you keep bringing it back to there’s something else going on there. So. So we’ve been basically all the information we’ve been fed is on such a superficial level.
Elina Winnel 55:37
Archer superficial level. Absolutely.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 55:40
Yeah. So what are some of the things that you do with your clients? What are some of the therapies that that you use with your clients to help them with their sleep issues?
Elina Winnel 55:53
Yeah. So if there’s anyone out there listening, who has tried lots of different things, and nothing has worked, I hear this from person after person, I really want to reassure them that it is possible for anybody to sleep well again, and people when they’ve tried so many different things often start to think, oh, there’s no hope. But there is. There’s some of the some of the things I work with. Just to help people get an idea of really what we need to look at to get a better night’s sleep. I will be looking at the nervous system, like I’ve mentioned many times brain waves. So brainwaves, we during the day, when we’re concentrating and we’re active, we’re usually in what we call beta, which is a fast brainwave state. When we’re in deep sleep, or we’re getting really high levels of healing, we’re in a really slow brainwave state called delta. So often people’s brains have forgotten how to shift from the fast brainwave status. So we do work with how to slow the brainwaves down and the ability to move easily between those states. So that deep sleep can be achieved. And sometimes it’s necessary to learn that during the day when you’re conscious so that you can do it when your unconscious at nighttime can’t control what’s going on when we’re unconscious. Sleep mindsets really important. So like you said, with your mother in law, she has this belief that she’s just a poor sleeper will, okay, so if you believe that, then you’re never actually going to be able to work on your sleep. So shifting our, how we prioritise, sleep, and the beliefs that we have around sleep are really important as well. Like I mentioned, a lot of my clients that like they their to do lists are so long, it’s like, hang on, are you prioritising sleep. So sleep mindset, you know, something else that’s really important as well as to have a good sleeps, take, have good sleep techniques. So that look, even the best sleepers will have a night where they don’t sleep that well, yeah, to have a technique ready to use can be really helpful, rather than just lying in bed thinking about all your problems. So you know, people don’t realise the mind is just running and running and running, and whatever thoughts we’re having, affecting the chemistry that’s produced in our body. So having a good and I really encourage body based techniques like slowing your breathing down, really taking your awareness and presence into your body relaxing your body. So having having some good techniques ready can be helpful. What are some other things being able to effectively work with your emotions is important so that you’re not going to bed overly charged, so people who have high anxiety levels or, or high emotional states that haven’t been released from the body, it’s like going to bed with a, so you know, your mobile phone, when it’s fully charged, I get it. If you try and plug it in, and it’s fully charged, it’s not going to charge any more, you need it to be depleted. So that will charge again, right? So so so if we have excess energy levels in the body, because we haven’t released emotionals emotional states or emotions, then we can’t discharge and then get the sleep we need to then recharge. So we want this constant charge discharge charge discharge. And you can’t do that if you’re constantly charged. Yes. So, you know, working on our emotional states is important as well. I’ve given you lots of different ideas. Yeah, sort of general categories that are important to work with for sleep. In terms of a few practical tips to give your listeners that they can start to work on straightaway. I would encourage people to firstly start to notice what they’re thinking about you will you have no idea how much this affects sleep, right? Yes. Are you thinking and I’m just going to put this into broad categories. Are you having negative or positive thoughts? Yeah, if you about what might go wrong, or you know what some bad thing that someone might be thinking about you, well, that’s going to be creating stress hormones in the body. And then when you go to bed at night, your stress hormone levels are going to be elevated. And if you’re thinking about these things when you’re in bed, and that’s even worse, so, so what’s your thoughts during the day, not just at night, but during the day? Watch how you feel in your body? What’s your nervous system doing? Are you breathing high and fast? Are you breathing? Nice, relaxed from the belly area? Are your muscles tight and tense? Or are they nice and relaxed? Is your posture open and relaxed? Or is it you know, curved over and tight. So these so watching these, observing these kinds of things will help us to attune to what’s going on in our nervous system. And help us to know how to bring our nervous system more into balance. So if you notice your breathing high and fast, a lot, take a few moments during the day to just take some nice, big deep belly breaths, relax your muscles, open your posture, put a smile on your face. You know, like even if we’re not having positive thoughts, there’s putting a smile will start to shift the way that we’re thinking. And you can do that. And then as well, I always say to people, you want to do something that passes the smile test in bed. So if you’re thinking thoughts in bed, you want to ensure that they thought that put a smile on your face, not thoughts that are creating tension in your body. So that’s a little trick people can use. Yeah, so there are a couple of things people can start to
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 1:01:44
steal. Yes, yeah. And do use hypnotherapy on yet because you have a few different I see that you do meta coaching, NLP sound healing brain wave it entrainment brain mapping in that’s a lot of different techniques. I don’t know. Other than hypnotherapy, I don’t know what any of them are. Do you use one at a time? Or do you use things in combination?
Elina Winnel 1:02:19
So it will depend on what’s going on for the person. Some people kind of need certain things more than other certain modalities more than others. So Hypno hypnosis Hypno came from, or hypnosis really comes from the word sleep in Greek.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 1:02:42
Yeah, it’s always the Greeks.
Elina Winnel 1:02:44
That’s always the
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 1:02:45
great that the father from My Big Fat Greek Wedding, he was right.
Elina Winnel 1:02:54
The Greek sleep very well, they started relaxed. Well, hypnosis is effectively getting us into a slower brainwave state, which is what we’re in when we sleep. So when someone’s really wired, then hypnosis can help to train the brain to slow down. So with all these different things, I’ve studied your right there’s lots of different things. But it’s really because in my experience, a holistic approach to sleep is needed. You can’t just put up coffee and expect to drink or to go to sleep well. You can’t just go to bed at the same time every night and expect to sleep well. It’s really, really looking at multiple different aspects of our well being that will, yes, allow us to sleep well.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 1:03:43
Once again, it always comes back to holistic, you can’t separate the brain, the the mind, the body, the emotions, the spiritual, it’s everything, isn’t it?
Elina Winnel 1:03:56
It absolutely is. Yeah, any. And that’s one of the first things that often I will work with people through like say, say, for example, a lot of my clients, I’m very much in their head, not all of them, but a lot of them. So one of the first things we’ll do is help I’ll do is help remind them that they’ve got a body to reconnect to the body to start to notice what how they’re thinking affects their body and their nervous system. So yeah, and really start to understand that mind body connection, and for a lot of people, it’s like, sort of revealing, you know, because we can get we’re so trained to be in our head in our society these days. But you’re absolutely very certain is holistic, and it’s like understanding how our whole system works together. Yes, we’ll sleep well. And
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 1:04:45
from what you’ve just said, it’s also finding that balance. Yes, a balance and that what happens in the mind is going to affect the body and body happens in the body is going to affect the mind and the emotions, everything is linked together. So you can’t just work on one aspect. Everything has to be looked at. Exactly, yeah. And it’s honestly everything that you’ve said, is just, I mean, it’s common sense. And I love. I love how you’ve spoken about it. Because it’s, you’ve made it so easy for us all to understand. I really appreciate that. Okay, yeah. So only a couple more questions were, what’s the worst case of chronic insomnia that you’ve ever come across.
Elina Winnel 1:05:46
Marissa, I still haven’t met anyone who had worse insomnia than I did. So sleep naturally, for years, it was so bad. And now I sleep so deeply. And I want to share that because if there are people out there who are struggling, or really want to say, you can restore your ability to sleep well, naturally, I never thought that I would get the sleep back that I have today. And I get such deep sleep. It’s incredible. And I just, you know, to have been someone who literally could not fall asleep to now getting, I would say have a very high proportion of deep sleep during the night, which is very healing and regenerative regenerative. To go from that to that is, is Yeah, if I can do that, then anyone can do it. And so I just say Never Lose Hope it’s possible for anyone but also, you know, reach out and get help, because we’re not experts in everything. You know. It’s, it’s a much less painful process when you can find, not just help, but effective help effective help. There’s also a lot of help out there. That’s not very helpful. But really find someone who can help you, you know, if you start working with someone that’s not really helping you then find someone else.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 1:07:18
Yes. I love that advice. So I would take from that. Don’t go and see someone who’s going to tell you simply to stop drinking coffee, stop eating carbs. Stop worrying about room temperature. All the superficial things and who prescribes you sleeping tablets for the long term?
Elina Winnel 1:07:42
Exactly. Yeah. On Yeah, you want to know you quiz them, and you make sure that they’ve got a more in depth knowledge, the most superficial things, because if they’re relying on those superficial things, then you’ve got, you know, reasonable sleep issues, and it’s just not going enough. So
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 1:08:01
yeah, absolutely. So if you had to offer one piece of advice, and I think we just may have had it there about seeking help. But if you had to offer one piece of practical advice to anybody who is having issues with sleep, even if it’s on a f if it’s an every night occurrence, or occasionally, what would that advice be?
Elina Winnel 1:08:30
I’m gonna say something a little bit different now.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 1:08:34
So I like that already.
Elina Winnel 1:08:39
So I did say seek help but also attune to yourself, really start to listen to yourself, re empower yourself. You know, in our world today, we’ve got apps, we listen to external authorities all we were losing touch with our selves. And the process of sleep, you know, the daytime, we’re in the external world. Sleep is when we come back to the internal world. So build that connection to your internal world again, attune to you, listen to the signals, your body is sending you listen to you, so and listen to you over and above anyone else. Because it’s, you know, if we’re, if we’re listening to people outside of us, yeah, we disempower ourselves, and it starts to send our nervous system out of balance. So really empower yourself and listen to what’s going on for you.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 1:09:45
Yes, I really resonate with that Alina, I. This might sound a little woowoo but I know like, I haven’t had pain relief for years, not a Panadol Nothing for years, right? Because I’ve got to a point where I’m so in tune with my body, I can find the trigger point of where that headache, for example is coming from. And literally knock it on the head. And people laugh at me. But isn’t it powerful when when you are so in tune with your body and your mind that we can empower ourselves, we can heal ourselves. But you have to use your intuition and you have to listen to your body. Because your body will give you those answers.
Elina Winnel 1:10:41
We have such an intelligent design and we get Yes, and all we need to do is remember that and attune to it. So yeah, absolutely. I love that.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 1:10:52
Yeah. Well, look, I just want to thank you so much. This has been brilliant. I appreciate all the information that you’ve shared with us. And I’m sure the listeners are going to love it. I know there’s a lot of people in our voice community that are not good sleepers, because, and they may say, Well, how do you know? And that’s because I receive emails from them at three o’clock in the morning. So I’m not good sleepers. Why aren’t you in bed asleep at that time? I wake up in the morning, and there’s an email that was sent in the middle of the night. And I’m thinking, My gosh, why aren’t you in bed. But anyway, anyway, we’re going to share where people can find you. We’re going to share your website. So if people want to reach out to you, they can. But I just want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. You’ve been brilliant. You’ve been a great sport. And you’ve really shared some fantastic information with us. Thank you.
Elina Winnel 1:11:55
It’s my pleasure. Look, I’m really on a mission to help people to sleep. Well, I believe that if we sleep well and we heal, and we regenerate during the nighttime when we’re unconscious, then we can bring forth our most beautiful gifts to this planet during the day. And so if I can help empower people to do that, then you know, that’s my contribution on this planet. So
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 1:12:19
you’re doing you’re doing a great job. I love your work. Okay, well I’m not going to keep you any longer. You’ve been very generous with your time already. Now you go and have a good night’s sleep tonight. And I’m sure that you’ll be receiving some emails probably from some of the list Yes, we’ll take it easy. Thank you so much Alina. Hey, I hope you enjoyed this episode have a voice and beyond. Now is an important time for all of us to spread positivity and empowerment in our singing voice community. It’s time for you to invest in your own self care, personal growth and education. Use every day as an opportunity to learn and to grow. So you can show up for your students feeling energised, empowered, and ready to deliver your best. Be the best role model and mentor you can possibly be and watch your students thrive as you do. Thank you so much for listening to this episode. If you enjoyed it, please make sure to share it with a friend or a colleague who you think will be inspired by this. Copy and paste the link and share it with the people you think will enjoys listening to this show. Please share it on social media and use the hashtag a voice and beyond. If you would like to help me please rate and review this podcast and cheer me on by clicking the subscribe button on Apple podcast right now. I would love to know what it is you enjoyed the most about this episode. And what was the biggest takeaway for you? I promise you there are many episodes to follow as I’m committed to bringing you more inspiration and conversations just like this one. I’d like to finish up with my final thoughts. Remember that to sing is more than just learning how to use the voice as singers. Our whole body is the instrument and our bodies echo what we feel physically mentally and emotionally. So singing is not just about the voice. It’s about a voice and beyond. Please take care of yourself and I look forward to your company next time