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If I told you there was something that could support an improved memory, moods, and concentration; support a healthy weight and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and type two diabetes, and that this was just the short list of its benefits.

Oh, and that it is available to everyone and completely free…would you want it?

Well, friend, there is such a thing and it’s called good sleep health.

In today’s Tuesday Terrain Talk, I’ll fill you in on the current understanding of the value of sleep when it comes to supporting your health.

By the end of this show, you’ll be armed with valuable resources to help you create better sleep health with a clear understanding of why it’s important to you and how it might be even more important for breast cancer survivors than those who have never had cancer to work on creating good sleep health.

You may want to put an end to those late-night Netflix binges and start planning some regular early date nights with Mr. Sandman.

 Watch the full episode on my YouTube Channel

Referred to in this episode:

Better Than Before Breast Cancer Life Coaching Membership

#74 The Healing Power of Sleep and What Happens when Sleep Goes Wrong-Part 1

#75 The Healing Power of Sleep and What Happens when Sleep Goes Wrong-Part 2

Harvard Sleep and Health Education Gateway

Sleep and Health Education Program

The Symptom Cluster of Sleep, Fatigue and Depressive Symptoms in Breast Cancer Patients: Severity of the Problem and Treatment Options

Sleep Disorders and Sleep Deprivation: An Unmet Public Health Problem

Eight Health Benefits of Sleep



Read the full transcript here:


Laura Lummer 0:00
You're listening to the breast cancer recovery coach podcast. I'm your host, Laura Lummer. I'm a Certified Life health and nutrition coach, and I'm also a breast cancer thriver. If you're trying to figure out how to move past the trauma and the emotional toll of breast cancer, you've come to the right place. In this podcast, I will give you the tools and the insights to create a life that's even better than before breast cancer. Well, let's get started. Hello, and welcome to episode 249 of the breast cancer recovery coach podcast. I am your host, Laura Lummer. And this is our Tuesday terrain talk. Now I know you're going to love this Tuesday terrain talk. Because if you're anything like me, when you were a kid, you hated to take the house. You hated to go to bed early, I can remember when my mom would send me to bed early and I'd lay there I think it's not even dark outside, I would be in some really serious trouble. But probably just my mom was tired of taking care of six kids and we exhausted her. So she was like go to bed. I don't care what you do just go to bed. But it was a punishment, right? We

Laura Lummer 1:15
didn't want to miss out on anything. We didn't want to go to bed early, take naps miss the fun. Fast forward 4050 years here I am 59 years old. And if I have an opportunity to take a nap, oh, yeah, that's a treat. In fact, I do acupuncture once a week. And I look so forward to it. Because I lay there for an hour with these needles in me and I just know I'm gonna get the best nap during acupuncture sounds fabulous. I look outside sometimes. And I say dusk, dark, isn't really just different shades of the same thing. I think it's okay to go to bed now. Right? I have learned the value. And I have developed a tremendous appreciation for the value of sleep, especially over the last few years. And I hope that by you listening to this show, and then checking out some of the resources that I'm going to point you towards one phenomenal, phenomenal research by Harvard health, that you will also develop a tremendous appreciation for sleep, and the simple, beautiful, powerful impact that it has on our overall health. Now, I can remember being that person who said I am asleep on him dead. I hear it from people still to this day asleep when I'm dead. And I have to think that when we say things like that, we truly do not understand the value of sleep, the sleep is this cornerstone this foundation to help. And I know we don't have a great understanding of it. Because medical science is just beginning to get an understanding of it, and to the breadth of it and how much it impacts so many areas of our lives. How much just short term sleep deprivation can have an impact on our ability to remember things, our ability to focus our moods, and how long term sleep deprivation can have really serious consequences to our health, like cardiovascular disease in contributing towards diabetes, and other really serious diseases. And overall, this is just fascinating, that overall long term sleep deprivation people who do not sleep well who do not fix their sleep problems, have a 15% higher risk of dying early of all cause mortality than people who sleep well. 15% You guys 15% is a greater od of death from all cause mortality, then my risk of recurrence for cancer was after my first treatment. I mean, this is a really big serious thing for us to consider. Why is sleep so important? What does sleep do for us? And why if you are not sleeping, seven to eight hours a night? Why? I will tell you that in one of the studies I read released by the US Department of Health and Human Services, it talks about how 20 to 70% so 50 to 70 million Americans chronically suffer from disordered sleeping and how that impairs their ability to function and adversely affects their health and their longevity. But breast cancer survivors have double that rate of sleep disorders. Double you guys. That's huge. And I experienced that firsthand after going through IV chemotherapy, never in my life had I had problems sleeping. And then suddenly, Words with Friends was the best thing in the world, like I was up all night long. And I'm sure many of you listening to this can identify with that. Chemotherapy, stress, anxiety, you know, all the worries that are on our mind, all of that can have a huge and severe impact on our sleep, the quality of sleep, it's called our sleep hygiene or sleep health. And it's really important that we address that. So one of the things that I said in the beginning when I started these Tuesday train talks is that I want to give you simple things, low hanging fruit that you could address for yourself. Now simple doesn't mean easy. And we're going to talk about why changing your sleep habits maybe aren't easy for you. And this is all going to come back to the thoughts we have about it the stories we tell ourselves how we can change that and educate ourselves. But sleep issues can be addressed and can be fixed, it's going to take some attention, it's going to take some work, but you know what you can do it. And you could do it at no cost. It's just a matter of changing habits. And we're going to talk about that there are so many things that we can do without a really high price tag that are so powerful, and can serve us so well. That I kind of like to say, you know, try these things. First, you know, before we go to things that are more extreme, or may have toxic side effects on us or spend 10s of 1000s of dollars, maybe we try some of the things that just require us adjusting our lifestyle and see how those work for us. Now, I certainly do not mean to say that anything you're going to hear on this show should replace medical advice. Or if you're working with a doctor that you should stop working with a doctor. Absolutely not. That's not what I'm saying. I'm saying if you're just saying, oh, gosh, that's so frustrating, I can't sleep or I have insomnia, talk to your doctor about it. One of the things that I came across in so many articles and studies that I read in preparation for this show, was that people just accept sleep deprivation, as if it's just the way it is. I'm just stressed or this is just the way it's been. And they don't talk to their doctor about it. So I think it's really powerful. And if you're someone who says, and I hear this, often, I don't want to talk to my doctor, I don't want to take a pill for it. Then talk to your doctor about that. Talk to your doctor about the fact that you don't want to take a pill, ask for what other options there are ask for sleep study, ask for resources. And in fact, there's a link here that you'll see where you're listening to this podcast, to two podcast episodes that I did Number 74 Number 75 with Dr. Stephanie green, on sleep hygiene, and she is just on that train, she is on the sleep hygiene bandwagon because in her own medical practice, she has seen so many people change the direction of their health and make huge, huge changes, which we'll hear about on that show by addressing their sleep. Yeah, and you'll hear all the details there. It's amazing, I highly recommend you click on those links and listen to those two episodes. But I just want to throw this out here at first, I don't have medical evidence. I haven't done a clinical study on this. But I'm just reading these things. And I came across this study published in 2012 by the Department of Health and Human Services, and it's called the symptom cluster of sleep fatigue, and depressive symptoms in breast cancer patients. The severity of the problem and treatment options. And I'm reading this and I'm thinking, Okay, this is really interesting. This cluster idea is very interesting, because in all the clients I work with, and all the breast cancer survivors that I talked to, and in my own experience, we see this interruption of our healthy sleep patterns. I see people struggle with depression and anxiety. And of course, if we're not sleeping well, we're going to have fatigue, but we also often have fatigue from some of the treatments that we do to support ourselves and live our healthiest life. And there's also pain and as pain affects sleep. Yes. So it can be like this vicious cycle. And one of the major impacts that sleep deprivation has is on our cognitive ability, our ability to think clearly our ability to be creative, it affects our moods, it affects our memory, and what are some of the things we talk about after we go through chemotherapy. What do we You're all the time I have chemo brain. And so I can't help but wonder, what is chemo brain? What is this effect we're having? Is this just because of certain drugs and side effects that those drugs may have had? Or is it this cluster, and is there some roots in the quality of our sleep, so that if we can start addressing the quality of our sleep, can some of these other things be improved by that. So again, that is not scientific. That's just me reading dozens of studies and articles and talking about sleep, and hearing the same kind of patterns over and over and experiencing and knowing how we are after breast cancer treatment. Many items, say all of us as breast cancer survivors, but many of us in the cycles that we experienced in the clusters of symptoms that we experience, and seeing how they can all be tied to sleep. So it's an interesting thing to think about and explore and talk to your doctor about talk to a sleep specialist about they're actually now there's so much science going in to the importance of sleep, and their sleep Institute's and sleep studies are becoming more and more common to have, that there are actually dentists now who specialize in sleep hygiene because they can see that even having a narrow windpipe, as you'll hear about in episodes 74 and 75 can have an impact on our sleep and the oxygenation of our body while we sleep, which is super fascinating. Because there are a couple of things that are impacted by sleep deprivation, that we as cancer survivors, or as people's trying to support our body's ability to be as healthy as possible, try to avoid or having consistently high blood sugar. We don't want that right. And yet, glucose, or blood sugar is really impacted by sleep and by inability to sleep by sleep interruptions. In fact, the Sleep Foundation and I'll put a link to that sleep gives a couple of bullet points on their website about how sleep problems affect blood sugar. And I'm just going to give you just a few of those. One is that insulin sensitivity is reduced by sleep deprivation. And that has an impact on our blood sugar. Another is that C reactive protein is increased by sleep deprivation. C reactive protein is an inflammatory marker in our blood. And that also impacts our glucose. inflammatory markers are also increased other inflammatory markers by sleep deprivation, which again have an impact on insulin resistance, which impacts our glucose or blood sugar. And another one is that the time of day that a person sleeps impacts their insulin, and their cortisol levels, stress hormone cortisol levels, right, both of which affect our blood glucose. Now, there are even more issues that sleep problems cause that are talked about on this website. So I'll put a link to that website there for you to go and look at because I think it's incredibly important that you're as well informed as possible. And in fact, sleep disorders are such a problem that Harvard education has an article online that I have a link to, of course, I'm gonna give you so many resources on these terrain talks, because I want you to explore them for yourself, I find that especially when it comes to changing habits, habits in our lives, there's something inside of us we have to get to. And until we get to that thing, and it clicks, it can make it even more challenging to change the way we think about the habit that we want to change. So I offer you lots of resources, because different things speak to people differently. And I encourage you to click on these resources and learn for yourself about them because you might see or hear something in these resources that is really going to speak to you from a scientific perspective and help you make sense of this and maybe implement some of these changes in your life. So I will post a link to this article. But in it I want to share with you that the US Surgeon General Dr. RICHARD CARMONA singled out the public's understanding of sleep disorders and the toll they take as health literacy in our society at its worst. That's pretty major. Right? And the Surgeon General said and I'm quoting here, people who need to know about sleep problems the most are the ones most distant from it. And they do not connect sleep problems with the multitude of issues, including many preventable diseases, which give us a huge disease burden That is really fascinating. He's goes on to say that there's a compelling unmet need for a health care providers, health profession, students and the general public to increase their knowledge concerning the importance of good quality sleep and sleep health. So sleep is not just this inconvenient thing that we have to do. Sleep isn't something that we just put off and get a couple hours here and there if we can. Sleep is something that we can use as a really valuable tool. That doesn't cost us anything that supports our health. So sleep is a priority that we have to look at. And we have to look at our sleep hygiene and our overall sleep health and ask ourselves, you know, if you were to go to bed, on a regular basis, let's say you took a vacation, right, and you go to bed and you never set alarms. We when would your body wake up? What does your body need. And you may find, you know, when we have a lot of sleep deprivation, we build what's called a sleep deficit. And in the beginning, we may sleep even more until our sleep cycle kind of regulates itself. But it's really important that we pay attention to our bodies, and that we notice what our body needs, and that we understand what some of these symptoms of sleep disorders are, as the Surgeon General spoke about. In that article, we may have things going on in our body, that we don't even connect to the fact that we're not sleeping well. And wouldn't be beautiful, if addressing that sleep disorder could support your body's overall wellness and help in those areas, too. So I not only am going to give you links to these articles. But in doing this research, I found a amazing course that was put together by Harvard education. And it's called sleep and health education gateway. On this website, you will find an entire course on sleep and health education, it is totally free. And it goes through many modules that are kind of a docu series style of video that interviews different people in what they do, and where you hear from different medical professionals, some articles that you can read through it. But it talks about the importance of sleep and healthy sleep, why you have to get sleep, how it affects your body and your health, how it's detrimental to your health, how it's beneficial to your health. And then it goes into how do you get sleep? How can you change your habits so that you can get better sleep, it talks about Insomnia, Sleep Apnea, and even narcolepsy, it is a incredibly valuable resource. And I'm so glad that I came across it. So it's funny because as I looked at it, I thought, okay, there was a lot of stuff in this course that I could talk about on this podcast. But why? I mean, it's such a great resource, and it's put together so well, that I honestly think it's totally worth you just clicking on and going through and listening to these short videos or, you know, binging on them, and you will learn a tremendous amount. And I think Harvard did an amazing job of putting this course together and it's free. Right? So again, we come back to this idea of how do we support our terrain. And a lot of times we just dismiss it by saying it's too expensive. You have to do all these expensive things and get all these supplements and pay for all these alternative cared, but that's not true. There are so many things that you can do to support your health, that don't cost a thing. And that are just a matter of adjusting your lifestyle. We've been talking about them for weeks here on the show. And the beautiful thing is that they are within your power, you can make these changes. And in making those changes, you may see some tremendous benefit for yourself. And wouldn't that be wonderful? So we take back that power over our health, we put ourselves in this beautiful driver's seat of saying, wow, you know what, I live with this fear or this anxiety or this worry about getting cancer, and I hope from one doctor's appointment to the next and one scan to the next and one blood test to the next and everything's gonna be okay. But it's almost like, but I don't have anything to do to control it like there's nothing that I can do is just wait for the test and see what the test tells me. But you can see that that isn't true. There are so many things that you can do. And I would say that starting with sleep is one of the most important because if you can start to develop good sleep habits, and you know I think that good sleep habits can be beautiful, experienced Whew, good sleep habits can be lovely, like having a sleep routine. And I remember when I was studying Ayurveda, this was one of the lifestyle practices that was so focused on and so important. And no, this was back in the mid 2000s. In 2005 2006, I was learning this and talking about the routines, a bedtime routines, and having the same routine and how it affects the brain and how it calms the body to have a specific routine and a consistent bedtime. And I thought, wow, that just seems like such a simple thing. And of course, it didn't have any clinical studies behind it. It just simply had evidence from 5000 years of people using area of data to support their health behind it. And to me, that's a pretty significant resource, right? But it's the it's beautiful in that you can take that time for yourself, you know, you can decide, hey, this is my sleep routine, and it's enjoyable. And yes, of course, it's going to include what washing your face and brushing your teeth. But maybe it's a warm oil massage on your lens. Maybe it's rubbing some lavender essential oils on the soles of your feet. Maybe it's listening to a calming meditation, doing a few deep breaths, reading a real book, a paper book, like get a book light and read a paper book, and not having noise and blue light and just experiencing true calmness. You know, it's so interesting to me, because at one point, when I was really struggling with sleep, as I said, after my first treatment for breast cancer, I realized that I had started to develop a fear of going to bed, because it was so difficult to get good sleep, I started to dread it. When bedtime would come up, I think, Oh, God, here we go again. And I realized, actually, through coaching, I realized that I had to change the way I was thinking about sleep in, in and of itself, that I had to change and develop this belief that I could get restful sleep again. And then I explored what things that I find restful, what things I find calming. And how did I want to work on my own mindset around getting sleep to support my ability to calm down, be calm, and not to have anxiety just at the idea of going to bed? Right? And trust me, I took care of that. But I had to really recognize that at first I had to become aware of that. Because if we go through the misery of sleepless nights long enough, we start to slip into that mindset that this is how it's always going to be. But I can assure you, that is not how it always has to be. There are many, many steps you can take. And so I encourage you to check out that public education course on sleep through Harvard education, amazing. And I encourage you to just examine your own thoughts when it comes to sleep. What do you think about sleep? Do you think it's important? What would you need to know? In order to convince yourself that sleep was really important? What things do you see in your life? Would you experience on a daily basis that you think you know, it, this might be related to me not sleeping as much as I need to. And maybe you don't even know how much you need to sleep. Maybe you're one of those people that you'll see on this course is like I get by on for hours, because that's what I do. And then you've done it so long that you just accept it and think that this is just the way it is this is my new normal. And we have to make sure that we don't let ourselves slip into those belief systems, that looking at a change in our body. And in the way that our body works for something as significant as sleep health, that if it changes because of a medical experience that we've been through, that we're careful not to accept that as normal, but to recognize something has changed here. And there's an overall feeling of unwellness attached to it. And it's deserving of attention. All right, when it comes to sleep, it is deserving of attention. So I hope you check out the links that you'll find here in the show, please check out the course from Harvard. And let me know what you think about it. Come and find me on Facebook. I

Laura Lummer 24:34
have a free Facebook group called the breast cancer recovery group that's open to breast cancer survivors. And you can always DM me, Laura Lummer, the breast cancer recovery coach on both Facebook and Instagram. I would love to hear what you think of the course. Leave me a message and let me know. Let me know if you found it to be valuable for you. I hope so. All right. And if you need overall support works with the way you think about these things and the way you think about your lifestyle and how you address your lifestyle and how you even begin to take those first baby steps towards changing and and supporting yourself. Come and join me in the better than before breast cancer life coaching membership, because this is the stuff I love to do. I'd love to support you and help you work through this and give you the coaching and guidance that it takes to really create long term sustainable change and to be able to support the terrain of your body. All right, I will talk to you again soon. And until then get some good sleep my friends.

Speaker 2 25:40
You've put your courage to the test laid all your doubts your mind is clearer than before your hardest phone wanting more. Your futures Give it all you know you've been waiting on



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