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Health-Based Coaching: The Many Dimensions

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Sleep quality relates to what we now know about the four stages of sleep—each of which proves valuable in restoration, reorganization and storage of memories and general capacity to remain alert during the day. Stage three and four (and stage four in particular) are often not found in our sleep as we age, and are suppressed in our sleep if we take sleep-aids (especially strong sleep-aids that we can only access with a prescription)

How do we, as health-based coaches, assist our clients regarding their sleep? First, it is important for our clients to discover their own preferred sleep cycle: when does our body says we are ready for sleep and when does our body say we’re ready to wake up? This cycle differs from person to person and there tends to be a shift to earlier sleep and earlier wake time as we grow older. Having identified the appropriate cycle, we can establish a regular time to go to bed in the evening and wake up in the morning. As coaches we can encourage our sleep-challenged client to abstain from alcohol immediately before going to bed (the wake up six hours later is related to alcohol withdrawal). The other obvious recommendations concern reduced caffeine consumption (none after one [pm]), and early evening meal times (the six-hour digestion period ends resulting in increased arousal sometime during the night)

There are many other paths to high quality sleep. As health-based coaches, we have identified 50 pathways (available to you by request)! The list includes strategies related to sleep preparation (reading, relaxation/meditation, taking a hot shower, identifying three positive things that happened during the day). We have also identified ways to create a sleep-enhancing environment (bedroom temperature, darkness or warm lighting, comfortable bed, pillow, sheets). This list is completed with the identification of many sleep aids (ranging from CPAP and other sleep-inducing machines, to the use of essential oils, melatonin, herbal sleep aids, tryptophan, and over-the-counter sleep aids with and without alcohol or painkillers). A health-based coach can bring this list (or their own list) to the coaching sessions and help their client identify the best for them to use – or better yet devise a plan to test out various options and record the impact on their own sleep duration and quality. Sleep is gold when it comes to health – and sleep should be mined and cherished as if it is gold.

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