How to Coach Clients on Sleep: Nick Lambe


Mike (00:02):

My clients are training hard and eating right, but they’re not getting results. Could it be a lack of sleep? Chris Cooper talks to sleep coach Nick Lambe about how you can help members get more Zs. This is Two-Brain Radio.

Chris (00:14):

Hey, everybody, it’s Coop here. And today I am joined by Nick Lambe, the online sleep coach. And I recently just met Nick by luck. But for years, we’ve been talking about the SEMM model, sleep, eat, move, manage, and how these are the four pillars that we need to be helping clients attain and improve if we want to improve their healthspan, their lifespan and their fitness. Unfortunately, there are very few people talking about sleep outside of a clinical setting. Like nutrition, like exercise, a lot of people don’t seek help until they’ve got an acute problem. Doctor. I can’t sleep. Doctor. I’ve got sleep apnea doctor. I can’t even, you know, I feel exhausted all day, whatever that is, they seek medical help and now more than ever, people are turning to Google for help. In fact, the search results for sleep far outnumber the number of search results for exercise fitness and nutrition combined. So today Nick is gonna talk to us about how do we coach sleep, why it’s important and give us some very specific tactics that we can use to help our clients improve their sleep and thereby improve their fitness and thereby improve their health. Nick, welcome to Two-Brain Radio.

Nick (01:27):

Thank you for having me, happy to be here.

Chris (01:29):

Oh, I’m really excited Nick, because you know, a lot of us know that we should be encouraging sleep. That it’s part of fitness, but we don’t know what we should be telling our clients, how we should be measuring improvement or any of that other stuff. So I’m excited to get into it with you.

Nick (01:44):

Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. You know, like you said, there’s a really big void that exists in the industry. And you know, for the longest time, you know, coming up in the industry, I heard the three pillars of health talked about, right. And it was exercise and movement, nutrition and sleep. And we see obviously how much emphasis and attention is given to exercise and nutrition, how many education opportunities are available and how much it makes up our coaching process with clients, and sleep lacks behind, significantly. And that’s, you know, for a variety of different reasons that we can obviously dive into, but yeah, a large part of my emphasis and focus right now is to raise more of that attention and awareness and really provide coaches some practical strategies that they can implement into their coaching process so that they can actually address it.

Chris (02:31):

I love it, man. So what drew you to this calling?

Nick (02:35):

Yeah, absolutely. So I’ve been in the industry for a little over a decade and the majority of my career was actually spent working in the rehabilitative setting. So thought I was gonna go to physical therapy school, so was spending most of my time working in PT clinics. So working as a trainer and coach in PT clinics and kind of that collaborative setting. And so really became enamored with what went into predisposing somebody to injury versus somebody else, and also what impacted their recovery times, right? Why were people doing very similar interventions and, you know, being equally compliant and doing all the things that they were supposed to, but there being all these outside variables that impacted their recovery times and, you know, taking a deep dive into that. One of the things that I of course came across was sleep. This thing that we spend a third of our lives doing and just really became fascinated with everything there was to know about sleep and to the point where I actually started providing it as a separate service, where I was working at the time, started doing some online sleep coaching and it just kind organically grew in a lot of ways.

Nick (03:36):

And then as I found myself in a position to mentor other coaches and talk to other coaches, I realized that there was just nothing in the industry that really focused on how to do this, right? Like we said, how to actually implement this into a coaching process. And so just started giving some presentations on what it was that I did in my process. And again, just realized that there was this huge void, because if I think about all the things I had to learn about sleep, a lot of it was just through my own trial and error and experience and sifting through probably hundreds of hours of research and seeing if there was things that I can glean. And so again, just decided to create a resource and provide education to kind of bridge that gap and provide some practical resources because they didn’t exist. And even now as sleep becomes more prevalent, becomes something that everybody understands a bit more, it’s still coming from the world of sleep science. And that’s tremendous. They’re the ones who are doing the research and connecting the dots, but they’re not the ones who are in the trenches having to actually practically coach this up. Right. So there’s this disconnect that also exists between the sleep science world and those of us who, again, are in the trenches, working with people on a day to day basis.

Chris (04:45):

Let’s talk about how important this actually is before we get into the tactical stuff. So, you know, on a hierarchy of nutrition, exercise, you know, mindfulness, where would you place sleep?

Nick (04:59):

Yeah, I think I mean, I wouldn’t wanna put it in a place where, you know, I used to do this at the beginning of kind of this whole, narrative of saying that it’s equally, if not more important than exercise and nutrition and I don’t necessarily like to lead with that. Cause obviously we know how powerful those interventions and strategies can be and how pivotal it is in overall health and well-being. But I think when we look at sleep, firstly, let’s just take the fact that an individual spends more time doing this in their life than any other activity, right? More time than working, more time than spending with friends and family, really anything else, right. They spend a third of their lives sleeping. So any one individual activity. And if we think about this from a evolution standpoint, right?

Nick (05:43):

If sleep were not incredibly important and impactful for an individual’s overall health and wellbeing, it wouldn’t have stuck around and wouldn’t have stuck around in the capacity that it is, right. It would’ve been maybe filtered out because if you think about it, you can’t hunt for food, you are not alert. You can’t protect yourself. Right. All of these things from an evolutionary perspective. So for the longest time in the sleep science world, it was how do we find a universal theory that explains why it is that we sleep right. And really have come to the conclusion that there isn’t one, right? It’s a variety of reasons. And it’s the fact that if you think about every single physiological system, sleep impacts it in some way shape or form. And I think as a coach or as a health practitioner or somebody who ultimately wants to impact again, the health and wellbeing of those that you work with and improve their performance, all of these elements, I think you’d be hard pressed to find one lever that you can pull that influences so many things, right.

Nick (06:42):

You know, breathwork is a powerful strategy and different nutrition interventions are powerful strategies. But again, one lever that you can pull that in turn enhances all of these physiological systems. Right? And also the fact that it’s a missing void in a lot of people’s lives as well, right. They already maybe have a lot of options available with respect to exercise and nutrition. But one of the graphics that I always like to share is if you look at Google trends, right, what are people actually looking for in terms of help. People searching for sleep help, they’re searching for those things exponentially more than they’re searching for exercise and nutrition help. Right? And that’s because there are so many people that are struggling and there’s very few practical, sustainable options for them. And then, you know, just from a pure, you know, client goal perspective, if you think about, I kind of break this into the four main categories of goals that people will come with in a fitness context, right.

Nick (07:38):

Improved performance, improvements in overall health improvements in body composition or decreasing pain in some capacity. And if you think about all four of those things, sleep impacts just about every facet of what goes into those things being successful. So if we take body composition for example, right, people come to fitness professionals to look better naked. If we think about overall impact on metabolism and metabolic flexibility, the fact that an individual who’s sleep deprived will take in on average 500 calories more per day, what the body will preferentially do with those calories varies when an individual is sleep deprived. So again, every facet of the very common goals that people will have are gonna be to directly impacted by sleep. And then the last thing I’ll say on this, just kind of goes back to exercise science 101, right. If we think about what it is that we do as fitness professionals, we provide a stimulus, right?

Nick (08:33):

Typically exercise, and that stimulus causes the body to go into a state where it is forced to adapt, hopefully right. And that individual is able to recover from that stimulus and ultimately adapt and get better than they started off as right. Kind of very basic foundational what we’re trying to provide in terms of exercise science or what we do. Right. But the reality is if we don’t take onus of guiding that process of recovery and adaptation, they don’t reach that threshold we want. And in fact, because exercise is a stressor and I think a lot of coaches don’t think about it in this way, we can actually be adding more stress to their cumulative load. And if we allowing them to recover, we can actually be doing more of a detriment in some instances, right. And that’s when I say that I usually get pushed. I’m not in any way advocating that in any situation, people don’t move and they don’t exercise and they don’t load. Right. Those things are always important, no matter what, it’s just the idea that again, we have to take onus of this process of recovery and adaptation if we ultimately want them to get the best possible results.

Chris (09:38):

So I think every coach does want to get their clients the best possible results. Why aren’t we talking about this more?

Nick (09:46):

So there’s a few different reasons. Just kind of in my experience, talking to a lot of coaches, the first is, and this is not an egotistical perspective, but you know why I’ve decided to create resources because there really isn’t a good resource or wasn’t a very good resource that existed that just made it really easy for coaches to learn these things in the way that we have structured programs around exercise and nutrition. Right. I think that’s one element. And then the other element is the fact that because again, most of the information coming around sleep is coming from the sleep science world or from the medical community. There’s this disconnect, right? There’s no bridge between the fitness community and those really advocating and talking about sleep. So sleep science again. Great. And they’re providing a lot of research, a lot of awareness, but their goal is ultimately to sell more of the books that they have, if they have them.

Nick (10:40):

Their goal is to get more funding for research and just promote more awareness. Right? Of course they wanna see people improve their sleep, but it’s more focused on more funding and research. Right? And if we look at the medical community, of course, they’re addressing things more from the standpoint of sleep disorders, which we can talk about out, and those things do exist, but it’s created this narrative that sleep is really not to be dealt with by coaches, right? It’s more of a either medical problem or it’s a sleep science problem. You know, it needs to be addressed via just technology hacks or any of these things and where the big disconnect really lies is in that in experience. And in the experience of a lot of coaches I”ve had the opportunity to work with, a lot of sleep issues are very behavioral in nature, especially those that are chronic and stick around long term.

Nick (11:28):

And if we think about obviously things from a behavioral perspective, we’re gonna be much more equipped to deal with that than any other medical provider, right. Than any MDs or, any other providers. And so, you know, those are just kind of some of the reasons why, and the other, the last thing, and this is something I dealt with a lot in creating the course is scope of practice. And this kind of comes back to the idea of it being perceived as a medical problem that, you know, one of the reasons why nobody really wanted to create a sleep coaching course was because they didn’t wanna broach that topic of scope of practice and kind of get into that gray area. And I mean, the reality is there’s always gonna be gray area and scope of practice, right? Because when we’re having conversations about people’s past and history we’re, you know, playing quasi therapists sometimes, right.

Nick (12:18):

We’re like right on the fringe of, you know, these being deeper rooted things that people are dealing with that maybe they should be seeing a mental health provider about. Right. And from a nutritional perspective, every good coach is at least having these conversations around nutrition, depending on where you live and you know, what your credentials are, how do you toe that line? So I view sleep very similarly. And as long as you really establish the scope of practice and establish where your lines in the sand are and know what your role is in the process, I don’t think there’s any problem with a coach addressing sleep.

Chris (12:49):

Nick, do you think there’s also maybe the problem of hubris, like, OK, everybody should drink five glasses of water and get eight hours of sleep a night. Right. We think that we know all there is to know about sleep and that everybody else does too. So we don’t have to address it. You know, have you seen that come up with coaches that you work with?

Nick (13:07):

Yeah. I think there’s an element of that. You know, look, sleep is not sexy either. Right. Which is sometimes a problem. That’s the reality in the industry. And I think we as an industry and I’ve seen this, we think we know more about sleep than we do, because I think we oversimplify sleep and now, and a lot of instances in the industry, I think we overcomplicate things and I’m sure you would agree with this. Right. And if we just kind of go back to the basics with a lot of things and be really good at those things, we overcomplicate things and you don’t wanna overcomplicate sleep either, but if you oversimplify it, you kind of miss the boat. And so for example, most of the conversations that coaches have with around sleep with their clients, or just in general centers around sleep duration, right?

Nick (13:55):

Maybe the thing that they have on their questionnaire or the conversation, the question that they ask is how many hours a night do you sleep, right. Six, right? And they define healthy sleep in the context of sleep duration, right? You sleep five hours, you’re an unhealthy sleeper. You sleep eight hours. You are a very healthy sleeper, right? The problem with that is multifaceted. One, it doesn’t really capture the whole picture. There is more to sleep than just sleep duration. When you only focus on sleep duration, you’re losing sight of the other pillars of sleep quality in depth, regularity, continuity, sleep efficiency, which isn’t really a pillar, but it’s what percentage of time is an individual asleep relative to being in bed? You know, are they wasting time just lying there, not sleeping. So when you only focus on sleep duration, you’re missing the bigger picture. The other thing, and we can talk more about this is it creates a stress and anxiety for a lot of individuals, this eight hour focus that’s out there in the media.

Nick (15:02):

And that we even, you know, perpetuate a little bit, it creates this idea for people that it’s all or nothing on eight hours that sleep success can only be defined by eight hours. Right. The example I always give for this is, an individual that goes out with some coworkers for dinner and maybe a couple drinks, right. They just have a social outing, right. And they come home and it’s around 10:00 PM. And they know they need to be up at 6:00 AM the next day, whether it’s for work or an engagement, whatever it’s right. And the common intuition, now that person just came directly from eating, being out, right. Being in a more stimulated environment, not really ready to sleep, not in a really good place to just let their head hit the pillow and sleep.

Nick (15:50):

Right. But their common intuition would tell them, well, it’s 10 o’clock. I need to be up at six. So let me just brush my teeth really quick and go to bed. Right. And what ends up happening is they don’t fall asleep right away, more often than not, right. So the eight hours that they were trying to achieve, they don’t get anyway. And now they’re lying in bed for an hour or more. Right. And it creates this association of being in bed awake, which we can talk about how that kind of forms over time. And it’s a real issue, but it creates this stress and anxiety response that builds up over time. And again, they didn’t get the eight hours that they were really after in the first place. And so I would always much rather a person in that situation have a routine, wind themselves down. Even if it meant they got six and a half hours of sleep. I know it would be efficient. And I know it would be a much better quality.

Chris (16:41):

So that’s interesting, you’ve already introduced another, kind of completely different perspective on it, or another lens on sleep that coaches could talk with their clients about. Where do you think that coaches could implement this into their coaching practice? Could they do it with a group? Should they be doing it one on one? How do they measure it? Like, I’d love to hear some of the tactical elements here, Nick.

Nick (17:03):

Yeah, yeah, absolutely. So, you know, I’ve helped coaches do this in a lot of different ways. So I have a course, the sleep and recovery coaching course, an, you know, I’ve had around 750 students go through the course so far, and I would say 20% end up offering this, 20 to 25% end up offering this as a separate service as an adjunct service that they offer to their clients, to their community. And usually that’s in a one-on-one setting, although it’s sometimes done in a group setting. A lot of times I know that the majority of the audience to this podcast is gym owners. So a lot of times if I’m consulting with somebody who owns a facility where they have multiple trainers, they’ll pinpoint or select one or two individuals within their facility, that will be the, you know, the head of that sleep coaching program.

Nick (17:50):

And they’ll be the ones who actually run that, but it’s something that they can now offer to their community as a separate service. And then there is the other say, 70, 75% that integrate the sleep coaching process, or try to integrate the sleep coaching process into what they already doing, to kind of just find ways to fit it into their existing process. What are the things that they can add to their assessment and screening? Do they do a sleep onboarding session at the beginning of working with somebody to make sure that box is addressed? Is it just something that they address more in general and have some referral options available for that individual? Maybe it’s somebody else in the community who does sleep coaching. Right. One of my goals in the future of the course is to bridge that gap or make that percentage of those who actually offer it as a separate service, a little bit higher, right?

Nick (18:39):

Provide more structure and support for those that do wanna offer that. Because I do think there is tremendous opportunity there, right? Not just from the standpoint of this is something of value that we can offer to our clients that will get them better results. But I think also from a business perspective, you know, you can break it down this way, and this is very generally speaking, but roughly half the population struggles with sleep in some capacity and what it means to struggle, everybody has their kind of own definition of this, for some it’s, you know, there was actually a study that was done by consumer reports where they looked at, I believe it was 5,000 middle aged adults. And 80% of those individuals admitted to struggling with sleep at least one night a week. Right? So if you loosen the criteria of what it means to struggle, maybe that number of half the population is a little bit more, if you change the criteria, maybe it’s a little less, but the point is, it’s a large number of individuals, right?

Nick (19:36):

Then you take the fact that the majority of options that are available for people are either sleeping pills that are being prescribed by physicians or hygiene lists and technology, right? So firstly taking the sleeping pills into account, that’s maybe more of a different conversation we can have, but they come with a lot of health risks, and negative health outcomes, especially when taken for long periods of time. There are currently only 7,500 licensed sleep physicians in the United States right now. And there is not an influx of those eager to get into the field of sleep medicine. So that number is going to continue to be a problem. Meaning if we take half of the population, we’re looking at 150 to 200 million people in the United States struggling with sleep and 7,500 physicians that are available for them to provide solutions, right.

Nick (20:29):

Not gonna happen. And then again, if you go on the other side of it, the hygiene lists that are available, the top 10 sleep tips, the top seven sleep tips, these things come with no context or individuality to that person, right. I always liken this to exercise. If somebody came into your gym and said, Hey, you know, I wanna start exercising. I wanna get in better shape. And you just gave them a list of the top 10 exercises and said, Hey, thanks for coming in. I really appreciate it. These are the top 10 exercises we think are really important for your health. Right? Of course we would never do that, but that’s kind of what’s done around sleep. It’s these hygiene lists, there’s technology, products that over promise, right? They, of course, from a business perspective, have capitalized on the fact that people are struggling. I don’t say I necessarily say I blame them, right? If you have a sleep product and you know, there’s hundreds of millions of people struggling, you might exaggerate some things about your product to try and sell more. Right. An so I think the big thing is really that there is a large business opportunity within sleep coaching, within your community, where your gym is right, or even just to service the people that are already in your community already in your network.

Chris (21:46):

How do you market this service to your members? Because I think that a lot of that same overconfidence that coaches have, we all have, you know, like, OK, I know I should be getting eight hours, whether I’m doing it or not, man, you know, I’m wearing a Whoop, an aura ring. I’ve got this other device, a Fitbit. It tells me I don’t sleep enough. OK. Well, I feel fine. I like coffee, you know? Yeah.

Nick (22:10):

I think the biggest thing that you’re combating with this in terms of marketing it to the general population and in terms of creating buy-in from the general population is you are fighting those narratives that are out there and have been out there for a long time, right. Especially in certain circles. So in corporate circles where, you know, the mentality of I’ll sleep when I’m dead or sleep is for the weak, you know, those type of things that believe it or not, those are things that are still ingrained in people culturally. And those are things that people still, believe in a lot of ways. Right. And, you know, there’s always the default of, you know, I’ve never been a great sleeper. I’ve only slept this amount of time and I’ve still been successful, right. Or I’ve accomplished this. I’ve still done that. And, you know, the main message really is there’s a difference between getting by and thriving.

Nick (22:57):

And there’s also a difference in, you know, kind of paying the piper long term, right? And this is something even incredibly successful individuals who have sacrificed sleep over many years have seen how it’s affected them. And if they could change something going back in time, it would be that they prioritize sleep. Right? The idea that by sacrificing sleep an individual would be less productive or less successful is just not true. And we can point to just about every metric of what it means to be productive and what it means to be successful and see it improved by sleep. Energy levels, overall productivity ability to focus, creative thinking, problem solving, all of these things, right? So I think a lot of times when coaches start to market this, they go at it from the angle of maybe the big picture of chronic disease and mortality and all of these things.

Nick (23:52):

And I’ve given a lot of presentations on sleep to the general population. These are not the things that people connect with. And we kind of know this already, right? If people were motivated by the fact that, you know, not exercising and not sleeping well might kill them in a lot less time than if they prioritize these things, we’d be outta business, right. They would do the things they needed to do on their own. Right. And that’s not as much of a powerful motivator. And so I think the same applies to sleep and more of the conversation and emphasis that I ended up having with people is on the things that they experience on a day to day basis. And so one of the more successful things that I’ve done and had other coaches and gym owners do with their community is run sleep challenges.

Nick (24:36):

And having them pick, say three to five subjective values or things in their life that they wanna see improve right now, making a structured program around some sleep interventions that you know, would improve for them and say, really the mindset is, Hey, give me, you know, gimme four weeks on this. And if you don’t see those things that are really important to you improve, I won’t bring this up again. Right. But more often than not, they’re going to see some improvements in how they feel on a day to day basis. And these are the things that are ultimately motivating people, their energy levels, their ability to focus, their mood, you know, people who are sleep deprived and don’t realize it are often more reactive with the people that they care about. Things like that. That again, on a day to day standpoint tend to be more powerful buy-in strategies.

Chris (25:25):

That makes a lot of sense because it would be hard to track like a very specific metric other than just the volume of sleep that you’re getting. Let’s talk about tracking for a minute, Nick, like, so I use an app on my iPhone. I set it down, you know, beside the bed other people are using rings, whoop, like what’s accurate out there and is anything.

Nick (25:50):

So, you know, there’s a lot to unpack with sleep track. The first thing I’ll say is the pros to sleep trackers are the obvious, that they do promote a lot more awareness around sleep, which I think is tremendous. The fact that these wearables and trackers are available, are getting more people interested in sleep. It’s more accessible for them. It gametizes the experience a little bit sometimes, right. It can provide them some contextual awareness around how different things like alcohol or foods might impact their sleep. And so I think all those things are tremendous. And I have a good relationship with a lot of individuals that have created a lot of great products and a lot of, I don’t have affiliation with any of them, but a good relationship. And I think the future of these sleep trackers is really bright.

Nick (26:40):

However, the dark side to this is, this is me putting my coaching hat on. I tend to, for an individual who is currently struggling with sleep, discourage sleep tracker use. And the reason for that is one of the primary reasons that individuals struggle with sleep, especially on an ongoing basis is the stress and anxiety that is built up around sleep. And now if I add something that provides a number, a metric, and just adds another component to the process, I find that it promotes more stress and anxiety for that individual who’s struggling. Especially one of the things that I do from a coaching perspective, one of the key coaching strategies is thought restructuring, right? Coming from cognitive behavioral therapy, how do you help people restructure some of the negative thoughts that they have? And this is very key around sleep because people have a lot of negative connotations around sleep and their own sleep and sleep ability.

Nick (27:42):

And so when you have sleep tracker data, even if that data isn’t necessarily a hundred percent accurate in a lot of areas, I can’t change the narrative on that. No matter what I tell them, that number or not getting the number that they want is ingrained in their head. Right. And I can’t change that. So objective data isn’t always necessarily a good thing. And I think in a lot of instances around sleep, it’s not, and this usually surprises people, right? Because again, these sleep trackers are great. They promote awareness. I think you have to really look at the individual that you’re working with and know, are they somebody who is motivated by having data and more information, right? Certain individuals in the athletic population, they do really well with this, or are they somebody who is going to hyper obsess about these numbers and it’s gonna create more stress and anxiety for them.

Nick (28:31):

Right. The other element, you know, that you mentioned is the accuracy piece. And again, the future is bright and they’ve already come a long way. Even in the say, five years, I’ve been in the sleep space five, six years. So they’ve already come a long way and they’ll continue to improve. But currently I break this into tiers. And so tier one is sleep duration, estimating how much time and an individual is actually asleep. And I think the vast majority of them are very good in this area. They do a good job here. The next is differentiating between the two main categories of sleep being non rapid eye movement sleep and rapid eye movement sleep. Less accurate than just solely sleep duration. But again, most do a fairly good job here. Where we really start to get into the inaccuracies is in really distinguishing how much time an individual is spending in, you know, non REM stage three versus stage two, for example, this is where it gets a little more muddy, and where a lot of them kind of miss the boat.

Nick (29:39):

So this is where you want to be using this information with a grain of salt a little bit more. Another thing I’ll say is that even ones that are a little bit inaccurate in these areas, they are consistently inaccurate. If that makes sense. So you still they’ll still provide you your baseline. And so if you’re using them to get context around how these things will ultimately impact your sleep, for example, like I mentioned, alcohol or food timing, or exercise timing, stress, you can still do that. You can still get that contextual information, but if you’re basing the big picture on distinguishing these sleep stages, that I wouldn’t recommend. You know, I don’t, I don’t tend to spend too much time talking about each individual one because they all have their own kind of focus. But what I will say is I think this is generally speaking.

Nick (30:38):

So I spend a lot of time doing things with heart rate variability for years as well. And any time a wearable or tech tries to do and focus on too many things and too many variables, I find that each individual variable becomes a little less accurate because they’re just trying to crunch too much data. Right. Whereas the ones that solely focus on that one metric, right? So we take aura ring, for example, they will look at a lot of different physiological variables, but we’re really looking at everything through the lens of sleep. So they tend to be more accurate in the aspects of sleep. Whereas something like a whoop band for example, will tend to be a little less accurate in the sleep variables because it’s trying to do other things, right. It’s trying to focus on other things. And so in terms of the one to use that I find is the most accurate, and again, I have no affiliation with them. I have no link to share. but it would be Oura Ring to this point that would be the preferred preferred method for me. But again, taking into account, all those aspects of, especially as a coach, is this appropriate for my client.

Chris (31:53):

  1. Really interesting. What we find is like, what is the thing that you’re going to use? And that’s usually the thing that’s gonna get us the best data over time, because since none are accurate, at least they’re all, as you say consistently wrong.

Nick (32:08):

For sure. Yeah. So what I should have pointed out is the alternatives to using a sleep tracker, right? Because you do need to have something that you’re looking at with clients. You can’t have this be, you know, fly by the seat of your pants and just, you know, oh yeah. Generally feel better. You do have to have something you’re looking at. And so the two alternatives here are one is a sleep diary. So this is something I use with just about every sleep coaching client in some capacity. There’s a lot of them out there. I have one that I like to use specifically in the course, but there’s plenty of them out there. And what I like about these is you’re still getting information, but again, it’s not promoting as much of that stress and anxiety by just having them fill out some information on a paper versus the wearable.

Nick (32:53):

Right? So it doesn’t promote that same stress and anxiety response and still getting really good information. So key variables on a diary that you wanna make sure that they’ll have, obviously time that an individual went to bed, rough estimate of when they went to, when they fell asleep or when they thought they fell asleep, knowing that might not be the most accurate thing in the world. Any time, amount of times that they woke up in the middle of the night, if at all. And the big thing that a lot of them will have is what are an individual’s thoughts that they have around their time of sleep, right. Going into sleep, and then when they wake up. So again, back to that idea of what are their thoughts and perceptions that they have around sleep, you know, that’ll be something that I always wanna see included on a sleep tracker.

Nick (33:37):

And then if we really just wanna shrink the investment for the person involved, going back to that challenge example, right? It’s just some subjective values that are important to them and that we know are directly tied to sleep. And so usually the big ones here are gonna be energy levels, mood, ability to focus, right? Things like reading the same line over and over, daytime fatigue. And you get some subjective values that you track over time in these things, if an individual is improving their sleep quality, you’re going to see these things improve. Right. That’s not the ideal tracking method, but again, if we’re trying to shrink the investment to, like you said, just get the person to actually do it. That might be a good starting point.

Chris (34:22):

All right, man. That is awesome. Especially because, you know, we have these things, but not everybody does.

Nick (34:28):

Right. Right. Yeah. I mean, especially, you know, when someone’s coming to you for coaching and, you know, paying, you know, if they’re working with you long term thousands of dollars, and then you tell them, Hey, go and buy this, you know, $200 Oura ring or whatever it might be, you know, especially at the onset of them working with you is not always, a great strategy either. So just being able to have a subjective tracker that you’re using with them, even if they want more into the process, down the line, then you can, you know, maybe direct them to a sleep tracker and maybe they’re in a better place by then as well.

Chris (35:00):

One kind of gap that I’m seeing a lot with coaches right now is they will actually prescribe to their clients, like wear a whoop band for three months. Right. And then, so now the coach has new data, but they’re not really sure what to do with it. And so it doesn’t change the client’s nutrition prescription or workout program or anything. Right. But part of that is too that they just don’t underst sleep. So Nick, like, what exactly is your service and how does it help trainers with this stuff?

Nick (35:29):

Yeah, absolutely. And I completely agree, you know, context is everything, you know, this is in part why I stopped giving kind of heart rate variability education because people became so focused on the numbers and how interesting the numbers were. But those things don’t tell you anything, if you don’t understand what was different for those individuals. But within my course and education, whether it’s presentations or anything I give what I’ve really tried to do around sleep and recovery too, kind of lumping that in there. What I’ve really tried to do that was lacking is create a system. I’m big on systems, always have been. I think they’re incredibly important and that’s really what’s been lacking around sleep. We have systems for exercise, systems for nutrition systems for business, but we don’t have systems around sleep. And so my system of sleep centers around what I call the bucket system.

Nick (36:19):

So essentially I have five key buckets. And the goal within the course is to go through an assessment process that allows you to identify where someone stands in these five big buckets or areas. If the bucket is empty, they need coaching attention in that. And if the bucket is full, they don’t need as much coaching attention. And then to provide practical coaching strategies that help fill those buckets with the idea being, if you cover all five of these buckets, you’re really setting somebody up in a good situation from a sleep perspective. Another massive emphasis of the course going back to scope of practice is we have an entire module and talk a lot about the assessment and screening process, right? So making sure you don’t allow something to slip through the cracks, you know, what your red flags are, you know, what your refer out points are, but then obviously having a system, once you get past that and you actually are in your coaching process.

Chris (37:18):

Now that’s great, man. Where can people find out more?

Nick (37:21):

Yeah. So the site for the course, and, you know, all the information as well as a host of, you know, free resources and other things as a practical coaching toolkit, is

Chris (37:33):

OK, man,

Nick (37:34):

You can find me on find me on Instagram, @theonlinesleepcoach.

Chris (37:38):

OK, perfect. I will put all that stuff in our show notes, Nick. Thanks a lot for coming to help out. I think like this was just a complete blind spot for most coaches out there, including me. And, from this, I’ve gained a lot of insight on like why I should be talking about sleep, but also the practical elements of like, how do I do it? So, you know, it’s interesting that you’re like the only one out there that’s really talking about this in practical terms that coaches can use that aren’t just medical practitioners, but I sure am glad that you’re doing it.

Nick (38:11):

Yeah, absolutely, man. Thank you. I appreciate it. And I appreciate you having me on.

Mike (38:17):

Don’t forget to subscribe to Two-Brain Radio for more interviews and stories from gym owners. Now here’s Chris one more time.

Chris (38:23):

Thanks for listening to Two-Brain Radio. If you aren’t in the Gym Owners United group on Facebook, this is my personal invitation to join. It’s the only public Facebook group that I participate in. And I’m there all the time with tips, tactics, and free resources. I’d love to network with you and help you grow your business. Join Gym Owners United on Facebook.


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