4 Sleep tips by Sleep Coach Jessica Rojas
Welcome to this new series of Sleep Like A Boss interviews. Over the next several weeks we will present to you our sleep coaches that are located all over the world.
Jessica Rojas, sleep coach located in Spain talks with Christine Hansen about
4 sleep tips to help improve your sleep
Christine: Hello everyone, and welcome to this episode of Sleep Like a Boss. Today, we have the start of our interview series with the Sleep Like a Boss team, and kicking it off today is Jessica Rojas. She is a fantastic member who is located in Spain (but who's working with people all over the globe, of course) and specializes in our markets in Germany, as she is actually originally from Germany.
We're going to start off with the first personal question about how she got involved in sleep, and then we're going to dive into her knowledge for you today. Jessica, welcome to this interview. How did you get into the area of sleep, and in particular, sleep for grownups?
Jessica: I was a flight attendant for a big German airline for like two decades, 20 years, so not sleeping is my daily bread. I really know how not to sleep, to sleep in hotels, have jet lag, all of this.
So, there was always a struggle with sleep, but really diving into sleep started when I got pregnant with my first son. Not sleeping as a flight attendant was nothing in comparison to having a baby and not sleeping anymore at all. He was a really bad sleeper. So I hired a sleep consultant. I didn't even know that they existed, so this was eye-opening for me. And it worked. They were great, and I was convinced this was something I wanted to do. I always had a passion for sleep because of my background, so I said, "Hey, this is great and nobody knows about it" – well, I didn't, and I wanted to spread the word.
I became a sleep consultant for babies and children, but then I noticed that the adult field is a lot more interesting for me. I did work with babies for four or five years, but then the parents came to me and said, "You fixed my baby's sleep, but what about me?" I said, “I don't know because it's so different.” I really wanted to learn this. Two years ago, I started my journey of becoming a sleep consultant for grownups as well.
Christine: And then you found me. We dove into the nitty-gritty of sleep.
Jessica: Exactly. We got the bigger picture.
Christine: Today my question to you is, while you were learning all of the stuff about sleep, on your own but also in our training together, what are a couple of points that you think are non negotiable for insomniacs to look into?
Jessica: I think especially working with grownups, it's a puzzle. You cannot just see it as black and white as we did with babies. I focus on four areas, and I think if you have any kind of sleep problems or sleep disorder, you always have to look at these four areas.
The first area is physical. If there's something wrong with you physically – do you have a head injury, do you have a disease, a sickness? Maybe your hormones are not right. Maybe there's some dysfunction of your gut. So, there's a lot of areas we have to look at physically.
The second point would be lifestyle and habits. This is big. We all live in a society where sleep is not a priority anymore. We have a lot of habits creeping in. So, we have to really look at our habits and lifestyle. That's the second point.
The third point would be environment. That's something we don't think about a lot, but what is your sleep environment actually telling your body? Is it pro-sleep? Is it against sleep? How is your bed? How is your bedroom? We can have a good look there and can fix quite a lot.
Normally the fourth point would be the mental area, which is huge as well. We all stress, we all have worries. Right now, with coronavirus, everybody is having anxiety and worry. This is not helping. Or sometimes it's our core beliefs as well, so even if we're not stressed and we're okay in general, maybe we had some sleep issues for a while and now we believe we are a bad sleeper. We became what our thoughts initially were. You just want to see what's going on in your mind.
Christine: I actually love that and I want to dive into that last point just a little bit further. We have four points that we need to look at, and I want to take a little bit of a deep dive into that last one. I love that you say that we become the thoughts that we have. When you work with a client and they're talking to you and you can hear that they're already saying, “Everyone else in my family is a bad sleeper” or “I'm just a bad sleeper.” what would be some pieces of advice or exercise that you give them to investigate that thought?
Jessica: This is a process we can do together. It's actually challenging your thoughts, because your core beliefs are there for a reason; your subconscious is always listening to you and tries to make sense of what you're telling it. If you did tell your subconscious for a while, “Oh no, I cannot sleep, and if I go to bed I will need at least two hours to go to sleep,” and then the next night you do the same and it becomes true because you did not sleep, after a while this becomes a universal truth. Now it's like, “This is what I am. It's not a problem I'm having anymore. This is a lot deeper; it's me.”
I can explain this through a client I'm working with at the moment. She had sleeping issues for 23 years, so for over two decades, and the reason it started was a head injury. She had a car accident, and she could not sleep after this because of the trauma. She had something specific wrong with her, but this went away a long time ago – but because she couldn't sleep for a few months or even maybe a year, she developed this core belief that she has insomnia.
When we started to work together, there was nothing stress-wise we could fix. She was happy with her life. She wasn't stressed. There was nothing physically wrong. She did eat well, she did exercise, and her sleep environment was perfect. There was nothing wrong with her, actually, but it was her core belief. We challenged her belief, and it got a lot better. Sometimes we have to dig deep to find out what's happening.
Christine: I agree. What would be some questions that you would ask those people to investigate themselves?
Jessica: First of all, they need to understand: “Do I have this core belief?” Dig it out. It's not evident. If I say, “Do you believe you're a bad sleeper?”, they would say, "I'm not sleeping well, but I think I can change." But this is very superficial. If you're really honest with yourself, I think you don't believe that.
So you have to really dig deep and see your true beliefs and then challenge them. Talk to yourself, and even if it sounds like you're lying to yourself, say, "I'm a bad sleeper, but I can get better." In the beginning you just need to tell yourself this over and over again because then your subconscious is listening. Your subconscious has been hearing for decades or years that you're a bad sleeper, and then this became your truth. So now you have to say, “I challenge this. Is it really true? Is this who I am?”
Christine: I totally agree. I love to include journaling, actually just having a page where you write, “Am I a bad sleeper?” and investigating that. Also maybe investigating why this might be protecting you. I find very often it's a protection mechanism that people have, for whatever reason, for whatever happened in their personal life.
Then we can use typical techniques that we use for mindset work in general, like having post-its around the house with little messages on them like, “I am a great sleeper,” “I love sleep,” “Sleep is the best thing ever,” “Sleep is easy for me,” just really reminding you. At first it’s artificial, but your mind literally doesn't see a difference after a certain time.
I think this has been really, really, really helpful, and I have one client right now who I think this will be perfect for. I'm actually going to send this to him straightaway; I think this is brilliant.
So, we looked at the four areas. We took a deep dive into the mindset with some really precise techniques. I think this is great. That's why we do work holistically. We do check the physical, we do check mindset. Everything is a piece of the puzzle. Jessica, you have a very certain type of person that you love to work with. Why don't we do a little shout out to the people right now? Everyone in our team has a certain preference, of course, and a certain knack for working with a certain kind of person. Who is your perfect client?
Jessica: My perfect client is somebody who is busy all the time, maybe works in the corporate world, or where I came from, in an airline business, knows the challenges of traveling for work and wants to get results quickly. They don't have time to check this out for a long period of months, but they want to do it holistically.
They don't want a quick fix, taking a pill and that's it. They know that they have to be the best at their work, at their daily life, and they need to change something and it should work. So we're not just guessing and trying different things. We're really going to get to the bottom of it and then fix something. But I need clients that are okay working with me together. I want to work with them in a team. We're a team and we can change a lot, but they need to do their job and I need to do mine, and then I can promise them we’ll have results.
Christine: I agree. I think that's brilliant. It's very precise. If you're someone who's like, “Yeah, this is exactly my jam, this is me,” I would totally invite you to go over to the website and there’s a button underneath Jessica's photo where you can book a call with her directly. I totally recommend you going to do that. Thank you so much for taking the time today.
Jessica: Sure, thank you.
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