- BTG Editor
Sarah and Russ get their zzzzzzzzz’s on with Sleep expert Mollie McGlocklin
Updated: Jul 4, 2021
Season 2 Episode 1 Rebel Friend: Mollie McGlocklin Sleep is a Skill
In Season One, we went through a lot of topics. Sarah and Russ chewed the fat on a lot of amazing areas that are driving Biohacking forward today. For Season Two, Sarah was thinking, "You know what, I know a lot of people who have got real expertise in some of these topics. So why don't we bring on some of these people, and a lot of them are people that I've met through my hacking journey and who are now my friends. And we can start to go through step by step and allow people to say, okay, how can I introduce some of these topics into the things I do?"
So we're going to hear it from the horse's mouth, rather than Russ getting all tripped up listening to Sarah waffle on about her love for all things Biohacking. So they brought on some real experts to see how people are integrating some of these things into their lives.
The heroes of biohacking.
For Season Two they started with the basics, the fundamentals. Because if you're talking about how you're going to hack yourself, or how you're going to optimize where you're at, you need to start with the basics - sleep, eat, breathe. So let's go right back to that. So they talked about sleep because if you can get your sleep right everything else follows on from that. And sleep is a massive thing in biohacking right now. You know, there's so many people who are talking about how to optimize sleep, how to really get down into the kind of granular detail about sleep, lots of devices, lots of new tech, lots of monitoring equipment. And one of my go to people when I'm looking at sleep is Mollie McGlocklin.
She is fabulous. She has a podcast, ‘Sleep is a Skill’. And she's talking from experience that she's built up over many years, she had very chronic insomnia, and she learned to deal with it. And she learned a lot along the way about circadian biology and all the things that we talk about. So, she's probably one of the experts in this area. So, I think she's an excellent first guest for season two.
‘’In 2020 the stats are that insomnia was googled more than any time in history in one year’’
With sleeplessness, there is knowingness that something is maybe not working. Yet so many people have no idea how to fix it, filling in the blanks of how to make that happen or make a real concerted shift over the long term. Mollie's goal with sleep as a skill is how to optimize your sleep through technology accountability and behavioral change. And really bringing in some real partnership maybe the same way we do with, you hire a personal trainer because you're not moving so much, you hire a nutritionist because there's something's missing with how you're managing your food. The next steps for us with sleep because we've really dug ourselves a bit of a hole in our modern society since we're living so off kilter for how we used to live.
Not getting a solid night sleep, brings on so many other mental health issues. For Mollie, she was getting anxious, getting stressed, getting edgy, and her productivity was suffering. Mollie shares her background of insomnia traveling internationally. Feeling like she hit her absolute rock bottom in her life. There are so many other things that she wasn't managing well in my life, and just the stress of owning a businesses and those mental health issues can feel like rock bottom. This is a more extreme example, but so many people suffer from disturbed sleep, insomnia and these bad habits become ruts.
Mollie's approach is built for you, not an off the shelf approach, because everyone is different. Her organization has started to shift a whole new culture. Each of your choices and actions can have such a high stake, connected to it. So it's important to identify and make that commitment to shift in that area around sleep. Your body is trying to find homeostasis, when we have gone off kilter. However, one of the things that we do know that seems to answer a lot of question marks about the ability to catch up is the science that's come out around glymphatic drainage.
Glymphatic drainage: During deep sleep we're seeing this cleaning or cleansing of the brain, to wash out the days toxins or waste from the brain.
So for anyone that's not more familiar with it, you might have heard of lymphatic drainage with an L? Drainage with a G is more this understanding of fairly recent discovery of this concept of oh my goodness, at night, during deep sleep primarily, we're experiencing a kind of cleaning of the brain.
But the problem when we don't actually do that consistently and particularly deep sleep, is then we're having this buildup of these plaques, these kind of amyloid beta plaques. And that seems to look very similar to brains with kind of neurological difficulties. So talking Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, dementia, things of that nature. So that's one of those areas where you it's, you can't just say, Okay, well just make up for it, because we really don't seem to have a response to that. There are so many people that don't get a great night sleep. There's two key frameworks that we utilize at sleep as a skill, one being the sleep tripod.
The Sleep Tripod - Psychology, Physiology and Environment
So to start having those three legs, to hold up and create workability. And then if there's one leg that's kind of out of alignment, then it's likely not going to kind of stand. So out of those three legs, it's having workability within our psychology, physiology and environment. And Mollie would make the argument that for most of us, in our modern society, our environment can often use some up leveling, you know, what she often sees more is chronic stress, where they just have been in this sympathetic state for so long.
Our psychology and physiology, often these can go hand in hand - where how our hormones are all out of whack or thyroid, or magnesium levels are low or vitamin D, or zinc or iron or whatever, you know, all kinds of things, right. So then having all workability in those three areas now, so once you kind of take a whole assessment of those and get a sense of maybe and there might be some glaringly larger than others who want to have an area of focus, start addressing all those.
Then the second framework would be circadian rhythm and treatment and you can find that in just about any chronobiology textbook.
Mental health and sleep go very much hand in hand.
‘’Oh, my goodness by going to bed at this time, by eating up this time, by getting sunlight at this time, by getting darkness at this time, doing all these things can lower my heart rate, oh, I can lower my respiratory rate, while I'm sleeping, I can improve my heart rate variability, I can improve thermal regulation’’
One of the first things that we do with Sleep is a Skill, they have everyone wear an Oura ring Testing and knowing the right numbers is incredibly important, and Mollie helps with that from the start. Creating a numerical system and using her ranking system and dashboard to bring about all that circadian rhythm and treatment.
One of the most shocking results from measuring your sleep, is that people didn't even know they waking up as many times as they do. So Mollie focuses on some of these biometrics that can indicate recovery.
So things like heart rate throughout the course of the night, and ARCA that things like HRV is a big one, we lean into heart rate variability, because it can be a really fantastic marker of recovery, of course, because kind of what it is. But secondly, particularly throughout the course of the night to get a sense of how rested or you know, recovered you are the next day.
Then leaning into things like body temperatures can be especially helpful for people who are menstruating can be helpful for us to get some clarity around other disruptions that might be happening around hormones and things of that nature.
Then respiratory rate can also be really eye opening. So leaning into some of those metrics that relate to AR and also just share with us our overall health can be really important.
Then even some of the daytime markers that many of these will indicate how active are you throughout the day? How often are you just kind of sitting and immobile throughout the course of the day and how can we up that mobility be said of course that will lead into certain things.
The top two things that people are often shocked about with the wearables is the difference that and this is a you know, other things. There's other things that can indicate this but for the average person, it's eating late and drinking late, that are just these things that will affect those
Mollie can shift these behaviors.
Sooo did she? …..Sarah and Russ take on the 7 days Sleep challenge….
Sarah: Okay, so for Mollie’s session, so actually, it's been a couple of weeks. So I know we're going to do this on a weekly basis, but the sleep one, it's been a couple of weeks. And what I've actually done is I have a sleep coach. And I've been using the Oura ring and collecting the data and having it analyzed regularly. And I've been looking particularly at heart rate variability HRV - as a gauge of how my sleep is doing. So I am pleased to say that my heart rate variability has gone up. And there was some interesting learnings actually, from this, looking particularly at the sleep levels, and when you actually have certain types of sleep. So the interesting thing for me is, although I was getting a lot of sleep, you know, like eight hours a night, I was maybe not getting so much deep sleep at the start of my sleep profile. And that's something that my sleep coach raised because he said, you know, you have this thing called the glymphatic drainage system where you have the water in your brain, the spinal fluid, flushing out your brain, and maybe I wasn't getting that flush. So I've started now to do all the tweaks we talked about in the podcast, getting to bed early, turning off technology, I've made a conscious effort to make sure that I get up and go to bed at similar times. So for me this was cool.
I learned a lot actually by really getting granular about the different sleep stages. So this is something I'm going to continue with for sure.
My heart rate variability is going up and that I'm making improvements makes me feel good.
Sarah gets a sleep coach and gets a sleep score of 92% and raises her sleep time to 8hours and 17mins. Boom. 👍
Sarah wears the Oura ring to track sleep stages..
Russ is obsessed with the Ostrich Loop Eye Pillow
Links & Contact Info
The Circadian Code: Lose Weight, Supercharge Your Energy, and Transform Your Health from Morning to Midnight x
Change Your Schedule, Change Your Life: How to Harness the Power of Clock Genes to Lose Weight, Optimize Your Workout, and Finally Get a Good Night's Sleep x
To learn more about Sleep Is A Skill:
Mollie’s Podcast Links
Simplecast RSS Feed: https://feeds.simplecast.com/o_sH699I