BBC Radio London – The Sleep Coach Max Kirsten Talks About The importance of Sleep

BBC Radio London hosted The Sleep Coach, Max Kirsten, who spoke about the importance of sleep during the programme. Catch up with Max’s discussion about why good sleep is so important for us. It is currently available on the BBC Sounds app (until 20th March 2020).

Alongside Max are fitness guru Lee Janogly, who breaks the stereotype of ageing in her book ‘Getting Old’, as well as comedian Sara Barron, who discusses her Soho show.

Listen to Max’s BBC Radio London discussion whilst it is still available.

THE TIMES SLEEP GUIDE 2020

What works for getting a good night’s sleep? Your questions answered

A panel of experts will be joining us for a live Q&A to discuss insomnia and how to get a good night’s sleep on Tuesday, January 21 from noon to 2pm. Add your question in the comments to get involved

The Times, January 13 2020,

When we asked our readers for their experiences of insomnia we were inundated with responses. “I believe lack of sleep has become an epidemic in current times,” wrote one reader. He was among many who said that their way of dealing with insomnia is to find distractions, which ranged from listening to the radio to cognitive behavioural therapy.But what actually works — and doesn’t — for getting a good night’s sleep? And how should you manage chronic insomnia?We’ll be bringing together sleep experts to answer your questions in a live Q&A in the comments. Leave your questions below the line now, and join us on January 21 between 12 noon and 2pm for the discussion.

Dr Neil Stanley is an independent sleep expert, the resident sleep expert at Sleepstation and the author of How to Sleep Well. He has been involved in sleep research for 37 years, having started his career at the Neurosciences Division of the RAF Institute of Aviation Medicine. @drneilstanley

Max Kirsten is an award-winning sleep coach. He successfully treats insomnia at his sleep clinic in Knightsbridge, London. He has also just written his second book, How to Sleep, which is being published in October by Michael Joseph. He has developed a unique sleep-coaching approach to achieve better sleep that includes: cognitive behavioural therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) and acceptance commitment therapy for insomnia (ACT-I), combined with a form of “mindfulness”-based autogenic sleep training for insomnia. @Max_Kirsten @thesleepcoach

Kathryn Pinkham is the founder of the Insomnia Clinic, one of the UK’s specialist insomnia services. The Insomnia Clinic trains and provides a network of qualified insomnia specialists who are experts at working with people who suffer with poor sleep. @insomnia_clinic

Irshaad Ebrahim is a consultant neuropsychiatrist and medical director. In 2002 he founded the London Sleep Centre and in 2005 the Edinburgh Sleep Centre. His clinical interests include the treatment of patients with insomnia, parasomnias (behaviours in sleep), narcolepsy and memory disorders. @London_Sleep

Read the full article in The Times 21st January 2020 here

SAY GOODNIGHT TO INSOMNIA NATURALLY, AND GET A GREAT NIGHT’S SLEEP!


RSS
8/5/2019

Laura and Abi with Sleep Coach Max Kirsten.

Season 1, Ep. 8

Join Laura and Abi on a quest to navigate their way through 21st century adulthood. This week Laura and Abi learn about one of their favourite hobbies, sleeping! Is sleep better for banishing wrinkles than botox? Why do women need more sleep than men? Does sleeping before midnight really make a difference? And how can you get rid of insomnia naturally?

This week’s guest is Max Kirsten, an international sleep expert, speaker and an award-winning Sleep Coach. Max successfully treats Insomnia in London and all other anxiety related issues at his insomnia sleep clinic in Knightsbridge. He’s also an award-winning Clinical Hypnotherapist, a Master NLP Success Coach and author. Max is dubbed “the hypnotherapist to the stars” with previous hypnotherapy clients including Adele, Ewan Mcgregor, Liam Payne, Tom Hardy and rumour has it David Cameron. Be sure to listen to the end where Max hypnotises Laura and Abi into a state of relaxed bliss. Listen to Laura and Abis Podcast with me.

Grazia Magazine Sleep Coach

A recent feature on overcoming insomnia in Grazia Magazine Sept 2019

Bedtime books that help children to sleep better

Kids love to fall asleep after a good story

Sleep experts and child psychologists have known of the years the importance of bedtime rituals. They encourage a seamless transition from the playful day to quiet slumbers. The bedtime story is probably the most potent bedtime sleep aid for children.

Here is a selection of my top five books for parental reading for small ones.

The Rabbit Who Wants To Fall Asleep by Carl-Johan Forssen Ehrlin

One of the best books for young children in recent years which is topped the Amazon bestsellers list is called ‘The Rabbit Who Wants To Fall Asleep’. It’s been written by a Swedish psychologist structured with a focus on design to help to all children into a deep sleep. it encourages the parental reader to vary their voice allowing and leading their child or children into slumber.

How  Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight? by Jane Yolen

This is a really enjoyable way to have some fun and make your child snigger before bed. You can’t go wrong with this amusing book that helps them to laugh at themselves and at dinosaurs!

Bedtime for Mommy by Amy Krouse

 A wonderful book about the rituals that we as parents create for our children. This book will appeal to parents all over the world, as it will remind you of what it was like when you were little.

Interrupting Chickenby David Ezra Stein

 This is a wonderful story of children who like to discuss and go through the story and sometimes get so excited if forgotten that the meant to be getting ready to fall asleep. This book is also good for parents who may wish their reading-age children to do role-play, as is great fun taking the roles, including their role as the over eager, interrupting chicken.

 The Sleep Bookby Dr Zeus

 The book begins with a yawning little bug,  and continues as all of Dr Zeus’s books, imaginative classic. And this one is particularly good to read and listened to at bedtime. The only challenge is for parents to stay awake through the entire book without yawning themselves!

Dreamy locations for better sleep

All over the world there is a rapidly growing market for dreamy locations to improve your sleep. Sleep hotels, sleep clinics, sleep retreats, luxury spas dedicated to better sleep are opening up, often in remote or unusual places.

While millions of us are living our usually sleep deprived lives, there is an ever growing number of people willing to travel far and wide for a dream destination, or rather a location where sleep and dreams are the main event, dream vacations for optimal sleep. This is literally the stuff of dreams!

Here are some examples of the lengths that some people can go in their search for better sleep (at a cost of thousands £££££) whereas mostly all they need to do is to follow all the recommendations for sleep hygiene. However some of these dream locations do sound rather wonderful!

I was reading about an example of this as I flicked through a magazine in my waiting-room at my dental surgery. There it was, a sleep programme from Six Senses, the luxury spa hotel group.

The article said they’d created a coordinated sleep programme with the help of the renowned clinical psychologist Dr. Breus who is a member of the Six Senses Integrated Wellness Board. He has pioneered the sleep programme which consists of being met as you arrive by their sleep ambassador, who will assess your sleep requirements and help you to choose the right pillow from a vast array of options for every sleep position imaginable. That’s just the beginning. You would benefit from two years of scientific sleep research at the hotel, using high-tech sleep monitoring gadgetry, touch of a button blackout blinds that descend beautifully, enjoy sheets, duvet cover and pillowcases made from moisture-wicking organic eucalyptus and cotton. You have the choice of wearing bamboo-fibre pyjamas for breathability and comfort, although you could sleep naked. There’s a jasmine spray for spritzing in the bedroom and a variety of relaxing extras to help you to achieve a state of deep calm. Beside the bed is a little Book of Wellness, and earplugs and eye masks for the light and sound sensitive are provided.

Their beds and mattresses are all from the British bedding company, NaturalMat, hand made from natural fibres as the name suggests. All the mattresses are wired to track your sleep, with a pad underneath the mattress connecting to a device called a Withings Aura that will measure every aspect of your sleep. Throughout the night it will record the levels of your sleep cycles: light sleep, deep sleep, and REM sleep. It will also record your average heart rate and temperature, monitor the noise and light and temperature of the room, and track your physiology as the lights in the bedroom dim with red light and the room is bathed in ambient sounds.

A word of warning! When visiting these wonderful sweet retreats, make sure that you are not ruining the experience by drinking too much alcohol if any. Enjoy eating a delicious meal, but remain ideally alcohol and caffeine free, crystal clear mineral water, and not eating too late or too much, should guarantee you a good night’s sleep, as long as you don’t stay up too late over-stimulating your brain with technology, news feeds and so on. The whole idea is to learn how to improve sleep, not to remain sleep deprived. The sleep hygiene list is the key wherever you travel will increase the chances of wonderful sleep every night.

In the mornings, you’ll awaken and after breakfast, you’ll be encouraged to get some sunlight first thing in the morning whatever the weather, participate in morning yoga classes, and later on your sleep stats will be assessed by their sleep expert.

You will next undergo a full health assessment, your bio markers will be measured for sleep, serotonin levels measured, BP, heart rate and variability, cholesterol, adrenaline and cortisol levels (the hormones that are released during stress), diet, weight, toxin buildup assessment and so on…

The day is filled with yoga classes, trips to wonderful restaurants or eating in wonderful restaurants in the spa, walking through woods by the river, meditating to the sound of Tibetan singing bowls, massages all designed to help improve the next night of sleep on the sleep stat review the next day.

Regardless of how exhausted you arrived, how bad your electronics digital addiction was, these breaks of sleep optimization and rest are just what the doctor ordered!

When it’s time to leave you’ll be relaxed, and in the state of oneness and well-being. You will have learned the importance of afternoon naps, no longer than thirty minutes in the early afternoon, your sleep training will have been completed, and you will be ready to return to real life and a sleep optimized nightlife. Available throughout the year. From £334 for three nights plus accommodation. sixsenses.com.

Here are a few other dreamy locations with a very small timezone difference as returning home with additional jet lag issues is not ideal for a sleep optimisation retreat.
Lefay Resort & Spa, Italy. Rediscover delicious sleep at their ‘Sweet Dreams’ sleep retreat with breakfast, lunch and dinner included, as well as acupuncture, moxibustion, foot, body and facial treatments with the focus on relaxation and getting a better night’s sleep. Available throughout the year. From £2,228 per person for five nights, lagodigarda.lefayresorts.com.

SHA Wellness Clinic, ‘sleep recovery program’ in Spain. For those with sleep disorders, this retreat has been designed to help you recover from insomnia, and improve overall sleep quality. The clinical approach with sleep assessment, with doctors consultation, session with a nutritionist, and many treatments over ideally their recommended 7-night minimum but ideally a full 14 night stay to achieve the best long term sleep results. Available throughout the year. From £3,300 for seven nights, shawellnessclinic.com.

I wish you a good night’s sleep.
Max Kirsten
Finally as a free gift from me, why not also download my ‘Better Sleep Drifting’ Relaxation for sleep MP3 download. Visit https://www.maxkirsten.com/better-sleep-mp3-download/

Vampire shoppers and the vampire economy!

There is a new 21st-century phenomenon called vampire shopping, so named because sleep deprived bleary eyed parents, insomniacs and gamers go online to make purchases between 1am and 6am.

Barclaycard has reported that as many as one in three shoppers now spends more money online at night, compared to 5 years ago.

Vampire shoppers spend a third more than normal shoppers, most of whom are people who are not sleeping well, usually 1-4am er’s buying random stuff that they don’t really need, and sometimes even with nowhere to put it. 75% of people don’t send back the last thing they didn’t want!

Nocturnal shopping is a thing of the NOW.

Nocturnal shopping became possible thanks to the evolution of technological devices since the smartphone revolution. The ‘one click’ purchases on Amazon, Ebay, Paypal and other electronic payment systems makes shopping just so unbelievably easy, and therefore waiting until morning completely unnecessary when the sleep deprived make very often impulsive shopping bleary eyed random purchases before bed, or even when they wake up in the middle of their sleep (if they are experiencing bouts of insomnia), buying shoes, clothes, jewellery, and even ‘replacement lithium battery stocks after realising they’ve forgotten something essential, and two out of ten are ordering food shopping online.

And vampire economy is booming and is predicted to grow year on year, even though shoppers are often buying things that they often don’t even really need in a bleary eyed state such as holidays, and large pieces of furniture on impulse!

There are now calls for safety measures to be put into place, such as putting stops on buying habits or behavior from bedtime and to wake-up to curb out of control impulsive shopping habits. Shopping channels that broadcast late at night have known for a long time that there is a very lucrative market in vampires staying up late and feeling compelled to buy something that they’ve seen that they don’t really need, and then regret buying it or them in the morning.

And whether morally right or wrong, retailers are exploiting this new market. As humans and technology evolve driving this new lucrative ‘Vampire Economy’.

Top zombie hour vampire purchases are usually made on smart phones, tablets and laptops include: birthday presents, children’s toys, baby gear, vacuum cleaners and games consoles. Another popular late-night vampire purchase is an increasing river of new replacement pillows as people becoming increasingly dissatisfied with their sleep set-up.

There is also a growing trend to hide their arriving growing river of packages and daily deliveries in cupboards as the vampire shopping habits begin to cause embarrassment and shame. Others would call this form of late-night shopping ‘compulsive shopping’ leading towards compulsive ‘shopping addiction’.

Even bleary eyed a good question to ask before pressing the purchase button, is “Do I really need this?’ or perhaps a sensible law is to wait until the afternoon before deciding on whether to buy the item sitting in the basket at the checkout.

But maybe we shouldn’t be afraid of the ‘vampire shoppers’, and more worried about the sleepless zombies!

Sleeping cats and dogs!

 

Do cats dream of mice and men?

Cats sleep on average 15 hours each day, which if you think about it is most of their lives spent sleeping. Have you ever wondered what cats dream about?

Cats can sleep as much as 16 hours a day, and older cats spend even more time at rest — as much as 20 hours a day. That sleeping habit is a result of the cat’s evolution, nutritional habits and physiology. In the wild, cats have to hunt in order to eat, and the stalking, chasing and killing of prey burns a lot of energy. Sleeping helps cats conserve energy between meals. Of the time cats spend sleeping, about three quarters of it is what we might call snoozing. In that state, cats can get all the rest they need, but they’re still alert enough to awaken at a moment’s notice. You can tell when a cat is in light sleep because their ears will twitch and rotate toward noises and their eyes will be open a tiny bit. Even when they’re sitting upright, cats can slip into that dozing mode.

Do cats really dream?

The remaining quarter of cats’ sleeping hours is spent in deep sleep, but older cats might spend as much as 30 percent or 40 percent of the time at that level. Cats in deep sleep are usually curled up with their eyes tightly closed. Sometimes, they might even have their tail over their face, like a fluffy sleep mask. Deep sleep is critical for the body’s ability to regenerate itself and stay healthy. It’s also the time when your cat dreams.

By this point if you’re a dog lover, or horse lover, or an animal lover of any other type, you may have decided to switch off and perhaps mentally go to sleep. Aha!

But I will also be asking if dogs dream?

So feline cats sleep the most up to 20 hours on a 24-hour period. I remember being told that humans were the only conscious beings, capable of asking why, and then possibly doing something about it. But as I’ve grown older, I’ve noticed that just as all animals sleep, including humans. As I have watched a number of cats in my own house fast asleep, sometimes I see them dreaming, REM sleep, their eyelids are flickering, often sleeping on their backs, I can see the arms and legs moving slightly responding to their dream. But I have no way of knowing what they’re dreaming about?

In many ways cats are faster than us, more agile than us, and can hear better than us, and can hunt better than us, because their eyesight is so good day or night, and their reactions are quicker than ours!

I was interested in the research by Dr. Nicholas H. Dodman, who is a professor at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine in New England, USA, who said in an article in Metro, that cats definitely dream.

He says that, ‘Cats exhibit all the physiological and behavioural characteristics of dreaming sleep in humans: low voltage fast wave activity, fast EEG activity – where the cerebral cortex (thinking centre) and hippocampus (memory centre) are active in the face of continued behavioural sleep.

‘Behavioural sleep is characterised by the absence of muscle potentials, super relaxed posture, unresponsiveness, and elevated auditory threshold.

‘This is the so-called the sleep of the body, where the mind is still active.

‘The fast wave EEG activity in periods of REM sleep is the dreaming phase of sleep.

What is REM sleep?

REM or Rapid Eye Movement sleep is one of the four stages of sleep, and should take place every 90 minutes or so while you’re snoozing.

During REM sleep, your eyes will make distinctive movements while closed. This is when dreaming takes place. REM sleep is associated with maintaining important neural pathways and even learning new information. Your heartbeat during REM sleep will be rapid, which could be a response to the dreams you’re having.

‘These periods alternate with periods of slow wave sleep (the sleep of the mind) in which some muscle tone remains (the body is not totally relaxed) and there is no dreaming.

‘During the former fast wave sleep, rapid eye movements and twitching movements of the limbs, vibrissae and ears are seen.’

Just like humans, cats have periods of deep sleep where they are completely relaxed in their bodies, but their minds are actively dreaming. Dr. Dodman also has some ideas about what cats might dream about.

He says: ‘Like us, cats will probably dream about things that have gone on in the recent or distant past. ‘Maybe stalking a bird or mouse. Maybe being petted. Maybe an altercation with another cat or dog.’

Although dogs sleep slightly less than cats do, with adult dogs getting an average of 12-14 hours sleep a day, Dr. Dodman says that the brain activity present during sleep is remarkably similar.

‘The sleeping patterns of dogs, cats and humans are all very similar.

‘However, the phase length of REM sleep vs. slow wave sleep varies between individuals and between younger and older subjects.’ This means that the amount of dream time you get depends on your individual characteristics and your age. So potentially, cats and dogs could be dreaming just as much as you do.

If you see your cat’s little legs cycling or their ears twitching as they snooze, they’re probably having a satisfying dream about catching the bird that’s always mocking them from a high tree branch in the garden, or getting the better of the neighbour’s dog.

Sweet dreams are made of Miow and Woof!

M

Max helps Jarvis with sleep on BBC Radio 4 ‘Wireless Nights Special 2019′

‘The perfect night’s sleep’ is Jarvis Cocker’s New Year’s Resolution for 2019

In this episode Sleep Coach Max Kirsten helps Jarvis Cocker find better sleep as he continues his nocturnal exploration of the human condition. He often lies awake at night trying, unsuccessfully, to nod off. But, not one to give up, his New Year’s resolution is to crack this habit and attain the perfect night’s sleep. His restless search leads him to fellow insomniac Marina Benjamin, and to even he go inside his own brain with The Sleep Coach Max Kirsten. A surreal experience.

To listen or download the podcast visit BBC Radio 4 https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m0001v06

New Sleep Book

I’ve just finished writing my new book ‘HOW TO SLEEP’ – all the ‘do’s and don’ts’ for achieving a truly great night’s sleep. The journey of writing this book began when the publisher Michael Joseph Penguin Random House, asked me if I would be interested in writing my own book on the subject of how to get better sleep. Since I’ve been wanting to write this sleep book for some time, I lept at the opportunity, after having done the deal, I began to write, and write, and write… So it’s been some time since I’ve posted a sleep blog.

During the process of writing intensely every evening and all weekends and then towards the end even more than that, I was immersed in the world of sleep from a conscious point of view. I spoke to sleep scientists, sleep psychiatrists, sleep doctors, sleep experts, sleep technology manufacturers, sleep technologists, sleep surface manufacturers of pillows, mattresses, beds, and nutrition for achieving better sleep.

And although I learned that sleep is a very subjective experience, that we’re all different, and therefore how much sleep we need or get will vary from person to person, and night to night. For many people at eight hours is the ideal amount, some are fine on just seven hours a night, fewer than you think can sleep for less than this without long-term health problems over the horizon, and that obviously children need the most sleep. But the truth is, almost all of us could improve the amount of sleep that we get get, or allow ourselves to have.

And the enemies of sleep, or at least good quality sleep are basically these:

1, Not ENOUGH natural sunlight during the day.

2, Too MUCH artificial light during the evening.

3, Not going to bed at the same time every night.

4, Not waking up at the same time every morning.

5, Too much use of smart phones, tablets and electronics in the crucial hours before bed.

5, Over-stimulation of the mind before bed.

6, Too many stimulants, caffeine, nicotine, sugar affecting the metabolism at night.

7, Not getting enough exercise particularly during the day.

8, Eating too late at night.

9, Not being even close to following a sensible sleep hygiene list.

10, Allowing worries and anxiety free-reign in your brain lying in bed.

12, Not understanding which foods to eat to sleep well?

13, Not understanding the Circadian Rhythm.

I could go on, as I’ve learned so much from writing my sleep book. Now I’m moving on to my insomnia sleep programs, so that when my sleep book is published early spring next year 2019, all my other sleep coaching tools will be ready to help the sleep deprived to become sleep INSPIRED!

As always I wish you a great night sleep,

Maxx