Wellness coaching is by, definition, broad based in it’s scope. With that said, every once in awhile, we make an effort to bring some key elements you you as a wellness coach. Improved sleep is clearly one of those elements. Whether you’re focusing your coaching around general health, weight management, athletic performance, or one of any number of other alternatives, improved sleep is one area you will not want to ignore as a wellness coach.
My wife and I were talking about our three teenage kids the other day (ages 18, 16 and 13). Obviously we’re prejudiced about them as their parents, but they are nothing like the horror stories we’d heard about teenagers. They’re actually good kids. They’re fun to be around, actually enjoy spending time both with each other and their typically uncool parents. They’re respectful, take care of their homework and other chores with limited reminders, and don’t hesitate to say “I love you.”
The one exception is when they fall short on their sleep. Just one night of limited sleep due to a “sleep-over” (I’ve never really understood that term?) with friends or some other anomaly and everything changes. Their typically kind and fun disposition will turn to grumpiness, spur on meaningless arguments and even some tears. Thankfully this is rare, but it’s SO obvious when it does occur.
Granted, this is a small sample size of 3. However, the other variables in their lives are somewhat limited so while I haven’t earned a PhD, the data might just be meaningful. They are fortunate to be living generally stable lives – with the one significant variable being sleep. And the measurable outcomes are incredibly significant!
If the impact of improved sleep is this obvious, are we treating sleep as one of THE critical variables we’re addressing not only in our own lives but also in the lives of our clients as a wellness coach? The research (yes – beyond that of our kids) is very clear. Lack of adequate sleep impacts everything from weight management to relationships to physical and career performance to even financial decisions. If we’re looking for a “silver bullet” in the wellness coaching world, it would be difficult to come up with anything more impactful than improved sleep.
Maybe today’s a good day to make a mental note to have this conversation with your clients. Improving sleep may sound simple (“sleep more”) but it’s far from easy in our world of 24/7 gadgets and rush-rush schedules demanding just one more thing. Then add the never-ending supply of caffeine in the form of not only coffee at every corner but energy shots, energy gum and even energy beef jerky? With caffeine having a half-life of 8 hours, a client may not think that afternoon boost affects their sleep. But the fact of the matter is that while they may fall asleep normally, 50% of the drug is still in our systems 8 hours later, meaning the depth and value of that sleep isn’t the same.
Wellness involves a number of critical elements that we must address as a wellness coach, but there may be none more widespread and important in the lives of our clients than a good night’s rest…