Entrepreneurs and Sleep

Entrepreneurs and Sleep

In this episode of Startup Hustle, Lauren Conaway talks to Stephanie Melodia about the importance of sleep. Our guest, the founder of Bloom, helps put the myth of the “sleepless entrepreneur” culture to bed.

Covered In This Episode

Do you feel productive during the late night hours? Or are you an early riser who likes to work during the wee hours of the morning? People are wired differently from each other—even in our sleeping patterns. 

There is no right or wrong sleep schedule. And taking a nap doesn’t mean you’re lazy. These are just some things we will learn from Lauren and Stephanie’s conversation today. As they say, there are two crucial things for an entrepreneur. The first one is getting good z’s. And second, get a proper diagnosis if you have a sleeping disorder.

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Highlights

  • Why is sleep a good conversation subject for Stephanie? (03:15)
  • The “busy” culture and the connotation of sleep (05:55)
  • On different circadian rhythms and productive hours (08:58)
  • Where did the 9–5 timetable originate? (11:27)
  • Insomnia, its misunderstandings, and the usual remedies (14:43)
  • Do insomniacs dream too? (19:45)
  • The importance of sleep and dreams (22:30)
  • On being diagnosed with DSPD and how Stephanie manages it (26:11)
  • The 5 AM Club and the insomniac’s version of it (33:27)
  • The impact of insomnia on relationships (34:20)
  • Why is it essential to be correctly diagnosed with a sleep disorder? (37:47)
  • Steph’s theories on why some people have trouble sleeping (41:53)
  • The Victorian Era and the people’s sleeping pattern (44:55)

Key Quotes

Sleep is something that unites us all. It’s something that each and every single one of us has in common. And for some reason, we do not talk about it enough. We do not give it enough value, intention, and importance that it requires. It’s such a basic human need.

– Stephanie Melodia

For the longest time, we associated laziness with sleep. When, in fact, sleep is one of the most vital things that you can do to invest in yourself, in your own health.

– Lauren Conaway

So my most vivid dreams come when I am in that twilight state of sleep. Where you’re mostly asleep but still just a little bit aware. And what’s interesting for me is I am often aware that I am dreaming, which is really kind of fun. And I have learned that is a little unique.

– Stephanie Melodia
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Rough Transcript

The following is an auto-generated text transcript of this episode.

00:00.00

Lauren Conaway

And we are back. Thank you for joining us for yet another episode of the Startup Hustle podcast. I’m your host, Lauren Conaway, founder and CEO of InnovateHER KC. I do have to tell you that today’s episode of Startup Hustle is sponsored by Full Scale, helping you build a software team quickly and affordably. And powering our Startup Hustle dreams. They do that too. So today, I am super, super excited because we actually have a repeater. We have Stephanie Melodia with us today. Stephanie and I had another episode a while back, and I definitely invite you to listen to it. It is gender equality and startup communities. Give it a listen, but Stephanie and I had a really great conversation the last time we spoke. But one of the things that we talked about, and kind of bonded over, is the fact that we struggle with sleep, each in our own individual way. And we kind of just jumped off and started talking about the fact that, you know, sleep is so valuable, and it’s such an important part of health and wellness and self-care. And it’s also one of those things that entrepreneurs lose out on often. You know, you have those three-zero a.m., white-knuckle nights where you’re worried if you’re going to make payroll. Or, you know, you’re so stressed out that you can’t get to sleep. And sleep is just vital to what we do, so Stephanie and I decided, right there, while we were prepping for the interview, that we wanted to talk about sleep because sleep is so important. So I am honored to introduce you to Stephanie. Stephanie is one of the UK’s top 20 most influential female founders. She’s the owner of Bloom, a brand marketing agency for high-growth tech startups. And she’s the host of the entrepreneurship podcast Time to Bloom. She’s just an amazing, accomplished woman who also happens to struggle with sleep. Stephanie, welcome to the show. Thanks so much for being with us again like me.

02:01.66

Stephanie Melodia

Thank you, Lauren. I’m so excited about today’s conversation and very pleased to act. Thank you.

02:08.33

Lauren Conaway

Me too. Like, I’m super psyched. And I do have to, like, for our listeners, and Stephanie, you and I talked a little bit about this. But I do have to preface this by saying that right this very moment, I am a little low on sleep. And so I will beg your forgiveness, and I will beg your understanding, listeners, and we will dive right into it. So, Stephanie, I’m just going to ask you to tell us why sleep is so important to you as a topic of study or topic of conversation.

02:38.93

Stephanie Melodia

Sleep is something that unites us all. It’s something that each and every single one of us has in common. And for some reason, we do not talk about it enough. We do not give it enough value, intention, and importance that it requires. It’s such a basic human need. And I’m super passionate about this because I have a super rare sleep disorder. We’ll get to know that you have insomnia, so we get into some of our own horror stories over even.

03:10.65

Lauren Conaway

Oh, for sure.

03:13.68

Stephanie Melodia

Even you sharing in the intro there about those 3 AM white knuckle nights just that was too close to home for me that made my heart rate kind of increase a little bit. It is something that I think now is a great time to be talking about this because there is such a tremendous shift.

03:20.60

Lauren Conaway

Yeah, yeah, it does resonate, doesn’t it?

03:33.62

Stephanie Melodia

The way we work, the importance that we’re putting on ourselves self-care. We now have this whole kind of exodus from the office. More of us are working from home. So there’s more of this freedom and flexibility to run our own schedules and work. How? Um, when we want. So I think the combination of all these different things. The importance of health just generally with this wider pandemic is something that we really need to spotlight, and I think that it’s something that I’m going to just go, right? Off the bat and go in with a potentially controversial statement here. But I think that.

04:03.30

Lauren Conaway

Get a.

04:10.69

Stephanie Melodia

Sleep deprivation, especially in the entrepreneurial community, has been worn like a bit of a badge of honor in the same way that I will compare it to eating disorders back in the 90s. You would see these skinny supermodels that would starve themselves. Nutritionally.

04:28.70

Lauren Conaway

So it was called heroin chic, right? Wasn’t that the look?

04:30.53

Stephanie Melodia

In order to work. Wow, and shake exactly blood. Yes, exactly, and I know that’s very dangerous territory to compare something as bad as eating disorders. But when you think about nutrition, the food that we need is such a basic human necessity. Um, comparing it in the same way that so is sleep, and we have this very unhealthiness. We have had this very unhealthy attitude towards not getting enough hours or being part of the 5 AM club again, especially in the entrepreneurial community. So. It’s really time to change that.

05:05.39

Lauren Conaway

Absolutely and it’s so interesting, and Stephanie, you and I did this last time we were on the show like I really feel like we’re gonna be besties because I was actually thinking that I was thinking about, you know, up until I would say there was this culture of busy and not just in entrepreneurial communities like you know you see it everywhere, but there was almost like somebody would say I took a nap and it would be almost like ah a look of shame. Um, you know, because there was this understanding that as human beings, in order to be productive.

05:28.17

Stephanie Melodia

Yeah.

05:42.28

Lauren Conaway

We had to be doing as much as possible. We constantly had to be doing and so I do feel as though that is changing. I think that there is this great societal shift toward more self-care and taking time for yourself and quote-unquote putting your mask on first. But I think you’re absolutely right. For the longest time, we associated laziness with sleep. When, in fact, sleep is one of the most vital things that you can do to invest in yourself, in your own health.

06:18.73

Stephanie Melodia

My goodness I’ll have to do so to jump in there but I have to just build on that keyword that resonates so deeply with my laziness because I am a bit of a workaholic. I really do pride myself on having a very strong work ethic.

06:22.00

Lauren Conaway

Prioritizing sleep. Both.

06:38.30

Stephanie Melodia

And my own sleep disorder which we’ll get into it’s called dspd um, essentially renders me permanently jet lag. It’s a genetic thing we can get stuck into. It’s really fascinating. But basically it means that my peak hours are between the the times of you know 11 PM and 5 AM for example, which does mean that at this I do need sleep I’m not an insomniac like you are which we also get stuck into I do still need sleep I need quite a bit of sleep and so.

06:58.31

Lauren Conaway

Now.

07:11.30

Stephanie Melodia

I’m in terms of number of hours in terms of output in terms of productivity. It’s the same or better if I’m allowed to work to my schedule but being seen to sleep in and not wake up until ten AM Eleven AM it is this really crazy like.

07:17.25

Lauren Conaway

Right.

07:28.40

Stephanie Melodia

Science like socially ingrained connotation almost you know without even consciously thinking about it is that you’re lazy like oh my god you so you slept until 12 you slept until midday it’s just that inherent like laziness that goes along with it and it could not be further from the truth in my case at least.

07:44.60

Lauren Conaway

Absolutely and I actually don’t have it. Is that what you said?

07:50.76

Stephanie Melodia

Exactly a dspd it stands for late sleep phase disorder. It’s a very rare disorder that I’ve only just recently come across and I’m actually taking part in a sleep study because sleep specialists are still trying to find out more about this.

08:09.25

Lauren Conaway

Yeah, well. We are going to talk about that a little bit later but I do just want to say that you know so I’ve done a lot of research in this and I feel as though again, we’re very much in alignment because my productive hours tend to be from about.

08:09.30

Stephanie Melodia

This is a weird condition.

08:28.42

Lauren Conaway

Oh let’s say 5 PM until like 2-3 in the morning and that’s where my circa my personal circadian rhythm is not really supported like waking up early is super hard for me if I’m left to my own devices and I actually am. Tested this out multiple times and in multiple different ways. But I went through a period of time where you know I would have to go and I would have to work in an office and I would have to get to work like eight thirty nine o’clock and I did this to the point where it became you know regimented it became a routine. But then when I no longer had to do that anymore when left to my own devices I very gradually moved to waking up around ten eleven o’clock you know my you know getting ready kind of facing the day doing all of the things that everybody who’s like a biological clock or circadian rhythm. You know the folks who tend to wake up earlier naturally doing the same things that they do, just doing it at a different times scale and and so I feel that because it sometimes feels as though or at least to me it felt like I was out of step with the world. You know everybody has determined that these are the time periods.

09:26.78

Stephanie Melodia

Ming.

09:33.32

Stephanie Melodia

Um, yeah, yes, open.

09:39.41

Lauren Conaway

Which things need to happen and I existed outside of that.

09:43.20

Stephanie Melodia

Oh my god. I get honest, word for word, I relate to this so much. I hope some of our listeners can relate to this as well. Even you recounting that commute into the office in the morning. Horrendous. Absolutely horrendous and you saying you gradually slipped back to waking up a bit later for me, it would be. The moment I possibly could the moment it would be like come Saturday come the weekend and I would just be like oh it would just be so physically painful and it got to the point where I would be. I remember lying in bed in the morning with the alarm going off and really really. Questioning to myself. How am I gonna get out of bed like I don’t know how I’m gonna get out of bed like I’m so I think for most other people. It’s like thinking about the alarm going off. I don’t know, like 2 or 3 a m like it’s so painful. It’s so horrific and it got to the point where I just thought. This cannot be normal like the rest is like you’re saying it’s like the rest of the world which also by the way you know this 9 to 5 Monday to Friday like time like schedule timetable that everyone else has come up with that originates from the agricultural.

10:54.43

Lauren Conaway

Right.

10:56.00

Stephanie Melodia

A revolution like that comes from farming because of sunlight hours. So the idea is you wake up? Yeah, with the sun you make sure that you know you plant your crops, sow your seed during the sunlight hours and it’s something that’s just continued as you say and it’s like becoming the norm. And then again that point around that deep societal ingrained how deeply ingrained it is that you know the early bird catches the worm first one up, you know the early riser you know sees the day. It’s just for us. You know, feeling like outsiders. This is a huge part of entrepreneurship as well because you get to call the shots. You get to make your own rules. I can’t see myself ever going back to an office and being somewhere at a certain time, a certain place. Showing my face at 9 AM at the desk just because someone else has things.

11:47.52

Lauren Conaway

Someone else decided that that was the way that it was supposed to go and and and I would argue late to those folks, you know the fact is I am more productive when I am allowed to exist within my own body cycle.

11:49.47

Stephanie Melodia

So that means.

12:04.47

Lauren Conaway

And so really, it’s to the company’s benefit to allow that flexible time. You know I’m going to knock out much more work. I have a couple folks that I work with and they love meetings that I like. I will absolutely be there. I will prioritize being there. I prioritize being there but I’m going to tell you I’m going to be foggy headed I’m not going to be fully present because that is just not how my body naturally.

12:29.68

Stephanie Melodia

Wow.

12:36.50

Lauren Conaway

Ah, insinuates itself into the world like that time for me is the time that I’m you know often. It’s the time that I’m getting ready to go to bed and so if you see me at seven thirty in the morning. It’s likely that I’ve only had one or two hours of sleep and so it’s just I don’t know what the fix is.

12:44.54

Stephanie Melodia

Walls.

12:49.80

Stephanie Melodia

Ming.

12:55.97

Lauren Conaway

But I do think that there needs to be a greater expanded understanding of the individual and how their body reacts to sleep and how their body is most comfortable, approaching sleep right.

13:06.80

Stephanie Melodia

Yeah, absolutely I just remember saying I would go on these rants in the office. It was only my second job into my career but exactly as you’re saying though I would just be like wouldn’t you rather I show up half an hour an hour later.

13:15.66

Lauren Conaway

Um, I think.

13:24.23

Stephanie Melodia

And be so much more on the board and be feeling better and happier and I think yeah again, it’s like this movement in the workplace. You know millennial talent Gen Ed coming into the market as well when the financial rewards are not valued as highly as other factors such as the flexibility. The learning, opportunities, etc, etc. So I do think it is changing. Um, but I would like to pick up on you mentioning about you know, not knowing how to fix this. You’ve suffered from insomnia for I’m guessing a while if not your entire life.

13:55.51

Lauren Conaway

I mean years and I mean honestly like since I was a teenager really and the fact is like I think that there is an inherent understanding or misunderstanding around insomnia um, you know insomnia is and I’m going to give like a little bit of a base definition here but insomnia. Is um, in an inability or a difficulty in falling and staying asleep but you can have acute insomnia and you can have chronic insomnia I person I have chronic insomnia I have been um I’ve been diagnosed I have been. Ah, medicated at times and I’ll talk a little bit more about why I don’t ah I prefer not to be medicated later. But um, you know acute insomnia is typically environmentally related. Um, you have stressors in your life or you have you know you have a new baby or something like that and so you are. Um, dipping outside of your standard sleep schedule. It becomes more difficult to get into that routine sleep chronic insomnia suffers. Um, we are the ones who I average 2 or 3 hours of sleep a night because once I fall asleep. Not only did I find it difficult to fall asleep. But I also find it difficult to stay asleep and so um, you know I’m just in a state of perpetual tiredness. Um in my work around personally like I take naps.

15:11.63

Stephanie Melodia

And

15:20.78

Stephanie Melodia

News.

15:23.30

Lauren Conaway

You know and ah and I have to you know, forgive myself for that because again, there’s this culture where it’s like napping is laziness and it’s like no napping napping is actually vital for me to get the sleep that I need and in fact, it’s not always ideal because I’m not always falling into that deep REM sleep. Um, but. That being said, it’s certainly better than nothing and it’s more restorative than operating long term on 2 hours of sleep a night you know.

15:48.33

Stephanie Melodia

Conscious fumes. Yeah, exactly I was going to ask what works for you because I’ve had sharing it with friends and their recommendations of spriting your pillow with some lavender spray or taking.

15:59.28

Lauren Conaway

If I hear about melatonin one more time I’m going to lose my shit people are like well have you tried Melatonin like of course I’ve tried melatonin. It’s like the easiest over the counter remedy to fight. Yes I’ve tried melatonin. Oh.

16:13.40

Stephanie Melodia

Yeah, so this is interesting because as much as I’ve had all these different you know old wives tales and different recommendations. All these different things I personally have actually found the only thing that works for me. Is Melatonin so why does that not work for you because that is the sleep hormone-like.

16:30.60

Lauren Conaway

So it does so and so and this is what I was going to get into so I am what is called a fast metabolizer. Um, and it means that I process medications quickly and I build up a resistance very quickly. So melatonin and really any kind of pharmaceutical Ambien Lunesta you know when I take those they will work for a day or 2 and then they will stop. Working for me and so I will stay right? Awake and I can up my dosage of melatonin. But what happens if I’m not careful I build up such a resistance that when I do actually need to like I need to use medications. They’re no longer effective for me if I’m using them longer term more than like 1 or 2 days and so I try not to medicate myself and that and that includes melatonin like I’ll take melatonin one night and it’ll work It’ll be great and I do that periodically and then the next night it will have 0 effect.

17:31.61

Stephanie Melodia

Yeah, that sucks. So it’s needed but it’s just napping for you. Basically is there anything else in terms of diet or meditation?

17:35.80

Lauren Conaway

Yes, no, it’s not my favorite.

17:41.27

Lauren Conaway

So I meditate. I do that on an almost daily basis. I do prioritize that. I mean, I do all of the things that you’re supposed to do like turn off your phone and limit your screen time around bed. So when I was a child, um, one of the things that my parents had me do because I was a voracious reader. Um I would always have quiet time 30 minutes before I was supposed to be asleep. I would have a book in hand and I would be reading and that sometimes helps. Um, just reading a book directly is like writing because in the long term I have come to associate reading a book with sleep. Not always great when I’m actually trying to read a book. Ah, but. Certainly helpful in finding and attaining sleep. But again, the frustration for me is usually not that I often have difficulty falling asleep. But the biggest problem that I have is staying asleep. Ah like I am not one to sit down and pound out. You know ten hours of sleep and when I do it’s late. It’s a cause for celebration, you know.

18:48.23

Stephanie Melodia

Yeah, um, so one thing you mentioned before seeing is it’s only you know chunks of time here and there 30 minutes an hour a couple of hours maybe tops you mentioned about we see those rhythms we go in and out or see we have the the lights the room which is the. Dream stay and then deep sleep. So I have to ask you about your dreams as well. Then like do you dream loads. Do you have crazy dreams? Do you not dream at all?

19:16.55

Lauren Conaway

Um, so I spend, and I don’t know how this works for other insomniacs, but I spend a good deal of my sleep time in that twilight time where you are somewhat cognizant of the things that are happening around you. Um, even though you’re not really able to respond, have you ever experienced that or am I just crazy?

19:37.88

Stephanie Melodia

Well I know what you mean not I’m sure it’s definitely not to the same degree that you’ve experienced. But yeah you mean.

19:42.54

Lauren Conaway

Well so I have crazy dreams and that is the only time that I remember my dreams when I dream within that state of being like you’re kind of.

19:49.12

Stephanie Melodia

Yes.

19:57.10

Lauren Conaway

Sleep mostly asleep but you’re still just a little bit aware and hold on this.

20:07.13

Lauren Conaway

I’m okay so that is the mailman coming and I apologize I’m just gonna have to let our tech team know that we had a dog bark at 22 and we’re just gonna back it up a second. Oh yeah.

20:15.69

Stephanie Melodia

And now I think that’s fine that you’re kind of trading off a think we can go question Anyway I think it still works.

20:26.14

Lauren Conaway

Okay, um so tech team. Thank you very much for editing this out. You rock our faces off king out hush. Ah, it’s like you so it’s 10:30 in the morning here and I whenever they schedule me for a ten o’clock I’m like.

20:30.90

Stephanie Melodia

Of no rose long.

20:43.10

Lauren Conaway

That’s a fifty-fifty shot whether or not we’re gonna have the mailman come maybe okay so back into it. Um, what was I saying? What was I saying? Yeah um.

20:52.67

Stephanie Melodia

And we combat dreaming the twilight zone.

21:00.10

Lauren Conaway

So my most vivid dreams come when I am in that twilight state of sleep where you’re mostly asleep but still just a little bit aware and so what’s interesting for me is I am often aware that I am dreaming, which is really kind of fun. And I have learned that that is a little unique. I’ve certainly met people who’ve experienced that before but um, it’s my understanding that most people when they dream they are not actually aware that they’re dreaming. Is that the case for you?

21:28.58

Stephanie Melodia

It’s called lucid booming. Ah yet I don’t lucid dream very often. No, that’s quite rare. So yeah, you definitely take the ah yeah, the points for that one.

21:38.98

Lauren Conaway

Kind of interesting though. Like I mean it It is kind of interesting there have been a few times when I’ve actually been able to manipulate my dreams like think to myself huh I kind of want to do this and I don’t often do that. But sometimes I get a little experimental with it I guess.

21:45.39

Stephanie Melodia

Yeah. And where I’m so I mean I’m so fascinated just in you how we fall asleep. You know Billie Eilish’s previous album. You know when we fall asleep where do we go? It’s like you can’t. Um, so interested in so many things across psychology and how human beings work and neuroscience. So you know thinking about we never remember especially with the 2 of us struggling to go to sleep. We never remember that point that we dropped off at which is just I feel like you know that’s one of life’s great. Mysteries. Yeah, we won’t ever know because you know we fell asleep at the time and yeah as you say you know the 2 of our extreme disorders that have forced us to read into it a little bit more and understand I also have lots of weird crazy dreams I do find that in my circle of friends. It’s often myself. That’s the one who has. These crazy stories and I could recount these dreams that just sound like films and so I think this is a good opportunity. Just remind everyone of the importance of sleep. We all know it. We get it. Everyone does need to sleep but sleeping in itself flushes our body off.

22:49.27

Lauren Conaway

So.

23:03.77

Stephanie Melodia

Um, of toxins that we need. It’s almost like a leap that kind of gets rid of them. Obviously it makes us feel impaired. It can make us feel drunk. It’s the same way as you know, showing up to work. You know, completely pissed as we’d say here in the UK.

23:04.30

Lauren Conaway

Right.

23:21.21

Stephanie Melodia

You think about that and then the dreaming itself. Actually, that’s all shrouded in so much interesting mystery as well because dreaming helps us to remember. It helps us to forget. It’s part of our evolutionary cycle as well with a. Ah, with nightmares as well. You know, precipitating what might happen so it’s getting our brain ready for these threats and fears. It’s just really Amazing. You know we take it back to just these basic human necessities that we can’t really control. Um and yet you know mother nature knows.

23:40.17

Lauren Conaway

Surprise.

23:55.53

Stephanie Melodia

Know that we need it. But again you know goes back to this productivity hustle culture of always being busy. That’s this unhealthy badge of honor that we’ve been wearing and we need to really you know we need to get we need to catch some z’s we need to prefer these 8 hours.

24:06.97

Lauren Conaway

Yeah, we definitely need to reevaluate our relationship to sleep. And I’m actually all right. I would never ever ever say that I am glad we are in a global pandemic. But I do think that there are some positive things that have come out of it. I know that people have you know it’s been a horrific shit show of an experience for the world. But that being said I do think that people are placing more of a premium. On that self-care component that’s slowing down a little bit taking time to enjoy the moment to sleep to spend time with family. Um, you know so if anything good could be said ah to come out of this pandemic. I do think that perhaps maybe more attention to sleep could be 1 of those things.

25:01.28

Stephanie Melodia

Absolutely I do agree it has been a catalyst for some good things and I know it always feels you know risky to say it out loud and have it recorded in a podcast of course no one would have wished this on anyone but we did need. We did need a shakeup and I think it’s.

25:13.72

Lauren Conaway

Never ever know.

25:20.60

Stephanie Melodia

You know the catalyst for the positivity that it has had in terms of that prioritization of health or self-care. But also that recognition of those health services that are being you know over here in the UK, we’ve got the NHS. I think some of those things that we previously took for granted.

25:28.65

Lauren Conaway

Right.

25:38.74

Stephanie Melodia

You know there has been a good kind of shift in our you know mindset at least now and.

25:41.57

Lauren Conaway

Yeah, for sure. Well, so really quick I’ve been so fascinated by this discussion that I have forgotten to mention that today’s episode of Startup Hustle is sponsored by FullScale.io. They are a fabulous software development kind of company. So if you have tech products that you want to bring to market, I highly recommend them. I have spoken to countless clients of Full Scale and heard amazing feedback. Um, you know they are the way to go if you want to help build out a software team quickly and affordably without having to worry about all of that red tape. Definitely recommend that you do that and I imagine. That engaging a team like that could help you get better sleep at night don du ah you know I just I had you’re right I had to do it. It was just ah, an opportunity there. So Stephanie I want to.

26:23.80

Stephanie Melodia

You had to be done.

26:34.89

Lauren Conaway

Ask you this I do actually want to delve a little bit more deeply into your um your disordered sleeping I mean you’ve kind of mentioned. Um, what your experience is, but what are some things that you do in order to counteract or to to be present or to because you’re never.

26:40.52

Stephanie Melodia

Meaning.

26:46.10

Stephanie Melodia

Named.

26:53.48

Stephanie Melodia

Yeah, yeah, yeah, great question and you’re right in my case in particular is it a genetic disorder so it is to do with? Yeah how um I was born. I’ve had this since birth. It’s part of my genetic makeup.

26:53.99

Lauren Conaway

Ah, solve the problem per se yeah um, but I guess to manage it.

27:11.40

Stephanie Melodia

There isn’t much that you can do to solve the problem at the root of the cause but exactly as you say it’s then how you manage it and so interestingly with me I’ve had it as I said my entire life and it was only a year or two ago that I even came across this disorder I’d never even heard of it before. This is after also being to the doctor a few times about it as well because I mentioned before I had these moments where I just thought I know I’m not normal I know that other people like surely they can’t suffer as much as I do so we’ll get into the dspd in a sec because it is quite interesting. But. To answer your question having spent so much of my life trying to figure it out I would do a few different things like I would keep I have a very overactive mind anyway and I guess being creative it kind of flows more late at night so I would keep a notebook or a sketchbook or something on my bedside table is like a non-negotiable because you think of some stuff it keeps you up your line there. Wide awake. It’s like getting it out of your head onto paper. So if that helps anyone else. You don’t have to have to be struggling to get to sleep if you just have a rough night like.

28:19.42

Lauren Conaway

Sure.

28:22.38

Stephanie Melodia

Just get it out there pen to paper. I did try all of those. I’ve got countless lavender sprays and I tried magnesium tablets and all these different things that didn’t really work for me. Um, and so it’s only been in recent years with the diagnosis. Made it official that gave it a name part of that was also giving myself permission to take Melatonin. So um I also have because I’m so interested in this anyway I have. I pay for some premium sleep apps. I also use an ua ring which is like a health kind of tracker. So all these things to track. My sleep. So really dig into some of that data. So I’m a marketer and I’m a business person so I dig into that data. What I found separate from the melatonin tablets is I’m going to let you. I’m gonna see if you can guess actually the number 1 thing that has worked for me in the past. That is completely natural. That’s not tablets. It’s not medication and isn’t one of the things that I’ve already mentioned so it’s not lavender spray. There’s something else that no it doesn’t have to do with diet. There’s something that.

29:25.97

Lauren Conaway

Does it have to do with diet? Okay, ah her white noise machine.

29:36.69

Stephanie Melodia

Ah, not something that really does get you set up for a good night’s sleep and it’s not illegal. It’s totally legal.

29:41.86

Lauren Conaway

Lots of water I mean I think I’m like racking my brain and I can’t kiss it. I’ve heard of the order ring actually and for and I think because I often Google like sleep remedies that like my ads show me that all the time they’re like hey hit one of these.

29:56.36

Stephanie Melodia

Is that right? Yeah, okay you like misery. It’s halftime, so it’s going back to fetal development like being in the room. It’s like being in warm water.

30:01.21

Lauren Conaway

I I don’t know what it is. Ah.

30:14.24

Stephanie Melodia

Being all comfortable in warm water. Um, having a good kind of 30 to 60 minute bath where also as you say it’s helpful if you do have a book that you don’t get where you know obviously you know screen time as well. But I’ve found that the times I’m able to have a bath before going to bed. That definitely helps and the interesting thing that you talk about as well with reading your book and having that great habit instilled from such a young age is again. This is where psychology is so fascinated with how the brain works are those mental cues, those mental associations that.

30:48.46

Lauren Conaway

Yeah.

30:50.84

Stephanie Melodia

Ignore our brain. Okay, now it’s time for bed. So I think there’s a part of that as well. But yeah today at this point in time melatonin is what I need to get me so to to get me on the straight and narrow I tend to. so I tend to take it on a Sunday night so that I can reset my my rhythm for the new week because again the weekend I’m just I just slide right back to how my you know my body wants to be waking up at um and I also am very conscious of not playing around with it as well. Like I know. The danger you can get into like I’m very very conscious of that dependency I really don’t want to get super dependent on something where unless I have this tablet I can’t go to sleep so I do try to keep it as a bit of a last resort if I have stayed up until super late at night well morning as you say as well. Then if it’s really necessary to then kickstart and get back into the new rhythm for the week then I’ll do it sometimes. But yeah, it’s a process. It’s an ongoing management I’ve had from my entire life so far the more I’m learning about it. The more helpful it is and the more that Pete the other people know about it as well. It’s helpful. It is so with my team. They know not to book any meetings with me before 10 AM. I don’t have any availability in my calendar beyond certain points in time. I make the most of that overlap when everyone else is awake to do the meetings and calls. And then I’ll use that late time to do deep, creative work. So it’s all figured out. You know what works for you.

32:25.12

Lauren Conaway

Yeah, and I do. I actually kind of love those days when I have arranged my day to kind of fit more into my biometric desires. You know, um because like because you know 2 in the morning.

32:38.34

Stephanie Melodia

Yes.

32:44.10

Lauren Conaway

It is such a lovely time to get work done and I know that some people hate it and I have started scheduling out emails. Um, you know, yeah I have an app or something in my Gmail account where I can schedule emails to launch at a certain time because it used to be that people would get super frustrated because they’d be like why are you emailing me at 2 in the morning.

32:56.72

Stephanie Melodia

I definitely do that? Yeah, yes, yes I am accepting excitement. Yeah.

33:03.30

Lauren Conaway

And like I’m not expecting you to answer like I just you know I want to get it off my plate. Um, but that is yet another workaround like folks at home if you are one of those who’s a night owl if you are in the p. m. Ah, that’s a lifesaver because your team won’t hate you. But yeah like I love those nights when I am allowed to let my body do what it wants to do naturally.

33:21.33

Stephanie Melodia

Um.

33:28.40

Stephanie Melodia

Um, absolutely yeah and that calm just to mention that thing is at that point there is also that calm that peacefulness same as you absolutely love having these moments of.

33:43.71

Lauren Conaway

Might so for like now we’re only one but no one else is available.

33:44.82

Stephanie Melodia

Four five am where I know that no one else is awake. I can look out the window. There’s such peacefulness and it is the same as again I mentioned before you know the 5 AM club this hustle culture. It’s the same just the other side of the day so you hear these early rises that society has lauded. And have given them this kind of successful you know connotation and they talk about you know the early bird that catches the worm, the early riser before the rest of the world gets going and it’s like well we have that too just it happens at 2-3-4 in the morning instead.

34:16.69

Lauren Conaway

Right? Well and I mean it does. There are certain things that I find difficult about it because for instance I would love to take a run at 2 in the morning but can’t do that because as you know it’s not safe. Um, so there are things that are limiting.

34:25.75

Stephanie Melodia

Yes, thing. Yeah yeah. Yeah, yeah I put um out. Yeah.

34:36.60

Lauren Conaway

In that and I mean we’ve touched on the fact that the world isn’t always built for people like us. Yeah, um, but that being said, the things that I can do like in my poor husband he hates like I love to clean at 1 in the morning like I’ll just that is when my body is most. Energetic most focused most and so yeah, like the poor guy like he’s just he’ll wake up the next morning and just be like thank you for that I heard you.

34:53.73

Stephanie Melodia

Um.

35:04.41

Lauren Conaway

I heard you running the dishwasher or you know, walking around putting stuff away at like 1 in the morning and I’m just like yeah I love you you love me it’s worth it maybe.

35:13.17

Stephanie Melodia

Ah I absolutely have that in common as well. You know friends ask me what about your partner. He is the opposite; he is an early bird early riser. So we’ve been together for over ten years now. So it’s all finding what you know and waiting.

35:24.20

Lauren Conaway

Yeah, so we’ve been married for 10 together for 12 and and what’s interesting and like I do I like I do consider us to be like in a mixed marriage. My husband and I because first of all, he falls asleep the moment his head hits the pillow and I’m so jealous like I’m just like god that must be so nice.

35:32.98

Stephanie Melodia

And

35:38.44

Stephanie Melodia

Um, yeah.

35:43.38

Lauren Conaway

But the other piece is he is the lightest sleeper I have ever encountered in my life. Um I think so, I’m going to be perfectly honest about this, and this is like people I have been judged by before but my husband and I actually sleep in separate bedrooms.

35:44.83

Stephanie Melodia

Um, lastly do we have the same husband.

35:58.19

Stephanie Melodia

Yeah I kind of moved that day. Yeah, absolutely.

36:00.54

Lauren Conaway

Because yeah, we learned very much in our marriage that if he wanted to get a full night’s sleep you know do it like being around an insomniac who sometimes has night terrors and very disordered sleeping that this was actually a way for us to preserve our marriage but I’ll tell people that.

36:12.98

Stephanie Melodia

What are you?

36:18.54

Lauren Conaway

Like they’ll come over and they’ll see that you know we have two separate bedrooms and people ah like are you okay is everything all right? Are you about ready to divorce and it’s like no actually this is the way that we keep our marriage thriving because we don’t hate each other for.

36:21.84

Stephanie Melodia

Um, like interpreting on telling yeah actually.

36:31.42

Stephanie Melodia

I love that you brought that up, and well done to you for sharing that because again, it’s one of these other just again like society, like someone else thought you can have your own bed when you’re growing up but then.

36:35.80

Lauren Conaway

Tormenting each other oversleep.

36:49.46

Stephanie Melodia

Soon as you get into a romantic serious relationship you then need to share that same square you know mattress regardless of your own sleep hygiene or rhythms or routines or anything. So no I’m totally with you on that I cannot believe my partner is exactly the same he goes to bed early.

36:58.77

Lauren Conaway

Great.

37:09.40

Stephanie Melodia

Falls Asleep straightway. He’s also a super light sleeper. So it really doesn’t work. So yeah, yeah, yeah.

37:11.67

Lauren Conaway

I Mean an ant farts and he’s like what’s going on and I’m just like it’s ah it’s okay, like you know, nothing’s happening I just shifted a quarter of an inch and yeah well and I find that you know even there late in this.

37:22.16

Stephanie Melodia

Exactly, exactly. Yeah, yeah, totally. yes.

37:31.21

Lauren Conaway

This is tangentially related to our sleeping system, but you know we are physically affectionate enough throughout the day that I don’t miss that night time cuddling or anything like that, like we made it a priority to be physically affectionate with each other.

37:36.60

Stephanie Melodia

Yeah.

37:46.38

Stephanie Melodia

It’s actually exactly yeah for instead.

37:48.49

Lauren Conaway

Ah, when we’re awake and then it doesn’t matter as much when we’re sleeping, yeah that is too funny like Stephanie. It actually kind of freaks me out a little bit. Your sister from another Mr. from across the pond.

38:00.27

Stephanie Melodia

Yeah, ah absolutely yeah, totally.

38:05.25

Lauren Conaway

I love it? Well so we’ve spoken in kind of specific terms about what works for us as our sleep. But for the folks playing at home. Um, you know, first let me just say like if you are a disordered sleeper. Um, I would encourage everybody who experiences trouble sleeping to try a sleep clinic or to try, you know, talk to your doctor about it and make sure that you are um, first understanding the root cause. Like Stephanie, I find it fascinating that you have had this disorder all of your life and it’s only relatively recently that you’ve come to a deep understanding of it because when you understand it you can navigate it. You can again, you can manage it.

38:47.28

Stephanie Melodia

Um, I mean do you know? what? It’s so incredibly validating to discover that it’s a thing and that it has a name and that it’s real in the way that I imagine um. Other people with other you know, realize that I don’t know they’ve got different sexual orientation or they identify as different gender or whatever the case may be but it’s like, oh my God, I knew that there was something you know and especially after it being so long. And having visited the doctor multiple times this also speaks to the general Society’s view on sleep as well. It was so, honestly, it was so shockingly dismissed from the doctors.

39:36.16

Lauren Conaway

Right.

39:39.74

Stephanie Melodia

I went for a different reason because I also would only go and see a doctor or medical professional if I really really really need to so it was a different reason. There was something more serious that happened but I thought to myself you know what I feel awkward. But while I’m here I have to ask and I felt kind of silly like bringing it up because it’s like because of sleep whatever but I’m like I definitely feel compelled enough like I know that there’s something going on here I just don’t know what I don’t know what it is and so I think maybe the first time it was just so blatantly dismissed another time they said that I was just stressed.

40:16.86

Lauren Conaway

Yes.

40:17.59

Stephanie Melodia

Um, and then I think the third time they said that I hadn’t established. Um I hadn’t established good sustainable routines. Um that I was in like seven days a week because I would be so so so desperate to catch up on the sleep again. Not an insomniac like you. I do need a lot of sleep. I just don’t need it at a different time of the day. I would be so tired that by the time the weekend came around I’d be like ah it would be such a huge relief. It would be like quenching a huge thirst with like a liter of juice.

40:39.26

Lauren Conaway

Yeah.

40:53.32

Stephanie Melodia

This is how I always describe it, like not even water like fruit juice like a real first quench that was like oh finally and I’d feel a little bit more human and about the time Sunday I’d be like ah I wish I could just live my life like this and then I would be back. On the you know on the rigomaro again, come Monday morning and of course I would feel like a ton of bricks came down on me. So yeah as you say so it was really only you know thanks to the internet. Um I can’t remember how I thought the classic thing of just kind of going down the rabbit hole but found this thing.

41:13.95

Lauren Conaway

Right.

41:27.96

Stephanie Melodia

Reading? ah, reading the description of delayed sleep phase disorder it was such I mean you can just imagine like this deep feeling this validation this satisfaction just reading that description and a huge excitement as well of like, yes.

41:40.87

Lauren Conaway

Sure.

41:46.11

Stephanie Melodia

Like yes, this is me, this is categorically me. I absolutely have this like no shadow of doubt and you know lap to up more and more and more was like I wanted to read as much as I possibly could about it of which again there isn’t much because again I think it is a relatively recent discovery. When you research sleep or you look up sleep disorders. You’ll typically find insomnia or sleep apnea, you’ll very rarely come across this if you know your standard kind of sleep articles. So as I said I’m taking part in a sleep study, medical professionals are still learning more about it. But my theory is very interesting and is for me. Satisfies it scratches an itch where I’m so interested in human psychology, neuroscience as well as history. I have the theory that because this is something that is genetic, I’ve had it since Birth I believe that this is an evolutionary thing. That stems from our primal ancestors and I think that the reason why this is all this makes a lot of sense. Why it’s in such a tiny minority because I believe that my ancestors because my family are also you know pretty extreme night hours as well that my ancestors. Were the night guards that would keep watch during the nighttime while the rest of the tribe slept so you would have like 1 you know night 1 1 guy on the night shift you know you’d have one watch guard out of.

43:03.91

Lauren Conaway

Interesting.

43:15.58

Lauren Conaway

Yeah.

43:18.90

Stephanie Melodia

Your tribe of twenty-thirty maybe 50 and so again because it isn’t natural because we are meant to see sunlight. We’re meant to have that vitamin D. The circadian rhythm is meant to follow the cycles of the planet. So it isn’t natural, but I do believe that it’s over those thousands of years since those ancestors, like primitive night guards that we keep watch. I think that that’s where it stems from.

43:36.58

Lauren Conaway

Right.

43:44.29

Lauren Conaway

That is face and see I had never really thought about that. I’m a product of a mix of mixed parents. My mom is very much an early riser and wakes up at like 5 AM in the morning gleefully, which I just do not understand.

44:00.24

Stephanie Melodia

So I’ll need it.

44:02.39

Lauren Conaway

Ah, whereas my dad. He was very much a night owl and so I definitely inherited that from him but that is fascinating and when you think about it you’re right? It’s not natural evolutionarily speaking like yes we are. We’re conditioned we need that vitamin D but at the same time.

44:05.30

Stephanie Melodia

Okay, million. So yeah.

44:22.17

Lauren Conaway

Being awake during daylight hours and then you know moving to the safety of the cave at night for sleep was the safest like the dark with where things were going to get you.

44:27.40

Stephanie Melodia

Monument was actually new.

44:34.33

Lauren Conaway

And so that is part of the evolutionary process as well. You know our ancestors were conditioned to be awake during daylight hours because you could see around you and you could see predators and you could find dangers more easily. Um, and so that is fascinating.

44:42.54

Stephanie Melodia

Yeah, yeah.

44:50.88

Stephanie Melodia

Not exactly and I think idiot and this is why as I say for me, it really does this is yeah I was so excited to get stuck into this topic with you today because not only do I have these struggles but it scratches that itch across you know history human evolution that and the neural-like how our brains are wired.

44:52.82

Lauren Conaway

I had never really thought of that.

45:09.57

Stephanie Melodia

And so another little tidbit to quickly share on the historical timeline as well is that during the Victorian era, something used to happen in society. Maybe it was more of a British thing like here during the you know time queen Victoria reigned but something propelled. Actually just to your point around like you know daylight and the light and you know escaping predators and seeking safety in the cave at nighttime during the Victorian era we would have 2 chunks of sleep because again we go up and down we have these rhythms and our circadian rhythm you know it’s in these chunk.

45:48.74

Lauren Conaway

Yeah.

45:48.94

Stephanie Melodia

Minutes and hour minute minutes and hour minute minutes and what would happen is we would have these 2 chunks of sleep in the night and we would wake up in the middle and it would be totally normal and this actually gave way to the advancement of street lighting again. Maybe it’s more in London or than the UK. But where you see these gorgeous Victorian like oil lamps as the streetlights that was kind of a part of it as well because people would get up they would visit. There were these gorgeous illustrations as well of people in their pajamas.

46:12.72

Lauren Conaway

Um, yeah.

46:25.36

Stephanie Melodia

We didn’t touch on this earlier but I’m in my pajamas for this sleep podcast.

46:27.32

Lauren Conaway

But which I love and to be I am as well. I’m definitely wearing a pair of boxers and a t-shirt, but those are my version. That’s my version of pajamas.

46:35.45

Stephanie Melodia

There are these gorgeous illustrations of these people in that you know the Victorian pajamas and then night hat and dress and gown and slippers and they would go and pay visits to their neighbors and they would go for like a cup of tea and they would have this like break in the middle of the night.

46:51.35

Lauren Conaway

So yeah.

46:53.16

Stephanie Melodia

Between these so that’s where you have what’s called the second sleep. So again like all of these things which we just take for granted. We take you know, no one teaches us this stuff either. That’s all just accepted as part of our as part of the norm in today’s society which is ah going to sleep for this huge.

47:05.58

Lauren Conaway

Right.

47:10.81

Stephanie Melodia

Well this longer period of time at night time during these sorts of hours. So I think you’ve got this whole? Yeah, just an interesting kind of diversity piece even just with sleep itself.

47:19.62

Lauren Conaway

Right? Well and and so so I’m a huge fan of Nicola Tesla um I wouldn’t say it’s dusted but it’s not far off and there are actually many geniuses throughout history who have reported sleeping in short bursts.

47:24.59

Stephanie Melodia

And being in the.

47:35.69

Stephanie Melodia

Me.

47:37.69

Lauren Conaway

Rather than long you know 7 to 8 hours and so it’s certainly possible. Um, and I’d be interested if I haven’t really looked it up too much. But I’d be interested to see if there’s some correlation between creative thought and you know the quality and I guess depth of sleep.

47:50.16

Stephanie Melodia

I mean.

47:56.34

Stephanie Melodia

No more this.

47:57.41

Lauren Conaway

That’s your experience. I gotta tell you Stephanie I hate to do this because I am so fascinated by this conversation. We have actually gone well over time at this point and ah and I’m Gonna have to draw tools. I knew that this was gonna be a good conversation because we had a good conversation.

48:14.90

Stephanie Melodia

Yeah.

48:15.57

Lauren Conaway

Last start we had a really good conversation that I left feeling energized I was like yes I Really really dig this chick and I really can’t wait to talk to her about sleep because we we had kind of touched on it a little bit but it is this has been just as ah, wonderful and instructive and interesting as I as I hoped it would be. I am not surprised but I am gratified and I am going to ask you and I’m going to ask you a sleep related question. Ah, but what tells us about this is your human question. By the way, tell us about a funny dream or a fun dream that you had.

48:46.10

Stephanie Melodia

Ah, such a good question. Okay I’m gonna try and not take up too much time with the listeners. Thank you for bearing with us and I’m going to go with one of my more recent ones. That’s just fresher in my mind I jump About. Ah, one of my best friends. Ah, for whom I’ve bought a t-shirt made by another best friend in real life and I Dreamt that I finally got to give him this present and inside the box was not only this t-shirt that I bought for him but also a load of other things like wacky sunglasses and. Like feather Boa and all these crazy dress up things and he just started pinning all this stuff on and getting all excited and it was just I love dreams where there are these elements of the real world and then this crazy Dream. You know shit if I can say that this crazy dream stuff.

49:43.40

Lauren Conaway

Yeah I.

49:45.68

Stephanie Melodia

Overlaid on top the next day is what I love about it as well as how it does keep up the contact with friends as well sometimes because I sometimes think if you don’t necessarily have much to talk about. You can be like, dude, I had this crazy just about you last night, and kind of kickstarter it.

49:58.76

Lauren Conaway

Yeah, I love being able to do that, and so interestingly enough, um, when I wake up, this is this I’m I know we have to go, but I’m going to share this at 2 things because I think they’re kind of funny, but I tend to wake up with a song in my head.

50:12.19

Stephanie Melodia

Oh.

50:14.37

Lauren Conaway

And it is typically a song that, um, started while I was still in the dream state, and so today or yesterday, it was actually the Mario brothers that du du du du da have no idea why it’s always just a completely random weird song that has nothing to do with anything I also.

50:23.80

Stephanie Melodia

Was open.

50:29.47

Stephanie Melodia

Um, ah.

50:34.15

Lauren Conaway

Tend to have dreams about raccoons. Not every time, certainly, but I would say that a high like an inordinate percentage of my dreams in some way involve a raccoon, and I don’t know what that means; I have no idea.

50:47.30

Stephanie Melodia

You? Well, I would definitely say you’ve got the black circles around the eyes. It’s a night. It’s definite. It’s definitely an animal associated with nighttime not getting enough sleep, so it could be something admired.

50:59.10

Lauren Conaway

Yeah, because I mean maybe the raccoon is my, you know my scar old my heart friends. Ah well, Stephanie, thank you so much for taking time out of your schedule once again to chat with us and share your story. This has been lovely.

51:05.81

Stephanie Melodia

He hates the faithful.

51:17.10

Stephanie Melodia

Thank you. No, thank you so much for having me again. Great to get stuck in, and the time always flies with you as always.

51:19.10

Lauren Conaway

Thank you, Thank you.

51:22.84

Lauren Conaway

I know, I feel this about you. We’re gonna have to do this again. We’re gonna have to find another topic. But, folks, I do have to tell you once again that today’s episode of Startup Hustle was sponsored by Full Scale. They can help you build a software team quickly and affordably. And we sure do love them around Startup Hustle. I definitely want to direct you to find Startup Hustle. We have a deep digital footprint; Startup Hustle does. Surprising nobody, so definitely take a look at our YouTube channel, where you’ll find Startup Hustle TV. You can find us on Instagram. We have a Startup Hustle chat on Facebook. All you have to do is search for Startup Hustle, and you’re going to find us on most social media platforms. We would love to see you there. And I have to tell you, listeners, we are so very grateful for the time that you took to listen to us week after week. We cannot thank you enough. Thanks, and keep on doing it. We will catch you on the flip side.

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