Ask Me Anything: What Happens to Our Bodies When We Sleep? with Dr. Valerie Cacho

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Published on ‎08-31-2021 04:16 PM by Guide | Updated on ‎08-31-2021 04:26 PM

Join AthletaWell Sleep Guide Dr. Valerie Cacho in an hour-long session to answer all your questions! Learn about what our bodies do while we sleep and how to get a good night's sleep. Don't miss the chance to get all your questions about sleep answered from the Sleep Doctor herself!



Thursday September 2

2:00 - 3:00 pm PST / 5:00 - 6:00 pm EST



In the comments below!


Ask Valerie anything about sleep like:

How does my monthly cycle affect the way I sleep?

Why do I wake up in the middle of the night with hot flashes?

Sometimes I talk or even sleepwalk, what is going on?


How to participate:

Drop your all your comments and Q's in the comments below by 2pm PST / 5pm EST on Thurs. September 2. Valerie will be back on September 2 to reply to all your questions on the thread during this event time!

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I also wake up around 5 am and have a hard time going back to sleep - always noodle over things I am worried about - how can I avoid this?

Scroll up to see some of my top tips.  Be curious about what you are thinking and why you are thinking it.  Worry is normal and part of the amazing  human experience however as you know when it happens at 5am it can really throw us for a loop.  Setting aside a worry time in your calendar has been super helpful for people.  I usually recommend to do this earlier in the day and not too close to bedtime.  Set an alarm for 15-30 min (or longer if you desire) and get all the worries out by writing down what is bothering you or creating a voice memo on your phone or computer.  The more you practice this activity the easier it gets.  Then at night at 5am if you wake up worrying you don't need to avoid it but let your brain know that later that day you'll focus on it and now you can go back to sleep. 


Also check out the Restore and Recharge section for more great tips.



I get 8 hours of sleep but I still wake up so tired, its like im sleeping but my body doesn't rest. Am I not sleeping right? (in my early 20s)

@GoodbyeVal Great question.  I would recommend talking to your doctor about this to make sure you don't have an underlying sleep condition (narcolepsy or obstructive sleep apnea), thyroid issue, vitamin deficiency, or autoimmune condition etc.  


My mind is active all during the night, even when taking sleep aids.  What can I do that will grant me a peaceful night's sleep?


@GB-Simon Really good question!  Cultivating a regular practice to train your brain how to relax and strengthen the parasympathetic (aka relaxation response).  We often don't think of our brain like a muscle.  However with practice you can certainly calm down the mind and sleep peacefully.  I'll create a post about science proven mind-body practices that help with this common concern.  In the meantime hop over to the Restore and Recharge section for tips.  


Fantastic questions ladies!  Please let me know if this was helpful and what topics we can dive into next.  Looking forward to our next Ask Me Anything event!


Any advice for middle-aged women who were night owls but are now even more so? I have been a caregiver and got in the habit of only having free time when I went upstairs "to bed" around midnight. That's when I went online to read, watch "TV," learn cool things, whatever and I am in the habit of going to bed 3am and am having a hard time breaking the habit. I say I will go to bed sooner and don't. Maybe just tough love and set an alarm and do it at 2am, then 1am, etc? Yikes... I can't be the only one.


@DebMarPir the quiet of the night can be so comforting for all the reasons you've listed!  To help "turn your clock back" to sleep earlier, science tells us that we need to go outside in the morning and have bright sunlight for at least 30 min after we wake up.  This helps the brain know when to be awake and alert and the following day can help you sleep earlier.  Usually after 2 weeks of this your sleep can shift back.  It also takes some discipline to do so.  Also I recommend people to avoid light at night as light prior to bedtime can keep you from sleeping as it can decrease the release of melatonin the hormone that helps decrease our alertness.  I would encourage you to find non-light activities to do at night some people like listening to soft music or monotonous podcasts.  I've heard of other people take up knitting or gentle yoga stretches.  


Yes, I have a lot of trouble "turning off." I turned all my devices to blue light and try to listen, not watch. I am too tired usually to do yoga or something as demanding as crafts at 3am if I can't sleep. That's why if I lie there a couple hours I put on something to listen to on YouTube. I like the idea of more daylight and quiet music - it just is that feeling of stress, "RELAX. SIT THERE TILL YOU SLEEP. LISTEN TO THAT MUSIC." I feel like I am wasting time but that is my anxiety kicking in. Thank you so much, I will work on this!

Why do I wake up so often? And just suddenly,  I wake up for no apparent reason.