Authenticity and Events: The New Movement

Our first international guest, Dan Bolton brings two words to mind: Genuine and Authentic.  He shares how specific events have impacted him as well as help change culture!  This episode shows how events are more than just gatherings but can be movements!

How did you get in the events world?

Pretty much by fluke, I was a circus performer. I wasn’t that good at it actually. We toured around the UK and Europe, I was a fire breather, stilt walker, a clown. Not the career path my parents had wanted me to do. They thought I’d be a lawyer, doctor, or police man, when I said I was going to run away with the circus they were disappointed. That’s how I got into it then it was the case of you need a real job. I started booking entertainment and managing, creating shows and performances, worked with agencies and started my own business 4 years ago.

You’ve worked on projects around the olympics.

I’ve done two. I was a performer in Athens for the closing ceremony, I was a dancer. Then for the London olympics I was supporting the choreography for the athletes parade.  Every time you see the athletes with the flags, we do things like that as well. 

It’s [the olympics] interesting because it’s dominated by two or three big companies always pitching for them.  It depends on who is the favorite at the time. Can you imagine the politics  and stressed involved? We worked with Jakata last year, the stress levels to put that show together were pretty intense.

It’s something I’m going to talk about in my session tomorrow (At ILEA Live) basically talking about how bigger events really do help drive and position countries. It’s basically a marketing machine so they showcase their country and use it as an opportunity to promote themselves and empower their population.  It’s a pretty big deal. There’s often interventions or recommendations with presidents. Last year in Jakarta, we were working with the military and Vice President.

Events can really put you on the map.

Yes for good or bad reasons. They definitely put places, people, and country on the map for sure. It’s a form of soft power, thats why these countries bid for them, they want to project themselves as a great nation.  

We are working on Expo 2020 at Dubai, a world fair that happens every 5 years in big cities.  They bring together 195 nations taking part in this six month festival.  They have over 60 events every day for 173 days.  It’s huge, countries build pavilions and they are almost like mini embassies and they showcase innovation and technology. They are like a tour center to showcase countries. People travel from around the world.  They are expecting 25 million people to attend.  They are building infrastructure for that. They are building a whole city basically outside of Dubai to accommodate. Then they factor that into the legacy plans.  This will become a destination once the event is finished. It’s an opportunity for people to come experience the Middle East and position itself as a center for live events and knowledge sharing, bringing people together. This is important for the way the world is. Nations use these experiences to really propel them into the future. It’s competitive. It can really help drive the future of the city or destination.

Great, tomorrow you are speaking, what are you speaking about?

I’m going to talk about my experience in Jakarta, some of the things we went through.  It was a really humbling experience.  We go there and kind of tell people what to do. They are bringing in the internationals and we got so absorbed into the culture, it was a beautiful experience.  They are all volunteers, 4000 we had to choreograph. You have these school girls and they don’t see the big picture, it’s a four month journey, they don’t want to be there, they are forced there and it builds to this extremely proud moment of them being proud of their country.  It’s empowering to see this. 

What’s the most memorable event experience you have ever had?

I’m going to say a recent project, the special olympics. 

Anything new for those starting out?

This industry is changing so fast. We need to be consistent, authentic, real it’s hard work.  People think it’s really easy and simple, but it’s pretty stressful.

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Insta: Charlesevaneide



Twitter:The Meeting Minds

Tomatoes, Crickets, and Heads of Lettuce?

Tell us about your background

I was with Microsoft for 13 years came into the program to change the world at Microsoft with food. I was able to do that.  We had some good times and some bad times along the way, but for the most part it came out really well. The thing about Microsoft is they are using food as every tech company is using food, to be able to attract the best and the brightest.  They invest a lot of money in the food program to be able to attract and retain.  The kids that are coming out of college they are not looking to come to a company that they will stay a long time, they are looking for the Big Bang and a lot of that has to deal with food. In college mom and dad picked up the bill so it was free food and you come to work and your expectations are high around that.  At Microsoft we didn’t have free food. We were big on food waste so the idea of paying for food you make decisions differently than you would with having it be free. For the most part we were able to maintain that in the Bay Area where there is a competition for workers. 

I did a lot with this idea of becoming a profit center vs a cost center. We got into a lot of crazy things, growing our own food hydroponically.  I had some grow towers that we put out in the cafe and our digital geniuses that worked there saw it and wanted to digitize it.  We had our grow towers connected to the cloud and we were monitoring them with a surface tablet. The cool thing about that is they were growing in the office space, as you were doing your work next to you lettuce was growing. 

Listen to this episode to hear Mark’s full story!


Insta: Charlesevaneide


Twitter:The Meeting Minds

Genius Ways to Maintain Health and Fitness on the Road

It can be challenging and nearly impossible to get to the gym when traveling!  Justen Jones comes into the EideCom Studios to talk through some simple yet genius ways to maintain your health on the road.  

Getting the Right People to Attend your Event

We are joined by Carly and Ann of Ann Plans


So you guys have to tell me a little bit about you before we get into the topic. Tell me Ann about how you got in the business.


Ann: So I started my career out of college in nonprofit fundraising. It’s not what I went to school for. My first internship out of college led me to a position where I was helping to start a new nonprofit get going. So that’s where I started doing fundraising. I had the opportunity really early in my career to work as part of the staff for the 1991 international Special Olympics. So we had 6,000 athletes coming from 90 countries. I was part of the sponsorship team. And then right then and there I knew that I liked fundraising, but what really gets me excited and what I’m really passionate about is bringing large groups of people together to make important things happen. And I love challenges. I love problem solving. I get bored super easily. So when I was doing grant writing and direct mail, it’s like, yeah, I could do that for about a year for an organization. And then it’s like I need more, I need more challenges. So the work we do, there is never a dull moment.


So you’ve been, so you’ve been doing events now you said 20 years?


Ann: For over 20 years. Started Ann Plans 12 years ago and our marketing materials our websites said, it was really me for the first five years working with our  organizations. We took out a client about seven years ago. Courage, Kenny Rehabilitation Institute invited to do plan three to five major events for them at that time. I knew if we were going to take on that new contract and still be able to work with all these other great organizations, we needed to grow the team. So brought, my first person on and um, right now we’re a team of four people plus some contractors who help us day of events.


And we’ve got Carly, Carly,  you’ve been around the nonprofit and fundraising area for awhile?


Carly: I have, yeah. I actually have similar background as Ann I was working in nonprofit fundraising for about seven years. That is what I went to school for. I was an arts administration major at Butler University in Indiana, a little liberal arts school. They basically kind of teach you the and outs of running a non nonprofit, which obviously a big part of is those donations and fundraising.  I also enjoyed it, but you know, I actually really did love the direct mailings. I wanted a change and asking people for money all the time can be a little challenging. And I realized, you know, a consistent of my background and my jobs, were those donor events and galas and I really just kind of loved them. And so here I am. I love seeing something go from nothing to just a memory that someone has for years That is just such a cool memory.


You’ve been all over the place, right? You said Chicago, Texas, Minnesota. Why Minnesota?


Carly: I’m from Chicago. I love my now husband, brought me to Texas and then a few years living in Texas,  he started job searching and life brought us up here, back to the Midwest. And we love being here.


You’ve seen non profits succeed and fail at putting together an event, lead us tthorugh that.


Ann:  Absolutely. So when we start working with a client, whether it’s a client that’s looking to create a brand new event or a client that’s looking to take their event to the next level, one piece of advice I give is that whatever we decide to incorporate into this event, we need to execute at a super high level. One of the biggest compliments I think an organization doing a first time event as an example can get is for their guests to come and say, oh my gosh, I never would have believed you hadn’t done this event before because the whole guest experience from start to finish is flawless.  I think build a base of supporters who are going to be your cheerleaders and champions and really help to spread the word and get others invested in the event. So we work with some events that don’t have committees. Sometimes that works fine, but the most successful events that we get to be a part of have a strong committee. And those committees are made up of people who typically are well connected in the community and or have a tremendous passion for the organization. These days we don’t necessarily need committee members, who are gonna pick out the napkin color, although they’re welcome to weigh in. But we’re really looking for committee members who are passionate about the organization, can help secure sponsorships, individuals who can put together a table of other people and are going to do that strategically. One thing I say to clients is it’s not about filling the room with warm bodies. We want to get people there who are excited about this work or have the potential to get excited about what you’re doing and to invest in the work.


So while we’re on that topic, how would you do that if somebody was like, hey, so we have like 500 people, but like nobody gives money. Like what are the things you would do?


Ann:  Right. So what are the strategies that has worked really well for some of our clients is to have as part of your committee,  a group of folks are really focused on the guest recruitment strategies. An organization here in the twin cities we work with and they have just two subcommittees. They have an auction subcommittee and they have a guest recruitment subcommittee. I think part of it too is it’s just having conversations with your individuals who are hosting tables or your corporate sponsors, helping them to think about what kinds of people does it make sense to have at the event. In most cases we would rather have other officers of the organization, people in leadership positions versus filling the room with just kind of as a thank you to the employees and, and to do that. Sometimes it’s okay, but if you have a room that’s just filled with people who are there kind of for a fun and free night out.  You’re not gonna see the results. My husband now and then I can rope him into volunteering at some of our events. The ones that are more fun and interesting. He says to me, when I come to your events, I just, I just can’t get a deal at the auction because people are bidding these up and he understands that. That’s totally what it’s all about.


How do you create a guest experience that is centered around the mission?


Carly:  We definitely have seen so many creative ideas. Some of the things that we do is asking the guests a mission focus question during the reception. That is just a neat reception idea, an interactive element. So the example is a big heart at one of our events, tthat was raising money for cardiovascular health. We asked the guests just on a large sign, I care about heart health because… And that gets your guests thinking about, okay, this is a mission focus question, why I’m actually here, what this event is raising money for and why? Yeah, why am I here? Why do I care about heart health? And it’s then it can also be a really cool piece that you then bring back to your organization and use in some capacity.


Ann:  It’s large three dimensional, it lit up,great photo opportunities. Something really cool that an organization we work with that does rehabilitation work for people who have had injuries, strokes, those kinds of things was we were raising money through the direct giving moment for a piece of robotic technology and it’s called the exoskeleton. And so it’s basically a robotic suit that people who are unable to walk on their own, they can put on this suit and they can have that experience, that sensation of walking, which isn’t just about the empowerment of I can walk, but it really has proven to be a really effective therapy model to get people closer to being able to walk on their own. So during the reception for their gala one year, we had a gentleman wearing the suit walking around the reception, so here was something that people had never seen before. It gave them a little sneak preview of what they would be an invited to support later that evening.


You have to keep them thinking about it the whole time?


Ann:  Absolutely. Absolutely. One of my favorite ways that we welcomed our guests to an event, this was several years ago for a children’s theater company and the theme was based on the wizard it was called the Emerald and Ruby curtain call ball. And we had theater students who were young teens who dressed in these really formal flying monkey costumes. They were super classy looking but people knew they were flying monkies. We actually had the yellow brick road red carpet and the valet would pull up and align the red brick carpet. We had like 12 of these students and so right then and there it was fun. It was creative and people were reminded of why they’ve been there.


During that direct giving part of your event. Um, many of our clients will have some of their participants like the Guthrie Theater has youth who are in their education programs who are bits batters, during the fund to need and another way to just remind people of why they’re there and why this work is important.


Carly:  We also have seen some really cool photo opportunities where you can incorporate a neat background that can really speak to what your organization is raising money for, bring that into your photo op because that’s where your people are taking photos and then sharing it across social media. So just another way to kind of explain who you are and define yourself.


Ann:  A fun way to bring some technology and social media into your event is to do a social media wall. Have monitors throughout the event space as well as in your program area where people can post photos. We suggest having multiple places throughout your event space that remind people of how they can do that. Because once people start seeing their friends and their colleagues and they’ve had a couple of drinks we have got to sometimes remind them, hey, just text it here or post it on your Instagram.


Let’s talk about being intentional in crafting the messaging for a really strong program.

Ann:  Yeah, absolutely. So I believe the event messaging needs to start from the very beginning when you’re communicating with your potential guests and your guests. So we really are advocates and we’ve seen this as a trend over the last couple of years where more and more nonprofits aren’t being shy about saying this is a fundraising event that we are inviting you to. And this is how you can make a difference. So when we work with our clients on their marketing collateral, starting with the save the date and our preliminary social media, it’s like let’s remind people about what they’re coming to support. Don’t be shy about what your fundraising goals are.


When we’re working with our clients on social media posts, pre event,  we want to share a lot of the fun things. Some of the things we don’t share because we want them to be surprises, but we want people to be like, oh my gosh, this is going to be an amazing night. They have all this cool stuff going on. But it’s also an opportunity to share a little bit about a participant story or to share some facts about your organization. When it comes to programs definitely a trend is shorter programs are the way to go.  And we’re really finding the majority of our clients are on board. We don’t necessarily need the CEO and the board president and this person and that person. We don’t need eight or 10 people unless it’s an awards program. I think it’s, it’s important early on to be really clear about what are the aspects of the organization’s work that are most important for people to hear. And remember that people, many of them will have had three or four drinks by the time you get to the heart of your program. So you want to repeat those messages throughout the program. It needs to all tie together. You folks are experts when it comes to producing videos. My favorite videos are those where your watch them and you’re like, oh my gosh, I wish it had been longer. You know, like it’s like, that was so cool. I want more of that individual story or I want to more about the organization because the story was told in such a creative way. So we really focus  on doing it a lot of it through storytelling. So even if it’s the MC or the CEO of the organization whose main job is to talk about some exciting highlights of what’s going on, if that person can also share a personal story of why this work is important to them, I feel like everyone going on stage should have a story that helps people to connect to the heart of the work.


Now take me to fund to need. How do you really get people to take action on it?


Ann:  A lot of pre planning is key to a successful fund to need. So one part of that is determining what your dollars are going to support. Many of our clients, the money goes to general operating. That’s where they need the money. In some cases it’s actually more powerful. One of the biggest key factors,  once you kind of figure out where the money’s going to go and how you’re going to message that is to do your homework on getting some donors lined up with pre commitments. If your auctioneer is going to start at 25,000 or 50,000 or 10,000, whatever your top level is, we want to make sure we have one ideally two or more donors at that level. I believe you ideally have pre commitments at your top two or top three because sometimes you get a couple at the top and then youget to the second level and there is no one. Match components can be really powerful as well. We did an event recently where every dollar in the room up to $200,000 would be matched. Most of the matches we see are not that large. So typically say we have a $10,000 match or a $20,000 match, we’re not going to announce that right off the bat because if someone raises their hand at 20,000 and the match it was 20,000 we just, we just match the match. So I 20,000 or $10,000 magic, let’s save that for the lower level. May maybe we get to the $500 level and the auctioneer can introduce the match and it’s their way to build it.


I want to talk about trends that we’ve seen in nonprofits. What kind of trends are you seeing?


Ann: Organizations are branding their event more and more to the mission of their organization. Habitat for humanity, for example, has the hard hat and black tie affair. So it speaks to the fact and their event name. This is a formal event, but it also speaks to their mission and people have a lot of time fun wearing hard hats and jewelry made out of nails and all of that. We do some work for a local affordable housing organization. Their event used to be called the grand gala. Does that tell you who they are? It says nothing about any organization can or have had the grand gala. So they rebranded last year as a celebration of home.


What other trends are you seeing?


Carly:  Balloons are so hot right now, back and booming. Not just arches but sculptures. Different components being used.


How do you lay the groundwork for a first time event?


Ann:  Start early, I would say ideally we’re looking at least a year out. We met with a client last week that’s looking at doing a first time event the fall of 2020 and they’re like, are we starting soon enough? They’re actually having us put together for them kind of a proposal to do a proposal.They said, can you put together kind of a roadmap for us? Are there things that we need to think about and need to feel we can have in place? So one of those things is they’re concerned about do they have the types of board members who can help make this be the kind of event it needs to be in terms of the fundraising and the attendance? So they’re actually doing some work overall on board recruitment and board development. And so they’re thinking about this event and what are some of the local companies where we might want to try to tap a board member out of their company?


I think another thing that’s super important is to know ultimately what are you trying to accomplish with this event? We worked with one organization and at one point it was going to be a concert at a local sports venue then it was going to be something inside of a theater. And when it came down to it, they really wanted an organization that welcomed the community to come and celebrate with them and learn more about who they are. So we did a block party for them that’s at one of their local sites and had entertainment and kids’ activities, some information about their programs, food trucks, and really brought people to their property and said, everyone’s welcome here.


So lastly, how do you plan for the unexpected?


Carly:  Even the best of planners, they can’t expect everything. The opportunities are there to just learn once things happen. We’ve seen obviously have a rain plan if you’re going to have an outdoor event, step one, have a rain plan. Program like we were talking about is so huge. What’s going to be your plan B if one of your speakers is sick or can’t show up that’s pretty common.  



Using Sleep to have a Better on site Experience

On this episode of Meeting Minds, sleep expert Sarah Moe teaches about the importance of sleep and sleep habits and how it affects our productivity.



You have some tips for us don’t you?  I feel like we sleep better in the fall.

That’s actually quite common. A lot of people do find that once it does start to cool  off and they open the windows at night they are sleeping a lot better. The science behind that is because the recommended sleeping temperature for your bedroom is 65 degrees.  The reason the national sleep foundation recommends this is because our bodies are naturally going to attempt to drop to that temperature in the first place.  So if you are able to speed that process along it’s that much easier and causes less interruptions in your ability to initiate sleep. 

Try it for a few days, you will be surprised.  It is difficult for most of us to wake up because our REM sleep happens at the end of our sleep cycle. REM sleep stand for Rapid Eye Movement and that’s the stage where we dream.  Because of that we have a natural paralyzation that happens where we are paralyzed so we can’t act out our dreams. I don’t know if you’ve ever woken up and you feel like you can’t move it’s because of those hormones. It’s called sleep paralysis and it’s very common.  It’s also why it’s difficult to get out of bed, if you’re groggy and slow to move you were probably in REM sleep.

I love that part when you’re about to fall asleep and you feel like you’re falling and you jump.

That’s very common as well.

It’s common for us in the events world to put sleep off. Talk to us about how that can affect our performance.

It’s common across all fields, it’s an American mindset, I will put off sleep to be more productive. It’s actually incredibly counter productive.  If you were able to achieve the sleep that you were supposed to have every aspect of your next day would be more positive. Our sleep impacts everything we do our ability to make proper judgements, our moods, our physical health. Everything is impacted by how you sleep the night before. When you are going to sacrifice your sleep to get more done just know that if you did take that time to get the sleep you were supposed to have then everything you were going to do the next day is going to be better.  

There’s so many things that have happened in the history of our culture that have been disastrous based on poor sleep. We were talking earlier about the Challenger (The Shuttle) I remember when I was younger hearing how devastating it was.  It was something that could have been prevented. After they did the investigation after the crash they found that it was a faulty o-ring and there was a leak and it caused the explosion.  The crew that was in responsible for checking the o-ring was found to have been going on two hours of sleep the night before. So when they found that in the investigation they realized that was something that was poor lack of judgement on their part based off of sleep deprivation.

When we think about going into our jobs or workspaces, especially in the event planning world, when you have these large things you are working with, to be on your game with a good night of sleep will be helpful for everybody.

We are hanging heavy things over peoples heads every day!  Thousands of pounds are being raised up.

Imagine if that person who was responsible for that construct was sleep deprived. The three main things that they look for that will decline after sleep deprivation sets in is:

1. Cognitive abilities

2. Reaction time

3. Decision making process

What is it that happens when you sleep that refreshes you?

There are four stages of sleep and each stage does something different. We’re now learning the role that sleep plays in memory.  We’ve always known that you can’t have a good memory if you don’t have great sleep.  But now we are learning the science behind it including the different parts of the brain involved even the different brain waves that will consolidate memories. They are proving that when we are learning something our brains are in record mode we are taking in this information, it basically sits there. When we sleep it becomes storage. Our brains in stage two sleep will decide if what you processed that day will be stored into longterm or short-term memory. If we’re not having consolidated sleep we’re not able to store those memories and have them accessible the next day.

In college I read that sleep is more important than studying all night, so I would go to bed early rather than staying up all night studying.  I would do just fine on my tests.

These poor college students who are pulling all nighters, reading this information, and thinking they are going to be able to retain it the next day and be tested on it, it’s the complete opposite. They would be so much better off learning through out the day, getting a good night sleep being able to consolidate those memories, and then go about the next day.  

In the events business a lot of techs are expected to work long shifts, what is the recommended shift?

The average American adult needs 8 hours of sleep, we’ve all heard this. Even now they are saying 7-8 is sufficient. The majority of us are admitting to getting 6 1/2.  It doesn’t seem like it’s that much of a difference but that extra half hour does make a huge difference for your abilities of the next day. 

That being said, the average person sleeping 8 hours a night will have that be 1/3 of their lives leaving the other 16 for wakefulness. There are a lot of other things that need to happen during wakefulness like commuting to work, taking care of family, social life, all these hours that add up.  16 hours is not only too long of a shift to work, but it’s too long for actual wakefulness. At that point 16 hours is where your body starts to break down and it is to the point of being comparable to alcohol. So after 16 hours your sleep deprivation is going to leave you being impaired the same way to alcohol.

Is it fair to say that the mind needs offline time or rest?

Absolutely, meditation is a huge helpful tip right now, not to replace your sleep but to have a healthy bedtime routine. That’s been proven over years. When you think of the chaos in our lives it’s not just with work, it’s with family with social. It’s important for you to have time to yourself to think about what’s important in your lives, if you want to continue to be busy. Sleep is a huge part of that to help you process your thoughts and feelings.

What is happening that’s causing all this good stuff in your body when you sleep well?

The cool thing about sleep is that it’s a system that requires all other systems.  You can’t even achieve sleep without ever other part of your body being involved. I think thats fascinating, when you want to wiggle your toe you don’t need your other systems as such. Everything is incorporated in sleep cardiology, respiratory, neurology it’s all one big crazy neat puzzle. 

Even to initiate sleep it takes a lot of little systems together at the exact time so you can get to sleep. It is still unknown, because sleep medicine is so young when you think of the other fields. We’ve really only gotten the research in the last 30 years so we still have a long ways to go but we’ve learned so much to be able to save lives

What are you saying about sleep saving lives?

Despite having the lack of physiological research our elders knew what they were talking about when they say, “drink some chicken noodle soup and go to bed”. One of the first things that happens when we do become sleep deprived is that our immune systems drop. It is easier for you to get sick when you haven’t been sleeping well.  That’s because we are not able to fight off simple bacteria that we would be able to on a normal day. That being said, they’ve also classified shift work as a carcinogen, which is something that is likely to cause cancer.  After a night of less than 5 hours of sleep, your cancer fighting cells reduce by 70% in your body.

How important is it that an event organizer makes sure that the tech’s get enough sleep?

It’s extremely important, especially from the realm of safety. There’s so many minor avoidable mistakes that happen due to sleep deprivation or fatigue. That being said, it is great to be aware of your team and their needs. If there is a day that’s longer than the others, of course that’s acceptable, but just to be aware that the next day needs to be different so you can make up that sleep and improve your ability to perform. 

There are so many physiological implications.  Even just heartburn and obesity.  That’s a vicious cycle with interrupted sleep.  A lot of people will start with a sleep disorder and because of that become obese. Or they will be obese and develop a sleep disorder. Its a vicious cycle. Leptin and ghrelin, two hormones regulated during sleep, play a part in appetite control and burning calories. If you have interrupted sleep or a sleep disorder, and you are obese and trying to lose weight, if you are not sleeping well and have the proper regulation of those hormones you’re already starting the next day behind.

Is it a thing where most people don’t know they are not sleeping well?

Most people who have a sleep disorder are unaware. The people who suffer the most are the bed partners. They are the ones who realize something is wrong usually the reason people will come in for treatment for a sleep disorder. 

What are symptoms people should look for?

Fatigue is the number one symptom. Fatigue is like pain. If you break your arm there’s a signal, pain is saying something is wrong. Fatigue is saying something is wrong with your sleep. Unfortunately majority of us have adapted to a tired lifestyle where we think we are supposed to be tired all the time. My first piece of advice would be to practice good sleep hygiene which is what we call sleep habits. Once you get to a point where you focus on removing the negative influencers on your sleep and focus on getting 8 hours of sleep a night, then you still feel fatigued its probable you have a sleep disorder. Over 30 % of the population has a sleep disorder and there are over 115 sleep disorders.  The main one though is sleep apnea where you stop breathing at night. It’s estimated over 20 million Americans are undiagnosed sleep apnea. 

Are there things that can help you get into a better sleep cycle?

Yes.  The two main negative influencers are caffeine intake and blue light. Caffiene is really prevalent in our culture this is not a judgment.  Caffeine is important given our busy lifestyles.  It is important to know how it works so you are not abusing it as you use it. Caffeine is an adenocine blocker, adenocine is a hormone that makes you feel physically fatigued, makes your eyes feel tired.  Caffeine blocks the release of adenocine, when you have caffeinated beverages in your system and you try to go to sleep that when you end up in that phase where my mind is racing and I can’t go to sleep. You’re body wants to fall sleep but the presence of that caffeinated beverage will not allow it. 

The average caffeinated beverage has 100 mg of caffeine and caffeine has what’s called a half life. It takes 5 hours for half of that to get out of your system, then 5 hours later the other half will exit your system. If you do drink caffeinated beverages try to stop by 2 pm so it can exit your system. 

The second one is blue light, it is huge, number one negative influencers on our sleep. Blue light is the fastest frequency of light.  It’s not only telling us to be awake but also when we are sleeping.  Spontaneous arousal’s that may be caused by blue light, and can be avoided by not using your digital device before bed. Avoid it for an hour, the national sleep foundation says 2, but I’m a realist.

What about night shift on the new phones?

They are slightly impactful but do not do what they claim to do.

What about sugar before bed I heard it makes you wake up to use the restroom?

That’s one of the few things that will cause you to wake up to use the restroom. A lot of people think they are waking up to use the restroom when in reality they are waking up for another reason and realizing they could use the restroom and then they go.

Other negative influencers?

Sleep disorders.  Most people don’t think they have one because we adapt.  We think we are supposed to be tired because of busy lifestyles.  But again with over 115 of them a lot of us do suffer from them. With bed partners being the ones who suffer most people don’t think this is something I should go talk to my doctor about. Another big part of the problem there, a majority of our Doctors in med school are practicing about 2 1/2 hours of sleep education.  There’s no mandatory education on sleep.

You mentioned a sleep study now what is that?

I worked overnights in school doing sleep studies and diagnosing sleep disorders. Patients come in and we put a bunch of wires on them and watch them sleep and see what’s going on.  From what we can monitor which is brainwaves, respiratory, your heart, all your systems and how they work together and if there is a sleep disorder present.  We treat it and send you on your way. 

So does being a tech where you are staying up all night and watching other people sleep what does that do for you?

It’s called hypocrisy. We sacrificed our sleep for yours.  I used to ride the bus home because driving home in that state was so dangerous.  I used to fall asleep on the bus all the time.  

Tell me about someone who wants to consider a sleep study. 

Most insurance covers and now is a great time of the year to do it.  Most people met their deductibles and now have the rest of the year to different medical procedures. IF you are tired I highly suggest getting a referral from your primary physician and say I’m tired, I’d like to get a sleep study.  They will refer you to an accredited lab in your network.  You get to go spend a night with an awesome tech and wake up with some answers.

What are things you can do in your routine to get ready, even if it’s not your home?

Yes sleep disorders are prevalent, but for most of us having good sleep habits and a routine will help us to sleep so much better.  Stop drinking caffeine at two and stop looking at blue light an hour prior to bed.  I also wear an eyemask to bed. Every time I pull down my mask I can physically feel my body say oh it’s time for bed.  We are so trainable.  It takes 28 days to form a habit but with sleep it’s so much sooner because your body craves sleep so much, it’s adaptable when it comes to sleep habits. I always suggest doing one physical habit that will train your body it’s time for bed. 

A nice glass of wine, alcohol is a sedative.  But it suppresses REM sleep, so do not have more than the recommended 1.  Don’t use excessive alcohol to fall asleep but have a night cap.  

They are leaning that a lot of people are having a hard time falling sleep because of worry.  They did a study where they listed five things they wanted to do the next day and five things they were grateful for. In that order first remove the worry then be grateful.  The ability to fall asleep was exponentially higher for them.

It’s good to keep a sleep journal keep it by your bedside.  A lot of time its good to write down your dreams, they can be very telling and you don’t have dream recall unless you wake up out of that specific dream. We have around 5 different REM cycles. 

Tell me about zzz-quill.

I am a fan of sleep aids. That is if you have done a sleep study and ruled out a sleep disorder, have good sleep hygiene then yes take a sleep aid. The long – term ramifications of sleep deprivation are so much more negative than actually taking a sleep aid. 

Are there other foods that are not good and ones that are good for sleep?

Cherries are one of the only natural sources of melatonin. Melatonin is very frequently mis-used unfortunately because of pharmaceutical companies mislabel them. I don’t know if you’ve ever used them, the way it was marketed was as a natural substance and you can take a natural thing but the melatonin you are taking was created in a lab. You are supposed to talk it 2 hours prior to sleep but most bottles say a half hour.  People think it’s going to be this magic sleep aid when in reality melatonin is used in circadian rhythm regulation, which is our bodies time clock.  If you take it two hours before you are setting your body up for when it’s time to sleep and not adjusting the shift to much by taking it a half hour before.  

It’s good to go out in sunlight in the morning to boost natural melatonin production. So when you wake up and you are able to go outside for ten minutes that’s really helpful. 

What other things would you like people to know before wrapping up?

It is really important to be aware of it. I’m not going to sit here and say sleep is the most important thing and you have to go to bed at the same time overnight. If you are suffering everyday, just know there are steps you can take to feel better. We live in the age of information you can google anything.  If you are tired there is something you can do about it.



Meeting Minds by EideCom