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Episode 15: Why Women Have Different Sleep Challenges Than Men

Show notes

Women are more likely to have trouble falling — and staying — asleep than men. We’ll give you three guesses as to why, but you’ll only need one. (If you guessed hormones, you’re right!) Because women experience so many hormonal fluctuations throughout their life (during puberty, pregnancy, perimenopause, menopause) in comparison to men, they tend to experience more sleep problems, especially as they near menopause. This doesn’t mean you’re doomed to wander the earth a sleep-deprived zombie. In this episode, Dr. Harris talks to Ob-Gyn, menopause advocate, and founder and chief medical officer of HerMD, Dr. Somi Javaid, and dives deep into how to work with your changing body.

Episode-related links:

The Ultimate Guide to Menopause and Sleep
Why Are Women Sleep Deprived Compared To Men?
New Analysis of 30,000 Adults Shows Men Are Sleeping Better Than Women


Dr. Shelby Harris: How are you sleeping? Are you sleeping? I’m Dr. Shelby Harris, licensed Clinical Psychologist and Director of Sleep Health at Sleepopolis, where we dive deep into all things sleep. 

If you like Sleep Talking with Dr. Shelby, take a second right now to like this video on YouTube or give us a 5 star rating through Spotify or Apple Podcasts.

I know it seems simple, but it really does help us reach a lot more people to get them the rest they deserve. And if you’re tired of hitting that snooze button, hit the subscribe button instead. A new episode of science backed sleep tips is available every other Wednesday. 

Did you know women are more likely to have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep than men? I’ll let you take a second right now, listeners, to guess why. 

If you said hormones, you’re correct! Ding ding! Women experience several notable hormonal fluctuations throughout their life during puberty, pregnancy, perimenopause, and menopause. Sounds fun, right? And as a result, we tend to experience more sleep problems.

But this doesn’t mean you are doomed to wander the earth a sleep deprived zombie. Today we’re exploring how to work with your changing body to get some much needed shut eye. To help We’ve invited board certified Ob Gyn and menopause advocate, Dr. Somi Javaid. A leading expert in menopause and sexual medicine Dr. Somi is also the founder and chief medical officer of HerMD, a revolutionary women’s health care platform which strives to make women’s healthcare exceptional by educating, advocating for, and empowering patients to take control of their health outcomes. She is, as I’ve told her personally, a powerhouse in this area for sure.

Dr. Somi, we are so thrilled to have you here. Welcome to Sleep Talking with Dr. Shelby. 

Dr. Somi Javaid: I am so excited to be here and chat with you today, friend. 

DS: I love it. And I love all the different things that we’ve gotten to meet over the past few years on. And it’s just been so wonderful to see all the things that you’re doing. So thank you. 

So our listeners, I’m sure, are familiar with menopause, but let’s just for the basics, break down the terms a little bit. So what’s the difference between menopause, perimenopause, and then, like, post-menopause? I think it can be confusing for some people. So when does each stage traditionally begin? Because that’s surprising for a lot. And what should listeners expect with each stage? 

SJ: Wow, we could talk the whole hour on that. 

DS: I know. It’s loaded. 

SJ: Loaded! So menopause is the cessation of menses — fancy word for you haven’t bled for 12 consecutive months. People are like, wait a second, what if I had a hysterectomy?

There’s blood testing we can do to confirm that you are in menopause. So the average age is 51 in the U. S. 

DS: Okay. 

SJ: Perimenopause is the sister definition. It’s about the 10 years preceding menopause. Can have all the same head to toe symptoms, but there is still some bleeding involved. 

DS: Okay. 

SJ: Yep. That’s the difference.

And then post-menopause is confusing. Because people think I’m done. Why am I symptomatic? So doctors only use that when we’re talking about bleeding. Because there’s studies showing that women can be symptomatic in menopause for decades. 

DS: Really? 

SJ: So post-menopause doesn’t mean you are done done. And so average age is 51. You can be perimenopausal in your 30s. People are very shocked by that. Very shocked. 

DS: And you can still get pregnant when you’re perimenopausal, correct? 

SJ: Yes. Because you’re still ovulating. And so I love the fact that you picked up on that. So, no ovulation in menopause. Perimenopause, it may not be regular. Now some women still have very regular bleeding, but irregular cycles can be the first sign of perimenopause.

DS: What would other symptoms of perimenopause be, as opposed to menopause itself, or maybe they’re similar? 

SJ: They’re almost identical, head to toe: brain fog, hot flashes, insomnia, night sweats, vaginal dryness, frequent urinary tract infection, low sex drive, problem with orgasm, fibromyalgia or joint pain, weight gain, anxiety, depression.

I mean, sounds like a party, doesn’t it? 

DS: Yeah. Right. 

SJ: It doesn’t mean you’re going to have all the symptoms, though. Okay, let me just say that, people are going to be like, forget this doctor, this is depressing! 

DS: What do you see the most, would you say, like in perimenopause and throughout the stages? 

SJ: Oh, definitively hot flashes, night sweats, vasomotor symptoms.

DS: I think the fact that you pointed out that it can start even in your late 30s is really important because I see a lot of patients in my practice who are coming to me in their mid to late 30s, and I’m like, I think you might be perimenopausal. So, it can be one of those things that hormonal fluctuations — I think a lot of people just assume that it’s stress, that their busy lives- but there could be other things they are going through.

SJ: The funniest thing is, is I didn’t recognize my own. I thought it was anxiety. 

DS: Really? How did you come across it? 

SJ: So, my girls were away at sleepaway camp, and there was no communication other than good old-fashioned, like, writing. 

DS: Okay. 

SJ: And I woke up in the middle of the night, my heart was racing, so I was like, oh, I’m anxious. But the only weird thing is I’m not a sweater normally. I even have a heater next to me now and I’ll go to hot yoga and my girlfriends would joke that you don’t sweat. My husband was like, your hair is soaked. And I was like, oh, I must be nervous. Happened two more times. And finally, in the third time, I was like, oh my God, these are the hot flashes that I have been describing, reading about, treating, diagnosing for nearly two decades.

But it felt so different than what we describe in the medical literature that it even caught me by surprise. And so mine felt much more like a mood event and panic and anxiety than it did the physical sensation of being hot. That’s not what was so bothersome to me. And a lot of women will describe their vasomotor symptoms like that. Impending doom, needing to lay on the floor, cool themselves, and just having this sense of panic or being out of control. 

DS: Oh, interesting. So it’s not that stereotypical thing we see in like TV and in the movies of just I’m getting really hot, I need to strip all my clothes off and just fan myself. It could be much more of an anxiety presentation.

SJ: It can be, I mean, definitely there are women who walk in with a towel around their neck or, you know, have their fans with them, either the electric ones or the good old fashioned, you know, fancy ones, but my whole point is it can be very, very individualized and very different for every person. 

DS: Which makes it harder to diagnose, I would think.

SJ: Absolutely. But, you know, it’s indicative of an underlying condition, or it can be. You know, for example, that the worse the vasomotor symptoms, the more likely there is to be underlying cardiovascular disease. And we know that across different races, presentation of vasomotor symptoms can be different as well.

And so that’s why it’s not just a lifestyle issue that needs to be blown off. We really need to work up when a person comes in with vasomotor symptoms, because aside from quality of life, It can be an indicator of a much more sinister process going on underneath the surface. 

DS: I think what’s fascinating about your work is that you’re so specialized and you’re really that place that women want to go to to really get a definitive answer.

How many different types of doctors do you think that a lot of the women who’ve come to you have already seen and had been told, it’s anxiety, it’s this, it’s that, like where are you on that list, do you think? 

SJ: It’s really interesting. Not only have I been doing this for two decades, but I’ve had the pleasure of practicing in multiple states because HerMDs are, you know, growing across the country.

DS: Yeah. 

SJ: I would say on average, we are about the fifth doctor that people see. 

DS: Wow. 

SJ: I’ve heard up to nine. Usually it’s what you have said. They’re diagnosed with anxiety, depression, anything but menopause. They’re told, oh, we don’t do hormones here because they’re risk averse, they’re worried about litigiousness.

The WHI study scared doctors and patients. And you know, about 30 percent of our providers in this country are trained right now to deal with menopause. It’s a really sad statistic, I think 93 percent of medical residents are graduating uncomfortable to treat menopause and yet women are going to spend 40 percent of our lives in a menopausal state. And so we’re graduating all these medical professionals who can’t take care of us nearly half of our lives. 

DS: Is that changing in medicine with the younger generation and training? 

SJ: It is, but in the last decade we’ve gone from 20 percent to 31%. 

DS: Oh, god. 

SJ: So, in a decade, we’ve got 11 more percent. I think with the menopause revolution that’s happening now, with direct to consumer companies, with educational websites, I think with some thought leaders in the space, I definitely see more momentum now. So I think it’s going to change more rapidly. 

DS: I see so many parallels here with sleep medicine as well. I mean, how much sleep training do you think you got when you were in medical school? 

SJ: Probably less than a week. 

DS: Yeah. And that’s so common. I mean, it’s just there’s so much that needs to be taught when it comes to sleep and insomnia management and apnea. A lot of similarities there. 

So let’s talk about the hormonal fluctuations that lead to the hot flashes, the night sweats. Let’s say someone comes to your office, they’re complaining of these issues. It’s maybe disturbing their sleep. What are some things that you would recommend right off the bat? 

SJ: Well, after a thorough history, physical, right? Finding out what else is going on, making sure, you know, we get lab testing, making sure there’s nothing else like thyroid or god forbid, cancer or something else.

We do a physical exam. We find out about family history. When did women in the family go into menopause? You know, was the sleep issue a problem from their teen years? Is there some type of other stressful event going on, like job loss, marital problems, relationship problems? And then if we determine that it’s due to menopause, which in our practice is pretty frequently, then we talk about a curated approach for that patient.

I’m very pro hormone in the appropriate patient and hormones have been proven to help with vasomotor symptoms which can trigger and cause the problems with insomnia, falling asleep, staying asleep, waking up prematurely. We talk about things that people can do in their life, like yoga, mental health, eating right.

I want people to stay hydrated, but maybe not right before bed, right? So they have to get up and go to the bathroom because of genitourinary syndrome of menopause. We talk about setting the thermostat a little bit lower than maybe they would want. There are sleep regulatory or thermoregulatory clothing now, sheets.

I myself am a horrible sleeper. I have been a horrible sleeper since I was a teen, but there is a new mattress topper called Eight Sleep. 

DS: Yes. 

SJ: It actually is very much like the Oura Ring and it actually changes the temperature of the bed for me. And what I have noticed is I used to have a fan and a heater. I don’t need that anymore. Like I had this complex setup and I just have that now because it reads what’s going on, and my sleep quality has actually gone up. 

And then we know I’m a girl who loves her wine, but I have seen it myself. I’ve read the studies. We know that alcohol impairs sleep quality. And I look at my own sleep scores on days where I’ve had drinks versus days I haven’t. And I sleep so much better. So we talk about all of that. 

And then obviously, friend, you know, we just sent two patients to you this week. 

DS: Oh, thank you. 

SJ: Cognitive behavioral therapy. And that’s where, you know, we rely on experts like you to help our patients with that. And so it’s really a curated approach for our patients.

DS: Yeah, it’s an interesting thing about the CBT for insomnia is that we know that even in some people it can help reduce hot flashes, but we can’t really figure out exactly why. Maybe it’s consolidating sleep. Maybe it is, like you said, working on some of those lifestyle factors. Even caffeine is another big one, right? So caffeine, alcohol, trying to regulate all that. 

What about if someone’s in the middle of having a hot flash and they don’t have a fancy mattress top or something? Is there something that you recommend to help cool them off soon if they don’t have any of the fancy tech? 

SJ: Honestly, whatever works for them, whether it’s a fan, cold towel. You know what works really well is a lukewarm- I mean, I know it’s a pain and people are gonna be like, what are you talking about? Lukewarm shower. 

DS: Okay. 

SJ: Meditation. Because what happens to a lot of people when they start hot flashing. They start to get anxious. And then they start thinking about, oh my god, I’m not going to be able to fall asleep again, or I’m going to stay awake. Not grabbing the phone. Making sure that the room is set up for sleep, right?

Like, this is a problem in my home too. It’s a home office. So making sure my computers and my phones are away and I don’t pick up the phone and start scrolling. So those are the things I recommend. 

There are also wearables that help. Amber Wave is one of the ones that I like. It reads the hot flash and sends signals to cool the body at certain touch points. Like they have one that goes around the wrist and then they were developing- they were in development for others. So there’s multiple ways to try and mitigate that hot flash. And then we know that there are hormone therapy. And there are FDA approved non hormone therapy medications for VMS.

DS: Okay. 

SJ: We just saw one at the Super Bowl commercial, Veozah. 

DS: Yeah. 

SJ: And then we also have Brisdelle. So those are both non hormonal but FDA approved medications to help mitigate hot flashes. 

DS: I was interested, there were a lot of people that were not so thrilled with the fact that that had the Super Bowl ad and they’re like, it should be hormones, hormones, hormones.

Like, what would make someone want to maybe potentially try hormone therapy versus say, like, Veozah, or one of those? 

SJ: Hormone therapy has been tried and true, and we have a lot of data about it now that we are recognizing that the WHI is not the only data set. And so it’s been around forever, and there’s a lot of other benefits of hormone therapy when you’re talking about brain health and bone health.

And so it’s not just vasomotor symptoms. So that’s the difference. 

DS: Yes. 

SJ: But there are some women that either aren’t candidates, they don’t want to, because despite all the data, they’re still afraid or they don’t want hormones. That’s what I like, is that there are still fDA approved treatment options for those that either can’t or don’t want to, which is their right.

DS: Yeah. 

SJ: And so they would choose those other FDA approved, sometimes covered by insurance, options for vasomotor symptoms. But those drugs are only FDA approved and have data for that. They don’t treat the bone. They don’t treat the heart. They don’t treat any of the other symptoms that we know hormone therapy can address as well.

DS: I’m a fan of options. I think you are as well. Like when there was the European guidelines coming out and everyone was up in arms about cognitive behavior therapy for insomnia being in there. It works. We know it works for a lot of people. So, and also hormone therapy doesn’t work for everyone as best as they’d like it to for sleep and other issues. So why not have different options, right? 

SJ: Sometimes it’s not either/or, like even for, you know, vaginal dryness like, sometimes patients still need localized hormone therapy and moisturizers and lubricants and pelvic floor physical therapy and counseling. So when it comes to women’s health, menopausal health, sexual health, sleep, I believe in this biopsychosocial approach, where you address hormone, lifestyle, medication, health history, family history, and I think the biggest thing that people forget, patient desire. What do they want? 

DS: Yes. 

SJ: I might think it’s the best thing and the data might support it, but if the patient is not comfortable, despite knowing the data, not the myths, but actually knowing the data and they’re still not comfortable, then it doesn’t matter. Then we have to find, like you said, a different option. 

DS: Sounds pretty sensible to me. 

What about the joint pain? That’s an interesting one. You know, I don’t really hear as many women, at least in my practice, complain about the joint pain. Talk to me more about that. 

SJ: Yeah, so there’s a lot coming out now, and they’re thinking that a lot of women that have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, it actually is menopause. And so we know frozen shoulder is a symptom of menopause. We know joint pain is a symptom of menopause. And so we know that estrogen is very hydrophilic. It pulls water with it and it lubricates our skin, you know, not just in our vulva and our vagina, but in other places. And so I think that that may have something to do with it aside, from just, you know, arthritis or aging.

Because we know some of these changes in the body are different from just the normal aging process, particularly when we look at menopausal patients. So there’s a lot of data coming out that joint pain is directly related to menopause and the drop in estrogen. So yeah, we didn’t talk about that. So we keep referring to hormone changes.

So as we’re going into menopause, we have a very large drop in our estrogen, our estradiol, and our testosterone levels. Both. And Hormone therapy can be systemic, like full blown absorbed into your bloodstream. Or localized, which means, you know, it stays in the local area. We usually use localized to treat genitourinary syndrome of menopause. So vaginal dryness, sexual pain, recurrent urinary tract infection. So those are the common, you know, cluster of symptoms that we see in menopause. 

DS: Okay. So the joint pain, do you find that a lot of times any sort of hormone replacement or hormone therapy can be useful for that a lot of times in women? 

SJ: Yes, for sure. And then when they have less joint pain, I mean, then they return to exercising, they return to yoga. So I think it’s just this then cycle of winning, right? 

DS: Makes sense. 

SJ: The pain goes away. Movement, mobility, strength, all of that goes hand in hand, and they’re able to return to a lot of the activities that maybe they were avoiding because they felt stiff or they had pain.

DS: What about pre existing conditions? Do you ever notice anything that’s worsened with perimenopause or menopause? 

SJ: For sure. So number one, what we’re talking about today, sleep. I mean, you know this, you’re the sleep expert. It doesn’t just exist in perimenopause and menopause. Cardiovascular disease. You know, women don’t start to generally mirror male risk until we go into menopause because there is cardio protection with estrogen.

DS: Okay. 

SJ: But if there is underlying cardiovascular disease already due to family history, then we know it worsens in menopause mood disorders. So anxiety and depression, very common in menopause and perimenopause, but outside of it as well. And that also worsens. 

If there are issues with weight, we know that that can worsen in menopause. 80 percent of our patients- we collect the data- complain about weight management or wanting to lose weight or weight gain. And so that can also worsen with menopause because of those hormonal fluctuations. 

DS: So as we mentioned at the beginning, in 2022, you founded and became the chief medical officer of HerMD, a company that operates female focused centers solely dedicated to women’s sexual health and menopause services. Can you talk a bit about the need that you observed that led to you creating HerMD? 

SJ: It’s really sad. Our healthcare system is very broken, and I think it’s particularly broken, unfortunately, for women. It’s broken in general for patients, but my mother was only 45 years old, having chest pain, left arm pain, shortness of breath. You Google that now and you’re like, it’s her heart, right? 

DS: Mm hmm.

SJ: But our doctors were like, it’s too much caffeine. Your children are stressing you out. I’m looking at this EKG and I’m pre-med at Northwestern going, this is abnormal. Long story short, she ends up with emergent quadruple bypass surgery in Cleveland, Ohio, where we were living. The cardiovascular center of the world, right? The epicenter. It’s where the royalty goes, because people are like, where were you living? We were insured. My parents are both educated. It’s just the broken healthcare system. And so that was my aha moment that I wanted to go into women’s healthcare. 

DS: Okay. 

SJ: Fast forward, I mean, you’ve been through a lot of medical training, I get my first job and I’m seeing 50 patients a day as a board certified Ob Gyn. I’m not going to the bathroom eating lunch, let alone being that advocate that I promised. 

DS: Right. 

SJ: And so I have these patients who are coming to me complaining about sex drive, loss of relationship, hot flashes, not being able to sleep. And WHI came out when I was training. So we were told do not prescribe hormone.

And so I listened to these stories and I felt like an absolute failure. And so I went home to my husband and I said, I’m either going to stay home and raise these babies, or I’m going to do something and create a center where we educate, advocate and partner with our patients. And he was like, good God, woman, you’ll drive us all nuts if you stay home.

And so I opened the first center with longer appointment times, specializing in gynecology, menopause, and sexual health care in Cincinnati, Ohio, which is not known for medical tourism. And we witnessed women from 35 states and three countries accessing our care model. And so then that is when my co founders and I decided to fundraise and we were given less than a half percent chance. We were minority founded in the Midwest with no ties to any VC money. And we ended up to date being able to raise 30 million dollars to scale this health care model across the country. 

DS: Amazing. 

SJ: Yeah. 

DS: How many locations do you have now? 

SJ: We have four now and a couple in the works. 

DS: Amazing. So how would you say you’re empowering women to make health care more accessible? Like if they can’t get to you necessarily, how do you think that we can do that for them? 

SJ: We offer telehealth. That makes it very accessible. That’s how we’re seeing patients, I think, almost 40 states now. And if you come to a HerMD, you can continue to be a patient for a year because of telehealth rules. So that’s making it accessible. 

The majority of my colleagues, and this is, you know, not a diss to them. I adore them. But to make it work, you know, insurance is not great for the patients or the providers. 

DS: Yeah. 

SJ: And to have these long appointment times where you can really wrestle these topics, it doesn’t really exist. And so the fact that we specialize in menopause and sexual health care without a membership, without charging- and I mean we go through insurance- is almost unheard of. 

And then the third way we’re doing it is through HerMD University. So remember you heard me talk about how few providers, so I wanted to fix the problem, not just patient facing, but provider facing.

And so HerMD University currently is only for HerMD providers, but a hundred percent of our providers are trained, both in menopause and sexual health care. So when you come in, it’s not going to be, oh, you’re going to have to go to yet another doctor or provider. Your provider knows to offer you services in menopause and sexual health care.

DS: That’s fantastic. So the telehealth has really changed the game for a lot of people. So I’m so glad that people from everywhere can get there. How long are the appointments typically? 

SJ: 20 to 60 minutes. 

DS: Wow. 

SJ: It was interesting. I was teaching at a continuing medical education course to Ob Gyns and providers in women’s health care. And when I was asking them who was down to six to seven minute appointment times, nearly a third of the room raised their hand. 

DS: Oh my gosh. 

SJ: Can you imagine trying to, like, there’s over 30 symptoms head to toe for menopause. How do you take a history, do an exam, talk about a treatment plan, risk benefit alternative, don’t forget to type it up in the computer, send the prescription, put the orders in? How is it even humanly possible you’re setting both the provider and the patient up for failure for a failed experience, right? 

DS: Yep. 

SJ: And delays in care. 

DS: 20 to 60 minutes. That’s amazing. 

Is there anything that you’ve seen throughout your career with regards to sleep that you think would surprise some people?

SJ: I remember falling asleep on the way home as a resident, right, back before the work hour restrictions. 

DS: Yep. 

SJ: And I remember reading this study, and now there have been more recent ones, that sleep deprivation actually can be worse than alcohol and driving. I’m not encouraging drunk driving. What I’m saying is that sleep deprivation can be so bad on our health that it can impair us more behind the steering wheel of a car than even alcohol, and everyone knows how bad drinking and driving is. But sleep is, you know this, you’re the sleep expert, it’s when we repair the damage from the day. 

DS: Yeah. 

SJ: Mental health, physical health. And I think the other thing that people would be really surprised about is the negative impact that sleep has on sexuality.

DS: Yeah. 

SJ: When women are tired, just like from a newborn baby, from menopause induced insomnia, the last thing they want to do is be intimate or have sex because they’re exhausted. So they’re like, Dr. Javaid, I would rather sleep than have sex right now. 

DS: Yeah. 

SJ: Yeah, I think those are the two things is just the harm of not sleeping and the huge impact it can have on our health.

DS: And that we often just accept that that’s part of getting older and part of perimenopause and menopause and it doesn’t need to be that way. 

So what do you think people misunderstand the most about menopause? 

SJ: Oh, I think there’s so many things. Number one, there’s no options. A lot of my patients have been told that, right? They just have to grin and bear it. 

I think number two, people think it’s just a hot flash and they don’t recognize that so many symptoms from head to toe, their brain fog, their insomnia, their low libido, their problems with orgasm, their frozen shoulder, their weight gain may all be attributable to menopause. So I think that’s the other thing. 

And I think the third thing is that there’s still this huge myth around hormone therapy and it’s dangerous. And I love that New York Times article that came out last year that basically summarized, how did we get here, both from patients and providers? Why do we not prescribe anymore? And why did we not call a press conference when all the good data came out? And why did we not explain the good data in the first place? 

Like the women on estrogen had a decreased risk of mortality. If they develop breast cancer, they had a decreased risk of dying from breast cancer. All the positive benefits when you talk about mental health, I’m not just talking anxiety and depression, but I’m talking about Alzheimer’s. You know, the cardiovascular protection. And so why was a press conference called on a study that stopped prematurely in both, arms that studied the wrong patient population, meaning 70 plus, the minority, where the age group that we typically treat, you know, 50 plus. 

DS: Yeah. 

SJ: And a drug that we don’t prescribe all that often anymore, oral conjugated, meaning the opposite of bioidentical. And when you use transdermal hormone, like through the skin. We know that the adverse risk is a lot less, and so, I think people are still scared of hormone, and they don’t have to be. I’m not saying it’s for everybody, but those are the biggest myths, and I’m still hearing them today in 2024 and it’s, it’s pretty shocking.

DS: It is a big issue I see in my practice too. When I suggest someone go and at least have a conversation with someone like yourself, they still can often be very, very skeptical and just kind of like, oh, I don’t want to go that route, but it can make a big difference as you’re making the case for. 

So Dr. Somi, at the end of every episode, we like to do a little segment called Something to Sleep On. One last piece of advice for anyone looking to change their sleep habits. Thinking back over everything that we discussed today, do you have a final thought for our listeners? Maybe something to sleep on? 

SJ: Yes. Don’t underestimate the power of meditation. I personally blew it off for years, and it’s been life changing for me. So getting that mind to quiet down, can often lead to other positive impact as far as sleep goes. 

DS: Given that you were a little bit maybe skeptical or not prioritizing it, do you mind my asking what’s your meditation practice like now?

SJ: Yeah, it’s so funny that you ask that. So I work with an executive coach. Because I’m a yogi, so it’s not that I don’t believe in mental health, and I’m a hiker and I love being outside, but I had tried meditation at a couple of these wellness resorts and my mind kept wandering. You know, the Julia Roberts movie Eat Pray Love, where she was like- 

DS: Oh yes. 

SJ: Yes. That was me. I’m like, how much longer, when can I get out of the room? And so what finally clicked for me was an app called 10%. 

DS: I know it well, Dan Harris. Yep. 

SJ: Yep. And I started with, what is it? Meditation for the doubters? 

DS: For fidgety skeptics. That’s his book, yeah. 

SJ: Yeah, so I started with that and I was like, that sounds like me. And it has now become habit because what is it more than 30 days is habit. So I started in January and I’m still doing it on a daily basis. 

DS: Awesome. 

SJ: And sometimes more than once. I’m a doctor, a mom of three, including two teenage girls. And the founder of a startup. 

DS: Yeah. Good luck with that. Meditation’s very, very useful. So I love that you’re doing that and you’re finding use in it. 

So Dr. Somi, I am truly in awe of everything that you do and everything that you shared today and all the incredible work that you are doing, pushing for better quality of care and education for women and their bodies. I mean, it’s truly groundbreaking.

So thank you so, so much for being here. I really appreciate it. 

SJ: Thank you for everything that you do as well. 

DS: Thanks for listening to Sleep Talking with Dr. Shelby, a Sleepopolis original podcast. Remember, if you’re tired of hitting the snooze button, make sure to hit that subscribe button right now on YouTube, Apple podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you are listening.

And for even more sleep tips, and we’ve got lots of them, visit sleepopolis.com and my Instagram page @sleepdocshelby

Today’s episode was produced by Ready Freddie Media. Our Senior Director of Content is Alanna Nuñez. Our Head of Content is Molly Stout, and I’m Dr. Shelby Harris. Until next time, sleep well.

Sleepopolis Team

The Sleepopolis team is all about helping you sleep better. We live, eat, breathe, and sleep (ha!) all things, well, sleep! Whether you need a new mattress, are having trouble sleeping, or are just tired of counting sheep, we've got you covered. Check back here often for the latest and greatest in mattress reviews, sleep news, or health tips, and in the meantime, sleep well.