Catherine Wright - Sleep

Catherine Wright, in discussion with Sarah Selecky, tells us how sleep and creativity are linked, and what happens during the different phases of our sleep (hint: our body knows what it’s doing). She also shares a few good ways we can improve our sleep and get more pleasure out of it, starting tonight.

Catherine Wright & Sarah Selecky —  Sleep, July 2021
Conversation recorded on May 18th, 2021

SPEAKERS
Catherine Wright & Sarah Selecky

 
Sarah Selecky  
Catherine Wright is a lifelong lover of sleep. Starting in early childhood, she discovered sleep was a stabilizing force in her life, something worth protecting to help her feel grounded and happy. Almost a decade ago after becoming a mom, and bumping up against the realities of sleep deprivation, she evolved her practice as a birth doula and Shiatsu therapist into a sleep coaching practice supporting other new families on this frontier. Her practice has since blossomed again, and she now also works with school aged kids, teens, and adults. Catherine understands sleep is something we can nurture from the moment we wake until the moment we turn out the lights. She’s seen that cultivating a great sleep practice is really about bringing awareness to the elements of healthy sleep, and tending to them as we go about our days. She believes that when we heal our sleep, we inevitably heal other areas of our life too. This has been Catherine’s experience, as she too has navigated bouts of insomnia and burnout, and now taps into the pleasure of sleep and rest as her superpowers, while helping others do the same. Catherine’s soulful approach to sleep is evidence-based and integrates cognitive behavioural therapy for insomnia, sleep science, and mindset work. She’s a certified sleep coach and educator and the founder of Recoop, which you can find at www.recoop.care. She’s also one of my closest friends, which makes me really lucky. Catherine —  hi, and welcome.
 
Catherine Wright 
Hi, Sarah, thanks for having me.
 
Sarah Selecky  
This is really fun and I have all sorts of official business-like questions for you. But also, since we’ve known each other for so long, I have a feeling that we will just begin to ravel and unravel into conversations about sleep as we often do: sleep and creativity. 
 
Catherine  
I love it. Yeah, I think that this will come fairly naturally to us. We spend quite a bit of time talking about sleep.
 
Sarah Selecky  
Now I have you and I’m recording and I can just get to ask you all the questions that I really want to ask you. 
 
Catherine  
Excellent. 
 
Sarah Selecky  
So first of all, just briefly, in case the people who are listening haven’t heard of a sleep coach before and this is new to them: as an adult, like for adult human beings — what does a sleep coach do? What does your sleep coaching practice look like? What might it look like for someone?
 
Catherine  
Yeah, great question. So my sleep coaching practice looks like... Well, first of all, I only work with people who have non-medical sleep challenges. So luckily, about 95% of sleep challenges are actually non-medical. So most of us who are struggling with sleep don’t actually have a bigger underlying medical issue, like sleep apnea, for instance. So my first job is to make sure that the person’s sleep challenge isn’t actually a medical sleep challenge. And like I say, most of the time, it’s not. Most of the time, what we’re looking at are, well there’s usually something that happens in a person’s life initially, like a precipitating factor, that starts to cause this disruption with sleep. It could be a childhood trauma. It could be the loss of a job. It could be having kids. There’s usually sort of a main event or a stressor that sort of starts to disrupt our natural ability to sleep. So sort of figuring out what is that? What was that? Where did this begin? Where did sleep start feeling like it became a challenge? 

And everybody’s different. For some people, it started a long time ago, and for some people you know, it’s more recent. So sort of figuring out what is the cause and then really looking at, for each individual, what is it that’s going to help this individual get back on track with their sleep. And usually, it’s a combination of things that we look at. I refer back to what I call the elements of sleep. So we’re looking at it almost as if sleep is a garden that we’re tending to and we need to make sure that we give it, you know, the proper diet and everything it needs. But often there are sort of habits or behavioural changes that need to take place. Whether that’s working on certain routines or rhythms — timing is a really big piece. So figuring out for each individual, when is our optimum sleep time. 

Everybody’s is a bit different. Everybody sort of has their own sort of really awesome sweet spot for falling asleep and waking up. In the biohacking world that’s referred to as your chronotype. So there’s a lot of stuff out there right now, talking about like chronotypes and how to work with your chronotype. We sort of figure out chronotype, we figure out behavioural changes, and then we work with our own energy management mindset. A lot of the time, there’s beliefs that need to be shifted in order to allow for sleep to unfold in sort of a more natural way. A lot of people who’ve had long term challenges with sleep, you know, think of themselves as bad sleepers. And so there’s often that piece that needs attending to as well. 

But a big part of my job is to sort of put the sleep puzzle together for each individual. Sort of look at what are the elements that we need to work on, and then help that person be really accountable as they start to make the changes. Because it’s hard. As everybody knows, changing behaviours is difficult. And it takes time.
 
Sarah Selecky  
Yeah, yeah. I love that you described it like a garden that you need all the different nutrients or elements to surround this force, this being, this power — I like the way you talk about it. What came up for me when you were talking, which is, I also have a note about it, and it often comes up when we talk about sleep is — I feel like it’s so similar in some ways to the creative mindset. And there are all these parallels. Because creativity, and our feeling of being in a creative flow state, also is something that people have a mindset around, like, “I’m not a creative person, I’m not good at getting my routines right.” There’s a feeling of being an adversary to your creative mindset. And I know like a lot of, and I certainly have been there myself when I’ve had deep bouts of insomnia, feeling like sleep is this adversary that I’m fighting with, kind of, I want it but I love it. And I’m in this relationship with it that’s kind of negative. And it’s so much like … I’ve been reading your work, and I’ve been reading a lot about sleep science, but especially the way you’ve talked about it in your newsletters, you’re writing about taking care of your mindset and taking care... It’s these elements of sleep, the garden that you’re talking about. And so many of them are similar to what I advise writers, and what I know works for me from my writing practice: like tending to your nervous system, having analogue nights, getting routines set up, and changing your behavioural patterns, so that things flow better. And it’s something I guess, that you receive, rather than actively force and do. Maybe that’s sort of what’s similar about sleep and creativity. But I wondered if any of this rings a bell for you? If you see similarities there? And, or, and also, is there a known relationship to sleep and creativity? 
 
Catherine 
Wow, okay. That is a really awesome parallel. And listening to you, it actually makes so much sense to me. Because what you’re doing, and what you’re helping people do, is tap into something that’s already there. It’s like allowing for an unfolding of something that’s waiting to come to light. Right? So it’s about removing blockages, and paying attention to when we’re applying those own blockages to ourselves. Whether it’s the thoughts that we’re having, our posture, or how we’re breathing, or what we had for breakfast. You know? All of those things. So it’s really more of like, an allowing, like you say, then then a forcing or fixing. Because naturally, our bodies all really do know how to take care of us and how to sleep. Just like we’re all, you know, creative as well. And so it’s more of like, yeah, exactly. I like peeling it back and allowing that to unfold and happen naturally. The linkages between, and I’ve never quite thought of it until, like, exactly like that, but it is sort of about allowing the true nature to be revealed. Right? Whether it’s writing or sleeping. 
 
And, yeah, I mean, the links between sleep and creativity, they’ve done so much study on this now and it really... That’s why a lot of people call sleep and rest a superpower because now we know that it actually is...Specifically it’s the REM sleep and the dream sleep that we link to creativity. And so when we nurture our sleep, both our deep sleep and REM sleep, and our dream sleep, we are also nurturing our creativity. A lot of people use yoga nidra, which is like a sort of a meditation or a resting practice, which takes us down through the different sleep frequencies. Brainwaves. And a lot of people also use that to get creativity happening in their life — to spark creativity, find unique solutions to problems that they may feel stuck on. All that kind of thing. I mean, sleep is definitely used now. People are motivated to sleep well for feeding their creativity. 
 
Sarah Selecky  
Ooh, okay, there’s so much in here. I want to go back and just like unpack, unfasten. So, first of all, you were talking about deep sleep, dream sleep, and REM sleep? Were those the three categories? Did you have different...
 
 
Catherine
Yeah, no...I mean, yes, essentially, there’s two, like there’s NREM, so non-REM, otherwise known as deep sleep. And then there’s sort of four stages of sleep within that. But really, there’s deep sleep, and then there’s REM sleep, which we know of as dream sleep.
 
Sarah Selecky  
And does deep sleep, the NREM come first, and then REM after?
 
 Catherine 
Yes, and then REM. Yep, in 90 minute cycles. Exactly. And they sort of serve different purposes, like they sort of work differently in the brain. So you want both. Both are essential to survival. But they definitely have different jobs.The deep sleep is sort of more body focused: it’s more of where your growth hormones get going, and where you start to repair on a cellular level. And then the REM sleep is often attributed to memory consolidation, creativity — sort of stitching together the different things we learned the previous day to make sense of it, and put it together so that then we can apply it to our lives in a meaningful way.
 
Sarah Selecky  
Oh, that’s so interesting. I’m just thinking now how smart our bodies are: that they put the stuff that we need physically to survive first, and then, because I know in stressful times, sometimes just like crashing, and then getting up later, like at least you’ve told me this once, or I learned this from you once, that when I was waking up in the night and not getting a ton of REM sleep, I was still getting a lot of that NREM sleep when I first crashed after a stressful day. I would just like sleep and sleep and sleep. Like at 8:30 I’d fall asleep on the couch. But then I’d be up and lose some sleep. But talking to you reassured me that my body was not falling apart, because it was still rebalancing. However my creativity was suffering and my memory, like, I was just like fumbly and not emotionally at my tip top best. It’s kind of like art — there’s the first half of that cycle is necessary for our physical functioning. And then like, the art comes from the second, sort of.
 
Catherine 
Yes, totally, that’s exactly what it is. And you just reminded me, because I remember that conversation that we had, that the way that our body distributes deep sleep and REM sleep is actually different across the night. So the first half of the night is more deep-sleep rich. And the second half of the night is more REM-sleep rich. So it’s totally right. It’s like our bodies have decided like, okay, we need to at least make sure the body’s okay. And if there’s time, we can kind of finesse it. Get that, like, you know, the extra down, which is all the work that happens around memory consolidation, deletion, and creativity and that kind of thing. Yeah, exactly.
 
Sarah Selecky  
Like, I hope that that’s reassuring to anyone else out there who’s struggling with sleep or being up in the night. Sometimes when you read about sleep stuff, it gets a little scary. I know we’ve talked about this too, like sometimes it feels like, “You must sleep or else!” and it’s like, “oh, oh God”. But it’s nice to also remember — and I love this. I love how you teach this, and talk about this —but the body is really smart and knows how to take care of itself. And healing is what it does. And you know, I think about how a cut will heal without me having to do anything about it. And probably a lot happens through those cat naps that I take in, those, you know… Like, a lot happens: the body knows how to take care of itself. So for anyone in burnout, there is a capacity, even if you’re not getting great sleep, to still nurture your body. 
 
Catherine  
Absolutely, and your body wants homeostasis. Your body always wants to get you back to equilibrium. So even if you’re not getting, you know, your ideal eight hours of sleep a night, your body will really take what it needs in the amount of time that you give it. It will be efficient in how it goes about helping you repair and restore. And we always want to look at our sleep, you know, with a bit of gentleness and acceptance because it isn’t always perfect. And some of the people who get stuck around sleep are, you know what I called sleep perfectionists, right? And I was one. I’m a recovering sleep perfectionist. Like that sort of catastrophizing,when it’s not perfect, right? Our sleep doesn’t like that, our sleep doesn’t want us to put pressure on it to be everything.
 
Sarah Selecky  
See, this is also how it reminds me of our creative self and our creative voice: that trying to make everything that we write and create, like, any kind of perfectionism is just like it cowers from it, it makes it cringe. Like it wants to be in a joyful collaboration with us. That’s how our creativity wants to exist. It wants to love us and be loved. And that’s when it really flourishes. And that means kind of relaxing and letting a lot of what seems to be imperfect just be. 
 
Catherine  
Yep, exactly. It’s exactly the same. 
 
Sarah Selecky  
In your last newsletter, you mentioned this feedback loop. And I wanted to talk about that a little. We’ve covered that even if we’re not getting great sleep, we can still nourish ourselves and the body wants homeostasis, and we’re going to be okay, and not to catastrophize. Now talking about how to like, not hack it, I don’t want to use that word, but just putting in really great elements for our sleep garden. And you wrote about this feedback loop that while there is a correlation that when you don’t get a great sleep, there seems to be a tendency for some lower emotions or feelings to come. Can you talk a little bit about that?
 
Catherine  
Yeah, so sometimes when our sleep bank’s a little bit on the lower side — it’s the first thing that a lot of people notice actually — is mood. And just sort of feeling that low resilience. And the thoughts that sort of come along with that. So when we are sort of scraping the bottom of the barrel a little bit with sleep, we have a higher propensity for emotions on the lower end of the emotional scale — so depression, stagnation, feelings of apathy, that kind of thing. And the feedback loop works such that, you know, often when we’re in that space, it’s harder for us to take action. It’s harder for us to do the things that we know we should do, or maybe we want to do in order to pull ourselves up that emotional scale. And also, we’re more prone to sort of the effects of stress on our nervous system, which then can feed back into our sleep. So it can sort of become a bit of a feedback loop. And I know there are some people out there that actually, in the sleep world, that actually think that insomnia and depression are the same thing. I’m not sure I entirely agree. I think it’s a little bit more complicated than that. But I think the point being that, often, those things go together, and they’re really hard to pull apart because of that feedback loop. One exacerbates the next. And the opposite is also true. So often, once we start to turn around our sleep, or we get to go on holiday, or have a really good week of sleep, we can start to see, oh, we wake up and we feel really different. Our perspective, actually, and our outlook on the exact same thing, is totally different. Depending on how much... you’ve probably had that too. I’m sure you’ve had that too. I’ve definitely had that too. The thing hasn’t changed. The only difference is that we just got a good night’s sleep, but it looks totally different.
 
Sarah Selecky  
Everything can be totally different. Including, and especially when I’m reading something new, or probably revising as well, but lately it’s been writing something new and getting myself into the chair, sitting down and writing even though I haven’t had a great night’s sleep. It’s so much more effortful, everything is so much more effortful. And then I can get there and it’s fine. But then the feeling I have about the writing session that I just had. I know that I have no access to knowing whether it was good or not good. Like, I know that. But the feeling I have that was just crappy — it lingers, it hangs around. And I’ve noticed that if I have a good night’s sleep, not only is it easier to sit down and enjoy my writing session, it doesn’t feel like I have to force myself. I generally feel pleased that I showed up and that was enough. And there’s this feeling of like, enoughness. And nothing really, probably is different. It’s just my mindset. 
 
Catherine  
It’s your attitude towards, what is that? What is it? 
 
Sarah Selecky  
What is it? What do we know what it is?
 
Catherine  
I’m not sure that I can put that into words. It’s perspective. I don’t know what’s happening to the brain when it’s under the force of sleep. But whatever it does, it does change our perception. It alters the way that we see things. And we have greater access, I think maybe to what it is: we have greater access to the emotions on the upper side of the emotional scale. So we can choose to believe that our work was great, or that we had a good writing session, right? We have more access to that choice. Because — here’s the other interesting thing that happens when we’re well slept — So the part of our brain: we’ve got the amygdala, which is the emotional centre, where all of our emotions reside. And then we have the — this is about as neuroscience-y as I can possibly get — then we have the prefrontal cortex, which is in charge of basically decision making and follow through. So, you set an intention, and then you decide, and then you follow through. That’s the part of your brain that’s engaged. When we don’t sleep well, the two don’t communicate properly. So the amygdala and the prefrontal cortex, it’s like they’ve got jumbled communication. So we can, I was just thinking about this in the context of writing, we can make a decision: today I’m going to sit down and have a really great writing session. Our ability to actually follow through is way higher than if we’re low resourced with sleep. So it could be going for a run, it could be cooking a healthy meal, it might, it’s any sort of positive outcome you want to follow through with, or behaviour, or habit is way, way, way easier when we have sleep under our belt. So because of the way that those two parts of the brain are communicating on sleep, and without sleep. Does that make sense?
 
Sarah Selecky  
It does. It makes sense, and it’s just making me feel like, I love sleep. I’m so grateful for sleep. Like, it’s my favourite. It’s such an ally. 
 
Catherine  
Such an ally. Yep.
 
Sarah Selecky  
Love sleep. So, okay, we already talked a little bit about yoga nidra. And you mentioned, that is a really great resource that I want to remember and flag. But just how much we love sleep and how great sleep is, and how great it is for our creativity. What are the elements that you’re talking about, about sleep? How can we nurture it? What are some of the things that we can do? Yoga nidra is one. But if we want to have that delicious sensation, where it’s easier, where we don’t... It’s not so uphill, to do the things that we really want to do and act on them. And we want to hang out more in the higher part of the scale, not just sort of tolerating the stresses of the day. But actually having that perspective. What are some of the things we can do to nourish it, that you would suggest?
 
Catherine  
So I put yoga nidra into the stillness bucket. If we’re looking at the elements for sleep, we need to, we want to, ensure that we’ve got enough stillness built into our days so that we’re not sort of in that state of hyperarousal. So that when we go to bed, our bodies are able to downshift and drop into sleep and stay asleep. So it’s not that we have to be still all day long. But it’s more about sort of tending to our nervous systems by having stuff in our day that allows us to access that kind of stillness — whether it’s going for a walk or doing yoga nidra, or cuddling a pet, or having a stress reducing conversation with a loved one — all of those sort of down-shifting things. Those things actually help us fall asleep, and stay asleep, when bedtime comes.
 
Sarah Selecky  
Like, if you do them throughout the day?
 
Catherine  
Yeah, exactly. Especially if you are someone who is, and tends towards, a higher stress job or you know, tends to be pretty revved up, or a lot of rushing around or multitasking. Then I think that those stillness elements become more important, because they give us these little pockets of pause where we can kind of bring ourselves back down, and that helps us at nighttime to fall asleep more efficiently and stay asleep more efficiently. And then the flip side to that is movement. It’s funny — our bodies just naturally need a little bit of this still and a little bit of the movement. Wear and tear is really awesome for sleep. So wearing our bodies out during the day makes it really, really easy for our bodies to drop into sleep. We’re physically tired. And the exercise also puts a stop on this cortisol production. So the stress hormone, which our sleep loves taking little breaks from, you know, pushing out the cortisol. So exercise sort of turns off the stress hormones and really dials up all the happy hormones that are also part of melatonin. So that’s the big sleep hormone. We want all of those hormones. We want to kind of boost them up. I think of exercise as the best first aid for sleep. You don’t know what to do, or you’re stuck, or you’re stressed or whatever, that’s a really great, easy— well, I say, easy — great place to start. Because the benefits for that juicy, deep restorative sleep when we exercise is huge. And actually, that’s the part of sleep, that when we exercise, we spend more time sleeping. Twenty minutes of cardio and you spend, I think an additional up to forty minutes in deep sleep.
 
Sarah Selecky  
Wow, really? They correlated that? Wow.
 
Catherine  
Yeah. And the studies that have been done say that you really start to reap those benefits after like two weeks.
 
Sarah Selecky  
Wow. Okay. 
 
Catherine  
Yeah, it’s big. 
 
Sarah Selecky  
Okay. Again, I’m just seeing the parallels in creative writing, because you need both. And it’s funny this whole month that I’m talking to you is part of this theme — wellness for writers — and I have Ronit Jinich talking about stillness. And I have a post about being a writer who moves and uses physical activity. And I’ve got Annie Bray talking about our nervous system, and how to downshift throughout the day. So it’s like, they really are twinsies. 

Okay, so I interrupted you, though. So there’s stillness. And then there’s movement.
 
Catherine  
There’s stillness and movement. And then I would say, like, for, I’m thinking of writers, and I’m thinking of, you know, all the creative people out there, there is a stereotype. In the people who’ve done the chronotype study, like kind of people into like, night owls and larks and all the different sleep types. Creative people and writers, this is a generalization, this is not everyone, but they tend to fall into sort of the night owl category, or more sort of sporadic sleep patterns.  And, I mean, that’s totally not going to be true for everyone, but it’s going to be true for some people. And the thing that now that, like all the bigwigs in the sleep science world are discovering, is that so much of the quality of the sleep that we get is just as important as the quantity. If not more. So what I mean by that is having a steady time, like ritual, and bedtime, time of night, where you start to prepare yourself and let your body drop into sleep. Keeping that pretty steady is more helpful to your sleep then actually, like counting how many hours of sleep that you get. 
 
Sarah Selecky  
Wow. 
 
Catherine  
So, and again, it has to do with offering your body that beautiful diet of the REM sleep and the deep sleep, which your body will do if you kind of give it steady timing. So it would be more important to keep the timing steady than it is, you know, go to bed before X hour if that makes sense.
 
Sarah Selecky  
It does make sense, and you know, it is really similar to you know, athletes: when you ask a fitness coach, like what’s the best time of day to workout? They’ll just say like, make it the same time every day so your body knows and you’ll have the best workout. And what I always say is like, it’s really good for your writing if you can pick the same... It doesn’t matter if it’s morning or afternoon or night. It’s just really great if there’s a ritual attached to it. It makes it so much easier for you to slip into your creative space if it’s the same time every day. 
 
Catherine  
It’s funny that there’s so many parallels. I didn’t realize that was a writing thing, but of course it is, because it just becomes like a habit like anything else. And then the habit gets grooved out and then we’re moving with the current rather than against the current. 
 
Sarah Selecky  
That’s right. Yeah.
 
Catherine  
It’s exactly the same. It’s like a grooving out. And it starts in childhood. That’s why like, you know, we get babies on naps, and toddlers. Because they start to like groove out these sleep times during the day where their bodies know, oh, it’s twelve o’clock. You know, all of a sudden the child or the toddler starts eye-rubbing like clockwork right? Because their bodies grooved out this window where it knows, okay, now it’s sleep-time. Boom. And we nurture that by offering a schedule and nap times. And we’re not that different: we’re the same. 
 
Sarah Selecky  
I love it. I love thinking about this. I don’t know where the line is between where it’s a useful metaphor to think about how we take care of our sleep and how we take care of our writing, and where it’s actually the same. Like physiologically, I’m not sure. It’s a little blurry. But just thinking about those nap times, like, something feels off, if you’re a writer, or a creator, and you’re not creating for a while, something feels really off. Like a toddler who needs a nap who doesn’t have the space — just something’s off. Your system is not right. And then we, so often as grown adult people, we don’t recognize those cues as telling us, you know, we need a nap. Literally, it would be great to just have a nap. Or, we need some creative outlet, we need to receive some creative inspiration, we need to open up a blank page and doodle on it. Like, we need that. And we feel off because we haven’t received, that we haven’t been open to that, and we haven’t experienced that part of our human self in a while. So then we do things like eat chips, or pick a fight with a friend, or you know, do other things to kind of let it out.
 
Catherine  
Absolutely. Oh, that’s amazing. The whole biohacking thing is about also finding windows — you’re carving out the same time for eating, sleeping, and then you’ve got your high performance times, right, as well. And if you skip a meal, your tummy will start to growl right around the same time because your metabolism is so used to being nurtured at that exact same time, right? So it all fits together like a puzzle. It’s fascinating actually. 
 
Sarah Selecky  
It’s fascinating. 
 
Catherine  
And I never, I never ever thought... I wonder too, if for writers, if, well I don’t know if you do that, but help people find their utmost alert times of day and use that?
 
Sarah Selecky  
Oh, definitely. Definitely. Yeah, absolutely. Again, it’s going with the flow. So it’s like the portal is there and you can go through it. The language I use to describe it is like, you’re collaborating with a source. So you don’t have to force it, you don’t have to build it, you just show up and you pay attention. And then you use your craft. That’s where you’re putting your use. But the breath of inspiration or the images that rise up, all you need to do at that point is just write them down. You don’t have to think them up. 
 
Catherine  
Ah, love that. Oh I think of sleep in exactly the same way. You’re collaborating with the source by also allowing yourself to have a buffer zone before bedtime. By like, giving yourself a little bit of a window around your devices, and your sleep. That’s just collaborating. That’s collaborating with source. You’re saying, sleep, you’re here, you know, you’re coming, I’m coming for you. And you’re coming for me. And I’m gonna let that happen, with ease, by not staring at my phone until the last moment I have to turn off the light. Or whatever. It’s just… that’s exactly what is. It’s like collaborating with the force. Yeah.
 
Sarah Selecky  
Yeah, and the force is so mysterious. Like the creative force, sleep, is really mysterious. Like, we’re not even awake. We’re unconscious, right? We’re kind of like, or maybe with lucid dreaming, maybe like semi-conscious, because we can remember our dreams, some of us sometimes better than others. But there is a similar loss of separate ego, kind of consciousness in sleep and creative states, that is very mysterious. And to honour the space around it, like the buffer zone that you described. I love it. It’s like you’re respectfully making way for sleep to come and you’re not assuming that you can just switch on and off like a robot. You’re like, making... you’re preparing for it. Like it’s something that’s kind of mysteriously separate from you that you’re inviting by rolling out this little carpet of a buffer zone. And I feel like the rituals I endeavour to take on around my writing and how I describe it to writers I work with, it’s like, honouring and respecting the creativity so you don’t think so egocentrically: “I know everything about this story. I’m gonna write this now. I’m going to make it all up”. No, you light a candle for it. You get the good ink out. You close the door. You clean your desk. You respect it so that it wants to come.
 
Catherine  
Yeah. I call it sleep revering. And that’s totally exactly what it is like. It’s a power that’s bigger than you. You know to offer it a little bit of that reverence. It doesn’t have to be, you know, a crazy two hour wind down. But just to bring a little bit of attention and intention to that. That’s the biggest surrender that you do, right, all day long, is fall asleep. 
 
Sarah Selecky  
Yeah. It’s humility.
 
Catherine  
It’s pretty amazing. And to drop into writing right? Where you let go.
 
Sarah Selecky  
Yeah. Yeah, there’s humility to it. With respect, I’m going to surrender this and let go of knowing everything for this part. Yeah. Oh, it’s so beautiful. I love talking to you about this. Let’s do more again. 

We’re coming to the end of our time. So I’d love to wrap up. Before we say goodbye and tell people how they can find you again, is there anything that you’re really excited about right now? Like a new frontier for you? Or a new way of looking or thinking or something that you would...  What are you excited about right now? Around sleep? 
 
Catherine  
Hmm. I’m excited about helping people really, like the conversation that we just had, actually, that we sort of just left off on in terms of reviewing sleep. And I’m excited about helping people really find more pleasure in their sleep. Whether it’s the rituals that they have around their sleep, whether it’s starting to pay attention to what it actually feels like to drop into sleep, like the sort of the brain wave frequencies that change, and that’s where yoga nidra is really fun. And I’m having a lot of fun really getting into that. But I think just more around helping people really use sleep and the rituals around sleep as something that’s enjoyable, something we can really gain pleasure from. So it’s not just about, “I have to go to sleep”. But really helping people have more conversations —  like you and I are having —  where we can really start to see how much of our sleep, and our sleep practice, can be really, really, really enjoyable. I think that’s where I’m excited to dig in more.
 
Sarah Selecky  
Love it. I know that I have benefited greatly from being your friend, as you’ve learned more and more and more about this. And definitely, definitely, I’m experiencing more pleasure in my sleep after talking to you and working with you. So I’m really excited to introduce you to my people. To the people I know. If someone wants to work with you, what would you recommend? I mean, first of all, everyone listening, like, sign up for Cath’s newsletter at recoop.care. For sure. The newsletter is amazing. But how else can people reach you? And what might you point them to if they’re interested?
 
Catherine  
I offer twenty minute chats with anybody who is maybe looking for sleep support, if they would like one-on-one support. That’s how I work with people right now. So anybody is welcome to email me at catherine@recoop.care and I will happily set up a phone chat. And I can learn a little bit about what it might be that you’re struggling with or want to work on with your sleep and let you know how I work with people. I’m pretty flexible in terms of my support time and my packages. And in the next month or so I will be popping up some groups as well. So some sleep circles where I’m going to be doing some sleep education, but also with a little bit of individualized support along the way. And if you sign up for my newsletter, I will be definitely providing more info as that starts to come together. But it’s probably gonna happen in the next couple of months. 
 
Sarah Selecky  
Okay! Amazing.
 
Catherine  
Yeah!
 
Sarah Selecky  
That’s great. Highly recommend it.
 
Catherine  
Thank you Sarah. 
 
Sarah Selecky  
Thank you so much, Cath. 
 
Catherine  
This was great. 
 
Sarah Selecky  
Yeah, it was really, really great. 
 
Catherine  
Yeah. My pleasure.
 
Sarah Selecky  
More soon. Bye.
 
Catherine  
Bye.


Catherine Wright - Sleep

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