Kent Probst: “Minimize sleep during the day”

Minimize sleep during the day. A brief nap, 10–20 minutes, early to mid afternoon can be restorative if you’re sleep deprived. Longer naps late in the day can adversely affect sleep quality at night. Getting a good night’s sleep has so many physical, emotional, and mental benefits. Yet with all of the distractions that demand our […]

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Minimize sleep during the day. A brief nap, 10–20 minutes, early to mid afternoon can be restorative if you’re sleep deprived. Longer naps late in the day can adversely affect sleep quality at night.

Getting a good night’s sleep has so many physical, emotional, and mental benefits. Yet with all of the distractions that demand our attention, going to sleep on time and getting enough rest has become extremely elusive to many of us. Why is sleep so important and how can we make it a priority?

In this interview series called “Sleep: Why You Should Make Getting A Good Night’s Sleep A Major Priority In Your Life, And How You Can Make That Happen” we are talking to medical and wellness professionals, sleep specialists, and business leaders who sell sleep accessories to share insights from their knowledge and experience about how to make getting a good night’s sleep a priority in your life.

As part of this interview series, we had the pleasure to interview Kent Probst.

Kent Probst is a health and fitness blogger at Long Healthy Life Blog. He is a lifelong health and fitness enthusiast with special interest in nutrition and natural remedies. He holds a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology and a master’s degree in exercise science.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to ‘get to know you’. Can you tell us a bit about your background and your backstory?

As a personal trainer, kinesiotherapist and bodybuilder, I’ve dedicated my life to optimal nutrition, fitness and natural remedies. I help health-conscious people live longer, healthier lives with great nutrition, fitness and natural remedies at Long Healthy Life Blog.

Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this particular career path?

I saw friends and family suffering from health problems and a low quality of life that I felt could be prevented. I didn’t want to go through what they were experiencing. I was convinced that a high quality of life can be maintained and most health problems prevented with great nutrition, fitness and natural approaches to wellness. At that point, I embarked on a mission to learn as much as I could, stay as healthy and fit as possible and help others achieve optimal health throughout their lives.

Can you share with our readers a bit about why you are an authority in the sleep and wellness fields? In your opinion, what is your unique contribution to the world of wellness?

I once suffered from chronic insomnia. In the process of understanding why I was experiencing insomnia and how to treat it, I learned as much as I could about the importance of sleep. As a result I became very knowledgeable about insomnia and how to successfully treat it with a natural approach. I have written the blog post, Natural Remedies for Insomnia: The Ultimate Guide.

Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

The Natural Physician’s Healing Therapies: Proven Remedies Medical Doctors Don’t Know by Mark Stengler, ND was a major game changer for me in how I approached my health. I’d been having side effects from prescription drugs and problems of efficacy with traditional treatments. This motivated me to look at alternative medicine. In my experience, natural medicine has been more effective and safer.

Do you have a favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life or your work?

“The doctor of the future will give no medication but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, diet and in the cause and prevention of disease.” — Thomas A. Edison

This quote from Thomas Edison resonated with me a long time ago. As I became more educated about health, fitness, nutrition and natural remedies, I came to understand how true it is.

Ok, thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. Let’s start with the basics. How much sleep should an adult get? Is there a difference between people who are young, middle-aged, or elderly?

Adults should shoot for 7–9 hours of sleep per night. Young children who are growing need more sleep. As we age, we tend to need less sleep.

Is the amount of hours the main criteria, or the time that you go to bed? For example, if there was a hypothetical choice between getting to bed at 10AM and getting up at 4AM, for a total of 6 hours, or going to bed at 2AM and getting up at 10AM for a total of 8 hours, is one a better choice for your health? Can you explain?

Our bodies crave consistency, and we should go to bed at the same time every day. 8 hours of sleep is almost always better than 6. If your work schedule requires that you go to bed at 2AM, then you should stay consistent with that. The bottom line is that you should consistently get 7–9 hours of sleep daily.

As an expert, this might be obvious to you, but I think it would be instructive to articulate this for our readers. Let’s imagine a hypothetical 35 year old adult who was not getting enough sleep. After working diligently at it for 6 months he or she began to sleep well and got the requisite hours of sleep. How will this person’s life improve? Can you help articulate some of the benefits this person will see after starting to get enough sleep? Can you explain?

When you’re getting enough sleep, you’ll be happier, have more energy and be more productive during the day. Long term, you should see less disease in your life.

Insomnia can lead to heart disease, poor learning and memory, diabetes, depression, weight gain, and premature skin aging. Insomnia is also linked to the following health problems:

  • Asthma
  • Arthritis
  • Endocrine abnormalities
  • Neurological illness
  • Urinary problems
  • Sinus problems
  • Gastrointestinal issues

Many things provide benefits but they aren’t necessarily a priority. Should we make getting a good night’s sleep a major priority in our life? Can you explain what you mean?

Consistently getting enough sleep should be a major priority.

Insomnia weakens your immune system by increasing levels of tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) and interleukin-6 (IL-6), which promote inflammation. A weakened immune system also increases the risk of bacterial, parasitic and viral infections.

Your endocrine system is also affected by insomnia, which elevates the hormones epinephrine and cortisol. The result can be osteoporosis, weight gain and diabetes. Published studies also show that long term insomnia is also associated with heart failure and atherosclerosis.

Getting a good night’s sleep (7 to 9 hours) helps you detox your brain of beta amyloid plaque, the substance found concentrated in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.

Additionally, insomnia can make you age faster by increasing levels of T cells, immune cells associated with increased inflammation.

The truth is that most of us know that it’s important to get better sleep. But while we know it intellectually, it’s often difficult to put it into practice and make it a part of our daily habits. In your opinion what are the 3 main blockages that prevent us from taking the information that we all know, and integrating it into our lives? How should we remove those obstacles?

First, while modern technology has made our lives easier, it also has led people to believe they can continually cram more things into their schedules. This tends to make sleep less of a priority. Second, poor sleep hygiene, or habits related to sleeping, is a major obstacle to consistently getting enough sleep. Changes to lifestyle and sleep hygiene can greatly improve sleep quality. Third, poor stress management causes insomnia for many people. Incorporating relaxation techniques into your routine can go a long way toward improving sleep quality.

Do you think getting “good sleep” is more difficult today than it was in the past?

We’re busier than ever, as I mentioned earlier, making life more complex and stressful. Hence, this makes “good sleep” more difficult and a lower priority.

Ok. Here is the main question of our discussion. Can you please share “5 things you need to know to get the sleep you need and wake up refreshed and energized”? If you can, kindly share a story or example for each.

It’s difficult to boil it down to 5 things you need to know to get the sleep you need. Here 5 important items:

  1. Practice good sleep hygiene
  2. Incorporate relaxation techniques into your life
  3. Try melatonin or an herbal supplement for sleep
  4. Go to bed early and consistently to get 7 to 9 hours of sleep
  5. Keep your bedroom cool, quiet and as dark as possible

What would you advise someone who wakes up in the middle of the night and can’t fall back to sleep?

If you’re sleeping five hours, but staying in bed eight, restrict the time in bed to five hours. You may feel sleep deprived initially, but you’ll condition yourself to go to sleep faster. Gradually increase the time in bed in increments of 15 minutes until you’re sleeping the whole night.

This is just anecdotal, but you may want to get up, drink some warm milk or chamomile tea and meditate for 15–30 minutes to relax before going back to bed.

What are your thoughts about taking a nap during the day? Is that a good idea, or can it affect the ability to sleep well at night?

Minimize sleep during the day. A brief nap, 10–20 minutes, early to mid afternoon can be restorative if you’re sleep deprived. Longer naps late in the day can adversely affect sleep quality at night.

Wonderful. We are nearly done. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, with whom you would like to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂

William Faloon at the Life Extension Foundation. I’ve been a member of the Life Extension Foundation for 20 years, and I’m always impressed with what they are doing.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

You can follow my work at Long Healthy Life Blog:

This was very meaningful, thank you so much. We wish you only continued success on your great work!

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