Getting enough sleep — One of the biggest causes of not getting enough sleep is stress and anxiety. The negative thought loop stops people from sleeping at night and waking up stressed because of not enough sleep. In turn, that causes stress and can lead to chronic sleep problems.
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 of interviewing Mandy Rowe.
Mandy Rowe is growing the world’s largest float therapy brand with True REST Franchising, having joined the team six years ago when she discovered Navy SEALS were using float therapy to treat PTSD, insomnia, and for advanced language learning. At True REST, she sells and develops the national franchise while also being the industry liaison pushing new technology forward to enhance the float therapy experience. Before True REST, she worked in commercial real estate in Nashville with SVN Investec Realty and worked in international franchise development with Thomas Franchise Solutions, which led to her passion for franchising.
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?
I grew up in Coronado, California as the oldest of 4 kids. Coronado is a small military island, although we were civilians. We are a competitive family. I played a lot of tennis, gymnastics and competed academically — an upbringing that has wildly paid off for all the siblings in my family. I continued on to graduate college from Vanderbilt University with a major in Economics and a minor in corporate strategy. I’ve always been a leader and entrepreneur through middle school, high school, and college clubs and into my current position.
Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this particular career path?
My first job was in commercial real estate, but when I heard about float therapy by veterans for PTSD, anxiety, insomnia, and the growing industry, I took advantage of joining my dad and building True REST Float Spa through franchise sales and construction. I am fascinated by the technology and the franchise side of the business. Becoming an expert in Float Therapy has opened my eyes to the healing ability of holistic therapies and finding ways to bring this therapy mainstream. Evolving float therapy (aka sensory deprivation) into a sensory enhancement environment and merging various physical and audio components to address as many ailments as we can is my passion. Float therapy works in an individual person within a single float pod, but where I can make the most impact is to franchise the concept and keep it growing to multiply the exposure and people we can help (bringing that economics and economies of scale from Vanderbilt back into play).
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?
True REST is the world’s largest float therapy brand in the world with the exclusive right to manufacture an incredible product. Daily, I am working with leading researchers with NIH grants to study float therapy and implement new float practices to an audience of over 600,000 people who have used True REST. I have spent the last six years studying float therapy from the physical, mental, and emotional sides. Float therapy is becoming a mainstream therapy that is now being covered by doctors and physiatrics nationwide.
I feel a strong calling to be the voice that helps stressed corporate employees get out of the corporate grind and find passion in transferring careers to the wellness sector. Many True REST franchisees have brought float therapy and holistic wellness to a community that had never heard of float therapy. I have watched over 42 people go from the conversation of “What is True REST?” to being the top experts in their community on the topic of flotation therapy. It’s a highly gratifying position to be their educator and help facilitate their success.
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?
I love “Be Great: The Five Foundations of an Extraordinary Life” by Peter Thomas. It forces you to refocus and align your values. It’s a single workbook I go back to over and over again.
When I graduated college, I was in the mindset of making money. How can I make the most money? The opportunity seemed endless. But when I read Peter’s book, I remembered that even without any work, I had other passions, like my family, that would never waver or disappear. And when money was tight for everyone, especially during COVID, I reminded myself that my life didn’t revolve around my job. Everything I worked on during that time had to align with my values for me to continue to be happy.
Do you have a favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life or your work?
Never give up. It’s the number one thing my dad always instilled in us. From my mental health to athletics, to work. No failure is truly the end of a bigger journey if you never give up.
COVID is a great example. We are in a growing and new industry. So many other businesses were closing down and filing bankruptcy. We are a small fish compared to so many other brands, yet we refused for that to be the end of True REST. Too many people to help, too much success before COVID to stop. Creating new revenue streams, changing our marketing, filing for essential status — every day seemed like a new obstacle to overcome. Yet here we are, stronger than ever and doing better than 2019 and 2020.
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?
It’s recommended adults get at least 7–8 hours of sleep. As we get into our old age, that can increase to 8–9 hours. Age plays a significant impact on sleep and the amount we need. Infants and children typically need more sleep, and as we age, the amount we need decreases. The reason children usually need more rest has to do with their growth rate and development. Of course, as we get older, that significantly slows down.
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 10 PM and getting up at 4 AM, for a total of 6 hours, or going to bed at 2 AM and getting up at 10 AM for a total of 8 hours, is one a better choice for your health? Can you explain?
The time of your sleep is essential, just as much as the amount of sleep you get. As humans, we tend to sleep better at night. It can help the body’s circadian rhythm, which is crucial to getting a good night’s rest. The circadian rhythm is our internal process that regulates our sleep-wake cycle. Each of us naturally has one, and it can be disrupted due to night shifts, stress, traveling, poor sleep habits and more. Following your body’s internal clock can help you get better sleep.
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 six 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?
Their life can improve tremendously because they’re allowing their mind and body to rest completely. One of the most significant components of sleep is its effect on cognitive performance. When we’re tired, sometimes it can feel like we’re a bit loopy. We’re not clear-headed, and it can be challenging to think. And while we might be getting a few hours of sleep a night, it may not be enough. Getting fewer amounts of sleep over a long period means we’re in a perpetual state of tiredness.
Even worse, it can affect our internal systems. From breathing to blood pressure, cardiovascular health, the immune system and appetite, sleep affects everything. Try getting a good night’s sleep and seeing how refreshed you feel afterward. Sometimes we don’t even realize we’re tired until we sleep for more than we’re used to. So, once you start implementing a good sleep routine, you’re less likely to get sick, you lower your risk for heart problems, reduce stress and improve your mood.
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?
Sleep affects every part of our lives, especially our cognitive performance. If we’re not well-rested, our minds will not function at total capacity to get through the day. We need that rest to achieve optimal performance when we’re at our jobs, hanging with friends and being creative. Furthermore, sleep also plays a direct impact on our internal systems and the way our bodies function.
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 three 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?
Fear, anxiety and lack of self-awareness. When we think about making changes to our lives and habits, it’s usually for a greater goal that seems far-fetched or hard to reach. Many of us fear we will fail, so we fail before we even start. Taking small implementation steps and creating new habits doesn’t mean your life will change overnight, but you will be amazed at the final result. When we allow ourselves to keep performing negative habits but know there is a better way to live, many people build up anxiety as they get further away from a life they want to live. If you struggle with anxiety, it can be a negative thought loop that is paralyzing. Dealing with your anxiety and getting out of the fight or flight sympathetic nervous system will give you the mental strength to think about taking positive next steps. Another difficult thing about starting new habits is having the self-awareness to know you’re identifying your triggers, altering your environment to your favor and finding accountability.
Do you think getting “good sleep” is more difficult today than it was in the past?
Yes and no. It might be difficult to get to sleep because of today’s technology than it was 30 years ago, and it’s no secret tech can exacerbate sleeping issues. However, we’re also in a place where we have a vast amount of knowledge that allows us to understand how the mind and body operate. We can utilize that to impact sleep. The solutions, such as flotation therapy, have grown out of that knowledge and provide opportunities for individuals to address underlying issues they may be dealing with. Sleep solutions are more accessible than ever before.
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.
1. Sleep schedule — It’s vital to create a routine and wake up at the same time every day. Do your best to fall asleep around the same time every night, but more important is the wake time. Have you ever overslept or woken up early and not know what to do with yourself? You may end up procrastinating when you think you have plenty of time to get your routine accomplished or rushed when you oversleep, and your routine is thrown off for the rest of the day. Our routines, brain health, cognitive abilities, and mental health are supported by a regular routine your body can depend on.
2. Limit distractions — For most parents, that can consist of children waking them up in the middle of the night. Turning the lights on to go to the bathroom is also a clear distraction that interrupts sleep. Some distractions cannot be avoided, but control what you can and find yourself sleeping deeper with the best recovery when you do. Your body has a natural sleep cycle in which it is easier to wake up from a light sleep and start your day than wake up from a deep sleep feeling alert and ready to go.
3. Sleep Environment — The best sleep environment limits external stimulation like lights and sound. Float therapy is the purest and easiest accessible sensory deprivation you may find in your daily life. There is a strong correlation between float therapy and better sleep for this reason, and many others. Temperature and the feeling of safety are two other environmental concerns to consider.
4. Pre-bed routine — We are glued to our phones and computers, but this is one of the worst pre-bed habits. Your phone and computer emit a blue light that stimulates your senses to keep you awake. Put your devices away as early as you can. The sun wakes you up and keeps you awake, so the sunset should be your body’s natural trigger to start getting sleepy. Float therapy is a great way to reset your circadian rhythm. Circadian rhythms are often disturbed by travel as well. Several other remedies help, like decaffeinated teas, melatonin, journaling, and meditation
5. Getting enough sleep — One of the biggest causes of not getting enough sleep is stress and anxiety. The negative thought loop stops people from sleeping at night and waking up stressed because of not enough sleep. In turn, that causes stress and can lead to chronic sleep problems. Getting at least 7 hours of sleep every night is a vital part of giving your body time to truly rest and recover. In the Float Pod, you can get 4 hours worth of theta wave activity in only 1 hour of floating, but floating does not replace sleep. Finding ways to manage stress and anxiety and creating good pre-bedtime routines could be the two most essential steps to getting enough sleep every night to feel rested.
What would you advise someone who wakes up in the middle of the night and can’t fall back to sleep?
Not getting back to sleep is frustrating and often has to do with the inability to relax. It’s important to stay away from stimulants that might completely wake you up, which means avoiding the television or phones. If you find that it’s been at least 20 minutes, go ahead and get up. Tossing and turning only leads to frustration, and you’ll spend more time worrying, which is the opposite of what you need to get back to sleep.
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?
Taking a short nap won’t affect your ability to sleep throughout the night, but if you find that you’re taking longer naps, it could potentially prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep. Napping can even worsen insomnia or poor sleep if you’re already not getting enough sleep 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. 🙂
Roger Federer. Federer has been in the world’s highest stress and competitive environments, yet he is continually a top performer and well-respected athlete. He is a great example of hard work and dedication. When that hard work pays off, he is the most gracious winner.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
Readers can find me online at:
And for more information about True REST and flotation therapy, readers can visit:
This was very meaningful; thank you so much. We wish you only continued success on your great work!