Sleep Health

Meet Our Health Expert, Jess Spendlove

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We have the privilege of introducing Jess Spendlove, an Advanced Sports Dietician, as our in-house authority on all things nutrition and its relation to sleep. In this interview, she talks about her background and excitement to work with ResMed.

Can you tell us more about your work and clients as a well-known sports dietician in Australia?

Over the past decade, I have worked with most professional sports codes in Australia, including AFL, NRL, netball, basketball, rugby, and soccer. Although I had a rewarding experience in professional sports, I am now focusing my time in the private sector to spread awareness about the impact of performance nutrition on elevating one's performance in all aspects of life.

I help athletes and business leaders harness the power of nutrition to enhance their performance while fitting into their current lifestyle.

What does your typical day look like, including your morning and bedtime routines?

I am a fan of routines and rituals at the start and end of each day. My morning routine includes meditation, exercise, breakfast, and planning my day.

My day could be spent working on my business, which involves creating content, writing emails or blogs, planning marketing, meeting with staff, and handling finances, or working with clients, which involves one-on-one premium coaching, meetings, and speaking engagements. After work, I have a sauna and cook dinner.

My bedtime routine involves cooling my bedroom, taking a warm shower, journaling, and reading or listening to a rain app.

What are the benefits of following a healthy food and nutrition plan?

The benefits are numerous! In the short term, it gives you the energy to start your day and sustain you throughout the day, better focus and productivity at work, energy for physical activity, improved moods, and a feeling of overall well-being. It also helps reduce stress.

Can you dispel any diet-related myths?

The belief that dairy and wheat are inflammatory is not accurate. Numerous studies have shown that these foods have positive or neutral effects on inflammation. The difference between Greek yogurt and highly processed ice cream or between rye sourdough and heavily processed white bread is not the same, so we shouldn't criticize entire food categories.

What fascinates you the most about the relationship between nutrition and sleep health?

I love how supportive nutrition and sleep are of each other. You can sleep better with better eating habits, and vice versa. Understanding the relationship between the two and having self-awareness can alter behavior. For example, poor sleep habits can lead to unhealthy eating habits, but with awareness, you can have coping mechanisms in place.

What are the latest trends in nutrition and sleep hygiene that you have noticed during the pandemic?

I have seen a strengthening of the plant-based movement, whether it's plant-exclusive, plant-predominant, or just an effort to eat more plants. It's important to start with small changes like a meatless Monday or one plant-based meal per week. Removing foods or food groups from your diet may increase the risk of nutritional deficiencies, so it's crucial to understand how to substitute or replace them.

What do you indulge in on your "cheat days?"

I don't have cheat days, but I weave in treats or soul foods throughout the week. This could be wine, cheese, and chocolate, and I often eat out once or twice a week.

How many hours of sleep do you get each night?

I aim for the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep each night.

What is your goal in your role at ResMed?

I aim to raise awareness of the crucial role that nutrition plays in promoting better sleep. Most people are aware of what to avoid, such as alcohol and caffeine, but I want to focus on how certain nutritional habits, strategies, and foods can positively impact sleep.

Who wouldn't want to sleep better, have more energy throughout the day, and feel their best? If people, regardless of their life circumstances, have access to tools to improve their sleep through food and nutrition, which they must consume every day, multiple times a day, then that's a great outcome.

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