Sleep your way to success in 2017

What is the one thing that would make 2017 different?

Every year we set new goals and aim to achieve different things. March hits and many of us realize we’ve made little to no progress. Life gets the better of us, the unplanned happens, and before we know it December rolls around. And we’re left thinking: “Where did my time go? Maybe next year….”

So my question to you is: what is the one thing you can commit to do in the months ahead that would make a significant difference to your year, your life and your ability to achieve?

For Arianna Huffington, co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post – one of the most influential women of our time – it was the simple yet often overlooked act of sleeping more hours. In her international bestseller ‘Thrive’ Arianna shares how a health scare in 2007 made her re-think her life paradigm and respect her body’s need for sleep. She was so impressed by the benefits of sleep that she wrote another book called ‘The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time

Inspired by her book ‘Thrive’; I wanted to share with you two areas in our lives that impact us all. If we can approach these areas differently, even the smallest change will reap immense benefits:

  1. Chronic Sleep Deprivation

We all know that Hong’s Kong’s work culture is not conducive to a healthy-work life balance, as proven by international and local research. The combination of long working hours, 24/7 connectivity, family commitments and financial stress can take its toll on a person’s wellbeing, impacting their performance at work and at home, their energy levels and their health and happiness. I regularly see clients who are physically or mentally exhausted, suffering from a range of health issues including anxiety, digestive problems, insomnia, heart disease and weight gain, to name but a few.

I also see that we all mostly respect our appointments, other people’s time and their schedules, and we try to maximise our days. Subsequently, too many of us treat sleep as a flexible item in our schedule than can be endlessly moved around to accommodate work and other activities. In a city like HK we see people, including toddlers and youngsters, sleeping after 10pm, thus depriving their brains and bodies of its ability to detoxify, recharge and replenish for the next day.

When we sleep less we suffer mental fog and feel fatigued. We lose self-control and are more prone to illness, stress, traffic accidents and weight gain. We deplete our Yin energy, which creates imbalance. Our ability to learn new things are compromised and we produce less.

Research also shows that women – whether they are working in the home or in a professional setting- are the most sleep deprived given their greater commitments and demands in life.

Can we change all of this? Yes, we can but only if we actively choose to. Our health is our choice and our responsibility.

Short naps, managing LCD screens (TV, smartphones, laptops, tablets, Ipods, as examples), slipping into PJs, reading a good book, using aromatherapy, addressing life stressors, and treating your bedtime as an appointment are a few good options: small things, big differences.

  1. 24/7 connectivity

Are you connected to something greater than yourself or only your devices? How much time are you actually connected during your day?

One of the greatest culprits of modern sleep deprivation is LCD devices and their blue light, which activates our brain keeping them awake and active not to mention continuously feeding our daily stressors with more information, connections and concerns.

Unplugging can not only help to switch off our brains but actually help us connect with things of far greater importance: ourselves, our personal needs and our loved ones. When we fail to turn off our devices we fail to acknowledge ourselves and loved ones who may be sitting right next to us.

Currently the digital world is taking over, changing the quality of our relationships, our sleep and our lives.

Can we do an occasional digital detox? Yes, we can.  Again, only we can decide how much we want to change in our life, how far we want to go and how important this is to us.

Small Changes; Big Results

In coaching, given our client’s busy days and life and the difficulty to commit to many things or changes, we often use the ‘Pareto Rule’ – what is the 20% that would make up for the 80% of our lives?

The ‘Pareto Rule’, named after economist Vilfredo Pareto, specifies an unequal relationship between inputs and outputs. The principle states that 20% of the invested input is responsible for 80% of the results obtained. This is also referred to as the “80/20 rule.” For example, the efforts of 20% of a corporation’s staff could drive 80% of the firm’s profits. In sales, the top 20% of your customers might create 80% of your income. In our personal lives. 20% of the conversations we have can create 80% of the intimacy with our partners. In terms of time management, 20% of a person’s time can create 80% of their productivity.


How can we apply this in life to see greater results? In other words, where could you spend 20% of your time doing something that would give you 80% of your happiness or sense of accomplishment?


The Small Things I Can Change

As a wellness coach, my job is to help you find and maintain as much balance as possible. This can be achieved by identifying your unique strengths and areas for development and clarifying the 20% you are willing to invest in.

Here are three recommendations by health and sports experts to raise your game and dramatically improve your wellbeing. You may think of these areas as your 20% investment:

  • Sleep earlier – Start by getting just 30min more sleep than you are getting now and treat bedtime as an appointment. If Arianna Huffington was able to do this so can we!


  • Regular digital diets – have off-line non-negotiable moments in your day and convert them to 5min Mindfulness moments to lower stress levels, stabilize emotions, balance the nervous system and bring peace of mind.


  • Move your body – ‘sitting is the new smoking’ so walk, run, stretch, do yoga, hike – just keep moving! We can move in our offices, at home, and out and about. In Hong Kong’s ‘great outdoors’, there really is no excuse to become a couch potato.


Sleeping and time for self is critical for our overall wellbeing. If you had to make one choice and commit to one small change in 2017 that could have a significant impact in your life, I recommend you choose sleep.


Only when we are feeling fresh, centred and at peace are we able to connect with our intuition, our guiding north. More on that in our next newsletter!

Here are a few tools extracted from ‘Thrive’ that can help you create boundaries, filter out distractions and exercise greater self-control:


  1. Anti-social – target your digital distraction peeling yourself away: – Paid
  2. Net Nanny – award-winning technology that filters, monitors, and blocks unsafe materials from your browser while allowing access to the internet: – Paid
  3. Self-control – SelfControl is a free and open-source application that lets you block your own access to distracting websites, mail servers, or anything else on the Internet: – Free



And here’s to a year of greater consciousness, choices and fulfillment!


Cristina Rodenbeck


Recipe of the Month

Apples – a versatile ingredient in many savory dishes and healthy desserts – are extremely rich in important antioxidants, flavanoids, and dietary fiber. In this special apple bake dessert dish we blend the natural sweetness of apples with some exquisite and healthy spices that help manage sugar levels and build our immune system to thrive in life.

All prepared with love!


Apple Bake



  • 4 ripe apples; peeled, cored and quartered (optional to substitute or add pears)
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1/4 cup nuts, slivered or roughly chopped (almonds, walnuts, pecans, etc.)
  • 1 teaspoon of cardamom seeds freshly grounded with no skin
  • 1 teaspoon of ginger freshly grounded with no skin
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon




Preheat the oven to 350°F. Add the apples, pears, cranberries, orange juice and all spices; mix well in oval gratin baking dish.

Bake until the fruit is tender. This can take between 30 minutes to an hour.

Serve hot or at room temperature.






March and April Events


Kirtan at Pause Central

7-8.15pm, 17 March

Monthly devotional Kirtan sessions where voices unite for powerful healing to take place. Together we help our body soothe and release emotions through the powerful sounds produced by ancient sacred mantras.

Fee: $120 per session or $500 for a five-session package.

To secure your seat book now via the link


Meditation with Kirtan at IMI Central

6.15-7.15pm, 13 March  and 03 April

In this unique blend of Kirtan, the usage of powerful yet gentle mantras, techniques and guidance Cristina aims to help you to develop a simple mindfulness or meditation practice.

Fee: Free

To secure your seat book now by calling 2523.7121 or email:


Kirtan Supports Odanadi Foundation joining ‘Yoga Stops Human Traffick’

 2-4pm, 25 March

We are delighted to be invited by chanter Annette Ricci to host this special session at her home in Stanley as we join forces with ‘Yoga Stops Human Traffick’ to support Odanadi Foundation. For more information on the phenomenal work of Odanadi Foundation, visit

Fee: $150HKD

Admission: Limited seats so to secure your mat please email

Potluck: please bring a plate of vegetarian food so we can all celebrate our time together and support our fight against this critical human cause.


Kirtan event “Rising Goddess 2-Day Retreat for Women” at Pak Kok Tseun, Lamma Island

9:30-5:30pm, 13 and 14 May

We are thrilled and honored to be part of Rising Goddess Women’s 2-day retreat created by Michelle Harris, a fellow Wellness Ambassador. Over two days on beautiful Lamma Island you will enjoy life-enhancing classes with a great team of teachers including Michelle Harris, Ayelet Idan, Katie Flowers, Lilian Fung, Charlotte Douglas, and me.

Fee: ** Early Discount HKD 2,888 early bird by March 15th **                                  thereafter HKD 3,300
Includes all teachings, Art/Mandala, essential oil blends, healthy vegetarian lunch for both days.

Admission: please contact


Kirtan at The Garden Gathering at Sai Yuen farm, Cheung Chau Island

10-12 March

Join us for a weekend as we journey to remember the ancient wisdom of our ancestors and reconnect with ways of living in harmony with our Mother Earth. We will gather as women from the far-east and wide to share primitive and cross-cultural skills, sacred ceremony, artful crafts, body-mind practices, organic sustenance and song circle whilst camping outdoors amongst the elements in nature and dancing under the moonlight.

Fee:  $800HKD for 3 days including 2 x breakfast and dinner

Bookings on Eventbrite:



Cristina Rodenbeck,

Manipura Wellness Practice