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Interview with Wellness Warrior, Deborah Szekely

Deborah Szekely is one of America’s foremost wellness and fitness pioneers and the founder of the wonderful Rancho La Puerta and Golden Door spas.  Deborah has dedicated her life to helping people be well and just last year, at ninety, founded Wellness Warrior, a non-profit advocacy organization created to educate, advocate and organize the American people to fight for our own heath and the health of our nation.  Recently, I had the pleasure to chat with Deborah.  Naturally, I was curious about her take on sleep.  By the end of our talk, I was inspired on many levels and eager to buy some dates.  Read on to find out what I’m talking about.

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CB:  Do you think there’s a magic number of hours of sleep an adult needs each night? 

DS:  I don’t.  Some people require eight hours.  Others only need six.  Six hours is enough for me. 

CB:  Do you have a bedtime ritual?


DS:  I try to stop using my computer at midnight and am usually up for one more hour. 


There’s a process of unwinding.  I brush my teeth, remove my makeup and take about ten to fifteen minutes to read something good.  I think the mind can get direction at night and so I like to feed my mind before I go to sleep. 


I also enjoy listening to Gregorian chants at bedtime.  It’s spiritual and uplifting. 


If I’ve had a rough day, I take a short shower to wash off the day.  It’s psychological.  I find a warm shower very soothing.


I used to use incense at bedtime to help set the mood but gave it up because incense is not so good for you. 


Years ago, I used to sprinkle talcum powder on the sheets.  It helped create a silky smooth feeling that felt good.  I also found the fragrance very soothing.  It was a routine.


At my age, life is calm and I don’t have things to stew on and fret about. So it isn’t as necessary for me to do all these soothing rituals regularly.  I don’t have a sleep problem.


CB:  Do you do anything special to help you sleep while traveling?


DS:  I’m exhausted when I travel and can fall asleep easily.


CB:  Do you have a favorite nighttime snack?


DS:  I keep grapefruits on hand.  Sometimes I have one before bed or three or four hazelnuts.


In the old days, I used to drink hot milk at night and eat one organic date.  You would be surprised at just how satisfying one date is, especially if you take lots of little bites.


CB:  Do you have a morning routine?


DS:  First thing in the morning, before I get out of bed, I wiggle and stretch and become intensely aware of where I live. 


It’s important to be aware.  Be aware of what your body needs.  If you pay attention, you know what’s right.  Either you are the master or you ignore it and your body becomes the master.


Each day there is a new world out there filled with new opportunities.  It’s important to start each day with “good morning.”