Parental role models for healthy sleep in childhood


Blog post – 1st February 2023

By Renata Taylor-Byrne


Children need good role models to establish good sleep habits:

Lifelong health depends upon good sleep habits



Front cover, Sleep Book 2022Most of the common degenerative diseases of the modern age are linked to inadequate sleep, among other contributory causes – (like junk food and sedentary lifestyle).

Perhaps the first of those causes to be tackled should be sleep.

And that is what I do in my latest book about sleep science. The book is titled Neglect Your Sleep – Wreck Your Health and Happiness

Part One of the book lays out the evidence of how lack of sleep harms your body and mind. That’s the bad news, which you really need to know. This is then followed, in Part Two, by the good news: How to take back control of this precious part of your daily life!


Learning how and when to sleep

Parents as role modelsCan you remember how much you noticed about your parents, or parent-substitutes, when you were a child?

What did you notice about their behaviour and lifestyle; and the ways in which they cared for themselves, and for you, as you were growing up? Were they good or bad role models?

Our parents are our first role models, and they are extremely powerful in that capacity, because of their example reaches us at a very impressionable stage of our lives.

We, in turn, pass on their knowledge, and skills and attitude to life, to our children. And our children absorb and copy how we live our lives; how we handle others, and the challenges of everyday life; and how we care for ourselves.

Unfortunately, when our parents were growing up, the research findings about sleep, which had been amassing in the laboratories of Universities and institutes, all over the world, wasn’t communicated to the wider public, so they were unable to benefit from this concealed knowledge.


Why have the sleep studies not been publicized adequately?

Improve knowledge about sleepWilliam Dement was an American pioneer in sleep medicine and his opinion was as follows[1]:

 “For nearly half a century, a huge reservoir of knowledge about sleep, sleep deprivation and sleep disorders has been building up behind a dam of pervasive ignorance and unresponsive bureaucracies. We don’t know how many preventable tragedies are occurring right now, today, this very instant. It is time to lower the floodgates or blow up the dam. The gentler approach of convincing authorities to lower the floodgates has not worked. Therefore I hope and pray that this book (of mine) will be the bomb that blows up the dam, and lets the information flow to the millions of people whose lives it can change and save.” (Page 10).

And part of his passion to communicate the facts about sleep was motivated by the fact that, whilst he was being driven by taxi to a conference on sleep, on a highway just past the Portland Gorge in Oregon, in 1996, his taxi driver fell asleep at the wheel of his car.  Dement could see what was happening, called out to the driver and grabbed the steering wheel. The car veered into the westbound lane of the motorway but fortunately there were no oncoming vehicles.

renata-taylor-byrne-lifestyle-coachAfter the journey, in which both of them could have died or been gravely injured, Dement talked to the taxi driver and found out that the driver had got sleep apnoea and high blood pressure, and was always very fatigued. And he had seen several doctors to try to get help. When Dement asked him what they did to help him he said: “Nothing, really.”

Reading this account was one of the reasons why I wrote this book, and did five years’ research into all the amazing research findings coming out of sleep laboratories all over the world.

So now, in February 2023, regarding sleep education, what are children in the UK learning about sleep from the National Curriculum, which can help them become better informed about sleep? Here is the current situation, as summarized on the website of ‘Schools Week’, written by Nick Linford.[2]

“At the moment, there is no legal requirement to include anything about sleep on the school timetable. The word ‘sleep’ does not even appear in official national curriculum guidelines. The government’s Change 4 Life programme does not mention sleep, either, let alone (the subject) getting taught in school.”

Let’s get the message out there

Eioght hours sleep neededA quote about leadership – which should be provided by the government health department – is relevant here, and this is it: “What makes a great leader: Example, example, example”.

And those of us who are parents, or in any position where we influence others through our behaviour, should consider out leadership role, for the sake of their health, well-being, productivity, and creative and mental growth.

My latest book is designed to give you the essential, key facts about sleep from the research findings, and techniques to improve it quickly.

ItFront cover, Sleep Book 2022 is designed so that your health and well-being will be enriched and strengthened by what you learn, and it will, (because of your daily, living example), improve the health, happiness and educational achievement for those who share your life!

If you want to know about eleven ways in which lack of sleep damages you, and eighteen powerful strategies for getting great sleep, then this is the book for you!

For more information about this book, please click on this link: Neglect Your Sleep – Wreck Your Health.***


That’s all for today.

Best wishes,


Renata Taylor-Byrne

Lifestyle coach-counsellor

ABC Coaching and Counselling Services



[1] Dement, W.C. (2000) The Promise of Sleep. New York: Random House, Inc.

[2] Linford, Nick. (2015) ‘Should lessons on snoozing be part of the school curriculum? Schools Week website: 1/2/2023  (Date accessed: 1st February 2023)

Wubbolding’s WDEP model from Reality Therapy

Blog Post No. 28

Originally posted on 26th March 2016. Posted here on 14th November 2021

Copyright © Renata Taylor-Byrne 2016/2021

Updated on 6th January 2021


Renata’s Coaching blog:

Reality Therapy and Bob Wubbolding’s WDEP model…


Cover of Reality Therapy book

We all benefit from having ways to think about our goals and our progress.  In this blog, I’m going to present a brief description of a very helpful little model which can be used to check to see how well your goals and your actions line up. 

This is called the ‘WDEP Model’, from Reality Therapy (RT).

I also provide a video demonstration of how this model is used, so you can see what it looks like in practice.

What is the WDEP model?

This is a really straightforward model which helps us clarify changes we want to make in our lives, using a short sequence of questions:

W = What do you Want?

D = What are you Doing to get what you want?

E = How well is this going (the Evaluation stage)?  And:

P = Let’s re-Plan, or produce an explicit Plan linked to what you Want. Is there a more effective way to get what I want?

Out of this questioning process normally comes some fragments of story, or some insights, which may or may not fit well together; and with which you can work to make sense of your situation.

Cartoon about Reality Therapy

 As I said above, this model comes out of Reality Therapy, which has the goal of helping clients to learn to be more aware of the choices they make in their lives and how these choices may be inefficient in achieving their goals.

If our (future) behaviour is seen as a choice that we (could, theoretically) make, then this makes us feel more responsible and in command of our lives. Then we need to explore the difference between the things we could (theoretically) control; and those things which are (apparently!) beyond our control.

If you have a problem that could benefit from this kind of analytical approach, please take a look at my main page, here: ABC Coaching Homepage.***


Four step model of WDEP

Reality Therapy was created by Dr William Glasser, an American psychiatrist, and it stresses the importance of the client taking responsibility for their own behaviour. Also the client needs to feel safe and that the coach/mentor is a respectful, caring and trustworthy person, as they work together with the model.


How does the WDEP model work?


The Reality Therapist works with clients to explore their wants and what they are doing to achieve those wants, evaluating whether what they are doing is helpful or harmful to their goals, and finally helping the client plan ways to change their behaviour.

WDEP worksheet

The creator of the WDEP model itself was Robert Wubbolding, who was born in 1936 in Cincinnati, Ohio. He worked as a counsellor in the school systems and also worked with the U.S. Army’s drug and alcohol abuse programs.

A practical demonstration

Here is a link to a video clip at YouTube, showing Dr. Ed Jacobs and Dr Tori Stone demonstrating the WDEP model in action:

Demonstration of the WDEP model.***


If you are able to easily reflect on your experiences and are clear about your goals, and are able to plan and develop logical steps to help you achieve them, then you’ll be able to use this model as a self-help tool.

However you may find it easier with a professional listener who can help you clarify your goals, and who can assess your understanding of the implications and changes needed to bring them into existence.

Also, a good coach can identify your blind spots, self-putdowns and ways in which you may be unknowingly self-sabotaging.

Have a great Easter, and I hope you find the model of some use.

That’s all for now.

Best wishes,


ABC Coaching West YorkshireRenata Taylor-Byrne

Lifestyle Coach/mentor

ABC Coaching in West Yorkshire, UK

Renata’s email address

Telephone: 01422 843 629


Shinrin Yoku, or “forest bathing”: the health benefits

Blog Post by Renata

Created on 2nd July 2016: (Posted here on 24th October 2021)

Copyright © Renata Taylor-Byrne 2015/2021

Renata’s Lifestyle Coaching blog:

The benefits of ‘Forest bathing’ or ‘Shinrin Yoku’



My job as a coach is to help my clients become strong, confident and healthy. And if I find information that will help people achieve those goals, then it’s my job to spread the good news.

So in this blog I am going to show you the research evidence that walking amongst trees, simple as it may seem, can do amazingly beneficial things for our bodies without us realising it.

What is ‘Forest bathing’ or ‘Shinrin Yoku’?

renata-taylor-byrne-lifestyle-coachThe name ‘Shinrin Yoku’ was created by the Japanese ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries in 1982, and what it means is: ‘Making contact with, and taking in the atmosphere of the forest’ (not actually bathing). There are now a few dozen forest therapy centres in Japan, as the process has been scientifically investigated and the research findings demonstrate the benefits of walking in the forests.   These ‘forest bathing’ activities have been shown to be very beneficial for the body.

Yoshifumi Miyazaki, one of the main researchers in this field, has been researching the effects of nature on our bodies for over 30 years, and he mentions in his TED  talk on ‘Nature therapy,’ a  highly significant fact:


He mentioned that we as human beings (homo sapiens) have lived on earth for 5 million years, and for 99.9999% of that time, we lived in the forests. Then urbanisation took place, with the industrial revolution, but this period of time has only been 0.0001% of that 5 million years!

So because we are living in an artificial, man-made (or human-made) environment we’re always in a state of stress, and to strengthen ourselves against that stress, if we return to nature and walk in the forests, then we will benefit a great deal from that. We will, he maintains, strengthen our immune system.

Here are some of the research results:

The forest environments reduce the level of the stress hormone, cortisol, in the bloodstream. Research conducted in 2005-2006 produced evidence that it reduced cortisol concentration by 13.4% after simply looking at the forest for 20 minutes, and it had decreased by 15.8% after walking in the forest.

People’s pulse rates dropped: In the 2008 research, the average pulse rate dropped by 6.0% after viewing the forest, and a further 3.9% decrease after walking there.

But the highest change was in the activity of the parasympathetic nervous system (the ‘rest and digest’ [or relaxation response] part of the nervous system, which switches on to help our bodies recover from the effects of stress).

Researchers know that this is connected to our heart rate variability, and this activity increases when we feel relaxed.


So when the research participants simply viewed the forest settings, there was an enhancement of the parasympathetic nervous system’s activity by 56.1%.

But after the research participants had walked in the forest, there was an enhancement of the parasympathetic nervous system activity – an increase of 103%!

Why did these bodily changes take place in the research participants?  Dr. Miyazaki discovered that one of the reasons for these changes is that the pine trees in the forests release a substance called ‘phytoncide’. This is the substance emitted by pine trees to kill insects and stop wood rot, and this substance has a beneficial effect on people as they walk through the forests. He has done a lot of interesting research with different wood scents, and shown how they have a positive effect on the body.

So when you’re out walking in the trees, you are really helping your body recover from the strains of working and driving in an urban environment, and regular walking in a natural, tree-rich setting will strengthen your immune system.

(I strongly recommend that you look at Dr. Miyazaki’s TED talk: at )

He also mentions in his talk the effects of looking at flowers on humans, and he hands out red roses during his presentation – a lovely gesture to put across his ideas.

I hope you experiment with this idea of walking in the woods or forest.  Happy walking! And finally I’d like to recommend Hardcastle Crags in Hebden Bridge  as a great place to walk!

renata-coach-counsellor-june-2021That’s all for this week,

Best wishes,

Renata Taylor-Byrne

Lifestyle Coach

Email: Renata at ABC Coaching

01422 843 629


Lifestyle coaching help with diet, exercise, sleep and relaxation

Blog Post No.2

14th October 2021


Processing trauma in coaching vs counselling

By Renata Taylor-Byrne, Lifestyle Coach



renata-taylor-byrne-lifestyle-coachHello and welcome to this, the first original blog post on my new website, here at (My previous post was a re-posting of an existing blog from my old website!)

The reason for splitting abc-coaching from abc-counselling is this:

Although I have substantial experience of counselling – including teaching counselling course for many years – I prefer to work in the coaching mode: which is present time; active-directive; practical solution focussed.

On the other hand, although my partner, Jim Byrne, has lots of experience of using coaching strategies, he prefers to work in a deeper, counselling-psychotherapy approach, which often takes him deep into the childhood emotions of his clients.

And, although Jim and I have common research roots – in the Institute for Emotive-Cognitive Narrative Therapy – I prefer to practice Emotive-Cognitive Narrative Training, in a one to one coaching modality.

To illustrate the distinction further, let me present some extracts from our recent book on trauma, to which I contributed a number of chapters:

Extract from Chapter 4(A): Sleep, stress and trauma

Hardback Trauma book, cover1In this chapter, I explored…

… “the role of sleep in recovering from post-traumatic stress disorder. I will investigate the importance of Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep for the processing of traumatic memories. And I will list a range of self-help remedies for sleep disturbances, which will hopefully help you to get the quality and quantity of REM sleep that you need in order to process your childhood, and later, traumatic memories (or other complex PTSD symptoms[1]).

Undigested and repressed traumatic experiences from childhood can continue to haunt people, even when they are mature adults, and cause real unhappiness for them, as they experience nightmares, sleep disturbances, and flashbacks; or any of the symptoms described in the footnote below: (Brindle, 2018)[1]. And childhood trauma predisposes adults (like soldiers in war zones, and victims of rape, etc.) to a greater likelihood of adult-onset trauma: (Insana 2012)[2].

Furthermore, anticipatory fear of distressing dreams can cause insomnia.

sleep-health-book-front-coverSleep experts, medical doctors and psychological researchers have found that there is one part of the sleep process which has a crucial role to play in the healing of people suffering from these traumatic nightmares, and other trauma-related sleep problems. Their findings have been invaluable for many people, and they are summarised in this chapter. Finally, recommendations to enable high quality sleep to take place are described and the dangers of sleep-blocking substances are explained.”

…End of extract.


Extract from Chapter 4B: 4.1: Physical exercise and emotional wellbeing

Traumatic Dragons dBook coverPart 2 of Taylor-Byrne and Byrne (2017) was about the relationship between physical exercise and emotional well-being; and the power of exercise to reduce the incidence of anxiety, anger and depression.

Sitting down for long periods of time is now recognized as being linked to both physical disease and emotional disorders. 

When we get up and move around, we force our lungs to draw in more oxygen, which is good for us; and we force our lymphatic drainage system to work, which eliminates toxins from our bodies.

Thirty minutes of brisk walking per day is the minimum that we recommend to lift your mood and reduce your feelings of anxiety or anger.  And walking near trees and/ or a body of water is also very good for health and mood.

…End of extract.


Extract from Chapter 5: Diet, nutrition and resilience

front-cover-anger-anxiety-depression-book“…In our emotive-cognitive embodied-narrative therapy theory, we see all of these elements of lifestyle – diet and nutrition; physical exercise; sleep quality and quantity; muscular tension and release – as interactional to such a degree that it is not possible to say which one should be addressed first; or which one is ‘foundational’. 

For example, if you allow any aspect of your lifestyle factors to deteriorate, then it will have an impact on all of the others, in a relatively short period of time. 

However, having considered their arguments, we believe that the only really important point to take from Kaplan and Rucklidge’s book – The Better Brain (2021) – is this:

“The conclusion we draw from this line of post disaster research is that providing micronutrients to survivors appears to reduce psychological distress to a clinically significant degree. These three different examples of traumatic events illustrate the powerful effect nutrients can have in (trauma) recovery and improving resilience”. (Rucklidge and Kaplan, May 2021).[3]

And the scientific explanation for these effects are that, when we are under a lot of stress, in the present, or when reliving a traumatic memory, our body needs more nutrients than normal to build the biochemistry of emotion-regulation required by our body-brain.

So, if you want to be resilient in the face of future stressors, and you want to be able to cope with traumatic memories (as a stressing/ straining load on your body-brain-mind), then it makes sense to examine your diet, eat mainly unprocessed whole foods of high nutritional value, avoid nutrient-poor foods (like highly processed fast foods [or ‘junk foods’]), and to take particular nutritional supplements to support brain and nerve function.

…End of extract.


Extract from Chapter 9: Progressive muscle relaxation for trauma recovery

…” Part 2: How to practice Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR)

By Renata Taylor-Byrne

“We are not helpless victims of circumstance. We can do much to heal ourselves from illness, and to live vibrant, happy lives.”

Brownstein (2006, Page 26.)


A, Progressive muscle relaxation book, 2Finally, we come to the part where we teach you how to do PMR in your own home, under your own steam.

Please see the guidelines which follow:

How to do the Progressive Muscle Relaxation technique

Here are some brief guidelines for doing the PMR exercises:

Choose a place where you can be alone for 15 – 20 minutes, for daily practice. Make sure that the room is quiet, and warm enough; and there are no loud sounds to distract you.

Please read the following guidelines before you begin:

…End of extract.


Extract from Chapter 14: Meditation and mindfulness

By Renata Taylor-Byrne and Jim Byrne, 2021

Copyright © Renata Taylor-Byrne and Jim Byrne, 2019-2021



renatas-coaching-page-wide-gardenAccording to Science Daily, (2011), Mindfulness meditation training changes brain structures in eight weeks. 

Mindfulness meditation is one of several body-brain-mind exercises promoted by Dr Bessel van der Kolk, with his trauma surviving clients.  In his 2015 book on the body’s role in trauma recovery, he writes about one of the best known approaches to mindfulness meditation, like this:

“Jon Kabat-Zinn, one of the pioneers in mind-body medicine, founded the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program at the University of Massachusetts Medical Centre in 1979, and his method has been thoroughly studied for more than three decades. As he describes mindfulness, ‘One way to think of this process of transformation is to think of mindfulness as a lens, taking the scattered and reactive energies of your mind and focusing them into a coherent source of energy for living, for problem solving, for healing’.” (Van der Kolk, 2015; Page 209).


What is meditation, and how can you do it?  

Meditation involves sitting quietly, ‘doing nothing’. It is a simple process of paying attention to your breathing, and letting your thoughts settle down and letting your mind become peaceful. 

…End of extract.


renata-coach-counsellor-june-2021I also contributed material to other parts of this book on trauma, including some ideas on controlling your “bad inner critic” – which is that critical voice in your head which puts you down and undermines you when you behave less than perfectly, and which is often particularly strong in victims of trauma (meaning abuse or neglect).



So that is a flavour of the very practical, immediate, here-and-now elements of trauma recovery strategy which I like to work with. If you like the sound of what you have read above, then you can get a low-cost eBook copy of our book on trauma recovery, or you can consult me for coaching on the practical aspects of trauma recovery!

ABC Coaching West YorkshireThat’s all for now. Best wishes,


Renata Taylor-Byrne

Lifestyle Coach




[1] Common PTSD symptoms include: Inappropriate feelings of guilt or shame; Physical symptoms, like headaches, dizziness, chest pains and stomach aches; Relationship problems; Problems with attention and concentration (dissociation); Problems controlling your emotions; Avoiding family and friends; and so on.



[1] Brindle, R. C., Cribbet, M. R., Samuelsson, L. B., (2018). ‘The Relationship between Childhood Trauma and Poor Sleep Health in Adulthood’. Psychosomatic Medicine, 80(2), 200–207. Online: PSY. 00000000 00000542

[2] Insana, S. P., Kolko, D. J., & Germain, A. (2012). ‘Early-life trauma is associated with rapid eye movement sleep fragmentation among military veterans’. Biological psychology, 89(3), 570–579.

[3] Rucklidge, J. and Kaplan, B. (2021). ‘Nutrition is the foundation of resilience’. An article online: Accessed in June and July 2021.