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Growing Up Powerful: Ep 6. Expert Talk with Dr. Nicole Sparks

Asha interviews Dr. Nicole Sparks about the importance of caring for our changing bodies. Hear how Dr. Sparks likes to exercise her body and unwind her mind before bedtime.

This is episode 6 of our Growing Up Powerful miniseries! These are stories about dealing with big feelings, growing up, and connecting to the world around you. And just so you know, some of these themes may be mature for our younger Rebels. We encourage listening with your grown up.

This podcast is a production of Rebel Girls. It’s based on the book Rebel Girls: Growing Up Powerful. This series was produced by Joy Smith, Deborah Goldstein, and Haley Dapkus, with sound design and mixing by Mumble Media. It was written and edited by Abby Sher. Fact-checking by Joe Rhatigan and sensitivity read by Schuyler Swenson. Narration by Margaret Ying Drake as Asha and Imani Parks as Jestine. Original theme music was composed and performed by Elettra Bargiacchi. Our executive producers were Joy Smith and Jes Wolfe. Thank you to the whole Rebel Girls team who make this podcast possible. Stay rebel!


ASHA: Hello! And welcome to Growing Up Powerful, the bonus episode!

I’m Asha, your co-host on the Rebel Girls Growing Up Powerful series. And I’m here with Dr. Nicole Sparks, an OB-GYN physician, a lifestyle, beauty blogger and an entrepreneur. 

Hi, Dr. Sparks. Thank you so much for being here! Can you tell us a little about yourself?

Nicole: Hi, I’m an OBGYN and mother of three children, and I love empowering women about their health. 

ASHA: Yes! And for those of you who may not be totally sure (ahem) like me. What exactly does OBGYN stand for?

Nicole: Well that’s a great question. OBGYN stands for obstetrician and gynecologists. This means that we deliver babies and we also help women with their periods. And anything else that’s going on with your body.

ASHA: Aha! Okay, can I ask you something that doesn’t have to do with delivering babies or periods? Or…maybe it does. I guess, you can tell me if it does. Basically, I want to ask about sleep. My parents keep telling me that I’m not getting enough sleep. But, don’t we need less sleep as we get older?

Nicole: So the average adult needs seven to nine hours of sleep every single night. And sleep has so many benefits. Sleep can improve your mood, it can help you focus more in school for those hard tests. It can improve your memory and even helps you to recover when you get sick.

ASHA: Okay, but I love staying up. And it’s so hard for me to fall asleep, especially when the clock says it’s LATE O’Clock, but my body says, “I have too much energy to go to sleep.” Do you have any advice for getting to sleep even when I don’t feel tired?

Nicole: We spend so much time on our phones and I know it’s hard to put your phones away, but reducing screen time before bed is so important. The blue light from your phones actually makes your body think that it’s still daytime. And this can disrupt your sleep. You also may wanna read a book to relax and definitely avoid caffeine and heavy exercise before bed. It’s also important to try and stick with a bedtime routine. Try and go to bed at the same time every night. Turn off your lights and make sure your bedroom is nice and quiet. 

ASHA: Okay. Those are good life goals. Can I ask what YOU do to quiet your brain and relax?

Nicole: So I really try to stick to the same routine every night. I take a warm shower, I put my phone away and then I read one of my favorite books. And usually my book is enough to put me to sleep. 

ASHA: Oooh, ok. I’m definitely gonna try that. And what about the opposite, like getting the right kind of physical activity for our bodies?

Nicole: Physical activity is so important for our mental health. When you exercise, you release endorphins, which can help to improve your mood, help you to feel more energy, and also help you to sleep better at night. 

ASHA: Yes. I do feel those endorphins when I’m at track. And how much physical activity should we be getting?

Nicole: According to the C or the Centers for Disease Controller Prevention, if you’re between the ages of six and 17 years old, you actually need 60 minutes or one hour of moderate sub vigorous exercise every single day. But don’t you worry, you don’t have to do this all at once. You can go walking, you can take the stairs instead of the elevator. You can play soccer or basketball with your friends. And all of this counts as exercise.

ASHA: Can I ask…what do YOU like to do to stay active?

Nicole: So if the weather’s nice outside. I love walking and running. I love pushing my baby in his stroller. I love to ride my Peloton and I especially love doing strength training, which is so important as you get older. 

ASHA: Oh. Good to know! I feel like my backpack probably weighs as much as a baby. Well, thank you so much for coming on and answering my questions!

Nicole: Thank you for having me. This was so much fun.

ASHA: And thank YOU Rebels, for tuning in to this Growing Up Powerful Bonus episode! Get some sleep and we’ll catch ya later! 
This podcast is a production of Rebel Girls.

This episode was narrated by ME! Margaret Ying Drake as ASHA, with special guest Dr. Nicole Sparks. It was produced and directed by Deborah Goldstein, with Joy Smith and Haley Dapkus. Sound design and mixing by Mumble Media. It was written by and edited by Abby Sher. Our executive producers are Jes Wolfe and Joy Smith.

Original theme music was composed and performed by Elettra Bargiacchi.

A special thanks to the whole Rebel Girls team, who make this podcast possible!

Until next time, staaaay rebel!

If you like what you heard here and want to learn more, check out the newest book from Rebel Girls! Growing Up Powerful: A Guide to keeping confident when your body is changing, your mind is racing, and the world is…complicated. With stories from rebels all over the world and guidance from some brilliant experts, this book is our newest bff. Order your copy of Growing up Powerful today on Amazon or anywhere you purchase books!