Episode 18: Mindfulness


What is mindfulness? How is it used? How can it help with sleep? These are all questions we try to answer in this episode, with the help of Dr Antonio Fernando (Psychiatrist), Dr Allie Peters (Psychologist) and guest co-host Dr Giselle Withers (Psychologist). Mindfulness can be a great skill to help with sleep, but learning mindfulness takes time and a structured approach with guidance from an experienced teacher.

Dr Moira Junge (Health Psychologist) and Dr David Cunnington (Sleep Physician) host the monthly podcast, Sleep Talk, talking all things sleep.

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Audio Timeline:

  • 00:00 – 00:56 Introduction
  • 00:56 – 07:43 What’s news in sleep?
    • 00:56 – 02:02 Health retreats and sleep
    • 02:02 – 3:10 Mindfulness in May / A Mindful Way
    • 03:10 – 05:16 Change of seasons
    • 05:16 – 06:10 Featuring research on the podcast
  • 06:10 –  Theme – Mindfulness
    • 06:10 – 09:15 Background – Mindfulness
    • 09:15 – 15:02 Guest interview – Dr Tony Fernando
      • What is mindfulness?
      • How is it used?
    • 15:02 – 23:27 Guest interview – Dr Allie Peters
      • Why should mindfulness help sleep?
      • Research on mindfulness for insomnia
        • What did you find?
        • What did you learn from your research using mindfulness for insomnia?
    • 23:27 – 37:37 Guest interview – Dr Giselle Withers
      • What is mindfulness?
      • How does mindfulness add to cognitive behavioural therapy for insomnia?
      • How can people learn mindfulness?
    • 37:37 – 40:21 Mindfulness exercise
    • 40:21 – 41:32 Where to get more information on mindfulness
  • 41:32 – 42:11 Clinical tip of the month – A wandering mind is normal
  • 42:11 – 44:25 Pick of the month:
    • 42:11 – 43:02 Moira – Sleep Quality and Mindfulness as Predictors of Depression, Anxiety and Stress
    • 43:02 – 44:01 David – The neural correlates of dreaming
    • 44:01 – 44:37 Giselle – Mindfulness-Based Therapy for Insomnia – Book
  • 44:37 – 45:51 What’s coming up in sleep?

Next episode: June 5th

Links mentioned in the podcast:


Guest interviews:

tony fernandoDr Tony Fernando: After completing his medical school training at the University of the Philippines, Dr Tony Fernando trained as both a sleep specialist and psychiatrist in the United States. Tony completed a fellowship in Psychopharmacology and Sleep and Chronobiology at University of Pennsylvania. Tony’s Psychiatry training was completed at St Luke’s and Roosevelt Hospital in New York (Columbia University) and University of Pennsylvania. Tony is now a senior lecturer in Psychological Medicine at the University of Auckland Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences. He is the course coordinator for Undergraduate Training in Psychological Medicine and has published numerous papers in sleep and psychiatry.

Allie PetersDr Allie Peters is a registered psychologist and a member of the Australian Psychological Society and the Australasian Sleep Association. She has completed a PhD at RMIT University with a focus on Mindfulness and Insomnia. Allie possesses diverse skills in psychotherapy and has worked with a range of client groups. She uses an integrated approach, drawing from a range of therapeutic techniques such as Interpersonal Psychotherapy, Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, Motivational Interviewing, Existential Psychotherapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Cognitive Behaviour Therapy and Client Centred Therapy. Allie sees clients at Melbourne Sleep Disorders Centre, Fernhills Clinic and Monash Healthy Sleep Clinic.

Giselle WithersDr Giselle Withers is a Clinical Psychologist with over 20 years experience treating people with mental health and chronic health problems. Giselle has practiced yoga and meditation for over 25 years. Recognising the benefits of these Eastern traditions for healing and personal growth, she undertook further training to become a qualified yoga teacher (RYT200) and mindfulness teacher.  She has undertaken MBSR/MBCT teacher training, including teacher development retreats with Jon Kabat-Zinn and Saki Santorelli (Centre for Mindfulness, UMass), Southern Synergy Monash University, and the Mindfulness Training Institute Australasia. Giselle draws on mindfulness-based therapies in her work as a Clinical Psychologist and has developed online mindfulness programs for insomnia, chronic fatigue and anxiety at A Mindful Way.

Regular hosts:

Dr Moira Junge

Dr Moira Junge is a health psychologist working in the sleep field, who has considerable experience working with people with sleeping difficulties in a multidisciplinary practice using a team-based approach. Moira has consulted at Melbourne Sleep Disorders Centre since 2008, and is actively involved with the Australasian Sleep Association (ASA). She has presented numerous workshops for psychologists wanting to learn more about sleep disorders, and is involved with Monash University with teaching and supervision commitments, as well as clinical involvement with the Monash University Healthy Sleep Clinic. She is one of the clinic directors at Yarraville Health Group which was established in 1998. In addition to her expertise in sleep disorders, her other areas of interest and expertise include smoking cessation, psychological adjustment to chronic illness, and grief and loss issues.

Dr David CunningtonDr David Cunnington is a sleep physician and director of Melbourne Sleep Disorders Centre, and co-founder and contributor to SleepHub. David trained in sleep medicine both in Australia and in the United States, at Harvard Medical School, and is certified as both an International Sleep Medicine Specialist and International Behavioural Sleep Medicine Specialist. David’s clinical practice covers all areas of sleep medicine and he is actively involved in training health professionals in sleep. David is a regular media commentator on sleep, both in traditional media and social media, and blogs for the Huffington Post on sleep. David’s recent research has been in the area of non-drug, psychologically-based treatments such as cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness in managing insomnia, restless legs syndrome and other sleep disorders.

Connect with David on Twitter or Facebook.

Need more information about how you can sleep better?

At Sleephub we understand the struggle people endure with sleeping problems which is why we have created a comprehensive FAQs page with information for those seeking information about sleep disorders and potential solutions.

Check our resources or take our Sleep Wellness Quiz for a free assessment of elements that may be keeping you from a good night’s sleep.

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  • leanne

    thank you so much, the pod cast was really informative and I have found practicing mindfulness to greatly reduced my stress regarding my insomnia

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