Episode 36: Naps
Are naps a good idea? How long should naps be? How can you get better at napping? Listen to this episode of Sleep Talk as we tackle these questions with the help of nativist Thea O’Connor of NapNow.
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 / Chapters:
00:00 – 01:19 Introduction
- 01:19 – 25:55 Theme – Naps
- 25:55 – 27:30 Clinical Tip
- 27:30 – 30:16 Pick of the Month
- 30:16 – 31:40 What’s Coming Up?
Next episode: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Links mentioned in the podcast:
- Parliamentary Inquiry in to Sleep Health
- Powernap Register
- Sleep Health Foundation Factsheet
- SleepHub Blog on Naps
- Napping. A psychologist’s perspective.
- Night School – Book
- Dangerously Sleepy – Book
Thea O’Connor (B Sc, BND), is a nativist, wellbeing and productivity advisor, writer, speaker and coach. She has over 25 years experience in the health sector ranging from her background as a dietitian through to her current role as a senior advisor on workplace wellbeing. She’s always loved her work, because she does what she loves: challenging and reshaping the socio-cultural norms that make us sick.Since discovering napping over ten years ago while running her workplace health consultancy in Melbourne, Thea has never had to struggle through the afternoon slump again.
View Thea’s website here.
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 is actively involved with the Australasian Sleep Association (ASA) and a board member of the Sleep Health Foundation. She has presented numerous workshops for psychologists and is involved with Monash University with teaching and supervision commitments. She is one of the founders and 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 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. 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.
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Dr. David Cunnington:Welcome to episode 36 of Sleep Talk, the podcast talking all things sleep and welcome again to my co-host Dr. Moira Junge.
Dr. Moira Junge:Hello Dave and hello all listeners.
Dr. David Cunnington:Moira, this is actually episode 36. So what that means is that we’ve got to three years.
Dr. Moira Junge:Absolutely.
Dr. David Cunnington:Who would have thought? And we’re still having fun and we’re enjoying talking about sleep topics.
Dr. Moira Junge:Well, we get good review – well, formal reviews of people we speak with. I’m really enjoying it and when we don’t put one up on the month – every month as we hope to, people start ringing saying, “Where is it? We’re waiting for the next podcast.”
Dr. David Cunnington:Yes. So that’s my New Year’s resolution for the new year is get it back on track with some regularity.
Dr. Moira Junge:Yes, get back to your normal David Cunnington style of being quite organised, orderly.
Dr. David Cunnington:I’ve been trying to soften my obsessive, impulsive disorder, Moira.
Dr. Moira Junge:But we need it for this.
Dr. David Cunnington:Sure. I will get it back on track.
Dr. David Cunnington:The theme for this month’s podcast is napping. Good, bad, friend or foe? And the topics we will try to cover and get into in our discussion is “Should we nap? Is it really a good thing or is it a bad thing? If you’re going to nap, how long should a nap be?” I’m going to get some tips from my co-hosts about what if people can’t nap because not everybody can and are there times when people shouldn’t nap and naps are bad.
So to help answer these questions, it’s great to have Thea O’Connor join us. Thea is a well-being and productivity adviser and activist and she started the great resource NapNow. Welcome Thea.
Thea O’Connor:Thank you David.
Dr. David Cunnington:And of course Moira, my regular co-host, Dr. Moira Junge. As a health psychologist, we will use your expertise today and to help talk about naps and I will give my two cents’ worth.
Dr. Moira Junge:Hello. Hello Dave.
Dr. David Cunnington:So let’s take a vote. Who’s in favor of naps?
Thea O’Connor:Well, as an activist, I guess I’m pretty unashamedly pro-napping. But most likely, what I would really like to see is we should give napping a chance in our culture at the moment because it doesn’t really get a lot of support.
Dr. Moira Junge:That’s true.
Thea O’Connor:How about you Moira?
Dr. Moira Junge:What about me? Well, I would say yes, I’m definitely in favor of naps, pro-napping. But I guess the older I get and the – and more years of clinical practice I get, I’ve got my own fatigue around this binary thing of things are good or bad. So I would – perhaps a bit – a bit painful because obviously there are times when they can be really useful, beneficial and there may be times when they’re not so useful. So I guess that’s what we’re going to tease out by the end of this episode.
Dr. David Cunnington:I like naps. I really think having the ability to nap demonstrates a flexibility of thinking around sleep that I think is – we tend – sort of the ability to be a healthy sleeper as a lifelong thing and my family will tell you – this is my secret super power is micro napping. I’ve got three stops on the train. I could get a nap in before I need to get off.
So Thea, why napping? So why is it important now and such a topical thing to talk about?
Thea O’Connor:Yes. Well, I mean actually be aware. A lot of people are tired or they’re wired or feeling very overwhelmed, particularly in busy workplaces and that’s a whole range of reasons. But what I’ve learned is that the way we cope with that is to over-rely on what I like to call non-renewable forms of energy. So whether that’s another cup of coffee or another chocolate bar or just a lot of stress to energise us to get going. You know, non-renewables, they have their place. I think we over-rely on them. I reckon we’ve reached peak caffeine, that’s for sure, people that I see.
So at times, we explore more renewable forms of energy for the human body and I really think the nap is such an effective renewable energy practice that we would just be mad not to embrace it or at least give it a go for the sake of our personal sustainability.
The other thing that strikes me about the power nap, not so much the longer nap but the short nap is that it really does seem tailor-made for our time-poor world at the moment where we are tired, we want more energy and we crave a quick fix that I’m able to about – you know, shortly.
You really can get a good, effective energy boost in quite a short amount of time. So while I think about it, the science within, there’s a lot of good evidence behind the short naps. Our bodies are primed and that many of us are tired. Napping has got a bit of an image problem. It tends to be associated with slacking despite the fact that it has the opposite effect. So I think it’s time for a culture shift around this.
Dr. David Cunnington:Yeah, yeah, and historically, sleep wasn’t always one continuous block. There were longer sleeps at night and the shorter sleep in the day. What has been the historical, sort of evolution of napping? And then we went away from it. Now, we should come back to it.
Thea O’Connor:Well, sleep historians have told me that before the Industrial Revolution, that it was a really common practice, not just in siesta cultures probably because they’re more able to work according to our body rhythms. Then when we started organising our days around keeping machines going, that that was the key event that damped napping out of our days.
I guess in a way we still organise our days around machines. Steams – they’re not machines anymore. Steam engines. We’ve got our devices. Yeah, it could definitely be big time in human history where we need to reintroduce it.
Dr. David Cunnington:So what’s the perfect nap?
Thea O’Connor:That’s an interesting question, isn’t it? So I think a perfect nap is one that you don’t feel guilty about and that it leaves you in a good state for the rest of your day, whatever that happens to be. The perfect nap, it depends on a number of factors. How tired are you? How much do you need to catch up on sleep? And probably most importantly, what do you need to do next?
If you want to party all night, then a longer nap might be suitable. But if you have to click back into work mode pretty quickly, then the shorter nap is going to be more desirable.
So I’m with Moira here. It depends I think on the situation as to what’s going to the ideal nap and timing is a critical part of that.
Dr. Moira Junge:I guess a shout out to any listener or any researcher who’s involved specifically with shift work because that changes things a lot too depending on the day or time of night or time during the shift and the pros and cons of the shorter nap or no nap, whether it’s 10 minutes, whether it’s 20 minutes. You know, people who don’t have a nap at all and the differences there.
Of course the shorter naps, the power nap as we call it, is really around –centred around the idea of not getting into a deeper sleep and therefore less risk of having sleep inertia where you might wake up from a nap feeling worse temporarily at least than before the nap started. So they’re the things to consider.
But I mean I’ve read some things recently that – I mean sleep inertia, we’ve always traditionally warned against that. But I read something recently that was saying, “You know what? We can roll with that too.” It’s not the worst thing that you can feel dreadful and go deeper. That lifts and it passes and it shouldn’t necessarily be a massive deterrent. I mean by myself, I’ve always sort of been a proponent of the shorter nap. But if people are aware of the risks, but there’s also some greater benefits perhaps. So I think it’s really important to not be too prescriptive about the timing of the nap, of the thing that links.
Dr. David Cunnington:That’s a good point about sleep inertia, Moira. So in the clinical populations that I see, so someone with narcolepsy for example, they can absolutely do short naps and wake up feeling refreshed. But then if I see people with idiopathic hypersomnia, that sort of typical idiopathic hypersomnia, they have very debilitating sleep inertia and isn’t the sort of stuff you just – oh, well, get over it …
Dr. Moira Junge:Yeah, that’s right, that’s right.
Dr. David Cunnington:It can be difficult for that clinical population.
Dr. Moira Junge:Yes. That’s exactly the subsection. So that’s why I’m going to be painful and you are too.
Dr. David Cunnington:Yeah, exactly.
Dr. Moira Junge:Just qualifying things as – I guess you can’t have broad brush statements necessarily about all naps.
Dr. David Cunnington:Yeah. And I liked your comment Thea of guilt-free. There is something – I think it’s almost like in our modern society. The thing you’ve got to give yourself first before you’re able to nap is the permission to take the time out and if you can’t get to step one, to give yourself the permission, then you’re not given a chance of being able to nap or have that pause.
Thea O’Connor:Absolutely. Over the years, I’ve come to realise that’s basically what I do with NapNow is give people permission. I’m always a little amused whenever I give a talk and I – you know to include mention of the naps. Invariably, there will be one or two people who come up to me afterwards and it’s like they tell me in hushed tones about their napping habit.
It’s almost as if they’re confessing their secret and they see me as someone who can absolve some public guilt because I’m saying it’s fine to do it. So absolutely permission is key and I think partly that’s because – I reckon many of us still live in the shadow of the Protestant work ethic, where our worth and even the faith of our soul is dependent on how hard we worked. But the idea of not being seen to work hard all the time. In fact that can actually be quite a challenging thing to do.
Dr. David Cunnington:Yeah, and it’s a work ethic. So whilst we’ve got the Protestant work ethic, I see a number of people from other cultures that today still have work ethic. You know, a lot of the Asian cultures, South Asian and East Asian cultures have that same work ethic who hasn’t come from a Protestant Christian background.
Thea O’Connor:And then I guess it’s in the work – you know, workplaces. People don’t want to be seen as a slacker and they also don’t want to be seen as someone who’s letting the team down as well. That can also come into that bit of permission. But what I’ve also come to recognise is that while we – say workplaces, we want permission from our say external boss. Working on permission from your inner boss, that’s really where it needs to start because a lot of us can have fairly hard taksmasters,
Dr. David Cunnington:Oh, I like that. I’m going to steal that Thea.
Dr. Moira Junge:Inner boss …
Thea O’Connor:Yeah, use it.
Dr. Moira Junge:Speaking of bosses though, I mean it is a really important practical issue that the timing in the workplace not only – just whether it just fits practically in terms of the productivity and what – the task at hand and even literally where the space and where people could nap and we haven’t even touched on those that can’t nap even if they wanted to.
People who are quite sleep-deprived, they might have quite severe insomnia and you would think they’re the ones that are really great at napping. But they’re mostly the people I would say clinically who say, “Look, I would love to get a nap. I’ve never been able to sleep during the day.”
Whether they can or can’t nap they just feel that they can’t and so they probably need it the most because it does bring up the question while we’re discussing this of we all have a post-lunch too where it’s a natural – deep in our alertness and a nap makes sense. But if people are napping, they’re needing to nap a couple of hours after waking up for several times around their workplace day, their day in the workplace. You have to start thinking about is this a sign or is this excessive daytime sleepiness. Is this a sign perhaps that their sleep quality and/or quantity is inadequate and perhaps that needs to be addressed as well? Because I think the nap is a great supplement but not a replacement for good quality sleep. I say it as a nice adjunct and I always nap every day if I could. I wonder – are you able to nap often, Thea? I guess that’s an interesting thing with your busy life and speaking commitments and things like that. Does it fall into your mostly daily life?
Thea O’Connor:When I say I’ve discovered napping, which was about 10 years ago, I was more tired then and it was more regular. I would say two or three times a week.These days, I’m going to have made a lot of changes to my life and I’m not as tired. But I know that it’s there and it’s amazing what a comfort that is to know.
So if for whatever reason I do have a bad night’s sleep or – you know, stuff happens in life, doesn’t it? We get tired. It’s a wonderful comfort to know. I know how to do it now and I also know that even if I lie down and don’t fall asleep, I do feel restored.
So these days, it’s probably more like once a week or once a fortnight and I do it not just if I’m exhausted, but just as a really great way to give my brain a bit of a chance. You know, unplug from the information super highway. I get benefit from that too.
Dr. David Cunnington:So Thea, tell us a bit about the people you would normally work with and how you integrate napping as part of their strategies. You know, recognising that’s less of a clinical population, which is more where Moira and I normally work. So what about where you work with?
Thea O’Connor:Yes. My approach has evolved over the years. Most of my work is at workplaces perhaps with leadership development and programs, the teams and individuals. The focus of my work is how can we just create healthier and more sustainable ways of working.
I mean look at team norms and also the power of habits as part of that package. The key theme I address is how can we rejuvenate our work ethics because one of the reasons that people in work in particular are feeling not only tired but demoralised is that they feel like they’re being treated like machines and expect it to work flat out from dawn until dusk.
But we’re not machines. We’re human beings and we function best when we work to a pulse, a rhythm. These days when I do seminars and work cases, I used to lead with a nap and have a whole nap seminar. But now what I do is I embed a nap into this broader theme of how can we work a bit more in tune with our 24-hour biological rhythm and how our energy naturally fluctuates over a day.
So I put up a super little graph and yes we see, oh yeah, in the afternoon, maybe 1:00 to 3:00 PM, you have that little dip in alertness. It’s a natural figure for some people than others. But how can we navigate the afternoon slump for those people who suffer from it. Are we just going to push on like we normally do? Well, we could. But if you’re tired to push on, you’re more likely to make a mistake. Are we going to have more stimulants like coffee? Well, you could. But gee, that might interfere with my night sleep or radical idea, could we actually take a 10-minue renewable energy break? So we talk about naps, movement, meditation, breath awareness, those short breaks that are proven to improve your energy.
When I present it like that, then that gets a much better affection and then I often get emails afterwards which make my heart sing saying, “Oh, I had a nap today,” and I say, “How did you do it?” and they will say, “Oh, I just found an office and put up your nap permit on the door that says do not disturb.”
But how did you feel after that? And they said, “Oh, it was so good.” That’s why I tend to talk about these things. I drop it in, part of working more in tune about it and that’s being – so far, get a better reception than just talking about napping on the side.
Dr. David Cunnington:In that sort of setting, do people need many tools to nap? Does it have to be complicated or do you need equipment?
Thea O’Connor:Yes. Well, apart from the permission that we’ve talked about, the number one question that people ask about in the workplace is the place. So where are we going to do it? So space is an issue that needs to be solved somehow.
It could be really simple depending on the culture of your workplace and all the physical space available. It could be a screen and a yoga mat. It could be an office that you can book out. Some people solve the space and privacy problems through purchasing those nap pods which you can have in a public space. But because they typically cover your space, people then don’t feel too self-conscious about dribbling or something like that while they’re napping. But place is the number one logistic issue that people would tend to ask about.
Dr. David Cunnington:Yeah. And Moira, what about in the clinical population you work with? So when would you use napping with clients or people that you’re seeing?
Dr. Moira Junge:Well, we’ve already briefly talked about the narcolepsy, idiopathic hypersomnia group of people and they can really benefit from scheduled napping as an actual plan strategy to preemptively sort of ward off to much sleepiness and in conjunction with their medication usually find that it’s hard though.
People find it hard in their workplaces to be. Some of them manage it really well. Other people find it really hard to have scheduled napping and other people don’t feel like they need it.
But in terms of this insomnia clinical population, I would say nearly all, very vast majority describe that they cannot nap during the day and sometimes it’s cultural too. Like you say – yeah, what we talked about earlier, that people see there’s a bit of – sort of laziness or slacking off or it’s for sick people or retired people or young babies, preschool people. It’s not – that it’s sort of to culturally identify is part of them. But I think some really great breakthroughs have come actually when I do say to people, look, just explore – I call it sort of explore the role of napping for you.
But just say that it just might have a role that – twenty years ago or last year or – you always thought it didn’t have a role for you. But if you can just – let’s put it in there as – that I do explicitly say it has to be a short period of time. We’re talking 10, 20 minutes maximum, maybe 30 and it does involve setting an alarm clock. But know that setting it for say 45 minutes or 30, that it might take a little bit of time to initiate sleep. But then you’re up and – you know, you haven’t had a long sleep because I found that when I do start talking about napping, you had to be quite explicit with your terms because some people think sleeping from 1:00 until 4:00 or 5:00, like to get through a four-hour period is a nap.
Precise a nap is a very short thing, like the short word that it is, a very – so you have to be explicit to say, look, I’m talking 20 or 30 or 10 minutes, a very short period. It can be a great breakthrough that people – it’s like a priming agent. They practice letting go during the day, practice having not too much pressure as well and then it can be a bit of a dress rehearsal and I get a bit of confidence back.
So I’ve seen some really nice things. Some people have emailed me. They will say, “I napped.” Like it’s a high five. I rang my daughter and I said, “I napped today.”
Dr. David Cunnington:For me, it’s almost like people need to be comfortable with empty space and start it and until you can do that, then napping is the next step that follows from that.
The first thing is being OK with empty space and pausing to allow the opportunity for a nap.
Thea O’Connor:I would say in a CBTI world, like anyone out there who’s a fellow CBTI practitioner, I would say – I think most people would say, “No, don’t nap.” Quite strict instructions. Do not nap. But I feel that if it’s a short one and it’s done before – well before the mid-afternoon, if not too late, I don’t think it seems to have too much effect on their ability to get a big sleep if they were able to have the opportunity for a bigger sleep …
Dr. David Cunnington:Yeah. If I’m working with someone with insomnia, I try to also explain to them that there are phases to treatment in the really acute phase and I’m using sleep restriction. That’s the phase where I’m going to be pretty strict and say, look, I want you to try and avoid napping. I’m going to use that sleep there to get you to sleep.
Thea O’Connor:That’s right, exactly.
Dr. David Cunnington:But I want to pretty quickly shift from that into a more consolidation phase which is teaching people to be fluid in their thinking about sleep, couldn’t care, anywhere, anytime, any circumstances. So that’s where I want napping to come in.
So I have that phase of – I’m trying to know napping but I want that to be pretty short and then have people comfortable developing the skill of napping.
Dr. Moira Junge:That’s right. Yeah. It could be just so – it’s one day a fortnight. If you did have the opportunity on a weekend to see whether it’s A, possible and just to see what the effects are because everyone is different. I think it’s very important to be tailoring and individualising treatment as much as possible although within the literature guidelines of course.
Dr. David Cunnington:Thea, we’ve talked a bit about people who can’t nap or struggle to nap. Any other things that we haven’t talked about to people who aren’t naturally good at napping.
Thea O’Connor:I would encourage them to reframe it perhaps as a lying down meditation and then they stop stressing about, “Am I going to fall asleep or not?” That seems to help and some people just say, “Oh my brain is just so dizzy and I can’t control it.” Maybe try a guided meditation and they could gradually ease themselves off that and they could also use that 10, 15 minutes just to practice healthy breathing because it’s great – you know, a therapist who I’ve worked with, they tell me that when we are horizontal, it’s actually much easier to do your abdominal breathing, which is more likely to put the nervous system into the relaxation response.
So it’s going to be a good thing regardless. So people do find those tips helpful and along with that key instruction, don’t worry if you don’t – you will fall asleep. Just time out that you’re giving yourself is going to reap a whole range of benefits even if you don’t drift off.
Dr. David Cunnington:Yeah, great. I really love some of those tips and it really resonates with coming back to that mission. It’s almost the first thing and then ability to pause and then to sleep and that will sort of follow in that sequence.
Thea O’Connor:Oh, I also just loved your comment David about many people don’t know how to stop and if you can’t stop, you can’t nap. I think one of the reasons people don’t want to stop with what you said about actually feeling uncomfortable with stillness or space in their life. But also when we do stop, we actually start to feel how tired we really are because once we start to slow down, then the body starts to tell us, “Oh, I’m actually exhausted here,” and interestingly I remember one case of a woman who did start to nap and then she started to feel really tired and then she got really angry at all this napping business because she couldn’t power onlike she used to and now, she’s actually starting to feel more and more tired.
So they’re also some of the deeper barriers that people can encounter. I’m not sure what you find with people with insomnia when they start to nap. Do they start to encounter that backlog of exhaustion? What do you find there?
Dr. Moira Junge:For sure and I think even – it holds true for the overnight sleep period getting better as well. Very often you get people back to a period of time. They’re sleeping quite well overnight, maybe six, seven, eight hours. But they realize – they think, oh, but I’m still tired. I feel really tired. I feel really awful. They realize that it’s more than just sleep. It’s actually a whole lot of other carrying around a little stress.
And having to slow down, having to go into this – so there’s a bit of a program. Not everything they thought it was going to be. So yeah, the napping sometimes, the – they realize just wow, I am actually just really tired. I can’t keep running from this. I can’t keep being on adrenaline overdrive.
Dr. David Cunnington:Yeah, and that’s one of the ways to conceptualise it is for some of the people I see, they’ve been running at non-sustainable levels of nervous energy and things have manifested as insomnia. Running at high levels of nervous energy is addictive. We all want to be – you know, peak performance, on our game, all of those sort of terminologies, backing off a bit from that non-sustainable level of nervous energy can feel a bit flat or feel to people sometimes as they lose their …
People do tell me, yeah, sometimes they don’t like that feeling. Now we will go around the panel for each of you. What’s your take-home message about napping? Thea?
Thea O’Connor:Mine is so give it a try. Experiment with it and if you can master the nap, it is a really great life skill to have in your toolkit and that you might – can then draw on different life stages. Perhaps when you’re a student studying late at night or a new parent or going through menopause. If you can nail it, it’s a wonderful life skill to have in your back pocket at times when you get really tired.
Dr. Moira Junge:Similarly for me, I think that it’s worth – I think people need to understand that it’s a skill acquisition process like everything else. Sometimes it’s not innate. You might – like driving a car or using a particular computer. You need to have a bit of rehearsal, a bit of trial and error. But it’s worth it. But also I think might take some – just to be a bit cautious about it to just experiment with a link and a timing and to be very mindful of what you want the nap for.
Dr. David Cunnington:Great. And I’m in absolute agreement with both of those comments. For someone to be a good lifelong sleeper, I want them to have fluidity of thinking about sleep, which is yeah, yeah, anywhere, anytime, any circumstances. I will take the opportunity and napping is a great way to cultivate that fluidity of thinking about sleep rather than I can only do it in this circumstance and not at these times.
So napping is a great way to develop fluidity of thinking about sleep. So thanks very much for your input there and Moira, if people are looking for more information on the same topic, I can highly recommend Thea’s website, www.NapNow.net.auand on that website, there’s a sequence of emails you can sign up for that – to teach you how to nap safely and effectively and at the end of that sequence, you can get an e-book. That’s a great resource.
There’s also a really good interview on napping, sleep, sleep inertia with Drew Dawson. So I can highly recommend to check out these websites and resources.
The Sleep Health Foundation has also got a good fact sheet on napping and number of other good fact sheets, Moira. Thank you for helping put all that together.
So I will put links to all of those in the show notes.
Dr. David Cunnington:Thea, what’s a clinical tip for healthcare providers that may be listening to the podcast?
Thea O’Connor:Well, my tip is for people who are in the workplace and it can extend from individuals to team leaders and my tip is to develop your own personal business taste for well-being.
Now why is that important? Well, one reason busy workers find it hard to practice self-care on the job, I’m talking here just stopping at lunch, let alone taking a nap is that they do see it being perceived as a less committed worker. So in order for you to do things like have a 10-minute walk or take the allocated lunch time or take a nap, it really helps to truly believe why this is good for your business and so with your personal well-being.
So I would take a bit of time scripting that and even practicing. What would you say to others in a really relaxed and confident way? So for example if someone looks ascant because you want to leave work on time, what could you say in that moment? It could sound something like boy, our workload is so high at the moment. We can’t afford not to prioritise the recovery. See you tomorrow morning. To actually script what would you say in those moments because when you’re solid in that, you’re far more likely to not feel guilty.
But the other beauty of it is, you’re practicing well-being out loud and that means you will give others permission to do the same and that’s especially true if you’re in a leadership role. My tip is script your business case for well-being. Try it out. Start practicing it at work and others will love you for it.
Dr. David Cunnington:Great.
Dr. Moira Junge:Wonderful. Thanks for that. It’s a wonderful clinical tip of the months.
Dr. David Cunnington:So we’ve had that great clinical tip from Thea. Then what’s your pick of the month?
Dr. Moira Junge:Well, I’ve got a book this month. It’s actually a book I’m getting you for a Christmas present.
Dr. David Cunnington:Thank you.
Dr. Moira Junge:It’s not a terrific book actually. So it probably shouldn’t be in the pick of the month.
Dr. David Cunnington:Thanks for giving it to me …
Dr. Moira Junge:I know your extensive collection of sleep books and this is one I haven’t seen before. So I thought I was right onto something new but of course you already got it. But the title of the book is called “Night School: Wake Up to the Power of Sleep”. So I thought that sounds really great. That’s the message that I would like people around the world to know and it’s really good. He’s a professor of psychology in the UK. He has written a number of different books that have been put into lots of different – 30 languages and that sort of stuff. He’s a renowned author. It’s just some things that make me a little bit concerned with one of the chapters is called like the “Secret of Super Sleep”.
I just think in terms of expectations and attributions and that’s the psychology and cognitions around sleep, I just don’t think you at least should be expecting or hoping any kind of super sleep. I think that’s a myth and that would be something – I’m sure he agrees too which is – I mean people like to have catchy titles of course.
But anyway, it’s a read that I thought you have not seen – you might not have seen. But of course you’re right across it. Everything is going –
Dr. David Cunnington:But now I have a hardback copy that’s signed by you Moira. So that will be the keeper. My other one is going out.
Dr. Moira Junge:So that’s my pick. What’s your pick of the month?
Dr. David Cunnington:So my pick of the month, I’ve actually picked it before in an earlier podcast and it’s really topical for this month’s theme and it’s a book not surprisingly and this one is called “Dangerously Sleepy: Overworked Americans and the Cult of Manly Wakefulness” by Alan Derickson and it really does talk about that work ethic in modern, Westernized industrial societies about the badge of honour of tiredness.
Chapter one summarises the theme. Chapter one is “Sleep is for Sissies: Elite Males as Paragons of Wakefulness”.
Dr. Moira Junge:Wow.
Dr. David Cunnington:That just really sums up some of the cultural attitudes about sleep, which is relevant to what Thea and Moira and myself were talking about with napping is step one, permission to take time out, which is the complete opposite to “Sleep is for Sissies” which is just a complete paradox, which is where a lot of our sort of modern industrial thinking about sleep is at.
So I can highly recommend that book because it is an insight into some – culturally how we think about work, energy levels and naturally then about sleep.
Dr. Moira Junge:So what’s in store?
Dr. David Cunnington:So we’ve got some good topics that we’re working on developing. So cannabis is something I get a lot of people asking me about is cannabis and its use in sleep. So that’s definitely on the radar. Sleep and menopause and we had a suggestion as well from a listener to talk about devices to measure sleep.
Dr. Moira Junge:Yeah, absolutely. We’re going to make our reviews on that because we have spoken about that in the past sort of, haven’t we?
Dr. David Cunnington:Yeah, we definitely did. It’s two or three years on. OK? Three years on.
Dr. Moira Junge:Enjoying our fourth year.
Dr. David Cunnington:Yeah, and there’s lots of new devices and the devices get better and better, so worth revisiting and of course the topic on sleep and food, which is another listener suggestion that we will work on for next year.
Dr. Moira Junge:Very important. So thanks very much for listening. Don’t forget to send us any suggestions at the email firstname.lastname@example.org of course a shout out to do a review on iTunes if you do like the podcast or have any suggestions. That would be great.
Dr. David Cunnington:Thanks a lot.