Hear about Steve's story and his struggle with insomnia, learn about the importance of sleep and get top tips on how to bolster and improve yours.
Steve is the co-founder and Chief Content Officer at Unmind. Before focusing full-time on Unmind, Steve helped organisations and individuals proactively enhance their wellbeing and improve performance through his role as a workplace wellbeing consultant, coach and facilitator. In a previous chapter of his life, Steve was a singer, songwriter and performer… and regards dogs as his favourite things in the world.
Read below for expanded questions and answers from the webinar.
Question 1: I know that I struggle to prioritise sleep and more importantly drop things in order to sleep more. Do you have any advice on prioritising things that seemingly have the same value to you?
Steve’s answer: I would look at these aspects of your life that you value and want to prioritise, and then try to assess how much of an influence sleep has on them. For example, if you value achievement and as a result prioritise the work you do above all else, try to establish to what degree good quality sleep will benefit your ability to perform well. Most of the time, the physical, mental and emotional energy we get from proper restorative sleep, will make a far greater positive impact on the things we truly value in life, than the few extra hours we give to them by not prioritising sleep. So, it’s about making this connection between sleep and our capacity to live engaged and effective lives... and then letting that inform your choice about whether or not to prioritise sleep.
Question 2: Should I be using gadgets to track my sleep? If so, how and why?
Steve’s answer: This comes down to the individual. If those gadgets are making you too hyper-focussed on your sleep to the point that it’s impacting on your sleep, then I would say no. However if they are providing you with information that can help you to make informed decisions about your sleep and ultimately, help you prioritise sleep and take proactive steps to support it, then I would say yes. So, gauge for yourself whether it’s having a positive or negative impact on your wellbeing and your sleep.
Question 3: As I’ve grown older, I’ve come to sleep less. Is this a problem?
Steve’s answer: No, I wouldn’t say it’s necessarily a problem. It is quite common, but I’d say it becomes an issue if it starts to impact one’s life. Older adults don’t necessarily need less sleep, but many find themselves less able to fall asleep at night. So, if it feels like it’s becoming a problem, I’d look at the sleep hygiene basics, do what you can to manage stress during the day, try to stick to a regular sleep schedule, and establish a wind-down routine in the evening. As with all people, if a sleep problem persists for some time, then I’d recommend consulting with a Behavioural Sleep Medicine Specialist.
Question 4: If I have a bad nights sleep, should I take a nap?
Steve’s answer: This depends on whether you typically have problems with your sleep or not. If you’re experiencing an ongoing sleep problem, then trying to stick to a regular sleep schedule is crucial, and napping can interfere with this. If, however, sleep is not usually a problem for you, then a short nap of maximum 20 minutes is best, or a full cycle of sleep of around 90min if you have the luxury of being able to fit that in :).