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The Smiling Mind Podcast
The Smiling Mind Podcast

Season 1, Episode 6 · 1 year ago

Sleeping well with Lola Berry and Dr Moira Junge

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Stress is a significant barrier to good sleep. Stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline keep you alert, ready to fight that threat even if your body may be really in need of rest. On today’s episode, Smiling Mind’s CEO Dr Addie Wootten speaks to nutritionist, yoga teacher and media personality Lola Berry on her personal experience with anxiety, coronavirus and sleep. Plus, sleep expert Dr Moira Junge joins the podcast to explain how to exercise good sleep hygiene during these stressful times, and the layered relationship between poor sleep and mental illness. You can still sign up for Mindful Month with Smiling Mind, a month-long movement to help you establish positive mental health practices for now and into the future. You can start any day in June, visit our smilingmind.com.au for more. This podcast was produced by Elsa Silberstein. 


Hi, I'm Dr Addie Wooten, clinical psychologist and CEO of smiling mind. Thrive inside is our podcast series where I interview experts and wellknown Australians about how to look after our mental health in the midst of uncertainty, unrest and times of high anxiety. Today we're talking about sleep. We all need sleep and most of us aren't getting enough of it. These days we're talking about it more, realizing that poor sleep is at the heart of many health issues. It's a really important pillar of health. Along with moving our body, eating well and being socially connected, sleep is right up there. There's some really interesting research emerging about sleep during coronavirus. Researchers in China examined the psychological responses during the initial stages of the covid nineteen pandemic and they found that fifty four percent of respondents rated the psychological impact of the APP break as moderate or severe. Time spend focusing on covid nineteen, especially if it was more than three hours a day, was associated with generalized anxiety and poor sleep quality. We've noticed a smiling mind as well that our sleep programs have been one of the most highly used programs offered in the APP. So clearly we need some help with our sleep. On today's episode I'm talking to a nutritionist, Yoga teacher and media personality, Lolaberry, on her personal experience with anxiety and sleep. I would wake up in the middle of the night heart palpitations, crying, worried, appetite had completely gone. Sleep was something that I knew I needed so badly. The only feeling I can liken it to is like going through really rough heartbreak at the very peak and beginning of it. Right now I'm getting my fill of science with sleep expert Dr Mora. Younger Moira is a psychologist who has worked with sleep disorders since one thousand nine hundred and ninety four, so she's got clinical experience treating patients with insomnia and sleep problems, but she also works with a sleep health foundation promoting the importance of good sleep health. We are welcome to the PODCAST. Thanks for coming and talking to us today about sleep. I suppose we're talking about sleep today in the context of coronavirus and the life changes that everyone has experienced. Can you tell me a little bit about why you think so many people are finding sleep so hard at the moment. Yeah, sure, with there's a lot of research going on at the moment that will confirm this. So at the moment it's really just my observations and I think it's not surprising. When you think about stress and sleep, there's always into actions with that and people are under a lot of stress, a lot of strain. There's a lot of anxiety in the community for a range of reasons, obviously around health, around safety, around financial etc. So that in a way doesn't surprise me because of the interaction what generally happens when someone's under some kind of threat. It's very common and almost typical to feel as though your sleep is disturbed and disrupted. So in that sense it's not surprising, but very they're very disturbing for people, particularly if the sleep loss goes on for weeks and then mums. I think we can all cope with the old poor nights sleep or even the old few weeks poor nights sleep, and so what I'm really interested in, is such a great opportunity to speak today about this, is it was the same with the bush fires as well, any kind of crisis. It's super important to not see this acute sleep loss become a chronic problem really important part of the mental health conversation about sleep, conversations about general wellbeing. HMM, that's really interesting. So would dig into how to prevent it becoming a chronic issue in a minute,...

...but I've just thought I pause for a second. Can you explain to me why does stress or worry or anxiety actually impact on our sleep? What actually happens there? Why does it cause problems with sleep? Well, the the certain the neuron transmitters and the physiology, the neurobroyalogy that happens with sleep. It likes to be running on sort of clockwork. It like there's certain things that happen. There's certain when we sleep well we can have like a vacuum clinic can come in and get rid of all toxins. So if we're not sleeping well, those topsins build up and also during the day, if we are stressed, those things built up, like Cortisol, adrenaline. People know it because they feel it. They hear it in their heart, they feel it in their muscles, they know their tight and stress. So when the body and brains attect at their circulating volumes of those neur own transmitters or hormones, it's just sort of it's unfortunate really that it's actually a highly adaptive thing. That happens is that we don't sleep well because the brain detects that we're in this state of fight or fly, which most people would be aware that happens when we're stressed as a survival mechanism. So it's a survival thing to make sure that we can, you know, fight the Predator or flee in time from the Predator, like an ancient, you know, prehistoric thing that sort of makes us survive as a specie. Wow. So it's actually a physical or a physiological or biological process combined with a thinking or our mental processes that actually stops us from sleeping well, and it's by directional, you know, sometimes it can be the sleep problem themselves. That's that's the first thing that this is said. You are not sleeping well and and maybe hadn't realized that you were sort of anxious and or in a feeling tight. Yeah, so it could actually be at one of the first symptoms or signs that people notice when they're potentially under stress or anxiety, that they're sleep might be one of the first things that they notice. Is actually a bit disturbed and not normal. Yeah, every single person can probably remember a time when they've had a really bad night sleep or a or a period of lots of bad nights of sleep, and at the impact that it has on you in every area of your life. You just feel terrible, don't you? When you have chronic sleep problems, it really does impact every area. It's a bit of a doom and gloom story, like I always hate going over that, the all the negatives about what's sleep boss can do to you, because it is in my role as a psychologist. A lot of people are very anxious already about sleep. If you're not sleeping. Well, it's the worst thing you can hear in a podcast like this or in the radio. That all that. It makes you more anxious about not sleeping and therefore, unfortunately, the more anxious you are, the heart will hype arounds you all all that it's going to make sleep harder. So people who haven't had problems for months of just weeks, the good news is is not called insomnia like it was just this is call it sleep the servants. It's not a chronic it's not a condition. Yeah, what about Mara working from home? A lot of us have been working from home for a little while now and you luckily, some of us are heading back into work as as we recover from this pandemic. What impacts have you seen or use do you think might be happening in terms of people working from home? How could that impact on our sleep? Without the routine, there's the not at the exposure to light and dark in systematic ways that we used to have. Like if you walks to the train at you know hundred and five or you know a do whatever, you used to get these light dark hues just by default from your regulated work day and they school day, and the light dark cycle is an important part of our...

...sleep, wake health. It's really really important part of it. So that's been disrupted for a lot of people. The other thing, too, is just out. I mean, everything's different. Isn't just the way we're living, the way we're working, what we're eating. People at people definitely a drinking a bit more alcohol. That's that doesn't help with sleep as well. Doesn't help with move rely regulation. Yeah, I personally have been having salt vine good tips like that's usually something I have on holidays and I reckon. You know, that's a bit more. It's ridiculous. Sort of this eating and drinking stuff you don't normally do. Like a lot of patterns are, you know, creeping in that aren't normal sort of weekday normal patterns, because it feels like you're all on holidays a little bit, even though I'm put working very hard, but just that everyone's home and they don't care. Step. Strict, yes, strict routine. Yeah, on social media and things like that, we we're seeing pictures about, you know, how how good it is to work from home in our PDAYS, in our bed, where we're, you know, typing on our laptop. I can imagine that that might be good for a little bit of time, but probably not very good for the long term. What are the some of the things that we could do, like what should we be doing to help support us in in sleeping well if we are working from home? You know what what tips would you have for us? Yeah, I would suggest to still be as routine as possible. I would suggest a set alarm time, pretending you had to get into the office for commuting and use that time for meditation or use that time to get out for a walk in the light, have a healthy breakfast. Start the day in a better way. So that's yeah, so keeping fairly strict routines, by our alarm if needed, and eat, so eating and exercising and working at at predictable and set times in the way that we used to. The body's been doing for for a number of years in some cases for some people. So getting trying to emulate or imitate those routines that used to be there, particularly it. But we've been trying really hard to be as healthy as possible, really balanced with you, with your diet and and prioritizing sleep. I think that's the other thing is people don't feel as inclined to get into bed at a reasonable time and they might watch another episode. What's another episode? And the bad habits are creeping into to the to the bedroom. People watching stuff on their devices a lot because they just, you know, want to get away and be cocooned into their room. So as much as possible to even if you're working from home and being on the bed, to try not to do that, or at least be at the other end of the bed or some some different thing that you don't associate you have a strong association still that when you get into your bed it's your safe haven for sleeping and they have a really strong association for that, which I was waking up in the night, which I was, I wouldn't lye in bed, fretting and tossing and turning. I had to, I wait for a little bit like and not looking any clocks is really important, and have clocks of devices in reach in your bedroom. So if you feel like you've been there for twenty minutes or thirty minutes, it's really important, particularly for frustrated or angry or sad about being awake, that you go out to another room and just warm, do something. I'm seemilar to do some meditation, do some watching, some TV from across the room, nothing to handheld and having light in your eyes, keeping in dark conditions and waiting till you're sleeping and tie waiting to relax again and just returning to bed and having some success. Hopefully. They might have to have been a couple of times, and then you just sort of nip it in the bar. It's like a circuit breaker that after a few nights of that, it just you conquer it. You have you've got a plan and you feel more confident about it and you don't feel like you're besieged by this out of control insomnia, because that's what happens, that we get anxious about not sleeping and anticipate it coming and you feel it's just we feel rotten about that. I think, how am I going to cope? So, yeah's a regaining control, regaining confidence. Is Sleep is really important. Yeah, that's really good advice. I think that idea that there are things that we can do about it and to make sure that we do something to help ourselves if we are struggling, as a really good piece of advice. And I think mindfulness is is really interesting, isn't it,...

...in the context of that, because we're when we practice mindfulness, we're trying to be less reactive to things, we're trying to accept and and I suppose, not judge ourselves if we are struggling with sleep. So that's really really good advice, more around how to integrate some therapy type approaches like CBTI or mindfulness into your own life so you can support yourself. We're coming to the end of our session and where I'm asking everybody three questions about how they're going at the moment. What are you reading? What are you watching and what are you cooking at the moment? Ah, good questions. Well, I'm reading where the Craw Dad's thing just started that, so I haven't got much commentary yet on that, but I I'm loving it. Cooking wise, you know, it's funny. I haven't cooked that much because I've got teenagers in the House and they've all of a sudden have become they're cooking bread and they're they're cooking like things I've ever done before. Yeah, so that's amazing. And the final question was what to what am I watching? That right. What are you watching? What am I watching? Well, I have just finished unorthodox, which is, I think it was on Netflix, and it's just a what my kind of show because it's four episodes only add it's so very intriguing. But on psychological level, on the performance was a so strong. It's such an intriguing story of very orthodox Jewish community and a young woman in that married, young very limited life experiences and she escapes and not getting too much away, that happens in the first five minutes of the first episode, it's just leaves and she ends up in Berlin, not knowing anyone, no money that all yet and so that's so. That's it. So I would highly recommend watching Unorthodox. No, I haven't seen that. I'll add it to my list of things to watch. Thank you so much, my thank you for joining us and talking or sharing all of your knowledge about sleep. I think we could talk for hours and hours, but there's so much interesting stuff to dig into around sleep and it's such an important thing for everybody. Thank you for joining us. More thank you so much for being interested in sleep and for the opportunity at I've often had trouble getting to sleep, and it certainly got worse after the work dried up the end of March, and about the only thing that's helped me get back to sleep with quicker is progressive muscle exercise. You can get in touch with us to tell us about how your new normal is going on on eight hundred, nine, five, five, seven hundred. Now I chat with Lola Berry. Lola is a nutritionist, Yoga teacher and author of ten best selling cookbooks, so she's passionate about making you feel your healthiest and your best. She's also involved in our mind full month with smiling mind, supported by Pan Atol. If you haven't joined our my full month jump on our website and find out more. Welcome, Laula. It's so good to have you on the podcast this week and I would love to hear your story and your experience or your relationship with sleep. What sleep like for you? It's so thank you for having me. By the way, Addie, it's so funny because we've got up this morning and my boyfriend goes, how do you do it, and I said what, and he said you're one of those people that is literally like out like a light straight away. I love my sleep and I think I always have. As far as like my relationship with sleep, it's obviously since covid stuff, I've definitely had a few weeks where there was so much uncertainty. And I have a personality. I'm very a type, so I like to work really hard. That therefore gives me control, and I know we don't have control over a lot of things, but in my career especially, I'm like my method is work hard, get results, and so as soon as...

...like it feels like a rug's been pulled fro underneath you, that brings anxiety and worry and a little bit of like obsessiveness for me, and the sleep is the first thing to go. But when I'm grounded and happy and clear I sleep. I'm a very I'm very touch would I'm a very lucky sleeper. I sleep like a log. Well, it sounds like sleep. It's really important to you that it's it gives you that stability and strength potentially, and maybe the amazing drive that you have. Talking about coronavirus and the impact that that has had on our lives, I know that it threw a few of your plans out of the window or turned some of those plans upside down. Talk to me a little bit about how coronavirus it has impacted on your sleep and how. What do you think that relationship is between feeling worried or anxious or uncertain and how that might be impacting on your sleep? I'm so glad you ask that question, Addie, because I have always been like, Oh, I'm not an anxious person. I've just been like I'll notice little things, like I'll bite my nails or just little kind of symptoms, but I've never, my boyfriend had, suffered from panic attacks and proper like shortness of breath with anxiety and insomnia, and so I have always felt like, in comparison I've just been like, I'm just a bit worried at the moment. But the second corona hit, I was booked to do some work overseas and I was booked for a flight and it was just like each day, like up until I think two days before, I was still on this massive flight and this big work gig and it it just literally I remember I called Quantest to change or find out about the flight because nothing was being confirmed. So you just feel like, am I fly? Are you had no idea, and I was on hold for seven hours straight. Oh My. For the point, yeah, to the point that I drove to Melbourne International Airport and I walked up to the counter and I was like I need some answers and they're like, oh, it's funny, your flight's not confirming and they gave some reason about it being about taxes, which had nothing to like. It was all fully paid, all done, and I just said I can't, I can't handle this uncertainty anymore and it feels that it's feeling unsafe and I on the spot, said I need to postpone this. And until I made that call I wasn't sleeping. So for about five days straight I would wake up in the middle of the night, hot palpitations, crying, worried, appetite had completely gone. Sleep was something that I knew I needed so badly, but it was it was the only way. I can't only feeling I can liken it to is like going through really rough heartbreak. At the very peak and beginning of it, we can't sleep be your mind is foggy and and I remember my boyfriend would wake up in the middle of the night with me and I'd be like, I've got I've got a racing heart, I don't know what to do and is like, welcome to my world. He was like welcome. He's like this is anxiety, this is proper anxiety, this is proper panic. Can I've got a wonderful therapist that I work with who really helped to kind of like ground me and just my thoughts were so discombobulated. So he was able to kind of like go, this is what's going on right now. A lot of it's out of your control and you need to be okay with that. So, yeah, that's how that's how my sleep was affected at the very start. It was scary. Yeah, that's really scary. So I'm and that's you're right, like deep anxiety, real very intense anxiety, so much so that it sounded like you know it impacts on your physical body as well, like not just not just how you feel or how you're thinking, but like your appetite as well. That's really, really interesting. How, in the midst of that, how did you, like, how do you talk yourself through that? Like well, how do you control or try and work through those anxious feelings, as it sounded like you know they it was a lot of thinking that was leading to anxiety. How do you work through that and how did you help yourself get...

...through that? So I'm pretty spiritual, so I kept going, I kept I kept wake up in the morning I'd say to Matt, I'd be like something's not right, like this doesn't feel right. I feel I said, I feel like I'm watching a volcano erupt and I'm running to the center of the volcano. That was like the analogy that I gave him. And I said I feel it just feels so wrong what I'm doing in every like physically, mentally, spiritually, and I was like something's not right. And for the first time my life I was working. I'd worked towards this moment. So I put so much thought, time money into this one moment. I was like this is not the right moment, and the moon that literally the second that I let go of control and said it's going to happen the way it's meant to happen. It will not happen right now. I'm going to postpone this trip, and I know I'm making this trip sound like a big deal, but for my in my world, it was, and it probably in the scheme of when I look back at my life, I'll be so glad that I stayed the more. Yeah, the moment I let go control was the moment that I kind of like that I side to feel grounded again, and the first thing I did was I booked in with my therapist, like I was just like, I need to get on top of this. Hmm, for me, that letting go sometimes is that the way to manage anxiety, isn't it? Near we get so caught up in something going the way we plan it to go or want it to go. Do you have a routine, like is there a structure that you think works the best for you that you do every day, and do you notice when you don't do them. Definitely, a hundred percent. So I'm a train nutrition are so nutrition and food has a big impact on me. Like I know it Easter time because we were in isolation. No, I knew how long it to go for and what was next. I just drowned my sorrows in hot cross funds and chocolate, which I know is a fine thing to do, but affects my sleep struct sugar and sleep don't they're not mates at all. So I noticed that straightaway. But as far as routine goes, being that a type personality, I love routine. I love getting up, moving my body, having my coffee, doing my to do list. I am shooting a lot of campaigns at home at the moment, so I like, I'll try and do my shoots in the first half of the day, and I'm actually studying fulltime at school, so I use the second half of the day to study and then I do night school via zoom. So at the moment, while we're in I so so, well, you're busy. Yeah, yeah, I do. You know what, though, goods funny story. I did a class yesterday. I'm studying acting and I did a class yesterday and we did a distance class with debrily furness in New York and right at the end of the class she's like someone wants to say hi. Do you and Hugh Jackman just get crash the zoom call how good I made mate, they made. That's so fun. Wow, it sounds like actually having all of those outlets and those routines and structures in your day are really important for your your sleep, but also your general wellbeing. And I'm sure that you are not. You're no different to anyone else that's listening that we know what kind of when, when we're doing things that are good for us and when we feel good. How do you keep yourself on track? Do you have a any advice around like staying and sticking to a routine, whether it's around diet or yoga or whatever we're trying to do? Well, I think they're all interlinks. So I think the yoga, the Diet and mental health and mindful nurs meditation practice, it's all into link. Like I find if my diet feels really nourishing and healthy, then I'm more inclined I'm going to feel better doing yoga, and then when I'm doing my yoga I'm more inclined to do some form of meditation that day as well. So they're all into linked and I bring it alway. I always find that I come back to mental health. I think that it's one thing to like be like right, I'm going on a twenty day cleanse and and eating really well and I didn't interview just yesterday and the interviewer said, what's your advice? Is Some I'm wanting to...

...lose weight, and I must have sounded like a real bitch, but I said see a therapist and get on top of your mental health, because when we look after our mental health, it is so easy to nourish yourself with food, so easy to be inspired to do yoga or go for a run or do Biladi's or do a hit work out. But if you're not happy, if you're not looking after the brain, the the emotional the mental health, is so hard to stick to any kind of wellness routine. Yeah, yeah, wow, that's a great way to think about how it all fits together. We're coming to the end of our time. Thank you so much for all your insights. I'm asking all of our guests three questions before we wrap up. What are you reading? What are you watching and what are you cooking at the moment? Okay, so I'm running two things at the moment. I'm going to say too, because one of them is an acting textbook, so some people might be like boring. That said, any acting textbook is the study of human behavior, so anyone can learn from it. So I'm in reading a book. It's by the teacher of Barnachabi and it's her whole technique and it's so like human behave. It's so fascinating because the reality is when you do a scene you've got an objective, you've got an obstacle and you're trying to get something and win the scene from someone, which is like literally the way humans. We don't usually do anything unless we want something from it. It's true, it's human nature, human nature right. So I've been learning so much for that, but that is an acting textbook. The second one is the Zen, the Zen art of archery. It's a philosophy book, and the theory is these monks trained for years and years and years in archery, and the theory is you work so hard at a discipline and you're singlely focused on this one point and then at the moment do you let the Arrow go, you have to let all the training, everything go, and so I'm really excited to get into that because I'm like a you probably guessed, like a bit controlling. So I'm excited to do the work but also let go and not be attached to the outcome. Now the Yogi kind of philosophy. Yeah, what was the second one? One of my watching. What are you watching? Have you watched on Netflix? Hollywood? No, I'll add it to my list. Write it down. So it's on Netflix now. It's a new show by Ryan Murphy, who is kind of like the father and creator of gale and American horror stories and assassination Giani was Chi. He's pretty wonderful and everything he greats. So Hollywood. It's like set s old, old Hollywood, and so if you're anything like me and romanticize about Hollywood, and it's a Cliche, but it's just beautiful all the way. It's shot, I like and it's it's about people. I think it's post World War Two, out of like out of the war, but like going for their dreams in Hollywood, and so it's very fun and there's a full there's an as the actress in there too. which is cool. What am I making? So two things. Again, I'm so totally cheating at this, but we made ministroni soup from scratch last night. Well, yeah, stid I didn't. So he makes the broth from scratch and then we add in all organic beans and I visited my friends Veggie patch saying she gave me heaps of Fresh Rainbow Cords and silver beat, so we chucked all that in. Yeah, and the other thing that we're making is that same friend has got this like seed loaf mix called lazybones loaf, and you literally just add water to a baker and is the most delicious. If you can't have like regular bread, which is me, this is like the seedy delicious loaf. So we're going to make a fruit loaf version of that today. So there's probably well, it sounds like bliss down in Talky. It is. It is, Lola. Thank you so much for your time. I think your experiences and your insights are so interesting and I'm sure people will have taken a lot away, a lot away from that conversation. So thank you for your time. Thank you on our total honor to be here.

Thanks for listening. To thrive inside our first series of the smiling mind podcast. You can find hundreds of guided meditations in the smiling mind APP and you can still sign up for my full month. We smiling mind a month long movement to help you established positive mental health practices for now and into the future. You can start any day in June, so visit our website for more.

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