Are Your Medications Causing Havoc On Your Sleep?

There is a myriad of drugs that can affect our sleep, some of which include beta-blockers (prescribed for high blood pressure), selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or SSRI’s (a type of antidepressant) and, ironically, even some which are designed to enhance sleep quality such as benzodiazepines.

Given shift workers endure bouts of restricted and fragmented sleep depending on their shift rotations, minimizing exposure to anything which can further exacerbate poor sleep needs to be a priority.

I would recommend writing down every drug and supplement that you are taking and asking your health care practitioner if any could be interfering with your sleep.

Then look at reverse-engineering things by asking if any lifestyle modification strategies could be implemented to address some of the reasons why you’re taking the medications.


Trouble Sleeping? Have You Tried Grounding?

Did you know the simple act of earthing, otherwise known as grounding can help to improve sleep?

Sound a bit strange – or to good to be true?

Earthing works because when direct skin comes into contact with the ground, it helps to rectify an electron deficiency.  Essentially the body becomes charged with negative electrons that are abundant on the surface of the earth.

Think of it as topping up your vitamin G – as in G for ground.

This in turn helps to reduce inflammation, reduce pain and lower stress hormones such as cortisol, which in most cases helps to improve sleep.


HSW 72 – Flower Essences for Sleep and Stress With Dr Niikee Schoendorfer

When it comes to sleep and stress, the two are very much interrelated, and even more so for anyone who has a stressful job and works shift work too!  So in today’s episode, we’re going to be talking all things sleep and stress, and how the healing power of flowers, a therapeutic remedy which has been used by traditional cultures for thousands of years, can help to calm the nervous system and encourage better quality sleep.

To explain how flower remedies actually work, we’ve brought on Dr Niikee Schoendorfer, who holds a Diploma in Nutrition and Traditional Chinese Herbalism, a Bachelor of Health Science Degree in Complementary Medicine, a Masters Degree in Nutritional Medicine, and a PhD in Nutritional Biochemistry.  In addition to her extensive academic record, Dr Niikee just so happens to travel all around Australia delivering workshops on some of the therapeutic benefits of using Australian Bush Flower Essences!

In this episode, you’re going to learn:

  • what are flower essences and how do they work
  • flower remedies to help reset body clocks
  • flower remedies to help reduce stress and anxiety
  • flower remedies to help calm a racing mind to encourage sleep onset
  • flower remedies to support the adrenal glands and nervous system, plus …
  • how diagrammatic breathing can help to reduce stress and insomnia

Links mentioned on the podcast:
Dr Niikee’s website –

HSW 56 – PTSD, Depression and Mental Health with Shaun O’Gorman

Healthy Shift Worker Podcast:

Did you know that suicide rates in Australia, are double that of the road toll? This blew me away when I heard this, and is why this interview with Shaun O’Gorman is such a powerful one.

Shaun is an ex police officer, critical stress consultant, keynote speaker, author and fellow podcaster – and knows first-hand, what it’s like to suffer from PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder), depression, and to even battle with suicide. In fact, its the driving force behind his business – The Strong Life Project.

Tune in to hear Shaun’s amazing story of strength and resilience, and what he did to bring himself out of the depths of depression and turn his life around, to now helping others who may also be struggling, via his workplace training workshops.

This is a must listen for anyone who has ever experienced stress, anxiety or depression.

Audra x

Links mentioned in the podcast:

Shaun’s website – The Strong Life Project

Facebook –

Instagram –

Podcast –

Orthosomnia – What Is It, And Why Are Shift Workers So Prone To It?

Orthosomnia – it sounds like a mouthful, but what exactly is it?  Well in simple terms, it means “correct sleep”.  But it also refers to when people become obsessed with sleeping well, which can actually backfire for anyone working 24/7.

Now, as someone who spent decades running on little sleep, my first thoughts were – “so what’s wrong with wanting to sleep well?!”

I mean, isn’t getting good quality sleep a good thing?

You bet, but we can also take it too far.

As in become obsessed with wanting to quantify everything in pursuit of optimal physical and mental health.

Because when you think about it, any sort of obsession – can be stressful.

  • An obsession with our weight.
  • An obsession with the number of calories that we’ve eaten.  (Which if you’re following this as a method of losing weight, is actually a myth by the way).
  • An obsession with the number on the bathroom scales.
  • An obsession with the number of kilometres that we’ve run.
  • An obsession with the amount of steps that we’ve walked.

I mean, this obsession with numbers can totally mess with our psyche – which is anything but healthy.

This of course, leads me to sleep trackers, and why their use can actually be detrimental to shift workers even though we are one of the biggest consumers of this latest “must have” gadget.

And why wouldn’t we be.

According to the Victorian State Government – shift workers get on average, 2-3 hours less sleep than other workers which is staggering if you times those figures by per week, per month and per year.

In fact it provides a valid reason why so many shift workers are lured in by the clever marketing and promotion from technology firms, persuading them that if you’re serious about wanting to improve your sleep, then wearing these high tech gadgets strapped to your wrist is going to be the answer to all of your sleep-deprived woes!


But according to the latest research, the majority of data collected from sleep monitors is often misleading.

This was illustrated in a study undertaken by a 27-year-old woman who complained about feeling “unrefreshed” upon awakening after what she (and her Fitbit device) perceived as a poor night’s sleep.   However, when she spent the night in a laboratory setting, results of her polysomnography, which is a test that measures brain waves, heart and other indicators during sleep, results showed she’d actually had a lot of deep sleep.

Quite simply, her Fitbit told her that she was having a poor night’s sleep, which was actually incorrect.

My immediate thoughts to this was – “great, a lot of anxiety brought on for nothing!” because we already know that anxiety in itself, can impair our ability to sleep and sleep well.

According to sleep researcher Kelly Baron PhD, these increasingly popular devices “are unable to accurately discriminate stages of sleep” because they’re unable to differentiate between light and deep sleep, which is reflected in brain wave activity and eye movements that are not measured by sleep trackers, so are therefore providing incorrect sleep data.

So I think it’s time to give the sleep trackers the flick and get back to the basics when it comes to improving both the quality and quantity of our sleep.

Whilst we know getting good quality (and quantity sleep) is SUPER important when working 24/7, I think we need to spend less time measuring it, and more time actually doing it.

And this begins by prioritising our sleep.

This means actually taking the time to unwind before bed instead of jumping straight into it, and expecting the sleep “ON” switch to be magically turned on!

This also means avoiding any stimulatory gadgets (yep, that includes both the mobile phones AND sleep trackers!), because on a biochemical level, this will help to calm your nervous system down and move your body into a state of relaxation.  Otherwise known as the parasympathetic or ‘rest and digest’ arm of the nervous system.

Because we must appreciate that sleep is a form of relaxation.

In other words, in order to sleep and sleep well, we must be relaxed.

A very basic human instinct that for so many of us today, (and for so many reasons), appear to no longer be able to do without some type of anti-anxiety, sedative or hypnotic medication that over the long-term, can have serious side-effects.

Audra x



Baron, K, Abbot, S, Jao, N, Manalo, N & Mullen R 2017, ‘Orthosomnia: Are Some Patients Taking the Quantified Self Too Far?’, Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, vol. 14, no. 3, pp. 351-354.