How To Get More Sleep Without Feeling Guilty



“You snooze, you lose” is the mantra upheld by those who talk (smugly) about being overworked as if it were a badge of honour, yet for many of us sleep is still seen as a luxury even at weekends. In Rest: Why You Get More Work Done When You Work Less (Penguin Books) published this month, Stanford scholar and Silicon valley consultant, Alex Soojung-Kim Pang combines neuroscience and psychology and advocates restorative daytime naps (used by Margaret Thatcher and Winston Churchill), lengthy holidays and long walks.

Sloths will cheer but it’s a mindset that has already created traction. Pang sees sleep as an active skill that promotes creativity and he has shared a stage with Arianna Huffington who had her own Damascene moment having passed out at work from exhaustion, smacked her head on a desk, broke her cheekbone and incurred five stitches to her right eye. She argues in The Sleep Revolution, Transforming Your Life, One Night At A Time (Penguin Random House) that we owe it to our health to sleep well; hardly rocket science but it is a sea change for the renowned workaholic. Gwyneth Paltrow added further nuance in Goop’s Clean Beauty, confessing she goes to bed for a minimum of nine hours with heated socks, copper pillows and a twelve-hour fast (probably in Olivia von Halle pyjamas).

Take “clean sleeping” one snooze further and enter: “beditation”, a buzzword coined by business coach and author Laurence Shorter in The Lazy Guru’s Guide To Life (Hachette). “Morning mindlessness” rather than mindfulness is the aim: breaking the habit of waking up in panic or task mode, instead taking a moment to listen to thoughts and let them pass. Task mode sees beta brainwaves kick in and cortisol released, all risking adrenal exhaustion. Shorter argues that beditation is like interval training and leads to greater productivity.

Going to the land of nod is often easier said than done. Perhaps you need a sleep vacation? Sleep retreats are multiplying rapidly and are a mix of science, spa treatments and slowing down. Take Corinthia London’s Mindful Sleep package (, one of the most exclusive in the capital with special sleep pods in their award-winning ESPA spa. Or how about the Swiss precision approach at Grand Resort Bad Ragaz in Zurich (, where their diagnostic programme includes a polysomnography and follow-up wellness programme? More exotic is The Anam’s Sri Mara “Sweet dreams à la carte” concept in Vietnam ( A stay in the new “high-touch, low-tech” hotel includes Irish linen bedding, goose down pillows and some sun too (that always works for us). Closer to home, in Carlow, Lisnavagh regularly runs sleep retreats. Organiser Ally Bunbury says, “All the retreats are designed as a drawing in, restorative time, with fires crackling in the dining room and a library with deep sofas and lots of good books to curl up with.” (

Based in Dun Laoghaire at My Yoga Body, Orla Fitzgerald, a highly-qualified acupuncturist, medical herbalist and yoga teacher believes, “the root causes as to why someone is not sleeping are varied and there is no one treatment for all. I use a combination of acupuncture, herbal medicine and yoga to treat each person individually. As part of the yoga treatment module, I teach simple pranayama (yogic breathing techniques) and encourage people to practice yoga nidra (yogic sleep), both of which work to relax the body and the mind, encouraging the nervous system into a “rest and digest” state, which is crucial for good quality sleep.” (


This article appeared in a previous issue, for more features like this don’t miss our next issue, out Thursday April 6.

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