Rachel Pupazzoni



It’s something many of us take for granted.  Some people don’t even think about it.  But when you’re a shift worker, thinking about sleep seems to occupy a lot of your thoughts.

When should I go to sleep if I have to get up early tomorrow?  Will I be able to sleep?  Will I wake up to my alarm?  Will my body be able to adjust to a new rotation?  I’ve spent the past month getting to sleep at 3am, now I have to get up at 4am for a new rotation.  How am I going to be able to change my body around so much in just two days?

I’ve always been a bad sleeper.  I remember as a child trying to sleep on my bedroom floor, the wrong way around in my bed, in the hallway.  Just about anything.  I remember some nights my dad sitting in my room until I fell asleep.  He must have sat there in the dark for ages.

Now, as a shift worker, sleep continues to evade me.  I read a lot about how to sleep.  There’s a lot out there.  Clearly I’m not alone.


Lavender has long been known to have sleep assistance properties.  I drink it in tea and use it as a fragrance spray on my pillow.

Here’s my ‘I need to get to sleep’ routine:

Light a couple of candles

Turn on the ‘Relaxation’ playlist on Pandora

Take a hot shower

Brew a pot of T2 Gone Surfing – despite the name, this is a relaxing tea with ingredients including chamomile and lavender

Do about 10-15 minutes of yoga and stretches

Spray a few squirts of In Essence Sleep Easy Pillow Mist around my bed – it includes essential oils Lavender, Chamomile Roman and Valerian

Hope for the best!

I also try to get in an hour nap in the afternoon when I’m working on the breakfast shift.  I also do some kind of exercise every day.  Sometimes it’s a walk, yoga or pilates class, or a full on session at the gym.  It usually depends how I’m feeling that day.


A dark room lit only with candles helps create a relaxing atmosphere 

Here’s an intersting TED Talk about sleep by Circadian Neuroscientist Professor Russell Foster.

Do you suffer trying to sleep? Do you have any tips/articles/vidoes to share?


Author: rachelpupazzoni

I'm a journalist living in Sydney.

8 thoughts on “Sleep

  1. Rachel you could always try what works for men all over the world.
    Watch motor sport my old man falls asleep every time.
    Sucks about the feet in summer though. Bet you hate the tropics then.

  2. Pingback: Storm reporting – Rachel Pupazzoni

  3. I so (SO) understand the struggle with sleep, even without the complication of shift work — I don’t envy you that!

    Just recently, I’ve found that listening to a podcast — any podcast — while trying to get to sleep has helped. I think part of the reason it works is that it forces your mind to concentrate on one thing, rather than thinking about life issues or other random things that might hinder sleep. Oddly enough it doesn’t tend to matter that a podcast is actually interesting, and that may even help as it keeps your attention.

    It may not be for everyone, but worth a try if sleep still eludes you.

    • Hey Tim,
      Thanks for your message. I’ve been a podcast listener for years. I put one, or two or three, on every night. it’s like being read to πŸ™‚ I’m glad I’m not the only one!

      • I realise that podcasts are a lot like books or movies, in that everyone has their own taste, and this is a bit off-topic, but do you have any recommendations?

        Being somewhat new to podcasts, the ones I’ve found interesting so far are things like 99% Invisible, Invisibilia, How To Do Everything, How Did This Get Made, Comedy Bang Bang and Welcome to Night Vale (his voice is very soothing at night, and it’s comedy gold a lot of the time).

      • Hi Tim, I listen to Conversations with Richard Fidler, Here’s the Thing with Alec Baldwin, Happier with Gretchen Rubin, The Nerdist, The New York Radio Hour, Dr Karl on Triple J, TED Radio Hour among others. Thanks for your recommendations. I’ll check them out too πŸ™‚

  4. Hi Rachel – I was a shift worker for 10 years so feel your pain. I still struggle now with regular sleep patterns and from time to time it evades me. Good luck 😊

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