Lisa Walsh

Lisa Walsh (44) is a health professional and single parent of three boys aged 13, 11 and eight. She works from 6pm-5am three times a fortnight as well as sharing the care of her children with their father

Video Diary

Thu, Feb 13, 2014, 12:36

Lisa Walsh (44) is a health professional and single parent of three boys aged 13, 11 and eight. She works from 6pm-5am three times a fortnight as well as sharing the care of her children with their father. “I come home to sleep after work and wake up about 10am. It takes until the third morning to sleep until 1pm and then I have a kind of jet lag feeling for the next two days,” she explains. The children stay with their dad when Lisa is working nights. When not at work, she wakes up to get the children ready for school [their dad brings them to school] and goes back to sleep, reads or does mindfulness meditation. “I’ve always been a night person which is why I choose to work nights. I do my laundry at night and get the children’s lunches and clothes ready at night time,” she says.

For exercise, Lisa walks for an hour three to five times a week. “It’s about getting access to natural light and fresh air,” she says. She admits that her appetite is “all over the place”. “I often eat porridge at bed time because I’m afraid of waking up hungry. When working at night, it’s very tempting to eat carbohydrate foods. I find I don’t eat dinners but eat healthy snacks four or five times a day.”

Lisa has decided to partake in the sleep study because, “Although I sleep okay, I often wake up twice before the alarm goes off and sometimes I wouldn’t get back to sleep. I’d like to explore ways to sleep better.”

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Dr John Faul is a respiratory physician and sleep specialist at the Hermitage Medical Clinic. During the Sleep Challenge he will be providing practical input on how people can improve their sleep.

Dr Faul comments: Lisa has a busy lifestyle and juggles family, professional and other responsibilities and some shift work. Because of her schedule Lisa does many chores during the night and this will make her exhausted and sleepy during the day. Her appetite is bizarre, because her body clock is confused about the time of day and this inevitably leads to weight gain and cravings for carbohydrates and fatty foods. Although it is normal to awaken briefly from sleep, Lisa may be in the situation where her body is uncertain about whether it is time to get up or go to sleep, because her schedule is so changeable. Shift workers generally become sleep deprived and they need to be very organized to return to normal sleep habits.

LISA WALSH'S SLEEP PATTERN IN NUMBERS

Jan 31- Feb 1
Time to sleep 00:33 hrs
Sleep onset 03:13
Sleep duration 07:43 hrs
Final awakening 14:27
Sleep efficiency 89%

Feb 1-2
Time to sleep 01:04 hrs
Sleep onset 02:07
Sleep duration 07:04 hrs
Final awakening 10:34
Sleep efficiency 86%

Feb 2-3
Time to sleep 00:06 hrs
Sleep onset 23:57
Sleep duration 08:52 hrs
Final awakening 13:06
Sleep efficiency 74%

Feb 3-4
Time to sleep 00:00 hrs
Sleep onset 23:11
Sleep duration 10:04 hrs
Final awakening 12:21
Sleep efficiency 80%

Feb 4-5
Time to sleep 00:00 hrs
Sleep onset 21:17
Sleep duration 06:13 hrs
Final awakening 10:14
Sleep efficiency 81%

Feb 5-6
Time to sleep 00:14 hrs
Sleep onset 00:14
Sleep duration 09:11 hrs
Final awakening 11:54
Sleep efficiency 92%

Feb 6-7
Time to sleep 00:16 hrs
Sleep onset 00:20
Sleep duration 07:06 hrs
Final awakening 11:18
Sleep efficiency 79%