• Home
  • /
  • Blog
  • /
  • Happier Days Prepare You for More Restful Nights: Sleepin’ It Real, Episode 2

Happier Days Prepare You for More Restful Nights: Sleepin’ It Real, Episode 2

By Seth Davis

adult sleep, adult sleep coach, burnout, happiness, insomnia

Spotify | Google | Stitcher

We could all use a bit more happiness in our lives, which is why we chose Laura Jessica Walker as our first-ever podcast guest for Sleepin’ It Real. Laura is a happy coach from England, and came on the show to share about what she does and how our happiness can affect our sleep.

In this conversation, Laura will share some signs of burnout and tips to feel more happy and productive in our daily lives. And, of course, we’ll touch on the relationship between sleep, burnout, and happiness. So let’s get into it.

What is a Happy Coach?

Most of us probably aren’t familiar with the term happy coach, so we asked Laura to share about what she does: “I either use the term happy coach, or I use burnout coach. A happy coach is helping people to find their joy and live aligned with that. It’s like I’m opening this book of who is this person: What brings them absolute joy, and how can they get to it? Because I think we lose that certainly as we go through life. And we have different roles, don’t we, as parents, employers, or employees? And sometimes we just lose who we are.”

How Can you Find What Makes you Happy?

Laura shares that she works with a lot of business owners who want to make real changes in the world, but they end up neglecting themselves. 

Here’s how she helps them find their joy again: “[I] get them to really think about their childhoods. Most of us have played as children and really understood what it is to lose yourself and lose time in just doing something purely for joy. It’s not a case of immediately saying, okay, so you like skateboarding, so we’ll start skateboarding again. It’s more about getting in touch with that feeling of what that felt like to be completely lost in a place of play.”

How Do You Recognize Burnout?

Laura shares some of the most common symptoms she sees in people that are experiencing burnout: “What I hear a lot is, ‘I’m really unproductive. I’m being snappy with people that I love.’ A lot of people say, ‘I’m not really liking myself at the moment. I don’t like the person that I’ve become.’ All of that, to me, is these alarm bells ringing, because they’re all indicators that have burned out.”

“Obviously feeling exhausted, so waking up in the morning and feeling like you’ve already done a day’s work is another thing. Feeling really not passionate about what you’re doing. Even though you might be working in a space that you’re really passionate about, you just don’t feel passionate about your work anymore.”

On Becoming a Happy Coach

Laura co-founded a non-profit with her sister to help people with dementia, but they had a hard time finding funding. They decided to launch a cafe to help support the organization and act as a resource center. It was tremendously successful but took a toll on her. 

She shares, “So once the cafe was open and it was a real success, I realized that I was totally burnt out, because it seemed like we just kept hitting walls. And then we had to find solutions. When my burnout hit, if you’d have asked me the day before, I would have said to you, I’m fine. I really would. And I believed that I was fine. I woke up in the middle of the night with a panic attack, which was so frightening. I thought I was having a stroke. I thought something terrible was wrong. And then it dawned on me that it was a panic attack, and that was the first of hundreds and hundreds of panic attacks and clinical depression.”

How Does Burnout Affect Sleep?

When Laura went through her own experience with burnout, one of her first symptoms was not being able to sleep. Here’s what she has to say about how burnout affects sleep: “If people are in fight or flight, they’re not going to be sleeping. They might wake up in the middle of the night or just cannot get to sleep because they’ve got thoughts going on and on and on in their mind. It’s such a big part of burnout.”

On Self-Medication

Many of our sleep coaching clients rely on sleeping pills for a quick fix until we are able to get to the root of their sleep problems and help them sleep naturally.

Laura finds that people experience something similar when it comes to burnout: “So when you, for example, come home from work and then pour a glass of wine, and then that glass of wine becomes two or maybe three. Then that becomes normal. Like, I’ve got to have that to get through, to relax. So what they’re actually doing is they’re trying to sort of turn off that fight-flight by using alcohol to suppress it. And actually, I don’t really believe in breaking the habit. We have to find the source.”

Does Technology Affect Our Happiness?

Laura sees a lot of negative effects of technology on her clients, from consuming too much bad news to starting angry comment threads on Facebook. 

She doesn’t think it needs to be that way though: “Technology could be so amazing in terms of making us all happy if we were fed all of this great news, like this new thing that’s been invented or something that’s been discovered. We’d feel really, really different about spending time on our phone. But of course, we’re hardwired as humans to look for the fearful things, and that’s where we get that hit. That feeling of this is interesting. It just seems to be so negative. So that’s what I see. If we just passively take things that are thrown at us, then it’s not very good for us.”

What’s a Practical Step toward Overcoming Burnout?

To combat feelings of not being productive or doing enough, Laura recommends trying this: “One of the things I work on with my clients is to have three nonnegotiables that they do every day. And I think any more than three is too much. They’re not always the same because I tend to get a bit bored. But one of them generally never changes is the water. So drinking three liters of water a day.”

The Importance of Exercise for Sleep and Happiness

Laura shares her most important tip to boost your mood and sleep better: “We’ve got to move our bodies and exercise. It’s just so important. Whether that’s running or yoga, there’s so many different ways that we can move our body. Dancing. How wonderful is dancing? That’s the one. Because that makes you really incredibly happy, putting on some amazing music. So there you go there’s moving your body and getting happy at the same time.

More From Laura Jessica Walker

Laura had much more to share, so to hear the entire conversation, listen to Episode 2 of Sleepin’ It Real. You can find Laura Jessica Walker under her name on Facebook and Instagram. If you want to see if burnout is affecting your life, take Laura’s free burnout quiz. We’re so happy to have had Laura on the show as our first guest!

You might also like

Learn to Create a Healthy Bedtime Routine!

Subscribe today to get a free guide with a sample bedtime routine to try. You'll also be kept up-to-date with special offers from Sleepably.

We take your privacy seriously. No spam. See our privacy policy.