Sleep Fitness: A Guide for Busy Working Men

In today’s fast-paced world, where the boundaries between work and home blur, the drive for success often comes at a cost to our most vital yet underestimated ally: sleep. Welcome to “sleep fitness,” a term that marries the necessity of sleep with the proactive approach we typically reserve for physical fitness. It’s especially crucial for busy working men who strive to bring their best selves to every aspect of their lives.

Watch the in depth conversation on the Dads In Business YouTube Channel where we speak with Nick Stewart, Sleep Fitness Coach who has extensive lived experience of the risks and outcomes of poor sleep (to a very extreme level!)

The Concept of Sleep Fitness

Sleep fitness, a term that may be unfamiliar to many, encapsulates the importance of quality sleep in enhancing overall well-being and performance. The conversation between Rob Taylor and sleep specialist Nick Stewart on the Dads in Business Video Podcast series shines a spotlight on this pivotal aspect of health. Stewart’s journey into the realms of sleep science, spurred by his personal battle with severe sleep deprivation, underscores a critical message: the need for a personalised approach to sleep, beyond one-size-fits-all solutions.

Ever feel like you need more rest? Check out the article that explores the seven types of rest that you could explore for to promote the best version of you

The Silent Crisis Among Men

A striking revelation from the discussion is the societal stigma around sleep issues among men. Many shy away from discussing, let alone addressing, their sleep challenges due to entrenched notions of masculinity that equate sleep with weakness. This silence is a significant barrier to improving sleep health, with profound implications for men’s physical and mental well-being.

You might want to check out our article on rethinking masculinity for what this might mean for you.

Optimal Sleep: Finding the Balance

The conversation navigates through the science of sleep, highlighting the optimal amount required for healthful rest. Drawing on comprehensive studies, Stewart points out the ideal range of sleep — a minimum of four hours to a maximum of ten hours — emphasising the adverse effects of both insufficient and excessive sleep. This nuanced understanding encourages a balanced approach to sleep, tailored to individual needs.

Unconventional Strategies for Enhanced Sleep

In an engaging twist, Stewart shares three unusual tactics to improve sleep quality:

  1. Wearing socks to bed (yes, really!): This simple act can significantly expedite sleep onset and extend sleep duration by regulating body temperature.
  2. Early evening alcohol consumption: If you drink a beer after work, to help avoid sleep fragmentation, enjoy alcoholic beverages soon after arriving home, giving the body ample time to process the alcohol well before bedtime.
  3. Cultivating compassion and empathy: Boosting levels of oxytocin, the hormone associated with empathy, has been linked to better sleep. Engaging in acts of kindness, using social media positively, reading fiction, and even more surprising activities like shooting guns (with caution and cultural sensitivity) can enhance oxytocin levels and, by extension, sleep quality.


We wrote a helpful article about the benefits of practicing empathy on the Dads In Business blog. Check it out!

These strategies, backed by scientific insight and Stewart’s expertise, offer practical steps for busy working men to reclaim their sleep.

The Challenges of Shift Work

The dialogue also touches on the perils of shift work, acknowledging the inherent health risks and cognitive challenges posed by irregular sleep patterns. While there are no easy solutions, understanding these risks and employing strategies to maximise sleep quality within the constraints of shift work schedules is crucial.

Empowering Men to Prioritise Sleep

The key takeaway from this rich discussion is a call to action for men to prioritise their sleep fitness as they would their physical fitness. By adopting a personalised approach to sleep, engaging in open conversations about sleep challenges, and employing practical strategies to enhance sleep quality, men can significantly improve their health, performance, and quality of life.

External Resources for Further Exploration And The Benefits of Sleep.

For those seeking to delve deeper into sleep fitness and related topics, several external books and resources offer valuable insights:

Why We Sleep” by Matthew Walker, Ph.D., provides a comprehensive overview of the science of sleep and its profound effects on health, brain function, and longevity.

The Sleep Solution by W. Chris Winter, M.D., offers practical advice and strategies to overcome sleep challenges and achieve restful nights.

“Sleep Fitness: The Top Ten Sleep Facts That Matter” by Nick Stewart (as mentioned in the discussion) distils critical sleep science insights into actionable tips for improving sleep health. Find out more about Nick and his work at his Sleep Fitness website.

Conclusion: A Call to Action

In conclusion, the journey to sleep fitness for busy working men is both a personal and a societal challenge. By confronting societal stigmas, adopting personalised strategies for sleep improvement, and utilising resources to deepen understanding, men can transform their sleep, unlocking a foundation for success in every aspect of their lives.

The conversation between Rob Taylor and Nick Stewart is more than just a discussion; it’s a wake-up call to prioritise sleep  (no pun intended!) as a pillar of health, akin to diet and exercise. Let this be the moment we redefine masculinity to include the strength found in restorative sleep, embracing sleep fitness as a critical component of our overall well-being.

As we navigate the demands of work, family, and personal growth, let us remember that sleep is not a luxury, but a necessity. It’s time to invest in our sleep fitness, for our health, for our families, and for our future.

Supporting Men & Dads in the workplace

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Supporting Men & Dads in the workplace

Download our free guide to help employers create a more inclusive and supportive work environment for men and dads.