Seven tips to help conquer sleeping problems…

When I first started working at Smoothfm on Mike Perso’s More Music Breakfast Show nearly two months ago, I was a teensy bit concerned about how I’d adjust to a new sleeping regime to accommodate my working hours.

Night owl at work

Night owl at work

In the past, I’ve always been a dedicated night owl. Whether it’s been working on my novel well into the small hours, or socialising with friends, it was a rare night when my head would hit the pillow before midnight.

Now I get up just after 4am. Yes AM. Which has meant a serious mind shift in the way I think about sleep.
I can’t afford to go to bed ‘when I feel like it’ anymore. Not that I mind, because I love my new role at Smoothfm, but sleep becomes more difficult when you know it’s something that HAS to happen or you’ll pay the price the next day.

Trouble sleeping?

Trouble sleeping?

I decided to do some research to work out the best way to get a good night’s sleep on whim without taking sleeping tablets.

The last thing I want to do is become dependent on Stillnox or Valium. I need to be sharp as a tack when I clock on – not muddling through a drug-induced haze.


Knowing that about two million Australians also face sleep issues, I thought I’d share my thoughts on what works and what doesn’t. I think I’ve nailed it. And that’s because I often need afternoon naps now – especially if I’m heading out that night. Sleeping in the day in the past would have been impossible and now it’s a breeze. Here’s how:

For afternoon naps, I wear socks. It helps with the cozy factor. And if it’s a really cold evening, I might wear socks at night too.

No coffee after 11am

No coffee after 11am


No coffee after 11am. Preferably only two cups max a day. Then only a cup of tea AFTER an afternoon nap if heading out that evening and in need of a boost.



Exercise is essential. If you give your body a good workout, you will naturally feel inclined to hit the sack.

Swisse Sleep vitamins

Swisse Sleep vitamins


Natural sleeping vitamins, like these from Swisse, really do help! Plus they contain magnesium, which helps alleviate the risk of cramps that can occur at night if one has consumed alcohol…




Tapiz Chadonnay

Tapiz Chardonnay


I find a couple of glasses helps in the sleeping stakes. Some people say they wake up more in the night if they drink wine, so this tip may not suit everyone, but I find it helps enormously. Not EVERY night, of course… And it MUST be good quality wine. Life is too short to drink bad wine.


Tim Winton's latest novel, Eyrie

Tim Winton’s latest novel, Eyrie


Reading is a brilliant way to get to sleep. I challenge you to go to bed, even when wide awake, and not feel sleepy in less than half an hour after reading when all snuggled up in bed. Of course, if it’s a particularly engaging book or a thriller, this might not work, so if you REALLY need to sleep, pick up something more challenging – with difficult vocabulary and philosophies – and it’ll do the trick in no time.



THIS is the tip I think works the BEST. It’s not particularly clever the way I found it – through a simple Google search – but no one had ever mentioned it to me before which is why I want to share this.

Guided Sleep Meditation

Guided Sleep Meditation


Keep in mind I am NOT one of those vegan, yoga, mediation types – not that there’s anything wrong with that – I’m just not one of them. I’m more of a busy, easily bored, attention deficit-disorder, A-type personality, so when I first came across this, I admit, I was quite skeptical.

BUT IT WORKS! And I guess that’s also why there are more than ONE MILLION SEVEN HUNDRED THOUSAND hits on the You Tube version. I also like that it’s made by a couple of blokes called ‘The Honest Guys’. So it must be honestly good, right? You can play it on your iPhone or iPad and no, you don’t have to look at the screen.

Although I admit, when I first played it, I found the moving and exploding star pattern in the unending galaxy at the beginning of the clip quite mesmerising….

A mesmerizing galaxy of stars….

A mesmerizing galaxy of stars…

Anyway, a calm male voice – almost monotone – will guide you through a few simple breathing and mind techniques to help you relax. The effect is almost hypnotic. I’m always surprised when I hear something new I haven’t heard before – meaning I’ve never heard all of it because I usually fall asleep within five to ten minutes. I find it particularly helpful for afternoon naps. The only danger is that I’m now so reliant on it, I wonder if I’ll ever be able to sleep without my iPad again?

Who cares – it works!

Happy Sleeping. I’m off for an afternoon nap now. Nightie night.

The one book you must read this summer – Eyrie by Tim Winton

Tim Winton's latest novel, Eyrie

Tim Winton’s latest novel, Eyrie

It’s an impossible task – sitting down at one’s computer trying to write about Tim Winton’s latest novel, Eyrie. I’ve been staring at the blank page for hours, contemplating how to do such a book justice. Much has been said already and far more eloquently that I could ever hope to express. But persist I will, because as we hurtle into the holiday period, I know many of you will be looking for something new to read at the beach or on a plane. Time is of essence, so you need to choose wisely. Read something entertaining but also worthwhile. Something that will resonate and stir the soul, take you away from trashy tabloid mags and cheap reality TV. Tim Winton’s latest novel, Eyrie, would be my Number One pick. So where do I begin in explaining why? It’s an epic task. I have to remind myself that Tim Winton himself will not read this. So I shall remove the fear of disappointing so great a mind with my trivial ramblings and chat away. Because a BLOG is not a ‘serious’ book review. It’s more of a friendly natter between pals about something I think you’ll like. For starters, Eyrie is a real page-turner. Not since Winton’s Cloudstreet, have I enjoyed one of his novels as much. Well, hang on, I was fond of Breath, but Cloudstreet was always my favourite. And I think that was because of the characters. Flawed individuals struggling to find a place in the world. It’s a very Australian ‘thing’, isn’t it? Backing the underdog and rooting for any small victories they win along the way.

Tim Winton's latest novel, Eyrie

Tim Winton’s latest novel, Eyrie

That’s also how I felt about Eyrie’s main protagonist, Tom Keely. He’s down and out, divorced and unemployed and the first time we meet, he’s trying to face the world, suffering a killer hangover. I liked him straight away. There’s also a sense of injustice about his grimy circumstances – how this former environmental activist ended up in a wasteland high-rise. We want to know more about how he got there and if he’ll turn the corner.     Keely discovers a neighbour living in his apartment block is an old childhood friend, Gemma Buck. She’s a coarse, flinty former beauty who smokes like a chimney and speaks her mind. Her grandson, Kai, catches Keely’s attention and slowly, he starts to re-engage with the world. When a sinister threat emerges and puts Kai at risk, the action steps up. Keely starts making plans.

'Saving' others is a central theme of the book… Spoiler alert, page 289

‘Saving’ others is a central theme of the book… Spoiler alert, page 289

But I’m not going to give you the whole plot or any real spoilers here. Although I should also mention, as far as one of the central themes goes, it’s Keely’s mother who provides the clues. Doris, is a strong and endearing character who knows her son better than he knows himself. As she tells him two-thirds into the book, ‘To save a drowner, you need to be a swimmer.’   Yes, there’s many characters in this book trying to save others. Doris and Keely’s sister, Faith, are trying to save him from himself, while he tries to save Gemma and Kai. Swimming, surfing, the great Aussie ocean, floating and all things aquatic have always featured heavily in Winton’s writing, and are again present in Eyrie. Although like the title suggests, from living up high in his lofty nest, his ‘eyrie’, Keely has a keen sense of a propensity to fall, a feeling of vertigo that may pull him down to a point where getting up is a questionable possibility. And that is what keeps us, the reader, turning the page, anxious to learn of Keely’s fate. It’s as if Winton is trying to draw his own focus away from the water for a change. So birdlife, flying and falling themes pull us away from the water to a more ‘airy’ level in this novel.

A private individual - Tim Winton, author

A private individual – Tim Winton, author

Every time I finish a Tim Winton book I marvel at the mind behind the words. It makes you want to know more about the man himself, but in real life, he gives very little away. He leads a private existence and rarely attends public events. Which probably explains how he’s been able to write and publish 25 books. The inside of Eyrie’s cover gives just a brief resume of his vast achievements. Yes, completely overwhelming. He’s won the Miles Franklin Award FOUR times.

Enough from me. Read Eyrie instead. If you’d like a copy of your own, order through Bookworld at and by quoting this code – BW-SEO14 – you’ll receive a FIVE PER CENT discount.

This offer is valid until January 31st. It mightn’t sound like much, but that brings the price down to about $32, which is much less than the $45 being charged by Penguin books. (And that includes postage!!)

Just go to this Bookworld link: Eyrie.

Enjoy. And if you get time, let me know what you think of the book yourself.

What goes up, sometimes has to come down… Plus something for you!

Things are always changing in the Blogosphere, and it seems there’s a growing philosophy among those more knowledgable than I, that Blogs should be deleted after a certain period of time.

Web expert Gerry McGovern

Web expert Gerry McGovern

That way your website doesn’t look outdated, plus it’s a good excuse to ditch the pieces you just don’t like anymore.

Just ask Web expert Gerry McGovern, whose client list includes corporate giants such as Microsoft, Cisco, VMware, IBM, Atlas Copco and Tetra Pak.

‘Bringing customers to a page with wrong content is like bringing customers into a car salesroom to show them your cars that won’t start and have scratches all over the paintwork.’ ~ Gerry McGovern
There are others who dispute this; who claim the more Blogs that are up and available for readers to access, the better. That it’s like owning real estate. i.e. The more Blogs available to consumers – like properties for rent – the more ‘hits’, or rent payments you get.

Writing for a living...

Writing for a living…

I reckon there’s something to be said for both arguments, but am leaning toward the former. Another marketing expert has advised me to become more savvy about how I earn money from the Blog – something I’ve been loathe to take into account because it clashes with my traditional journalistic ethics. Her opinion is that I’m giving too much free publicity to businesses who give nothing in return.

The world is changing and journalists and writers are earning less while the costs of everything around us goes up. So yes, I am going to have to reconsider the way I run my business. This means I will still maintain the absolute essentials – that I will maintain absolute independence and never recommend anything I don’t like, regardless of inducements. I will always give an honest opinion whether money or gifts are involved or not. (And in most cases, they aren’t.) Examples in the past include NOT writing about venues, restaurants, products or books I don’t like, even after being offered incentives to do so.


Time to freshen up…

As a result, this Blog – now nearly two years old – is about to get a very minor facelift. Meaning I’m going to go back to the beginning to review all content – deleting items I consider out-dated and considering whether to approach relevant businesses who have benefitted from free publicity about whether to leave those Blogs in place or not.

Personally, I like the simplest of transactions – being sent something I like, telling you about it and then being able to give you a discount option to sample the same product or book. Here’s a case in point. I’ve been sent a copy of Eyrie, the wonderful new book by Tim Winton. I’m in the middle of writing a review which I’ll be posting shortly, but can already tell you it’s brilliant and well worth reading.

Eyrie by Tim Winton

Eyrie by Tim Winton

So if you’d like a copy of your own, order through Bookworld at and by quoting this code – BW-SEO14 – you’ll receive a FIVE PER CENT discount. This offer is valid until January 31st. It mightn’t sound like much, but that brings the price down to about $32, which is much less than the $45 being charged by Penguin books. (And that includes postage!!)

Just go to this Bookworld link: Eyrie.

And don’t forget – if there’s something you may have seen on Facebook or Twitter from this Blog and not had time to read yet – get on to it. Some Blogs may get a quick re-run before deletion – others will just vanish into the stratosphere.

Hot air balloons

Hot air balloons

After all, what goes up, generally has to come down at some point in time or another…

(Except for body weight, which, yes, I will continue to blog about!!)