NapNow recently spoke with Ita Buttrose AO OBE, legendary media editor, businesswoman, best-selling author and current host of Network Ten’s new morning show, Studio 10, about the way napping has supported her impressive life-time career. Ita is also Ambassador of Alzheimer’s Australia, does the professional speaking circuit, and is being urged by Penguin to write another book, while being involved with a number of other charities.

NapNow: When did you first start napping?

Ita: When I was working to create Cleo magazine, I was pregnant with my second child, so would get a bit weary, come the afternoon.  I’d shut my office door and catnap at my desk and it really helped me.  I never discussed it – I just did it.  I’m the editor, thankyou! On the weekends I’d take a longer nap maybe for an hour.   Then, when I was editor of The Daily Telegraph and The Sunday Telegraph I would have a nap about noon before going in on Saturdays.

I remember now that Mum always used to make us rest for at least an hour after lunch, on weekends and during the holidays. We didn’t have to sleep but we had to get on the bed. No playing.  I did that until my early teens. It was time to yourself.  Parents make a rod for their own back when they think they have to entertain their kids all the time.  You don’t – quiet time is important too.

NapNow: And today?

Ita: I powernap most days. I get up at five am and put a lot of energy into two and a half hours of show. [Ita is the Host of Network Ten’s new morning show, Studio 10.]   I get home around lunchtime and take a nap to give me a boost for the rest of the day.

NapNow: Many people say they would love to nap but feel guilty for taking the time out, or fear being judged as a slacker. Have you ever struggled with giving yourself permission?

Ita: No, not at all.  I know what I need to do in order to stay on top of things.  And I’m very conscious of not short changing myself on sleep, which my brain needs.  I get about six hours of sleep at the moment.  I’m not happy with that and I try to get bed earlier, but fail dismally.  So the nap is my way of catching up.  I know it’s not as good as seven hours, but it certainly helps.

NapNow: What do you say to people who want to nap, but say they are too busy?

Ita: Tell yourself you will do it better if you are rested.

I have heaps to do this afternoon, heaps! Including finishing my BAS statement.  But I am still going to take the nap because I know I will do it better and faster.

It is very difficult when you are a working mum and when the children are small, but one day, after working so hard for years you realise it’s ridiculous to work that hard and not have anytime for yourself.  It’s not a good way to live.

If you can’t find half an hour in your day, it’s pathetic, don’t you think?

NapNow: And on a more personal note … as a speaker at the recent Australian Women in Leadership Symposium, I (Thea) sat next to you and was impressed by your great looks!  Is napping part of your beauty routine?

Ita: Sleep is a good anti-ageing strategy.  You can see tiredness in people’s faces. You look better when well rested,

Look, I’m really enjoying talking to you, but I’m also looking forward to my nap, which is due about now!