How Listening To Native English Speakers Can Help You Improve Your English Ep 599

A nurse who works shifts, sleeping during day. Looking for a way to improve your English listening skills? Check out these tips on how listening to native English speakers can help you improve your English.

📝 Author: Hilary

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💬 3267 words ▪️ ⏳ Reading Time 17 min

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A Good Night's Sleep Can Do Wonders For Your English Language Conversations Skills

Our English language lessons captivate and engage students through interesting and thought-provoking topics. Come and explore a more efficient way of learning to speak English fluently today, while we discover the secrets of sleep and your health! Challenge yourself to take your language skills to the next level!

Why do our audio only English lessons work so well? Listening to native English speakers is essential to improving your spoken English because it helps to develop your understanding of the language's grammar, pronunciation, fluency, accuracy, and vocabulary. By hearing native English speakers speak, you can learn the rules of grammar, pick up on the pronunciation of words, and hone your fluency and accuracy. Additionally, you can learn new words and expressions in context, which will help you expand your vocabulary. Listening to native English speakers is also important because it helps you learn the nuances of the language, such as the intonation and stress of words, which are essential to being understood. Finally, by actively engaging with the language, such as by shadowing or reading a transcript while listening, you can further improve your English speaking and listening skills.

Today's topic is about all about sleep. Working long hours, often at night, can take a toll on an individual's health. Many professions, like pilots, long distance lorry drivers, nurses etc. require employees to remain awake for extended periods, making it difficult for them to get enough sleep. This article will explore the challenges of sleep deprivation for those who work through the night and strategies that professionals can use to manage the lack of sleep. It will also discuss the effects of sleep deprivation on physical and mental health, and the importance of making sure to get sufficient sleep.

Why are classical approaches to language learning slow, and often fail to help people learn to speak a language? Classic language learning schools typically rely heavily on the memorization of grammar rules and the repetition of phrases without engaging in meaningful conversations. This method of language learning does not mimic the way young children acquire language, which is through natural exposure and interaction with their environment and people around them. Children do not need to be taught grammar rules, instead, they subconsciously pick up patterns and rules as they are exposed to language through meaningful communication. This natural environment, the one your language learning brain has evolved to expect, is not replicated in classic language learning schools.

Listening to native English speakers talking on topics like how important sleep is can be a helpful way for you to build your English comprehension skills. This will help you become familiar with different accents, common colloquialisms, and the flow of natural conversation. Listening to native English speakers talking about topics that you will be interested in can also help to make learning more enjoyable.

Most Unusual Words:

  • Intonation: How your voice goes up and down when you speak.
  • Nuances: Small differences that are not easy to see or hear.
  • Deprivation: Missing something important, like food or sleep.
  • Mimic: To copy how someone talks or acts.
  • Exposure: Being in contact with something, like the sun or an idea.
  • Replicated: Made an exact copy of something.
  • Steering: Controlling the direction of something, like a car.
  • Haulier: A person or company that moves goods by truck.
  • Haulage: The job of moving heavy things by truck or train.
  • Berth: A place to sleep on a ship or train. Also, room to move safely.
  • Groggy: Feeling tired and not clear-headed.
  • Siesta: A short sleep in the afternoon, common in some countries.
  • Advocate: To speak in favor of something or someone.
  • Shifts: Changes in position or time, like a work schedule.

Most common 2 word phrases:

Lorry Drivers3
Long Distance2
We Use2
This Week2
Know That2
Good Sleep2
Really Important2
Really Difficult2

Listen To The Audio Lesson Now

The mp3 audio and pdf transcript for this lesson is now part of the Adept English back catalogue . You can still download and listen to this lesson as part of one of our podcast bundles.

Transcript: How Listening to Native English Speakers Can Help You Improve Your English

Hi there. Today let's talk about something which is really important to me, and it's probably important to you too, if you're concerned with your health. And that thing is sleep. S L E E P.

Let's have a look today at people whose sleep is disrupted by their work, by their job. How best do they manage sleep, and what can the rest of us learn from them?

So this is the kind of podcast which has two purposes. You get some great English listening practice, but you also get to listen to something interesting and worthwhile at the same time. Dual purpose learning - I like that idea!

So let's think today about all those lorry drivers, all those long distance truckers that we see driving huge lorries on our roads, and let's have a look at sleep and how your brain works with this.

Hello, I’m Hilary, and you’re listening to Adept English. We will help you to speak English fluently. All you have to do is listen. So start listening now and find out how it works.

Pilots must manage their sleep

I have a nephew who is an airline pilot, and he was in my mind because I visited him this week. That's pilot, P I L O T, and it means that he is the 'driver', if you like, of a plane. He 'pilots' aeroplanes for a living. Unusually, his girlfriend, his partner is also a pilot. It seems that female airline pilots are still quite unusual. They both fly for major airlines. And I know that in order to do their jobs, they need 'a good night's sleep', as we say. That's really important if you're piloting a plane full of people!

An article about truckers and their sleep

So I saw an article this week which talked about how we all might learn from another group who need to have 'a good night's sleep' in order to do their job safely. That group? Lorry drivers, long distance lorry drivers, or 'truckers' as they're called. If you are a lorry driver, a trucker if you like, then you drive for very long hours and you need good sleep in order to be safe.

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Necessary vocabulary - 'haulage', 'haulier' and 'freight'

Some bits of vocabulary that you might need around this topic? The official formal word we use for this industry, it's the 'haulage' industry. So that's H A U L A G E, 'haulage'.

That means moving goods around in big lorries and trucks. That's 'haulage'. And a 'haulier', H A U L I E R. That means either an actual lorry driver, a trucker or we use that term for an organization that is that kind of business. And if your job involves driving a huge lorry or truck, possibly in lots of different foreign countries as well as your own, then you have a responsibility to make sure you've had good sleep so that you can drive safely.

And yet we all know that pressure, 'Get to sleep! Get to sleep!' If you're under pressure to sleep well, that can make it really difficult, really difficult to get to sleep.

The other word that's useful in the context of the haulage industry is the word 'freight', F R E I G H T. And we use that word 'freight' to mean 'goods that you need to move around'. So whatever the load is on the lorry, that's freight'.

So it could be TVs, it could be cars, it could be bananas or petrol. Whatever hauliers move on their trucks, we call that 'freight'. Or 'goods' is the other term that we use.

Listening Lessons

'What can you learn about sleep from truckers?'

So I saw an article this week which was called 'What Can You Learn About Sleep From Truckers?', written by Stephanie Vozza and published in Fast Company.

This article quoted quite a bit from someone called Dean Coker (actually 'Croke'!) Dean Coker works for a haulage organization in the United States and he's become something of a sleep expert. Good sleep, saves lives. And good sleep training for the truckers, for the lorry drivers, saves lives. Often truckers are on the road for days at a time, so usually they have somewhere to sleep inside the truck itself, called 'a sleeping berth'. That's B E R T H, 'berth'.

Rules and regulations on sleeping for truckers

So they've got a sleep schedule to comply with, and yet they also have to arrive on time with their freight, with their goods at the right location, by the deadline. So employers usually try to specify when the driver must sleep and when the driver must be awake. This doesn't always work well apparently.

So Dean Croke talks about how sometimes truckers' schedules, their work time tables and sleep time tables, in other words - sometimes the schedules demand that their sleeping break happens in the middle of the day for 10 hours during daylight. And often truckers find it very difficult to get their sleep into this window.

They might only sleep for four and a half hours. That's not enough for a 24 hour period. It's bright, it's sunny. It's hard to get to sleep in the middle of the day when you don't feel like it. And then if they've slept badly and they're still working according to their schedule, it might be dark and nighttime and they're expected to drive through the night, but oh, actually, that's when they feel sleepy.

So of course this can be quite dangerous.

Falling asleep at the wheel

We talk in English about being 'asleep at the wheel'. 'At the wheel' there means the 'steering wheel', so that's S T E E R I N G. And that's the wheel that you use to turn the truck or the car. That's the 'steering wheel'. So 'asleep at the wheel', that means falling asleep while driving, which of course is hugely dangerous.

Dean Croak has known a number of drivers who died doing their jobs, died at the wheel of their lorries because they fell asleep. So this is a serious matter for him. So in the US truckers do vast distances and have to follow these regulations or rules around their sleep. The rules are designed to keep them safe, but they don't always work well.

Managing work and sleep

So for instance, drivers must have eight hours sleep, or you can't drive longer than 14 hours in a 24 hour period. Again, this seems sensible. So there are lots of rules. What Dean Croak advocates is that sleeping is more naturally done during darkness hours, so ideally, truck driver sleep happens during darkness hours, and the schedule should prioritize this. If you've ever worked shifts. That's S H I F T S. That means working through the night and sleeping during the day. Like a nurse or a doctor in a hospital might.

If you've ever worked shifts, you'll know how difficult it can be to sleep during the day and how badly your sleep might be affected.


A long distance lorry driver turning music up to stay awake. Improve your English listening skills by getting a good night's sleep. Check out this article for tips on how to make the most of your sleep time and improve your English listening ability.

©️ Adept English 2022

Best to sleep at night, if you can

So Dean Croke advocates that truckers' sleep schedules prioritise night-time sleeping. And he talks also about how it is more natural to have several cycles of sleep throughout a 24 hour period rather than expecting, as most of us do, to have seven and a half hour's sleep all at once. So he suggests everyone is different and haulage companies need to allow their drivers to determine a schedule that suits them.

If the haulage company dictates that they do 11 hours driving, followed by 10 hours sleep, if that 10 hour sleep falls in the middle of the day, that's probably not going to work too well.

Sleep when you're sleepy? And in 90 minute cycles

So he asks for, he advocates for more flexibility. It makes more sense for truck drivers to stop their trucks and pull over when they feel sleepy and sleep at those times. Several shorter sleeps should be allowed, he says.

And what's really interesting here, Dean Croak says that we all sleep in 90 minute cycles. So one and a half hour cycles. That reflects our brain's natural tendency to sleep in cycles of this length.

So if truckers on the road are going with times when they feel sleepy and logging and recording their hours, he advises them to sleep for times, which are multiples of 1.5 hours or multiples of 90 minutes. So either sleep for an hour and a half, three hours, four and a half hours, six hours, or seven and a half hours.

Waking in the middle of a 'sleep cycle' makes you groggy

And the reason for this is that you then get a chance to complete your sleep cycle. So if truckers are having naps in the day - a 'nap', N A P is a short daytime sleep - then they're better to have either an hour and a half, three hours or four and a half hours so that they can complete a number of sleep cycles.

We all know that feeling. If you sleep for a different length of time and you're woken i n the middle of a sleep cycle, then we feel groggy. That's G R O G G Y. It feels like we've been woken from the middle of a very deep sleep, and the sleepy feeling can last for quite a time after we've woken up. That's 'groggy'. After a nap, you might actually feel worse for having slept than you did before. . H e advises that we sleep for multiples of 1.5 hours or 90 minutes, and apparently this increases the quality of your sleep. I think that's worth knowing.

How can other people use this knowledge?

So how could we put this into practice? How can we benefit from this knowledge, even if you're not a trucker? Perhaps it's worth experimenting with this theory and seeing if you feel better if you manage your sleep in whole sleep cycles.

So if you have a night where you know there really isn't quite enough time to do a full night's sleep, you might set your alarm for six hours from now so that you can fit in four sleep cycles. Or if you have a bit more time and this is better, arrange your alarm clock so that you can sleep for seven and a half hours. I think it will be interesting to experiment with this. In the week when I don't have as much time, I aim to sleep for what Matthew Walker advises is the minimum, which is seven hours.

Maybe I need to experiment in the new year with sleeping for seven and a half hours and seeing , whether I feel my quality of sleep is improved because of this.

Download The Podcast Audio & Transcript

Previous Adept English podcasts on sleep

I have done previous podcasts on sleep. In podcast 469, I talked about the importance of sleep for our health. And in podcast 552, I talk about how caffeine for some people can drastically affect their sleep. And I give you an explanation of why.

A bit from my favourite, Matthew Walker

If you've listened to those, you'll know that I'm a fan of neuroscientist Matthew Walker, who is something of a sleep expert.

I've also attached in the transcript a link to a short video where Matthew Walker talks about us having 'tired points' during the day, and he discusses that idea that maybe we don't need one block of sleep a night, maybe we should go with the 'siesta model' of sleeping.

That's S I E S T A, like is done in certain countries around the world. So perhaps siesta is a good idea rather than one block of sleep per night.


Interesting and different perhaps to what most of us try to do with our sleep. Often on these things, a little knowledge, a little bit of awareness is really helpful. Let's see. Hopefully you learned some useful English language vocabulary in this podcast at the same time!

Enough for now. Have a lovely day. Speak to you again soon. Goodbye.

Thank you so much for listening. Please help me tell others about this podcast by reviewing or rating it. And, please share it on social media. You can find more listening lessons and a free English course at



The voice of Adeptenglish, loves English and wants to help people who want to speak English fluently.
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