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Mental Health

Podcast 176: Psychological Safety & How it Affects Work Performance

June 7, 2022

High performing teams have one thing in common: Psychological safety.

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To unlock your best ideas, creativity, and performance, it is essential to create an environment of psychological safety–part of which can be done with the right interpersonal behaviors, and part of which is done at home with a good night’s sleep. To examine this, WHOOP VP of Performance Kristen Holmes sits down for a roundtable discussion with Harvard Business School professor and behavioral science researcher Dr. Amy Edmondson, Dr. Jemma King from the University of Queensland in Australia, and researcher Nadia Fox.

Dr. Edmondson introduced the concept of psychological safety and defines exactly what it is and how that is one of the keys to high performance in our interpersonal relationships. Dr. King and Nadia then dive in on some groundbreaking research on sleep debt and cognitive functioning, and what that can tell us about different factors like stress responses, burnout, and how all of this can be measured with HRV.


Psychological safety podcast episode chapters:

3:23 – What is psychological safety?

9:08 – Stress responses

11:23 – Burnout

14:52 – Cognitive functioning under stress

18:09 – The behavior effects of sleep deprivation

19:14 – Physical threat vs. psychological threat

25:50 – Study findings

28:41 – Slow wave sleep and mental control

29:53 – Cognitive fitness

32:27 – Sleep debt and psychological safety in the workplace

41:17 – Sleep consistency


“Investigating the impact of stress, sleep, and HRV on executive function and leadership performance” by:

Nadia Fox – PhD candidate University of Queensland
Professor Amy Edmondson – Harvard University
Kristen Holmes – WHOOP
Dr Elise Kalokerinos – University of Melbourne
Dr Jemma King – University of Queensland (BPA)
Professor Bill von Hippel – University of Queensland


Learn how WHOOP Unite can elevate well-being for all teams and people.

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