What came first, the chicken or the egg? A rough nights sleep, or an anxious day? During
these uncertain times it is hard to tell. Worries about cashflow, mortgages, customer numbers and who will or won’t catch the virus. Could everything be wiped away with a lock-down or Corvid 19?
You could be forgiven for not having a clue which came first, or even caring for that matter. All you know is your head is in a spin, your heart is pounding like mad and you could really do with a good nights sleep.
How do we cope?
Down the coffee or chug back another tea, chase it with some sugary cereal or toast with lashings of jam and out the door (or to the home isolated office). Top it up with chocolate, more caffeine and maybe some wine later. Go through the rapid fire thoughts “what if, could I, should I, avoid those calls, ignore those emails”. Evening comes flying round with more wine, more food, more worry and off to bed, for some looking at the ceiling, counting sheep, weird dreams and waking at 3 or 5am. The sun is up and ground hog day is back!
Shutdown, Meltdown or get out of town?!
When you face extreme tiredness and anxiety your mind is doing one vital task and very quickly……can you get through the day and how? It runs though three options.
Shutdown is when you pull up the duvet, sit in front of Netflix or (when you could) pop to the pub on your own all day. It is your minds strategy of hiding away and giving up. As a parent or business owner, this option is often quickly ruled out.
Meltdown is when you get emotional. You could have a cry, a shout, kick the cat or dog, stomp about. It is the minds way of trying to get some assistance. If this isn’t an option, or isn’t working, it won’t linger there long before embarking on option three.
Get out of town (fight or flight). You adrenalise, caffeinate, eat, drink, rush about using the reserves you have left. Cortisone and adrenaline pump through your body. This will get you through the day with a surge of anxiety, some anger and lots of overthinking. Which in turn leads to fatigue, over tiredness and being on edge all the way to bedtime and guess what, you don’t sleep! Around and around you go.
“Let there be light”
Studies show our natural body clock is affected by daytime sunshine or artificial bright light device or bulbs.This improves sleep quality, duration, and daytime energy, especially if you have severe sleep issues or insomnia. Even eating breakfast by the window can help.
“I can’t see a thing in here!”
Just as day and bright light wakes us during the day, darkness signals the brain to produce sleep hormones. The darker the room the better. A gap in the curtain, light from a phone, computer or clock can disrupt sleep.
“Stop wriggling! Get your paws off!”
A study found that 53% of pet owners and 80% of parents have trouble getting a good night’s sleep. Dogs & kids can be bed hogs & bad sleepers. Everyone needs their own space, so keep the bed just for you!
“One more email. Look, a cat video!”
Light during the day is helpful, but at night it can reduce sleep hormones. Reduce the worst (blue light), using: Night mode for phones, apps (F.Lux) for computers and amber tinted glasses.
“A nice cup of tea & back to bed”
A study showed consuming coffee or tea up to 6 hours before bed significantly worsened sleep quality. Caffeine can stay in your blood for 6-8 hours. Try to avoid any caffeine after 3-4pm. Switch to decaf after that.
“A drop of brandy should do the trick”
It’s true the alcoholic nightcap will help you get off to sleep. However, it will interrupt the REM phase of sleep. This boosts memory, concentration and learning. Without it you will have trouble focusing at work the next day and start the roundabout again.
“One last cigarette before bed”
Non smokers are 4 times more likely to feel rested and refreshed after a full nights sleep compared to smokers. Sleep apnea, asthma, nicotine stimulation and the night withdrawal all contribute to a tired and groggy day.
I always say two things to my clients.
Do not look for perfection – we will never get 100% perfect sleep all of the time. As you can see, so many things can and will affect it. Overall, with improved sleep comes improved state of mind and a better way of coping in the tricky times ahead.
Don’t beat yourself up – when you kick yourself only one person gets hurt! Pat yourself on the back for doing the best you can and do not give up.
Stay safe, sleep tight and look out for the course at www.controlandchange.co.uk Always free to discuss: 07902 633694