Sleep …. Choice or Chore?
How to know if you are unrested and how to do something about it
Have you noticed how we live in an under rested world lately? How people compete on ‘who slept less’ and stay up all hours to watch ‘box sets’. It seems we have forgotten just how crucial a good night’s sleep is to our physical and mental wellbeing.
Here are the top five signs you may be under rested …
1. You are physically exhausted
2. You are unable to organize thoughts
3. You are snappy
4. Your reaction time is slow
5. You are having difficulties remembering things
Let me just share something with you now that might make you think twice about sleep and its importance in your world. Have you ever experienced that feeling of forgetting your route A to B, or walking in a room and having brain freeze forgetting as to why you’re in there? Have you ever been sat listening to someone and completely zoned out with zero recollection of what they were talking about? Well what if I told you now that that event when you get brain blur is actually your body’s way of saying to you ‘You need to rest. I am EXHAUSTED’.
You see what happens when you sleep in a nut shell is your brain takes all of the day’s information and categorises it into subsections of your mind and stores it or forgets it depending on what you have done that day. It ‘cleans’ itself out for a fresh start tomorrow. On an average night you go through four sleep stages and each one does something different before you simply repeat the four again and on average you cycle two to three times over this (ideally).
Now, if you are having an unrested, broken night sleep or you simply aren’t switching off from your day when you lay down, what happens is these sleep stages get interrupted and, when they do, the brain can’t go over its normal categorising functions. This means you wake up blurred and hazy because your brain hasn’t categorised your day from the day before. We have all experienced that fuzzy morning haze after a bad night sleep right? Well now you know what that is.
What then happens is that your body will always try to catch up on the ‘cleaning’ it missed, meaning its automatic response to a bad night sleep is to regroup with itself during your waking hours and it does this by going into what we call an Alpha state, more commonly known to you and I as ‘Auto Pilot’.
Now you may not think that’s bad but what if I told you a bad night sleep will give you the cognitive impairment equivalent to having a blood alcohol level of .5%. This is technically over the legal driving limit. Even worse, because you are in alpha state, due to your brain not getting what it needed from your sleep state, your reaction time becomes delayed by 7-12 seconds. Can you imagine the impact this has on your ability to drive safely?
When I asked you how many times can you or your friends and family can remember being on ‘Auto Pilot’ or how many times you or they forgot getting from A to B, what were you all doing at the time? Taking the kids to school? Driving on a road with other road users? Operating machinery?
Hopefully I now have your attention. So here are our top five tips for a good sleep routine:
1. Open posture when you sleep:
It’s important you don’t go to bed with your body all wound up and tight – a relaxed open body posture creates a relaxed laid back mind – star position is the general shape you want to be going for.
2. Eye masks, they keep your eyes under a nice level of darkness as well as being comfortable and giving your body a bedtime routine and switch off trigger. Got To Products pages on tool bar
3. Pillow positions to help ease your nervous system to sleep, on your back – pillow under your knees. On your side – pillow between your legs ( all of these health permitting)
4. Deep belly breaths: take a deep breath all the way down to your lower stomach and fully exhale. Repeat as often as you can till you start to relax and switch off. Go To YouTube Channel on tool bar
5. Counting backwards from 250 – allow yourself to do this with an open mind if thoughts come up let them come and go and start the count down again no pressure just easy on your mind.
For some, Sleep Well Sound tracks and Breath Easy videos can help. Please Do check out Purely Balanced on YouTube, you’ll find a link for our channel at the top of this page on the tool bar We also have a ‘Sleep Well’ playlist. For more handy tips, see our blog section too.
Emma Cook founded Purely Balanced to deliver business to business Sleep Well Seminars for businesses. Emma Cook can also be booked as a keynote speaker for events or talks.
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