There’s nothing like starting a blog post with a bit of Faithless…
But it’s true, I can’t sleep.
I can’t seem to find my mind’s “off” switch.
A disruption in sleep ordinarily coincides with a disruption of my mind.
It’s the first clue that something’s up.
That I need to re-adjust.
Something’s not working.
I’m perhaps overdoing things.
Not giving myself enough time out.
Perhaps not giving an anxiety, a worry, a feeling of unease, the attention it deserves.
It can be a heavy head as the alarms sounds – one that craves more sleep. Can’t get enough of it. No dreams but a hungover feeling, one which lasts throughout the day. No amount of sleep feels enough. It feels as though the bed is cuddling me, refusing to release me into the world. All I want to do is sleep.
Or it might be that the alarm sounds and sleep has not found me.
A restless night where it’s almost a relief to hear the alarm. It signals the end of a period of pain, where I’ve been tortured by thoughts. Limited sleep is splattered with all-encompassing dreams which portray my insecurities with clarity. The bed feels uncomfortable, as though it’s conspiring with my mind. The morning light acting as a safety blanket for what’s been a long, arduous and disturbing night.
Either way, it feels wrong. As though I’m out of sync. And I guess that’s exactly what has happened. I’ve fallen out of sync with myself and it seems to manifest itself in my sleeping patterns.
In the past, I have ignored this blaring clue that something’s not quite right and blazed forward. Persevered with the hustle of life, pushed my body and mind to unbelievable limits and then wondered why I’ve crashed. Wondered why I’ve got to a point where I can’t focus. To a point where I can barely string a sentence together. To a point where my mind has clearly told me ‘enough is enough’, STOP.
And so it does, on its own accord.
It totally shuts down.
Just like a fuel gauge on a car – it flashes to warn you to re-fuel and if you ignore that warning, the car will splutter to a standstill.
That’s exactly what happens to me.
Of course, I don’t see it will this much lucidity at the time.
It feels confusing, almost an annoyance, a disruption to my life.
I have cried tears of frustration because I have hardly slept a wink and tears of frustration that I can still feel so tired after 10 hours of sleep.
A lack of quality sleep can have a real knock-on effect.
You may find you have less tolerance for noise or with people.
It’s a chore to concentrate at work.
You reach for sugar-laden foods to give you an energy boost.
Caffeine becomes your new best friend.
Bruises appear on your arms and legs because you’ve become a little clumsy.
Your glands may swell up.
Headaches become more frequent and last longer.
Making decisions is tough.
Impulsive decisions are made.
Arguments are borne out of nothing.
Crying comes easily.
Exercise feels impossible.
Over time, I have learned to heed these warnings. Knowing that if I fail to do so, there’s worse to come.
Failing to listen to my body’s signs leads to more pain, more heartache and more disruption.
And so I adjust my sails in accordance with the wind.
Well, I try to.
I make changes.
It’s the simple things really. The small, obvious things which are all perfect common sense unless, like me, you’ve filled your day with so much chatter, you fail to see them anymore.
Things such as making sure you take breaks throughout the day, having a bedtime routine which might include a warm bath, a book, an Ovaltine.
Going to bed at similar times each night.
Switching off from work/social media/smartphones a good few hours before bed.
Making sure you’re not drinking caffeine after 2pm, eating foods which won’t give you a sugar hit late in the day.
Ensuring your bedroom is the right temperature, as dark as possible with few electronic devices.
Are you comfortable in what you’re wearing to bed?
Is there something on your mind which might be causing you to worry?
Perhaps there’s something you need to do which is playing on your mind and you just need to write it down.
What are your sleep tips? What measures do you put in place to help you get enough zzz’s?