With the current circumstances, many of us find it difficult to sleep, to fall asleep or to stay sleep. Let’s talk about some of the effects of sleep deprivation.
When we lack in sleep, our brain cannot function correctly. Research shows that the emotional part of the brain (Amygdala) goes into overdrive, which lead us to feel our emotions more intensely. The connexion between the Amygdala and the Frontal Brain (the more rational part of our mind) is altered, which means that we cannot think clearly and we struggle to manage our emotions. Our impulse control is not as effective and we might become more irrational. As we start overthinking and worrying more, we will find it difficult to put our mind to rest and sleep.
Research has also shown that sleep deprivation - Even just an hour less - affects the way we feel and think, which consecutively will affect our stress level. As we are more irrational and emotional, we will perceive situations as more distressful. By waking up too early, we could deprive ourselves of the Rapid Eyes Movement (REM) phase, also known as the dream phase. This phase happens more at the end of our night and is directly linked to emotional processing and decoding. Consequently, we will find it more difficult to identify emotions and facial expressions.
If our brain cannot make sense of the world around us, it will become more guarded. unable to understand people and situation as well as usual, your brain will strive to protect you and prepare for danger to come... We might feel more on edge. Our outlook will become more negative. We will find it difficult to relax and therefore to sleep.
Vicious Circle. Less we sleep, More difficult it is to sleep!
Fortunately, there is a lot of things we can do to help ourselves to sleep... A good routine can make a massive difference.
1. Avoid or Reduce Caffeine - Caffeine affects your adenosine receptors which stops you from feeling tired.
2. Stay active through the day but relax a few hours before going to bed practicing activities that helps you to disconnect from any negative thoughts (relaxation, mindfulness, etc).
3. This also means NO WORK IN BED. Keep your bedroom free of clutter, stimulation and worries. A bedroom should only be for SLEEP or SEX!
4. Get off your phones and tablets a few hours before bedtime: your phone screen delays the release of melatonin (signal that it is night time)
5. Be mindful of your alcohol consumption: alcohol might sedate you but it doesn’t help you sleeping.
Be mindful of your daily routine. Sleep well 🙂🙏🏻