Staring at the ceiling will happen to most of us from time to time. Perhaps you are thinking on a presentation that looms, tax returns, issues with the children in school, the multitude of thoughts that can swirl around your head at night is endless. It is good to know that it is not only your mind that needs to relax but your body too. We mostly live our lives at a frenetic pace will goals and task on a never ending to-do list, so just how do you keep things in balance for a better nights sleep?
Many of us are experts at learning to live around clutter and all too often our bedrooms – out of view to unsuspecting visitors – becomes our sleep and storage area. Try to keep the bedroom, clutter-free. Open windows to refresh the room each day and regulate the temperature to the season. These simple steps will help to make your bedroom a relaxing space to gently lull you into a good sleep.
Let it Go
Sleep is essential to our well-being but stress can sometimes jeopardize our best intentions. Keeping a journal or blog can be one of the steps to reviewing the day and setting down thoughts that might otherwise keep us awake. It can be as detailed as you like, or perhaps you use it as a space to jot ideas, quotes and quick doodles. Just go ahead and let it go!
Our homes may be bursting with claimed to be necessary mod cons such as the dishwasher. With a growing majority of the population living in apartments, our kitchens are closer to the bedroom than ever. By paying attention to our breathing, we can learn to not focus on the ding of background noise and help our mind & body relax in preparation for sleep. A few deep breathes in through the nose and out through the mouth can be the beginning of a good nights sleep.
So when we take a few moments from our busy lives to tidy up, review the day and make time for mindful breathing, it will be time well spent for better sleep.
Becoming parents for the first time is a blissful and exhilarating experience. Yet no amount of planning can stop the inevitable confusion that comes with your new bundle of joy. The days of choosing names, cots and prams and amassing miniature dungarees are now a memory.
After the visits and flowers & balloons, there is no denying that you are in virgin territory – for want of a better term! This parenting thing has been done forever, so how hard can it be? Well the key word from the prior sentence is ‘forever’.
I’m Too Tired
As much as you are in love with the new heart beat in your house, there will be moments where you slump on the sofa or almost fall asleep in the shower; and ask yourself – can I do this? Of course you can because you are already doing it!
Fortunately we have a wealth of information that was not so readily available to our parents. Grip water really isn’t the answer to everything before a child can speak to say ‘No thank you’. Instead you will find yourself on Mumsnet to see what others have to say and within hours you will have a number of tabs open that discuss clenched fists and sneezing.
With the rapid developments & weekly milestones of your little one, life at home can seem anything but normal but this isthe new new. To adapt to the myriad of changes; physically, emotionally and mentally, make time for naps when your baby asleep.
This is not a competition of any kind and besides there are no finish lines for parents. Each step towards balance does not have to tip into chaos with acceptance that life with a new baby can be organized but doesn’t have to be controlled. Extending this view to you & your partner will take the pressure of expectation off both of you. The baby isn’t the only newbie and besides no two parenting experiences will ever be the alike.
There is a pick ‘n’ mix of information and no doubt an app for most concerns but you need to be wide awake to find them. Aside from grabbing quick naps, V-CAF is a nifty app to keep track of your most productive time of the day and give you alerts when you genuinely need to take a guilt-free break.
In the long-term taking care of yourself is the best way to beginning the intriguing journey of being Mum & Dad.
Part of taking the appropriate action to combat insomnia is to be able to identify if you suffer from it.
Some of the symptoms of insomnia include:
Difficulty getting to sleep
Waking up frequently when you do get to sleep
It is rare that you get deep quality sleep and wake up still feeling tired
Waking up early and not being able to get back to sleep
Degrading Quality of Life
Although people suffering from insomnia can function as “normal” throughout the day even though they feel tired, they may suffer from the following symptoms:
Lack of concentration
Some people, whilst trying to stay awake resort to consuming caffeine to stay alert and awake, not realizing that it may be compounding their lack of being able to sleep.
Just as there is rarely any-one cause of insomnia, there is no one cure-all to fix it. However, using a more holistic approach can yield great benefits for the sufferer.
These tips are just some of the strategies that you can use to help you overcome insomnia:
Avoid stimulants. Caffeine’s key effect is to keep us awake. Depending on our weight, age, gender and fitness it can stay in our bodies from between 3 to 8 hours. Avoid caffeine as much as possible.
Set a daily sleep routine. Go to bed and wake up at the same times daily to train yourself that these are times for sleeping.
Avoid sleeping during the day. Easier said than done when you haven’t had a good nights sleep, especially if you are trying to avoid caffeine. V-CAF is an Apple Watch app that alerts you subtly when you are most likely to fall asleep, helping you avoid needing to drink caffeine.
Exercise Regular exercise will help you to have deeper sleep. Just don’t exercise close to the times that you set for going to bed (don’t exercise less than four hours before you go to bed).
First changing your mindset and then changing your lifestyle can help you overcome insomnia in many cases.
Use the tips in this article together with any advice from your medical advisor to help structure a plan that will help you succeed.
Avoid stimulants such as caffeine.
Set a daily sleeping routine.
Don’t nod off during the day; use a tool like V-CAF
Do regular exercise
Hopefully you have a better understanding of how you can start to deal with insomnia.
Caffeine can work wonders when you settle down to work through a task, helping you to get the job done.
Feeling a bit groggy? Can’t think straight? Struggling to stay awake? Then have a cup of mud and you’re good to go; but are you really?
1,3,7 trimethylxanthine, or caffeine is a member of the methylated xanthines chemical family, which are toxic to the human body. In low doses they do little harm, but people have died taking higher doses.
The energy you have available to you at any given time is the energy you have available. It is common for people to believe that coffee and caffeine gives them energy, but not think about where that energy comes from.
Adenosine is a brain chemical that is widely known for causing drowsiness. It is produced in our brains as a by-product of ATP, the source of energy for all cells in the body.
As we go through the day, adenosine levels in the brain build up latching onto adenosine receptors within our neurons which then produce a concoction of proteins that suppress nerve cell activity and make us feel sleepy.
Caffeine does it’s magic by binding to the adenosine receptors in our brains without stimulating the release of the chemicals that suppress neuron activity, masking the fact that we are tired.
Scientists suggest that a little caffeine is not harmful, but too much can have negative side effects such as:
“In fact, over a three-year period, the Illinois Poison Center in Chicago counted more than 250 cases of medical complications that involved caffeine, 12% of which ended in hospitalization. The average age of the patients was 21, suggesting that young people are particularly prone to overindulging in caffeine. So be careful not to overdo it!”
Now to answer the, “how do you function without it?” part.
It depends. I personally have found that the many lifestyle changes that I’ve made over the years have helped tremendously. If your situation is due to an illness or deficiency seek qualified medical assistance.
As everyone is different I have listed the more general things that have worked for me, but the key here is to realize that there is no one cure for fatigue or tiredness and that you will have to find what combination works best for you.
Get more in tune with your body’s circadian rhythm, or body clock, and go to bed between 9pm and 10pm daily. Your body starts releasing melatonin around 9pm and if you are in bed around this time your deepest sleep should occur naturally around 2am.
Do more daily exercise. It doesn’t have to be anything strenuous and could be an extra 25 to 30 minute walk every day. Exercise helps you to achieve deeper sleep, and the effects on your energy are almost immediate.
Take short breaks when working before you start to feel tired. Most people don’t realize how tired they are until their productivity starts to fall off. V-CAF is an Apple Watch app that subtly notifies you when you are tired so that you can take the necessary measures to get back on track.
Avoid caffeine and drink lots of water. The most direct of all the tips listed here. As I’ve outlined, caffeine hides your tiredness from you. Tiredness is natural and by knowing when you are tired you can take measures to take back control of your life.
So that’s how I do it. By reducing my caffeine intake (I still eat chocolate from time to time), and being more active, as well as going to bed at a set time most days, I’m actually doing better than when I was drinking coffee to get through the day.
Here are the takeaways:
Listen to your body clock. Get to bed between 9pm and 10pm.
Go for more long walks (25 to 30 minutes every day should help).
Give yourself micro breaks when working and feeling tired (use V-CAF to notify you when you are tired).
Reduce, or even better, cut out caffeine from your diet.
It is possible to be very productive without the use of caffeine.
Most people find it hard to believe, but it is possible. Maybe their caffeine dependency is clouding their perception of reality and they don’t realize it yet.
Why not try giving up caffeine for a while? What have you got to loose?
Anxiety is part of being human. It is a normal response to danger, whether perceived or real, and allows our bodies and minds to be prepared to flee or escape the cause of the danger.
Unfortunately there is a growing body of evidence that suggests that caffeine can trigger the same sort of response in some people.
The Link to Caffeine
Whilst there are many factors that may affect when and how anxiety is triggered, drinking caffeine and even trying to give up caffeine can increase the likelihood of experiencing anxiety.
Caffeine has been known to induce anxiety in people for so long that it even has its own disorder classification: Caffeine-induced anxiety disorder.
Also, take into account that many of the effects that caffeine has on your body are similar if not the same as consuming too much caffeine or caffeine withdrawal symptoms:
Difficulty falling asleep
Increased heart rate
If you are prone to anxiety attacks then the best advice seems to be to remove caffeine from your diet.
If you feel that you need caffeine to help you be alert, stay awake or help you manage your anxiety, try these tips:
Breath deeper, learn relaxation techniques and/or yoga and meditation.
Exercise can help lift your mood and over the longer-term increase your energy, helping you to feel more positive.
Tiredness can make you feel down and irritable (which doesn’t help if you’re trying to keep away from caffeine). Use a tiredness alarm such as V-CAF to let you know when you are most likely to be tired so that you can take action to wake yourself up.
Use a support network and talk with your medical advisor to gain insights into how to manage your anxiety.
When consumed in moderation, caffeine for many is a beneficial stimulant, but for an ever-growing amount of people it can trigger anxiety attacks, and it may be best, in my opinion, to stop using it.
To manage your anxiety whilst withdrawing from caffeine consumption:
Practice relaxation techniques
Exercise to lift your mood
Be aware of when you are tired using tools such as V-CAF so that you can act appropriately to avoid feeling down.
Speak to your medical advisor
You can guess knowing what I know now, I won’t be offering tea to someone who needs to calm down!
If you suffer from anxiety, knowing that you could be making things harder for yourself by consuming caffeine can be liberating. Take action and stop drinking caffeine today.
Okay, so what can one do? I found the following tips helpful, but the number one fix is to get more quality sleep and schedule your work priorities appropriately!
Take a break every 20 – 25 minutes Step away from your desk, go for a walk or talk to a colleague.
Work standing up if you have a desk that can raise then great. If not, work leaning on a cabinet or raised coffee bar
Use a gadget Set the alarm on your smart phone to alert you every so often, or if you have an Apple Watch use an app like V-CAF . It senses when you’re likely to fall asleep and alerts you automatically
Drink coffee or an energy drink Just be careful you don’t have too many and stay under the 400mg limit (or 3 to 4 cups of coffee per day)
Drink water By keeping your brain hydrated you help reduce the effects of tiredness and increase your ability to focus
Hopefully these tips will help you be more productive when you are feeling tired and have a tight deadline.
Make sure you have a short break every 20-25 minutes
Work standing up
Use gadgets and apps like V-CAF to alert you when you’re most likely to fall asleep.
Don’t drink too much coffee, but have some non the less
Drink water to help you focus
Be More Productive
Thank you for reading this article.
But what’s more important is that you take the steps to prioritize organizing your sleep patterns so that you get more qualitative sleep.
In the meantime I hope that you find my suggestions useful.