Are you feeling mentally fatigued by life in general on a daily basis? This may not necessarily have anything to do with any physical exertion but your mental response to the current events.
When we are faced with a stressful situation our body is flooded with cortisol. Cortisol aims to increase alertness, increasing our heart rate and increasing the energy available so that we can fight, run or play dead to perceived threat. When managing constant uncertainty the cortisol level remains elevated. As a result, we can eventually become exhausted as a natural consequence. High levels cortisol is likely to impact have on slow wave (deep) sleep which is responsible for feeling refreshed and energetic. Persistent lack of sleep is associated with obesity, Alzheimers, depression poor immunity, cardiovascular diseases, occupational and road traffic accidents.
Sleep is our natural reset button, it is a vital function for our endocrine, immune and metabolic system. Essentially sleep mostly benefits our brain. The aim of this article is to provide some tips of how to improve your sleep. Help you review your bedtime routine, sleep and waking habits for a couple of weeks to help you implement effective change.
Aim to wake approximately the same time. This helps you to wake up refreshed because our body and brain start preparing to wake up approx 90 minutes before you actually do, so if you have a fixed wake up time the body and brain know when they are going to wake and can thus prepare accordingly.
Create a relaxing bedtime routine. Include disengaging from devices at approximately 45 mins before bed can prevent the brain from becoming overstimulated with new information and exposure to blue light (this triggers production of melatonin which makes us feel awake).
Following on from this, a ‘quiet mind’ to achieve good sleep. If your mind flooded with information this can prevent our mind from slowing down. If you struggle to fall asleep within a few mins of hitting the mattress then then do something to quieten the mind – read a book or listening to music, warm bath or a hot drink. There is no magic formula – find what works for you.
Avoid excessive alcohol as it can cause disturbed sleep for several reasons – it causes dehydration, it increases our body temperature as we work hard to burn off the additional calories, affects our ability to enter deep sleep and therefore we will not waken feeling refreshed the following day.
Avoid napping during the day if possible, but if you are going to nap, a 20- minute nap mid-afternoon will help boost your mental performance.
Support your natural circadian rhythm by getting daylight during the day, being productive and slowing down in the evening. Essentially, partaking in anything that relaxes in the evening to reduce the production of cortisol prior to bedtime. This may include meditating, yoga, reading, mindfulness or self hypnosis, try our free relaxation audio