It is tempting to get by on less sleep, fuel up on caffeine and get on with our lives. Unfortunately when we are sleep deprived we can think we are doing a better job at things than we are. It is not until we are well rested that we notice how different things feel.
We need to re-learn how to switch off our minds and allow them to peacefully rest. The truth is modern insomnia is not our faults but rather a consequence of the society we live in and our inability to switch off or focus.
Office workers are interrupted every three minutes, so at best we have a three-minute attention span, and 62% of us are addicted to email.
A recent study at the University of California calculated that we are bombarded with 34 gigabytes of information a day, including roughly 100,000 words (a figure that has more than doubled in the past 30 years).
Both of these quotes are pretty astounding even shocking, We need to learn to regain focus and calm the mind through focusing on one thing at a time and this will allow our minds to switch off and get some sleep. We are being interrupted so often by our blackberries, iPhones and constant streams of chatter the internet provides that we find it hard to get back to the task on hand. It is well known it takes about 10-15 minutes to get back to something after an interruption. If we could learn how to focus on one task at a time everything would be better. Our Food, Work, Friends, and Family to name a few. Here are a few ideas……
1. Exercise – Both Physical and Mental exercise can help focus, remember the calm state of mind after a long run or swim? Or ever notice how mind chatter stops during a stimulating movie or solving something.
2. Limit Internet Time - If you have a blackberry constantly alerting you set it to alert less often, check your e-mail once every hour or even less. Also try not to keep too many windows or tabs open at a time as this can be distracting & overwhelming.
3. Rest - Short naps can re-focus your mind, especially mid afternoon. Partaking in things you enjoy also count as rest like reading and other hobbies. Also look into forms of meditation.
4. Get outdoors - If you happen to work in a frantic environment make sure you spend your lunch breaks or any breaks you have in a less busy environment whether it be outdoors or a quiet coffee shop. Of course in the summer take lunch in the park or anywhere green.
5. Have a To Do list - This will help you know where you stand throughout the day and give a sense of accomplishment once you have done all the stuff listed. Do things one at a time.
Once you start practicing these things you will notice that the compulsion to be connected will slowly dissolve – you will probably find your sleep will improve as your mind is less shocked by not having a constant feed of stimuli. If you are still having trouble nodding off try some of these tips -
- We have heard it before but try to establish a regular sleeping pattern, although going to bed before midnight is preferable find what works for you. Just keep it regular.
- Stop watching TV before falling to sleep, read a book or magazine instead. The bright lights and noise of a TV trigger adrenaline and cortisol release.
- Cut out the late afternoon coffee and have your last caffeinated beverage at lunch time.
- When you wake up, get up don’t roll around in bed delaying it. This will help establish a regular wake up time.
Sleep is one of the great joys of life as is an idle mind. Don’t let modern technology and society rob you of good rest. Remember sleep deprivation was once used as a torture technique. Learn to focus and get good sleep back…..