When Sleep Eludes us

Don’t you just hate it? 

The sheer notion, or talking out of personal experience, that sleep simply does not kick in after a long day at work or after a relaxing weekend with family and friends. Especially with Monday just around the corner, you want to feel fresh as a daisy to attack the week with zest and ticking off deadlines?

“Let’s call it a night, shall we?” resonates on a late Saturday evening/ early Sunday morning. Time has flown by like a F1 driver before hitting the checkered flag. Still rambling on about what a great dinner was created that evening at a local restaurant and all rounded off with a couple of drinks in a nearby pub. The weekends are all about unwinding, enjoy those hours away from Zoom, email, and that budget report to be delivered within a couple of days from the last day of our weekly, compulsory respite.

We want to sleep in.

We deserve it!

A story that is not uncommon in our lives. A recharge from our daily chores is a non-negotiable for the majority of modern day society. From my point of view, it all makes total sense. We are not slaves to the working rhythm. Office may demand hitting away 5 days a week on our key board, muting and unmuting our Zoom connection, and sharing screens when touching critical points during our weekly meetings.

But somehow, we feel we have done all that we can to unplug before a re-plug back into the business world is on schedule. We have planned taking the time to do the much-needed house chores, working out a bit, catching up on our television time and social media, and so forth. Why cook on Sunday? We have done our fair share this weekend, so feet up, click on your favourite app and go for that delicious Thai take-away. Just to max out on our relaxation time; we deserve it!

We regularly extend our Sunday feeling as much as we can. Just like tightly rolling up our bottle of toothpaste to get your money’s worth. Bed time has arrived, as what our digital alarm clock points out. Just a last browse through my social media browse or watching some more Netflix in the bed room; it’s all part of a way to take in those final seconds before we shut down the lights and lay our head to rest.

It is not uncommon to slowly flow into dreamland comes with some obstacles. And not on Sunday only; the consequent days and nights follow a similar trend.

We wrestle with the blankets to find the right position, getting up for yet another glass of water, or perhaps feeling that one’s bladder is playing tricks on me? Better do something than nothing so let’s see what the news delivers today.

Yet still, slumber does not kick in.

Don’t you just hate it? 

Did we relax too much during the weekend? Was that Saturday power nap of 1-2 hours perhaps a trigger? Was I not active enough to get that feeling of tiredness flowing deeper into my veins? 

An accumulation of sleepless moments has a massive impact on our body. While we believe, adding that weekend relaxation will give us that energy boost again to take on the week, it often can work counter-productive. The plan to schedule our weekends with late nights, sleep-in’s and binge-watching series (again, we deserve it!) are engrained in our conscious mind; this is what is going to make me relax.

Sleep does not work like that. 

Consciously, we make a distinction between weekdays and weekends, holiday and overtime which affects our sleep patterns. Subconsciously, our internal body clock simply does not make that distinction. It loves a bit of regularity. This invisible clock is as happy as it can be when your regular bowel movements work like clockwork. It does not hold up a weekly calendar saying it’s time to adjust the time schedule into a more switch-off mode.

Sleep is crucial. 

Sleep is no longer seen as a stand-alone time during our 24-hour cycles on our planet. The amount of quality sleep we receive on a daily basis is as important as eating healthy food. It falls under the same chapter as drinking enough water and move around. And in some cases, it becomes a necessity when hitting the thriving path.

Regular sleep is crucial. 

From head to toe, our circadian rhythms feed off the information our biological clock (the natural timing devices of any living organism). These cycles run naturally inside a 24-hour window before they start all over again. It is this internal process that regulates the sleep-awake state we encounter daily. Hormones rise and fall with this cycle. It is those messengers signalling when we’re on the verge to preparing going to bed. In it simplest form, it signals the hypothalamus that it is time to wake up. A part of the brain, the hypothalamus directly responds to light and dark signals.

We roughly tend to go through three main sleep changes – during infancy, adolescence and older age. But all these stages in our lives depend massively on the regularly of our sleep. It is not only the amount of hours of quality slumber, it is as important to build in regularity in your sleep pattern. Going to bed at the same time, 7 days a week for most of the time has been shown to increase health markers across many spectrums.

Modern society does not make it easier for us to get quality sleep. Let’s touch base when you just feel you can’t hit that quality amount of sleep you so desperately need.

I had a dream I was awake, and I woke up to find myself asleep. | Stan Laurel

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