Coping with the changes of COVID-19 and operating in this new normal is a triggering time and it's no surprise that dealing with these changes can be stressful. You may find your days filled with home schooling, a reduced income, fear of being in public, feeling like you've been robbed of your freedom, and as a result, this stress could be having significant effect on your energy levels.
Are you sleeping more than ever?
Are you exhausted during the day?
If you're experiencing this, read on to understand what could be the root cause of your energy drain and the steps you can take to help build up the energy you need to thrive beyond 3pm.
We've kept a close eye on our partner and sleep expert, Olivia Arezzolo who provides the scientific explanation here that explains the stages your body goes through when experiencing stress and how moving through these stages has significant impact on your sleep and energy levels.
Olivia explains that when we utilise cortisol along with adrenaline to cope with challenging situations, it's what we initially draw on to get us through the tough times. You know that feeling when it's crunch time at work? Or when you're playing sport? You see nothing but the task at hand, or the finish line and solider through. Some of us may have found ourselves in this stage at the start of the COVID-19 and therefore have used stress and adrenaline release to get through this change. Since then, some of us have moved to the next stage of stress. We are either continuing to be triggered with stressful experiencing, or dealing with moments of high stress/ high dosses of cortisol release that is taxing our bodies to the point of exhaustion. It's too much. Going back to the original analogy it's like playing your sporting match ongoing with no rest, or a daily deadline at work with no time to complete the task at hand. The body and system cannot cope. The way you may be seeing this ongoing stress could be through sleeping excessively or feeling exhausted during the day.
So where to from here?
Now that we have some understanding on why you may be feeling exhausted (as there may be other factors that play at hand i.e. nutrition absorption or leaky gut to name a few) let's focus our attention on how we can minimise stress through sleep to become more balanced. Our aim is to have a balance of this cortisol release and the 'rest and restore' phase. This happens at night and why it's so important that we get quality sleep as that's when our body kicks into rest and restore phase to repair, process, digest and prepare you for the next day.
To see Olivia's sleep tips, review the article attached above. What we have listed below are three tactical tips that you can consider implementing tonight!
1. Honour the last hour. Before going to bed switch off any stimulating devices. The blue light that gets poured out from your screens i.e. TV, phones and computers distrust your sleep cycle and your ability to get the quality sleep you need to rest and restore at night.
Your task: What's one step you can take to removing one of these stimulating devices? How soon can you implement this?
2. Create a new bedtime routine. This will help trigger your body to start relax and restore mode once you start your routine. Your body will notice the signals that you're winding down for the night. Your routine could consist of a few of the below:
Putting PJ's on an hour before bed time
Setting your alarm for the next day
Then switching off all devices
Rubbing lavender oil on the bottom of your feet (this works wonders!)
Reading fiction (nonfiction that re-stimulate the mind)
Your task: what could you do tonight?
3. Reduce stimulating substances. Stimulating substances include chilli, coffee and alcohol. Could you consider limiting consumption of these later in the day? Here is a guideline on when you could consider refraining from consuming these items before bed:
Coffee 3-7 hours prior
Wine 4 hours prior
Chilli 3 hours prior
Your task: Do a little prep for the day to prevent these items being part of your night time routine and if you wish to consume them, could you plan to do so earlier in the day?
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