When Counting Sheep’s Not Working…
In times of great stress, sleep is often affected. Why? All of the things you’re worried about often make it hard to fall asleep – you can’t turn your brain off. And we all know who’s often thinking and planning as it is – yep, those Type As. And then, guess what? According to the National Sleep Foundation, once you’re not sleeping enough at night, your body will boost its levels of stress hormones. Turns out that it’s during deep sleep that your brain tells your body to stop producing stress hormones. If your body can’t get that message, then you’re setting yourself up for more bad sleep the next day. And now you’re caught up in a vicious cycle.
I’ll be honest – just typing that boosted my stress levels! It’s not like we try to sleep poorly when we’re under stress! Hmmm… maybe not entirely true. I know a few things that I could be doing to get better sleep, but I’m not doing them. Just like I know I should floss everyday, but where’s the fun in that?
Also, I have no trouble falling asleep – lately it’s like I’ve been hit with a sledgehammer as soon as I crawl into bed. I’m a pop-wide-awake-before-I-should kind of person. It’s those pesky stress hormones again – specifically cortisol. Once cortisol hits a certain level in your system, it’s almost impossible to stay asleep.
Leaning on the National Sleep Foundation again, I checked out their 9 Ways To Relax Before Bedtime. Many of them I knew, but now I have a mental note to try mainlining chamomile tea doing 20 or so squats right before bed. Seriously – check out the link. The squat thing just makes me laugh picturing both me and Scott squatting at the same time before we drift off. Surely it’s worth a try just for that visual! (I’ll let you know how it goes.)
Something really weird is going on too. I’ve always been one of those fetal position sleepers, but stress seems to be changing my sleep position. It’s really odd, but I keep waking up with my arm raised up, above my head. It’s like the teacher has called out a question and I’m going nuts because I know the answer. It’s rather disconcerting to wake and find that you are volunteering for something but you have no idea what it was or why you felt compelled to do so. One night I even woke with both arms over my head. That must have been the night they asked who wanted a salted rim on their margarita.
Check this out – I made Scott take a picture of what I’m talking about. Ignore the hideous angle – I look like my nostrils could house the Titanic! That aside, anyone else relate to this sleep position?