Are you tired but wired? It might be time to unplug…
Do you spend the day dreaming about that moment when you can go to bed and rest… perhaps occasionally sneaking in an afternoon nap or almost falling asleep face down in your dinner… then all of a sudden, despite your bone weary exhaustion when it’s finally time to go to bed, you’re wide awake, bright, alert and scrolling social media, checking e-mails, reading blogs, shopping online or binge watching your favourite TV show?
Then, before you know it… bingo, it’s really late! You have to be up at stupid o’clock for work, kids or some other activity in your overbooked schedule… so you spend the rest of the night tossing and turning worried about not getting enough sleep… crawling out of bed the next morning, exhausted, achy and bleary eyed, you vow to go to bed early that night as you reach for your first shot of coffee.
As the day passes, your exhaustion is kept under wraps and you’re propped up by coffee, sugar or carb heavy foods (like muffins, sandwiches or pasta) just to get through the day… creating a kind of ‘tired but wired’ zombie state of being.
Like worry, rumination and anxiety… being ‘tired but wired’ perpetuates and exacerbates that physiological state of hyperarousal leading to a continuum of either poor sleep, lack of sleep or full blown insomnia.
This interrupted sleep pattern is placing an enormous amount of stress on your poor little adrenals (which are already picking up the slack for your thyroid) interfering with cortisol secretion levels (which are supposed to ramp you up in the morning and calm you down at night) and further wreaking havoc on your already struggling hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis (increasing inflammation in the brain and elsewhere in your body).
So what can you do?
Unplugging… literally unplugging from overstimulating electronic distractions is a way to force a little short circuit into the ‘tired but wired’ cycle… without having to leave home, pay exorbitant professional fees and/or take supplements!
You may be freaking out at the mere thought of not having your iPhone glued to your hand… or hyperventilating at the idea of taking the TV out of your bedroom… or perhaps you’ve had to stop reading to put you head between your legs when you even contemplating shutting down your computer! LOL
Well, trust me when I tell you soul-sister, if this is you then then you’re exactly the gal who needs to unplug the most!
Before you launch into full-blown freak out mode… please know you don’t have to go cold turkey on all your stuff, all at once if you don’t want to.
Remember, my motto is keep it slow and simple… and here’s a few tips to get you moving.
IDENTIFY THE DEVICE: Phones, TV’s, computers, tablets, game consoles… there’s an abundance of devices in your life that may be keeping you ‘tired but wired’… just pick one. Addicted to nighttime TV from bed? iPhone glued to your hand? Laptop on your bedside table so you can work anytime? Just start with one and see how you go… remove the TV (or unplug it), turn off the iPhone and charge it in the kitchen, switch off that laptop and put it out of sight.
SET THE TIME: Decide on the time you’re going to unplug. While there is no ‘right time’, I recommend you unplug at least 1.5 hours before you want to be curled up asleep in your bed. So if you generally desire a 10pm lights out, you’ll be wanting to unplug no later than 8.30pm (but don’t be scared to do it even earlier!!). Like any new habit, committing to the daily practice (so you don’t have to think about it) and being consistent in your action of actually doing it (so it becomes automatic) is how you’ll see results. For this type of action, you’ll get the best out of it if you set a trigger like a daily alarm.
DON’T FREAK OUT: Often times the need for electronic distractions such as social media, e-mails, online shopping or binge watching TV is to distract you from an uncomfortable situation in your life you may not be ready to face… like a crumbling marriage, ailing parents or a deep sense of isolation and loneliness. So, if you find yourself all jittery and looking for an alternate ‘fix’… do your best to lean into it (try to meditate, stretch, walk (if safe) or read during your ‘unplugged’ time).
It’s not so much about what you do when you’re unplugged, but the act of unplugging itself that can bring a sense of quiet and restore a bit of calm… if you let it.
YOUR ACTION STEPS: ID your device… set the timer… turn it off (and try not to freak out!! LOL)
Let me know if unplugging helps calms things down for you…
“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a bit… including you”. Anon