Have you heard the phrase “Tired but wired”?
I hadn’t until I started feeling that way. Essentially due to health issues and/or the inability to sleep at night, we become chronically tired. At the same time, the excessive, ongoing stimulation & demands of life, makes us feel wired.
The fact that this is becoming “normal” is upsetting to say the least. The ongoing challenge is not just in the correction itself, but in its lasting effects which can have devastating consequences. So lets take a moment to see how it actually works.
People with chronic sleep struggles actually “seem” to be able to function on less and still feel energized during the day. Yet, under the surface they always feel tried, exhausted, empty and fatigued. The mindset is that I must be ok, I can still function, I will catch up tonight when I go to bed.
But what is really happening are the effects of hyper-arousal. (Which is commonly associated with Insomnia) – meaning racing brain waves, rapid heart rate, over heated and dysfunctional hormonal rhythm/balance – all of which, not surprising, feed back into creating challenges with sleep itself and feed into the “feeling energized” during the day.
This ongoing struggle of sleepiness & fatigue dragging us down, with hyper-arousal pushing us upwards – we become stretched beyond our capacity by these equally strong forces and get suck in a downward spiral. This quite often enforces the feelings of being stuck and the entire situation is linked to depression, not surprisingly.
This world we live in – the pace it exists keeps us in this constant tension of speeding to get everything done, then having to immediately shut down/off and try to rest. The rhythm of life is not longer present, there is no temperance, no balance. When our body gets stuck in this place, it can no longer regulate itself to correct this behaviour pattern.
So, how can we help ourselves? In reality it isn’t complicated, but it does take time, effort and consistency. Here are a few things to consider when you are ready to re-set.
Acknowledging the world we live in isn’t going to change – the addiction of activity and productivity and ongoing demands will remain, no matter what you may or may not do. Realizing that this is a cycle all on its own and is the pace in which the external world now exists, can help. Seeing that it is a flow of its own, expanding and contracting, may help you to find some space on your own.
We must also learn how to truly rest. We cannot rest if we don’t understand what it is. Rest isn’t recreation. Reading a novel, going to a movie, having dinner with friends etc., are all enjoyable and necessary, but it isn’t rest.
Resting is also different from inebriation from a variety of substances. While they may alter your consciousness in the short term, their benefits are quickly outweighed by the consequences and in fact just add to the problem.
True rest means that we have to slow down and actually stop. Yes, that is a foreign concept, but it is necessary. True rest is intentional and is the bridge to rest, sleep and true restoration. Examples are meditation, yoga, breathing exercises, a long luxurious bath – anything that slows the body and mind naturally. This isn’t about doing it “right” , it is about slowing down your body and mind. The natural by-product of this repeated behaviour, notice I said repeated, is that it helps to re-set your internal natural rhythm and disconnect you from the “Wired” hyper arousal state.
So give yourself some much needed rest. Have a nourishing meal, shut off the tv, put your phone on charge, dim the lights and go get some rest, the world will be there when you wake up tomorrow.