Self Care

Self Care – Sleep

There are lots of ways we can look after ourselves and these rest upon 3 core foundations. Sleep, Nutrition, Exercise.

Core Foundation 2: Sleep

Whilst it’s not known exactly what function sleep serves1 it may include: restoration, memory consolidation, cleaning, energy conservation or all of these.

What is known is the impact of sleep deprivation on us including reduced function of the immune system, accidents, cognitive decline, decline in academic performance, poor concentration2, irritability, lack of energy, and more.

Circadian rhythm

This is simply the cycle of sleep and waking in humans, is controlled by the brain (hypothalamus) and impacted by light and darkness. It is also important to keep regular sleep patterns and to wake up at the same time each day.

Circadian rhythm can be disrupted by travel, shift-work, spontaneous parties, all night study sessions, reduced sunlight hours in winter, & mental illness which may cause us to sleep longer or shorter.

How to get rid of stress

Most of us try to avoid distress at all times however despite our best efforts, distress just keeps showing up. There will always be stressors in our life, if we are aware of the stressors we can avoid them or we can learn to cope better with them. It is not in our best interest to avoid stressors in all cases. For example it would be good to avoid falling into a frozen lake and there are very few (if any) reasons to deliberately fall into that lake. On the other hand we might find social events (dating) stressful and if we avoid or opt-out of these situations we can make it worse in future as it is likely we will seek intimate relationships at some stage. The more we avoid these difficult situations or stressors the harder it is to cope with them when they inevitably arise.

So it is important to recognise which stressors we could get rid of and which ones we want to learn to cope better with. Remember that what may be stressful to one person may not be stressful to another.