How to slow down so you can sleep well

We regularly fine-tune racing cars yet think we can run fast without any negative consequences for our sleep.

First published on CEOWorld Magazine on 26 March 2019.

“Sleep is the cornerstone of a healthy lifestyle. On a day to day basis, how well and how long we slept the night before is the single most important variable dictating how we feel,” says Dr David White, Chief Medical Officer, Philips Sleep & Respiratory Care.

A maximised lifestyle is good and bad

In our desire to maximise time we cram every minute of our day with activity. We listen to a podcast while we drive to work or while we exercise. Compared with 12 years ago, when the iPhone was first introduced, we have access to so many opportunities to learn and be connected wherever we are. There are HUGE benefits for the busy person to be checking emails early, on the walking machine, while they listen to their favourite playlist or the latest book summary on Blinkist.

The downside of the smartphone age is that we rarely allow ourselves to let down from activity. Once we had to make a deliberate decision to buy the CD’s to listen in the car. Further back, it was the cassettes for the Walkman. Now, many of us become restless if we have nothing to do while we wait for a plane or in traffic or are out for a walk.

We have become so used to running fast, all the time, we struggle to sit still. We need that adrenaline pumping through our body to feel energised and on our game. We want to be like a high-performance racing car running at full speed. Yet, we forget that those cars spend a LOT of time in the workshop (a lot of downtime) getting tuned and serviced.

Time to reflect

Making time to reflect is a necessary way to help the brain to slow down and relax from the millions of messages we receive every day. It is important for brain health and for healthy sleep. While we sleep, our brain processes many of the events and details of the day. If there is no time for a little daydreaming during the day or evening, we are putting added pressure on our brain while we are trying to sleep. It is one reason insomnia is such a common problem. A report in the Australian Journal of Pharmacy (AJP March, 2018) indicates that more than 50% of Australians struggle with lack of sleep mostly due to illness, stress and technology.

Click here to read the full article including the 5 things we can all do to slow down.

INTEGRATE: Why Work Life Balance is a Myth | John Drury

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