I’m wondering in this period of worry, anxiety, and fear because of the pandemic, because of how the world is turning out to be in terms of the economy, how has it affected sleep with a lot of the people that you’re coaching?
Naturally, when everyone’s a little bit anxious, it’s a really challenging time. Anxiety is the thing that affects sleep more than any of the sleep hygiene. When people are anxious our bodies are just primed not to sleep because we’ve got to remember and go back again to when we used to be prey at night, we’d sleep in that slightly anxious state, and realizing that the mind all of a sudden, be something that invades our camp and tries to either kill us or eat us.
And really when you’re going to sleep, the only thing that matters is the present. This present moment is a gift to you – the ability to sleep. Wipe that slate clean and start again the next day. I’ve been working with some of our clients saying, look, we need to experiment what’s going to work to reduce anxiety about time.
We’ve looked at real relaxation techniques, breathing exercises. Some people journaling their mind out onto a piece of paper, works really well because it just almost clears that brain of concerns. It allows them to articulate them on a piece of paper. And that allows them to switch off more.
It’s nice just looking as well, as the people are in these conversations and bombarding themselves with all the social media around the pandemic right before they go to sleep. Really not a good idea because ultimately all those inputs and negative worry calls in, doesn’t matter that you’re not right there or suffering, because our bodies are not really aligned to understand that danger isn’t right there.
So it’s kind of like when they did studies on the, you know, the Boston marathon bombing, what we found is people who watch six hours of news on that, as it got reported around the world. They reported high levels of PTSD and anxiety. Then people who were there because your body can’t understand that that fright is 6,000 miles up where when you keep watching it, you actually start to feel it’s here.
Your body can’t process that it’s not a threat to you. It starts to feel like a threat and when it starts to feel like a threat, you start to be anxious, and it’s just about getting the understanding that what we consume really affects us. We’re not designed to watch and look at constant feeds of negativity because our brains have that negative bias. Negativity sticks to our brains like velcro because back in the day, the caveman walked out of his cave, lying on one side, pretty flowers on the other.
So we’ve evolved to be like, there’s something going to be on the other side of that door and at best of both ways and I’ll be running. And because of that, We’ve got more negativity that sticks to us, positivity just slips off our brain. But we can practice and start to realize that what we put in, the media that you consume is effectively the food you eat for your mind.
And if you’re going to eat all that kind of food, that’s, you know, a lot sugary, that’s going to spike your blood sugar. Just think about it. What you consume in your mind is going to spike your mind sugar, and that’s going to put you really, really alert and then drop you into a pit of despair very, very quickly.
We all know what it feels like when you’ve eaten too much pudding and all of a sudden feel really awful about half an hour afterwards.