Trouble Sleeping During Lockdown?
Some of us are no strangers to sleep deprivation but often when we have experience of it, with new borns for example, we know the reward of this loved and longed for human is going to be worth it.
Not so now. In the strange new Corona virus world many of us are experiencing sleeplessness with no reward or even a viable explanation.
Can be that the Corona virus is having such an impact?
The answer is yes and no. The situation in which we find ourselves has changed the thoughts and feelings have probably always been there. They have just been kept at bay by our often frantic modern lives.
The virus has probably woken many of us up to our mortality. An inconvenient truth that our conscious mind manages to, fortunately, keep hidden from us most of the time. Freud believed that we live in a constant state of denial of this fact. We keep it at bay by a series of distractions. How often have you said to yourself I have to be at that meeting, drop off the children, help at that charity event or do something to further my career? We are story telling creatures, constantly in dialog with ourselves, creating the story of our lives. But what happens when someone or something unceremoniously closes the book mid-sentence?
We are left with the reality of our existence - the weight of it.
But, even in lockdown during the day we can distract ourselves (Netflix has really come into its own), until we go to bed! That is the point when unbidden, all the remnants of the unresolved issues that we managed to keep at bay during the day make an entrance as the main character.
What to do.
1. Don’t keep trying to push these thoughts and feelings aside. Maybe make time in the day to make a list of what keeps you wake at night.
2. Share or speak to a trusted friend. We process information differently when we hear it out loud. Speaking often stops the thoughts going around and around in our heads and gives them somewhere to land.
3. If you don’t or can’t talk to someone, (many of us feel this way in our modern over sharing world). Write it down. A little thoughts book or mind map can really effective if you find that journals create more stress. In those three o’clock in the morning moments, that prove you are truly wake in the world (not necessarily a bad thing) you can jot down thoughts and delegate to the page anything that’s worrying you. These thoughts, challenged by the often more rational daytime self, can be better managed and put to one side or sorted if necessary when you are awake.
4. Some people believe that thoughts cause emotions, some feel it’s the other way around. The truth is it’s probably both. Give yourself time to sit quietly and explore these thoughts during the day. That way they are far less likely to be able to ambush you at night.
5. Distract yourself. Listen to a book or an interesting podcast. The likelihood is this will distract you and you will gently fall asleep. If not at least you will have learnt something.
6. Don’t expect too much of yourself. Many of us are stressed and working harder than ever before, some of us are experiencing the opposite.
Acceptance is key.
In the words of Victor Frankie "When we are no longer able to change a situation we are challenged to change ourselves."
Adapt to our new normal, maybe a disturbed night with vivid dreams is your new normal.
Just go with it.
By Jane Barnfield Jukes, founder of The Practice