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“I’m too wired to sleep”

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Advice Q & A with Victoria Kasunic

Happiness Psychologist

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The Q

I have a stressful job with lots of expectations on me. I’m performing well but find that I just can’t switch off at night. My mind keeps running through all the conversations I had that day which makes it really difficult to get to sleep. After I do finally fall asleep I toss and turn during the night and wake up feeling shattered. Please help!

The A

Sleep is critical. We need it in order to stay healthy and happy.

Ideally, we need to get at least 7 hours of sleep a day. When we work in a high stress, mentally-challenging job, our brain and body can get overwhelmed by the chemicals that are released. This makes it difficult to switch off. Our systems go into overdrive and have a fight or flight response, even when there is no danger or threat.

Here are five things you can do to encourage a good night’s sleep:

  • Firstly you need to disconnect from technology a few hours before bed and do something relaxing and non-work related.
  • Going for a walk or to the gym after work can help you de-stress and doing something like this creates a transition to a more relaxed evening before bed.
  • Meditating can also help you empty your mind of thoughts and allow you to drop off to a peaceful sleep.
  • Writing in a journal is also great for emptying your mind before bed and ensures you capture all those ideas and thoughts so your mind can let go of work.
  • Cutting out caffeine and sugar can also help and introducing some stress busters during the day – like getting out of the office at lunch or for a walk along the block will also help.

Do you have a question you would like to ask Happiness Psychologist Victoria Kasunic? Ask your question here.

What are your tips for getting a good night’s sleep?

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Advice Q & A with Victoria Kasunic. Ask Victoria a question.

Victoria Kasunic is a psychologist and happiness expert, who regularly consults to print media and television. Victoria's mission is to impact you to be "Be Who You Are, No Matter What" and she draws on over 11 years of client experience to do so. She helps you take your life from blah blah to ooh la la, from black and white to full colour, from ho-hum to spectacular.

Website: http://www.victoriakasunic.com

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  • This is a great site, and a great question.
    And your answers Victoria are excellent. It is a common problem not being able to switch off at night – trouble is lack of sleep is associated with worsening anxiety issues, and even depression.
    Here are a couple more tips you might find useful:
    1. Have a look at any medications you are on. Some of them have side effects that are associated with sleep – in fact any side effect that is likely to cause you more stress than you are actually encountering – nerviness, sexual dysfunction, depression, anxiety, restlessness, there is a long list – and a significant number of medications that effect sleep.
    2. Have you got a food intolerance or allergy? There are over 50 food additives, colourings and chemicals that are associated with a range of sleep issues from difficulty sleeping to the jumps (restless leg sydrome), sleep apnea symptoms, breathing difficulties, sleep walking and talking, even bedwetting – again, anther long list of associations with sleep.
    3. Yep, exercise… I recommend the morning – getting sun – so that the bright sun inhibits melatonin, wakes you up and sets your circadian rhythm for the day. Even a walk is fine… the most important thing is that you DO it, and if that means making it easy (but at least 40 mins 4 times a week, please) – then that’s fine. No need to punish yourself! This will also help anxiety and depression issues – and give your body something to be tired about at the end of the day.

    • Great tips Shannon and Victoria! I’ve been a bit of an insomniac all my life. These tips are a good reminder- I’m going to try give them a go. I’m really sensitive to caffine and I find if I have a coffee after midday it really affects my ability to get to sleep.

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