In my previous blog, I talked a bit about sleep.

This week, it’s all about wakefulness.

Looking at the above image, where are you right now as far as wakefulness?

When we wake and sleep are controlled by neurotransmitters in our brains.  It’s a very complicated process with many factors.  Which can make it a challenge for those of us in EMS/HEMS.  If you are anything like me, you are not willing to give up this career to have a great circadian rhythm!  

With this idea of not wanting to give up the job, we have learn how to manage the physical sensation of fatigue, the emotional feelings of exhaustion, tiredness, and all the drama that goes with an irregular schedule and shift work.  This was a completely new “concept” for me to wrap my brain around when I got my first life coach.  I thought she was crazy, I mean, what in the hell “did she know” about my job.  

I have had to learn how to adapt a sleep & wake routine that fit with my HEMS life.  Once I started to figure out how to do this, my weight really started to change.  Yes, a part of my initial weight loss was due to food changes I made, but my attitude, mindset, overall wellbeing changed because of the work I did around sleeping & waking.

Here are some of the things I have learned along the way.  If you like them and want to try them, cool and if you don’t, that’s cool too.  Trust me, I won’t lose any sleep over it.  LOL.

  • Get up when the alarm goes off.  Stop hitting the snooze button for 35 min.  Either set it later to give yourself more restful sleep or really get up when it goes off.  There is a term for snooze-button-hitters…drockling.    Try this 90 min snooze hack….set two alarms.  Set one alarm for the time you must get up and the other one 90 min BEFORE that.  The theory is, that when the first alarm goes off, you shut it off and go back to sleep for 90ish min, which is enough time to allow for one final sleep cycle and you will feel less tired when you wake up, vs waking up in the middle of a sleep cycle.  
  • Planning…here I go again with all the planning chatter.  The more decisions you can make ahead of time with your pre-frontal cortex the better.  Listen, you don’t want your primitive brain running the program (aka your life).  If you want to get up in the morning and go for a walk or go work out, set out your clothes the night before.  Pack your work bag and food the night before.  Even though planning takes time, it will save you so much time on the other side and you will have to make less decisions in the moment.
  • Drink water right when you get up…even before coffee.  Dehydration causes fatigue.  Make sure you stay hydrated throughout  the day.  
  • Caffeine, but a limited amount and only during a short window.  Caffeine blocks the accumulation of adenosine, which causes sleep pressure.  If you want to get that vital restorative sleep, you can’t be chugging caffeine around the clock.    
  • Let the light in.  Sunlight stops the production of melatonin and resets the  circadian rhythm.  
  • Do some gentle stretching…don’t freak out and think I’m suggesting a full on yoga-flow…the reason why this is good is, because (you may not know this) your body is paralyzed during REM sleep.  Only your eyes move.  Fascinating, I know.
  • Get outside and get some sunlight & fresh air on your beautiful face.  Sunlight increases serotonin production, which is a mood boosting hormone!  Even a 10 min walk is beneficial.  
  • A cardio workout is also a great way to boost your energy and you will sleep better!  
  • Make your bed, I know this sounds silly, but this is something I personally worked on for an entire YEAR.  I never made my bed when I was a kid and that carried with me until my mid 40’s!  Most days I don’t feel like making the bed, but I do it anyways because I discovered that I love getting into a made bed MORE than I like not making it.  Making your bed gets you up, moving, and stretching.
  • Crank the tunes.  Pop in your AirPods and listen to up beat music.  My latest favs are Courage by P!NK, Good as Hell by Lizzo, The Git UP by Blanco Brown (my kids HATE that I listen to this song, but, it makes me want to sing and dance!), and Somewhere I Belong by LINKIN PARK.
  • Conversation is another way to shake off feeling drowsy. Nothing gets people more fired up than chatting about something they are passionate about!
  • Your mindset is also important here.  If you are constantly thinking and telling everyone around you how “tired” you are…guess what my friend?  You’re gonna feel TIRED.  And you won’t have any energy. You think this is just semantics, it’s not.  Your thoughts create how you feel. Here are a few thoughts that might get ya goin…”Today is gonna be FUN”, “I love taking care of people”, “I’m looking forward to ___ today”.

Try a few of these things out, see if they can help you wake up and be more alert. Or don’t. Totally up to you!  Again, it’s not gonna keep me up if you don’t.  😉

Talk soon!

xo.  Valerie

PS. We are nearing the end of a century.  Let’s start making this the century you lose the weight for good.  Click the button below to send me a DM on Facebook.

PPS. Are you in my closed FB group?  Come join, it will be fun! 

Catch the replay of a FB Live I did on Wakefulness!