Exhaustion is one of those words that gets overused and devalued. It’s like calling something that is funny “hilarious”. Exhaustion, by definition, means completely spent. If you’ve ever experienced true exhaustion you know exactly what I mean. There is literally nothing left. It’s so much more than just tired. Exhaustion is equally mental, physical, and isn’t just a passing condition. As easy as the cycle is to slip into, it can be broken. If you’re experiencing true exhaustion – it is time to take your life back.
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The Exhaustion Cycle
In the Beginning…
It starts innocently enough. Maybe it is a late night out or a night staying up to watch Netflix. Whatever it is that starts the cycle the first step is not getting enough sleep. You loose one hour here, another hour there, and the next thing you know you are living on 4 or 5 hours of sleep a day. Sleep cycles are a funny thing, and once the get out of whack they can be difficult to correct.
Exhaustion Set In
All those lost hours of sleep add up, and take their toll on your body. Sleep doesn’t just affect your mood, it affects your performance. Tasks that are mindless when you are rested become insurmountable challenges when you’re not rested. Your work suffers, your relationships suffer, and your quality of life suffers. All of these challenges that used to be mundane cause stress levels to skyrocket.
Read: Diet Disaster: Lack of Sleep gives your Brain the “Munchies”
The Cycle Spins Out of Control
That stress from not being able to carry on in your everyday life like you used to keeps you from getting the rest that you absolutely need. Nothing will make your brain run at full speed instead of sleeping quite like stress will. So, in essence, exhaustion is the cause of those stress levels and the effect of them. That’s the cycle of exhaustion.
Breaking the Cycle
Plain and Simple – you NEED to Sleep
It’s that simple – you need to sleep. Sleep is how your body rebuilds itself, so if you’re not getting enough of it, your body runs at a reduced capacity. Sure, you may think you don’t need 8 hours of sleep, but your body disagrees. One key to getting better sleep is preparing for it. Again, I know that sounds simple, but just like you’d prepare to work out, you have to prep yourself to sleep.
One terrible habit I personally am guilty of is staring at my phone or tablet before I go to sleep. You know you’ve done it: got all ready to crawl in bed and go to sleep at a decent hour, and then spent an hour playing on Facebook. That hour could be the one that makes the difference. Just about every smartphone on the planet now has the “quiet hours function” that will a little tweaking allows you to set your phone down without having to worry about missing something important. Facebook isn’t important, it will be there in the morning.
Read: 4 Tips to Prepare Your Body for the Best Sleep You’ll Ever Get
Boundaries are the Key
I now it sounds kind of crazy as an adult to have a “bedtime” but it works. Your parents were on to something. Establishing boundaries that pertain to sleep is the ONLY way you’ll establish a normal sleep cycle. It doesn’t do you any good to say that you’ll go to bed at a certain time if you don’t stick to it. Pay attention to your boundaries that you set for yourself, and stick to them.