Every person has their own rhythm; sleep, energy, hormonal cycles, digestion, that greatly influences performance. Most writers I know write in the wee hours of morning or late at night when all is quiet and there are no interruptions, many athletes prefer to train in the morning. Some people are full of energy in the evenings and some in the mornings. Daily life schedule is usually fixed, no matter how our rhythms look, and this can sometimes become an enormous stressor.
Many people experience sleeping-problems; they can’t fall asleep in the evening, wake up at strange times, are tired upon waking in the morning… Often it is related to their specific sleep-patterns or rhythms. The same goes for our “daily cycles”; our energy moves in waves and at certain times during the day we have “dips” when we feel tired or un-focused. Over time this can lead to tension and stress.
Most people aren’t even aware of their own patterns, they fight a loosing battle trying to fit into a schedule of work, over time getting depleted and stressed. By learning our patterns or rhythms, we can enhance our performance by time-management and scheduling. So how do we learn our patterns?
Keep a diary for 1-4 weeks where you note your findings:
- Sleep: When do you get tired in the evening? When do you feel comfortable getting up? How many hours do you need to sleep?
- “Dips”: Pay attention to when this happens during the day and how often. Note the time.
- Digestion: How do you feel comfortable with eating? What time? How many times? How much? How long does it take you to digest?
- Hormones (more obvious for women): Menstrual cycles; how do they affect your performance?
After a certain amount of time, you will notice a pattern in your diary; this would be your basic energy-rhythm. By knowing your pattern you can also fit it with the life you are living. You need to teach yourself to function optimally.
Balance your sleep:
- Energetic in the evenings, tired in the morning? Do something; take a walk or exercise, prepare for the next day so morning flows easy (get your clothes out, clean the kitchen, pack your bag). Then go to bed. Keep your room dark and cool. Maybe a calming tea or a bath will help.
- Tired in the evenings, energetic in the morning? Get to bed earlier and get up earlier. Do your exercise in the morning, your daily preparation as well.
- Waking up in the night at the same hour? When this is caused by stress it is usually very negative; worry, angst, a sense of doom and extremely black thoughts. Then stress-management is a must. If it is “only” waking up it could be that you have left your deep sleep and moved into dream time. Stay relaxed, breath deeply and stay with your dream. Research shows that to remember a dream, we need to wake up after it and stay awake 1-3 minutes, whis means that we wake up many times during the night without being aware of it, usually we just fall asleep again.
- When you constantly feel exhausted after a nights sleep there is usually stress involved; your brain is not resting and you probably have problems accessing your deep sleep state. Stress-management is needed.
- Heavy or large meals, alcohol, sugars and black/green tea/ coffee in the evening will influence your sleep negatively.
“Dips”: When you have found the rhythm, use the “dip-time” for de-stress by taking a break, a few minutes is usually enough: Drink water (not coffee), move around a bit, do some deep breathing. A friend of mine goes running or walking in the stairs… whatever suits you. Just move!
- When do you need your main meal? Morning, noon, afternoon? This is different for everybody.
- How do you react on what you eat? Maybe you need to change your eating habits? The body needs more time to digest a heavy meal such as steak, pasta, greasy food. If you feel heavy and tired after eating, chances are that you are eating the wrong stuff. Always move after meals; take a walk.
- How often do you need sustenance such as a fruit? (NOT sugary stuff)
Ladies, we are NOT slaves under our hormones!!!
- PMS: irritation, anger? Get fish-oil capsules. Use breathing techniques, balancing essential oils, exercise.
We are made for physical movement; to optimize our performance we need to move many times during the day. This will balance hormones, sleep, digestion, mental clarity and moods. MOVE MOVE MOVE!!!