Getting Enough Sleep During Your Job Search?

One of the nicest things I’m personally able to do is to lie down at night, put my head on the pillow, and within 1 – 3 minutes, be out completely and heading quickly into deep REM sleep. I’m hitting the sack between 10:00p.m. and 10:30p.m. almost without fail, and waking up around 5:00a.m. consistently. During that 6.5 or 7 hours, I can honestly say that most nights the duration is spent asleep.

Not everyone has that experience, and some might go to bed around the same time, but then lay there wide awake for an hour or more until falling into a fitful sleep and then waking up in the morning much later and find it harder to get going despite having actually been in the physical bed much longer.

When job searching, sleep is vitally important for a number of reasons. I was reminded of this just yesterday afternoon when a Doctor who specializes in sleeping disorders was on the radio being interviewed by the host about the benefits of sleep and how to get more of it. Interestingly, the Doctor was extolling the virtues of a regular sleeping routine, rather than say a varied schedule where you go to bed when you are tired, and thus are going to bed anytime from 9:30p.m. to 1:00a.m. depending on your energy level. This kind of erratic behaviour apparently messes with the bodies internal clock which is trying to establish regular patterns of producing and conserving energy.

One suggestion made was to set a time each evening to turn off electronic devices such as I-Pads, tablets, cell phones, as these kinds of devices actually gear us up mentally, stimulating brain cell activity and to go from something mentally stimulating to complete shutdown is too much for many people to do successfully.

As you job search, there is of course a sizeable mental anguish and strain that can make you feel tired more often, and at times in the day when you would otherwise be active and full of energy. This is the process whereby the body is attempting to normalize the amount of sleep that the person requires, and is attempting to get it when it can. If you are one of the fortunate people who can power nap for say 15 minutes and wake up refreshed, a nap might be time well spent; not time well wasted. The alternative to grabbing a quick 15 minutes of shutdown may be that yes you are awake, but you are not functioning anywhere near your best, and this lethargic behaviour goes on for an hour or more, with symptoms of yawning, walking and moving slower, propping your head up with your hands, but accomplishing very little.

When you are getting enough sleep, you’ll have more energy when you do wake up, but it may take time to ‘train your brain’ to relax and de-process. When I hit the pillow, I feel my whole head sink into the pillow, and the weight of supporting it on my shoulders during the day is released. A breath or two exhaling the day, and a few more seconds relaxing my arms, my stomach, my legs….and I’m gone. My wife who doesn’t have this gift, gets playfully annoyed with me because she usually has a harder time drifting off. She’s constantly amazed how I can night after night just go in, lay down and fall asleep.

Of course when you wake up, what you do with your hours awake is up to you. As for me, I typically wake up around 5:00a.m. whether it’s the weekend or a weekday. I usually spend at least the first hour with a set routine of making a nice cup of tea to warm the throat and vocal chords, and then look out in the soft light of the morning on the yard to see the birds, check the weather, and then browse my favourites on the internet. Around 6:00a.m it’s a shower and get dressed, and on a workday it’s out the door at 6:30a.m. But that’s my routine. What’s your morning look like?

When I was unemployed in the past, keeping to a routine got harder and without some discipline, I’d stay up later and watch movies, or in my younger days play video games. After all, if I didn’t have to go to work the next day, what’s the problem right? However, like mentioned earlier, that haphazard sleeping pattern would result in waking up with either not enough sleep, or waking up later than I’d wanted to feeling less rested.

Jobs give us routine, and if you’ve lost your job, you probably have also lost much of your past routines, and going to bed and waking up at what was your usual time, may also have changed. Getting back to whatever was normal for you can help you in ways you wouldn’t think, like returning some energy, toughening your mental resolve and helping you fight depression and anxiety.

So get some sleep; job searching takes a lot of energy and you’ll need it. All the very best!

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