The Seduction Of A Warm Bed

My brain shifts from a world of dreams to wakefulness. It’s completely black outside my eyelids; I can tell without opening either of them’ Knowing I’m on my left side, it would require more than opening them quickly to see the time on the clock. It would require a 180 degree change of direction, and the energy to do that and then opening my eyes to see whatever the time is will make the escaping possibility of returning to sleep impossible.

The warmth of the comforter and the radiating heat from my body at rest makes the lure of remaining in status quo most desirable. However, with the brain now engaged, thoughts of the day ahead mixed with the events of the night before, sleep is slipping fast. As the time can’t be known for sure without breaking the darkness, I roll over and look to see the time; 4:50 a.m. Ten minutes to make the transition to full consciousness complete with covers thrown off, feet on the floor and the body upright instead of reclined.

I have found a contrast in how my body responds both to periods of employment and unemployment. When employed as is the case now, my routine is usually to start writing a blog at 5:00a.m., surf the net at 5:45a.m., shower at 6:00a.m. and out the door at 6:30a.m. for the 1 hour drive to work. That schedule gives me 1/2 hour of ‘me’ time at work before I officially start at 8:00a.m, or is useful in the event of detours, accidents, unforeseen delays of some manner.

At times in my life when I was unemployed, my brain must have had less of a reason to prompt the body to rise, for I remember waking up closer to 8:00 on a regular basis. I haven’t slept until 8:00a.m. for at least 15 years – not even on a weekend or day off.

Should you  be currently unemployed, do you find by chance that while your body may be at rest in bed, in what otherwise might be an entirely blissful existence, your brain in full consciousness can disrupt that harmonious state? You know, your thoughts unprompted turn within seconds to what you know you should do but probably won’t to look for work and so the second thing that arrives are feelings of guilt leading to lower self-esteem? And you’ve only been awake for 15 seconds? And it’s early in the morning when you’ve got every right to be slumbering and dozing; time which should be yours to enjoy guilt-free?

Worry and stress can do this to a person. You can find your sleeping patterns thrown off significantly if you are waking up way too early, and then without any real reason for staying awake, turning to sleep during the day to slip back into a deep guiltless sleep where their conscious thought gets turned off, and the stress of unemployment is lost for a time.

Of course sleep mid-afternoon or even prolonged periods of inaction can throw a routine of solid, deep sleep in which you get energy for the entire day ahead out the window. And therefore you might experience night after night of fitful sleeping; then taking a bath at 2:30a.m. to try to soothe your body to sleep, or pills to chemically shut down the brain, alcohol to dull clear thought and sleep.

Problem is that pills, booze – even the bath provide short-term solutions and you soon return to wakefulness and the stress of unemployment, now coupled of course with the guilt of turning to these things to try to escape.

It is routine that can possible help you combat the lack of quality sleep, lessen the guilt of unemployment and give you cause to feel good again about yourself. Working people do have routine; they get up at a set time, shower, dress, eat, pack lunches, do dishes, make beds, listen to the news and get out the door.

So if you are unemployed, you can wake at a set time, shower, dress, eat, do your dishes, make the bed so you don’t fall back in it, get your take on the news. Then you can get out the door if your day demands it, or you can scour the internet for jobs, update your resume, get your references, go to a computer class, check your email. If indeed job searching is a full-time job, don’t do this job in your pyjamas. Treat your job search like your full-time job and tackle it head on.

Maybe put on some lively music just as you step into the shower so as you exit, you’ve got something to keep you moving. No sad songs mind about losing some boy or girl, regretting the one you lost. Dare I suggest it, even disco at 7:00a.m. would be preferably so your mind is active, not starting the day mournfully singing a hurting song.

Scheduling your day before it dawns is a good strategy so your brain upon waking switches to what’s on the menu for the day instead of guilt over another day of the unknown and open calendar.

If you engage yourself, make the job search a project as one of my peers suggests, you’ll find at day’s end your brain has been occupied and the little grey cells firing. Then you’ll find perhaps that the seduction of a warm bed and guilt-free sleep is blissfully anticipated indeed.






Facing The Prospect Of A Very Long Day

As I start writing, it’s 4:43 a.m. but I woke up at 2:12 a.m. and have been awake ever since. Up until now I’ve made a hot cup of tea, watched an episode of, ‘Silk’ (British court drama series), and tried unsuccessfully to return to bed at 4:00 a.m. It’s the beginning of a very long day ahead.

So what could sharing this possibly do in any way to help you with respect to getting a job or performing well at the one you’ve got? In a word; plenty.

Generally speaking I’m the kind of person whose head hits the pillow and within two minutes is well on the way to full REM sleep. It’s a wonderful gift that I am very thankful for. And most nights, I’m sleeping soundly until the hour of 5 a.m. When you head to bed just after 10 p.m., well there’s my seven hours. Today though, it’s down to just over four.

You too will have days like this. You’ll wake up at some point maybe worrying about something about to happen; an interview, the big presentation, the prospect of meeting someone new either personally or professionally, giving a speech. Or like me, maybe you can’t quite determine exactly anything specifically that’s on your mind. It doesn’t really matter because reason or not, you’re wide awake.

And when you face the prospect of having to get up – oops, we’re already up – and get to work and put in a productive seven, eight or more hours, the prospect isn’t attractive. So you’ve got options; 1) call in sick when you’re just in need of some sleep. 2) take a sleeping pill or other sleep medication 3) distract your mind with some numbing television or a book you can delve into 4) pace about, sleep fitfully on the couch, get up, lie down and get more agitated, 5) repeatedly ask your spouse if they are awake until they actually are so you have someone to commiserate with your sleeplessness. I don’t recommend number 5; it doesn’t end well.

Now for me personally, calling in ill is rarely an option except when I am deathly ill. Being tired and up half the night doesn’t qualify; and that perfect attendance record I’m shooting for is still intact this late in September. There’s not a prize you understand, it’s just my own standard.

The sleep medication? Oh it might help me drift off to lullaby land, but boy would I find it hard to rise and shine with a spring in my step. The worry over then sleeping in and being rushed or late wouldn’t be a healthy relaxing combination. And driving to work for an hour feeling drugged and groggy isn’t appealing. Your welcome fellow drivers.

Oh and I did try the television show. Not a bad episode at all, but I was actually into it, and it didn’t do much therefore to numb me to sleep. I even tried returning to bed but lying there for a prolonged time usually only results in getting a headache; know thyself and avoid a second problem if possible.

No the solution that really works best is in this person’s opinion is to look ahead at your day. If nothing is on your calendar, do your best to keep your visibility low. After all, despite your little bursts of creative energy, it’s likely you won’t be at your very best. And as the day wears on, you might even find the last few hours of the day to be even more challenging. Although you yourself might not be entirely objective, others might observe behaviour or comments that isn’t in keeping with your usual performance.

By way of example, you may be irritable, quick to dismiss others comments, look strained, yawn, withdraw, be subdued, drink more caffeine-laced drinks like coffee or a Coke. Even your pace around the office might be slower as the day wears on, and you might be short with people on the phone.

If this kind of thing doesn’t happen often and is quite rare, you might even have the kind of job where you can walk in, announce you’ve had a rough night of it, and apologize in advance for not pulling your weight this one day. It might be more of a day to stay out of the limelight and do some background work. On the other hand, you might have the kind of job where for safety reasons, you owe it to your co-workers to step out at some point; say operating heavy machinery when you’re feeling groggy. Not a good combination.

But maybe you feel the pressure to excel and can’t get out of doing anything less than your very best. Could be you’re on probation at work and can’t call in ill and don’t want to make it appear this is a regular thing. Be self-aware as much as you can than throughout your day. Watch your words, bite your tongue, hold off on major decisions 24 hours so you’re clearer of mind.

Some cold water on your wrists actually gets the blood going and a splash on the face might help too. Some folks bring an alarm to work and head out to the car at noon for 30 minutes of sleep to come back more refreshed. Power naps.

Whatever you decide on, remember this day. When you find a fellow employee is having a day in the future you’re experiencing now, give them some slack if you can.

Losing Sleep Over Your Job Search?

Being out of work is both mentally and physically draining. That a job search is exhausting is hard to understand for some who have never been out of work. And it’s normal during a job search to find your sleeping patterns altered significantly.

Some who are unemployed find themselves lying in bed awake for long periods of time, tossing and turning, seemingly unable to turn off their conscious thought. “How am I going to pay the bills?”, “What if I don’ find a job soon?”, “How am I going to put the kids through College or University?” and other questions like these seem to flow in and out without end. If only the nagging questions would stop, you could drift off peacefully into sleep. Going to bed becomes something a person doesn’t look forward to, forecasting in advance that it’s going to be a rough and long night. And it turns out they are right.

And it’s not surprising then that some people seem tired all the time during a job search, or take short naps in the day time. If friends or family call in the day to check in, they may find themselves talking to a groggy person who’s just woke up from a 11:00 a.m. nap, and get the wrong idea that the job searcher is goofing off or lazy. They may just be mentally exhausted and trying to give their body the rest they need whenever they can take it.

It’s a good idea to set up an appointment with your family Doctor at this point and ensure first of all that there isn’t something going undetected that is affecting your health. That being ruled out or put down to your unemployment and the stress of a job search, seeing someone to deal with your mental anguish and the ongoing pressure you’re under is also good advice. After all, you’ve addressed your physical health, so turn to your mental health and make sure you address that.

One of the things employment provides is routine. When you need to arise in order to be at work, accounting for time to shave, shower, dress, drive etc. Then your arrival home dictates when dinner is to be put together, and when you need to get up the following morning dictates the time you should hit the pillow at night so you get enough sleep. But without employment, that need to get up at a certain time is gone. The brain doesn’t receive the same instructions or feel the need for a disciplined structure, so things relax and the structure is gone. So you stay up a little longer during the week, and the result is you end up rising a little later in the day.

Bursts of mental energy come at unexpected times, and some unemployed person might be found dusting and vacuuming at 3:00 a.m. because they can’t sleep and feel they might as well get at it. And if not doing housework, a person may be found sitting under the illumination of a table lamp reading their book entirely engrossed in it at 2:00 a.m. only to be found on the couch 12 hours later at 2:00 p.m.

Being able to drift off quickly into sleep and reap the benefits of a deep sleep is not only a blessing, but it’s great for the mind and body because this is when the body is healing itself. There’s little to no exertion on the body and mind and the healing is more focused. Eating right, (and by right I mean balanced meals with nutritious foods) is a good way to make sure your body continues to get the energy it needs when energy is called upon.

And speaking of foods, those unemployed may be observed by others to either gain or lose weight during their unemployment. Again this is largely attributed to a change in routine, being too near the fridge too often with less physical exertion. There’s no running for the bus, train, cab or meetings. On the other hand, there may be less money for things and healthy food gets reduced because processed foods are cheaper.

Getting enough sleep is part of a good job search routine. If you don’t get enough sleep, although you may be able to appear energetic for short periods like interviews, a lack of sleep will betray you with things like bags under your eyes, sagging posture, yawns that can’t be stifled. And you don’t want a yawn because of sleep deprivation to be misinterpreted as disinterest in the middle of an interview!

Are sleeping pills a good idea to ensure a good nights sleep. Well again, consulting with your Doctor is best advised. Pills aren’t generally recommended as a regular strategy to get sleep. But the odd one here and there might be good for you if sleep comes no other way. This would certainly be better for you than consuming excessive amounts of alcohol or using narcotics to pass out and forget the world for a period.

Different people find different things help them sleep. While some read in bed and get drowsy, others refrain from reading in bed as they’ll get into a book and be there for hours. What helps you sleep is good to find out so you give yourself a good chance at a good nights sleep.

Here’s hoping you sleep soundly and wake refreshed.

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!