WHAT DOES SLEEP REALLY HAVE TO DO WITH HOW WE FEEL
Most people can probably identify with the concept that when we don’t get enough sleep we can be «moody» or «in a bad mood». Seeing how busy our lives our, it’s quite a common phenomena that we don’t sleep enough. For me, sleep is often the first thing I compromise on when I just have too much to fit into twenty-four hours, even though I know it will have consequences.
A few days ago I was reminded of this. I had a very tough week, which led to short nights and quite intense waking hours. By the end of the week I felt quite depleted, I really hadn’t been taking such good care of myself. My wake-up moment was one fine day. It was a day of being surrounded by colleagues and people I work with, that I normally get along with very well and who I know appreciate me. But this day everything felt different. I had the impression and was convinced that everyone was upset or annoyed with me, that I must have done something wrong or that they magically didn’t like me anymore. I realize that this might sound a bit childish but this is exactly what was going on in my head.
Being very aware of how I felt, I recognized that I was exhausted, drained and definitely not at my best. I accepted and understood my feelings and also recognized that there wasn’t any reason for EVERYONE else to be against me or to have changed their minds about me that day. This is when it dawned on me that there might very well be a correlation between my lack of sleep, feeling exhausted and my impressions about the people around me.
Research has also shown that there is a specific phase in our sleep that helps us to regulate our emotions. When we don’t get enough sleep we miss out on this phase and our emotions can go a little haywire. So yes, how much we sleep may impact how we feel. I now try to get enough sleep so that I am not hyper-sensitive and overwhelmed with unpleasant feelings unnecessarily. And when I don’t manage to get enough rest, then at least I realize it and am able to understand what is going on, and consequently to act in a more constructive way.
It’s an interesting experiment to do. Observe yourself and see how much sleep you need and how you might feel differently when you don’t get enough sleep.
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