The mojo magic of being well rested

Yeah, baby!

Well, I got lucky last night — No, not that kind of getting lucky…!

I lucked out because didn’t have to work late-late, after all. I “only” had to work till 8:30, not 10:00 p.m.  And that’s good.

As a result of my reprieve, I got to go to bed before 10:00 p.m., which was a huge bonus. I managed to invest a little time with my spouse (very important) before I went to sleep. We’ve been missing that, since I work late so often. And it doesn’t help things.

Last night was good. I headed off to bed around 9:30, then I sat and breathed slow and steady for about 10 minutes before I went to sleep. I did my progressive relaxation exercises after I sat and breathed, which helped me even more. What a miracle, to be able to relax. This is a new experience for me, after a lifetime of unrecognized and unresolved issues. I’ve been having a lot of pain lately — mostly in my legs and hips — but I managed to get to sleep anyway.

I woke up earlier than I wanted to — about 5:30 or so. It was technical okay, because it meant I’d gotten about 7 hours of sleep, which is more than I’ve gotten recently. But still… I got up and sat and breathed for a little bit, then I realized I was still really tired and I was starting to relax. So, I went back to bed. And I slept for another hour, which was much needed.

This morning when I did get up, I had a conference call first thing. But unlike other mornings when I’ve had to “jump on a call” right away, I wasn’t thrown off or rattled by the conversation, and it actually came really easily to me.

Because I was rested.

After the call, I had to run an errand, which I did — and I cut it short because I had another meeting to attend before long. I used my head and didn’t push things, and I had another good conversation. Now I’m having my lunch and getting ready for the next couple of meetings I have before my official work day is through. I’ve got a ton of stuff to do, it’s true, but being rested helps me think clearly enough to figure out what’s important and what can wait.

It also helps me plan for future days when I’ll be able to do the things I can’t handle today.

Sleep makes this all possible. Good sleep. Good rest. It gets my mojo back, which is just plain awesome.

It’s pretty remarkable, what a difference sleep makes, when your brain is a bit jumbled from tbi. Traumatic brain injury — including the “mild” type, which can really do a number on you, too — can make your brain much more susceptible to fatigue… which can lead to cognitive impairment and irritability… which can lead to a constant sense of restlessness… which can lead to increased agitation… and so on. It can turn into a massive vicious cycle that is wildly self-fulfilling. And if you don’t know about how important sleep is, and you don’t act like it is, and you don’t get enough good quality rest, then you can end up shooting yourself in the foot, time and time again.

Because the brain needs rest — especially a brain that’s been “alternatively rewired” by injury (or multiple injuries, like in my case). It needs rest to recuperate, to recharge, to incorporate all the lessons and learning from your waking hours. It needs to just chill. For real.

But do I listen? Usually, not. It feels so awesome to be up and about, running myself ragged, driving on “pure adrenaline”… it feels great in the moment\… I feel brilliant and wise and clever and happy. But eventually I crash, and I pay dearly for my excesses. And the idea of always running on adrenaline gets old pretty quick.

Which is something the red bull monster and drink people will never tell you. They only talk about the upswing, not the crash. But I know all about the crash.

And I know all about what makes it better — a good night’s sleep and the ability to go BACK to sleep, when I realize I’ve woken up too soon. That second part is the elusive one for me, but I’m learning. I’m learning…

It just takes practice.

Author: brokenbrilliant

I am a long-term multiple (mild) Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI or TBI) survivor who experienced assaults, falls, car accidents, sports-related injuries in the 1960s, '70s, '80s, and '90s. My last mild TBI was in 2004, but it was definitely the worst of the lot. I never received medical treatment for my injuries, some of which were sports injuries (and you have to get back in the game!), but I have been living very successfully with cognitive/behavioral (social, emotional, functional) symptoms and complications since I was a young kid. I’ve done it so well, in fact, that virtually nobody knows that I sustained those injuries… and the folks who do know, haven’t fully realized just how it’s impacted my life. It has impacted my life, however. In serious and debilitating ways. I’m coming out from behind the shields I’ve put up, in hopes of successfully addressing my own (invisible) challenges and helping others to see that sustaining a TBI is not the end of the world, and they can, in fact, live happy, fulfilled, productive lives in spite of it all.

11 thoughts on “The mojo magic of being well rested”

  1. #1 – Your boss is a slave driver if he expects early morning conference calls AND you have to be at the office until 10 many days! I hope there is a special circle of hell reserved for those narcissistic larks who schedule early conference calls because the timing works with *their* sleep rhythms – with the worst of the tortures heaped on those who insist on dreaded breakfast MEETINGS!

    #2 – My problem has always been the transition into sleep in the first place. Even as a kid, my busy ADD brain has always nattered me awake, sometimes for an hour or two, no matter what time I put myself to bed. Depending on life, sometimes it is with worry and anxiety, but other times it seems to be the state where my brain wants to come up with new ideas and relive fond memories.

    With DSPD, I had to jettison the insomnia advice to “get out of bed if you’re not asleep within 20-30 minutes and try again later” or I’d have ended up seriously sleep-deprived, and subsequently mis-dx’d narcoleptic lol. (I hope the “the only thing wrong is that you have poor sleep-hygiene” harpies get their own circle.)

    I’ve tried *everything* through the years, but now I fall asleep to a string of hour-long previously seen Hulu reruns (from the next room – sound only) or iTunes podcasts I’ve already heard – similar items that play one after the other to give my brain a competing focus no matter how long it takes me to drift off. I came up with that idea after my gang-mugging, when I needed something to keep every little sound from “alerting me to danger.” It worked well to drown out other sounds so I could sleep at all. I usually get up to go to the bathroom at least once in the night, but fortunately I seem to practically sleep walk that process.

    Once I got my pup I was no longer fearful of missing an alert I “needed,” but the habit worked so well I kept it up. I can also determine how long it took to fall asleep by reviewing the stack to find the last one I recall hearing (I don’t hear really anything once I’m asleep – a problem for deep sleepers everywhere because we can’t count on awakening to sound). I’m now sleeping before the first hour is up – and having something to pull me out of sleep at the other end seems to hasten my lengthy wake-up process as well.

    I tried more than a few of the “relax your toes/you are getting very sleepy” tapes, btw, but they all annoyed me greatly. All I could think of was how they were doing it wrong (for me, anyway), and what might work better. NOT helpful when the goal is falling asleep. 🙂

    The sleep-normal have no IDEA how fortunate they are – or how much they are risking destabilizing their chrono-rhythms by pushing their sleep boundaries.
    xx,
    mgh
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMore dot com)
    – ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder –
    “It takes a village to transform a world!”

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  2. Oh, actually, it’s 10 a.m. I have to be there by… not 10 p.m.(!) Thank heavens for that.

    One thing I do to “trick” my body into thinking it is ready to sleep is, I close my eyes and then simulate REM movement by my eyes — looking back and forth, up and down, all over, in jerky, sudden movements. After a few minutes, my body often thinks I’m in REM state, and relaxes. It sounds weird, but it works for me, most of the time.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. If I can jump in with a trick I use. I do the REM moving my eyes. I then try to visualise my favourite walk on a sunny day, or make up the surroundings (not a ‘mind palace’, but a place I would like to exist) and I ‘walk’ it in my head . I’ve never gotten to the end of the ‘walk’ awake.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I will give it a try in the future, no doubt. I was practically falling asleep at my desk when I hit the hay early this morning – I barely recall the process of falling asleep at all! (Would love to have that experience more often – without having to wait for exhaustion to put myself to bed!)
    xx,
    mgh

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Sometimes I lie in bed and imagine what it would feel like, if I were exhausted and couldn’t move. Sometimes that puts me right to sleep, because I can feel the exhaustion in every bone of my body.

    Liked by 1 person

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