In today’s world of go, go, go many have difficulty creating consistent schedules that were once common place. It is no longer the norm for every day to look the same. This is especially true for entrepreneurs who get up early to work, eat lunch and sometimes dinner at their desks, and stay up late to tie up all those loose ends they didn’t manage to get to during the day. Although, burning the candle at both ends may give you a few more hours in your waking day, it doesn’t necessarily make those hours more productive and will often lead to burnout!
Burnout isn’t a disorder, it is the result of prolonged stress on the body and it can feel much like depression. Lack of sleep and prolonged stress can drain a body’s hormonal system causing adrenal fatigue as the body’s adrenaline runs out. As their body runs out of juice, some may find themselves looking to caffeine, sugar and other stimulants to carry them through the day. They may also find themselves making simple errors, snapping at someone for no reason, and experiencing a lack of appetite. Then there is always the increased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes!
This all may sound a bit extreme, I mean we sleep pretty well…right? You may be surprised what you find if you track your sleep patterns for a few weeks. Maybe you are in the group of people who gets the recommended 7.5 to 8 hours a night or maybe you are that person who believes you function great on 5 to 6 hours and don’t think this applies to you! How much sleep one person needs does vary compared to another, but research shows that those who get less than 7 hours of sleep have a more difficult time maintaining concentration and regulating their moods.
As therapists it is important that we keep this in mind for both ourselves and our clients! Massage therapy is an amazing profession, but it can be stressful on both our minds and bodies. Our job is to help care for others, which means we have to take good care of ourselves so we are physically and mentally equipped to do our jobs well. We also need to lead by example.
In many ways being able to recognize the effects of sleep deprivation and stress is the same as understanding the signs of inflammation, chronic fatigue, or skin cancer. It may be outside of our license to diagnose such conditions, but we can pay attention and suggest a visit to a primary physician or provide clients with resources to learn more about topics that may benefit them.
Sleep is designed to give our bodies time to recoup and heal from the stress of the day, both physically and mentally, a reprieve we all need and deserve.
If you are interested in tracking your sleep that are numerous fitness bands that you can wear that will do just that! Just Google “sleep tracker” to see some of the options!