Are you constantly feeling tired, but also feeling too wired and wound up to rest? You are not alone in this; in fact, I have been in a wired-tired cycle these past couple of months . . . it is draining to say the least!
Research suggests that people who are feeling “wired and tired” may be experiencing symptoms related to adrenal fatigue, insomnia, stress and anxiety, burnout and more. With the intensity of the world around us over these past couple of years, it is no wonder more and more people are feeling this way. In fact, just last week I had 3 clients in the clinic who described a version of these symptoms.
How other people describe the wired-tired feeling…
One client described the feeling as “I feel so tired, I can barely keep my eyes open, then when I go to bed, I feel so wired I can barely keep my eyes closed!”
Another client described “I am so tired I feel like I could sleep for a month, but my body is buzzing like I have had 6 shots of coffee.”
And another “I feel like I can’t think straight during the day at work, my memory is shot and my concentration and focus non-existent, then when I go to bed at night all the thoughts I should have been having during the day come flooding into my mind.”
What does it do to our body?
Prolonged exposure to stress (late nights up with kids, work pressures, emotional distress etc) has a profound impact on a part of our nervous system call the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) as well as our hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis (think hormones!). When our SNS is activated, this activates our fight or flight response, and our body begins to respond as though we are under threat. When our HPA axis is affected, this impacts our cortisol levels (stress hormone) and neurotransmitter balance (communication that keeps our system in balance). These stressors can result in that wired-tired feeling that profoundly impacts our sleep.
Tips for combating the wired-tired cycle
Here are some of the things that help me when I get into this cycle. I hope that within these suggestions, you might find something that supports you in getting back to deep, restorative sleep and finding more balanced energy day-to day!
Exercise helps balance our cortisol levels as well as improve feelings of anxiety and emotional distress. It can also help burn off that extra energy that contributes to the wired feeling. The type of exercise you engage in will be different for everyone, for me I balance heavy weightlifting and high intensity cardio with slow restorative yoga. On the weekends, I try and get out into nature for a hike.
- Bedtime Routine
Try and establish a bedtime routine, rather than just crashing out with the TV still on and your laptop open on your chest. Give yourself time to wind down toward sleep, turn off technology 1-2 hours before bedtime and do something gentle and calming. For me, this is the time of night where I will have the lights dimmed, perhaps light a candle, and do some drawing or read a book.
- Sound Therapy
In chats with many of my clients recently, they have said over and over how hard it is to meditate when they are feeling wired-tired. I totally get this, I also at times find it super hard to switch my mind off enough to focus on my breath. One of the things I find useful when I am feeling this way is to listen to a sound therapy track. Something that you can just gently zone out to, without having to follow any instructions.
Here are two of my favourite tracks from Insight Timer:
- Use a Still Point Inducer
This is a little CranioSacral Therapy self-treatment tool that can be used at home. It is designed to give a gentle squeeze to your nervous system (at your head) which helps to switch off the sympathetic nervous system response. I lie on mine for 10-15 minutes when I first get into bed, it helps to shift my body into rest mode.
- Weighted Blanket
When I am feeling wired-tired, one of my favourite things to do is lie under a big heavy blanket. Weighted blankets are a form of deep pressure therapy that supports your nervous system in calming. Used a lot in occupational therapy for children, in recent years the benefits for adults have become more widely known and the blankets more widely available!
In the past couple of months, I have upped my bodywork routine to have a weekly treatment. I have been alternating between CranioSacral Therapy and Massage. These gentle therapies help my nervous system to calm and experience deep rest, they also relieve any aches, pains and structural issues that might be revving my nervous system up.
I sincerely hope that some of these tips help you combat the wired-tired cycle. If you need any more info or support, please do not hesitate to reach out and chat to one of our therapists. BOOK A SESSION
In peace and health,