We tend to put so much pressure on ourselves that cortisol is often released in situations in which our lives are not actually threatened. Sitting through a challenging work meeting, leaving a credit card at the grocery store, or simply not having the time to do everything in your planner can all trigger the release of cortisol. Ultimately, an excess of this hormone (a common ailment among modern folks) makes it really difficult to fall asleep at night, adding to the list of reasons you just can’t seem to get enough shut-eye.
Ever felt yourself peacefully drifting off, only to have the most embarrassing moment of the day flash before your tired eyes? Or tried in vain to fall asleep but couldn’t seem to get tomorrow’s to-do list out of your head? How about replaying the same conversation over and over again, thinking about all the things you should have said? This, LIV fam, is called mental noise, and it can keep you up for hours, torturing you with all the “woulda couldas shouldas” of the last 24 hours. Mental noise is another aspect of modern life that can keep us awake. We spend all day thinking critically and analyzing all our options and can’t seem to stop when it’s time to go to sleep--making for later and later bedtimes.
A Culture of Exhaustion
In a society in which dark under-eye circles are badges of honor, it’s easy to see why so many of us have a hard time getting to bed at a reasonable hour. Our culture rewards those who put work ahead of their personal needs-- we see them as ambitious and self-sacrificing, good workers and upstanding citizens. But there may be a fatal flaw with this logic: sleeplessness and fatigue decrease our productivity significantly, making the exhausted overachiever less of an asset in the workplace than a well-rested employee.
Moreover, those who prioritize work over self-care tend to burn out quickly and lose their motivation after years of sleep deprivation. No matter how much caffeine you drink, how well you eat, or how good you are at ignoring exhaustion, you cannot outrun your biological need for sleep. Eventually, it catches up with all of us