I read this article the other day called, “Sleep Wellness, Digital Detox and Mindfulness.” It was from WELCOA, a trusted wellness resource in the corporate wellness industry. I learned quite a bit from it so thought I would share a few of the important pieces from it.
Here ye’! Here ye’! (Not really sure why, but felt the urge to say that.)
Lack of quality sleep is a HUGE problem in America and the newest factor to play into this poor quality is America’s collective infatuation (nice way of saying “addiction”) with smart digital wireless devices. And get this, the worst part is the hyper vigilance of social networking, video gaming and non-stop tweets or texts. It is rewiring our brain for stress right before bed when our brain really just wants to relax!
I am sure most of you know, but sleep disorders are often associated with obesity, type 2 diabetes, cancer, and several other chronic diseases. I hear from people all the time trying to lose weight saying they do everything right with physical activity and nutrition. Unfortunately, there are SO MANY MORE factors than those two when it comes to your health. And sleep is one of those factors!
This article mentioned that on average people check emails up to 37 times per HOUR. Yikes! And this doesn’t include text messages. We are over stimulated, my friends! Some people feel the urge to respond immediately to emails, even feeling guilty if they don’t. The terms “techno-stress”, “email stress”, and “screen addiction” were thrown around a little. And after reading these stats, I agree. In general, we have a screen addiction problem in America!
We can blame the brain for this one. 😉 The receipt of emails and tweets is accompanied by the release of Dopamine, the feel good neurotransmitter. This is the same neurotransmitter associated with chemical addictions, or any addiction for that matter.
Keeping the stats going, fewer than half of employees nationwide leave their desk or workstation during their lunch hour. These peeps probably think they are being more productive, but this is really leading to higher stress and fatigue.
The article ended with a blurb about meditation and how it is the VERY thing that we all need to do on a regular basis to counteract these negative effects. Meditation (and it comes in many forms) improves sleep quality, decreases Cortisol levels, decreases chronic pain, increases immune function, decreases blood pressure, increases mental acuity, and improves overall mental well-being.
Damn Sam! You know if that were a pill EVERY SINGLE person would be taking it.
I thought this was a really great statement so am copying it word for word. “Remember, it is the ego that trips the fight or flight response. Mindfulness helps deactivate this switch to non-threatening times.”
I wish corporate wellness programs offered more training and instruction on meditation and mindfulness in the workplace, but we aren’t quite there yet. We still focus a little too much on nutrition and exercise. Everyone gets that eating an apple is better than apple pie and taking a walk is better than sitting on the couch. Hopefully soon we will all move to the more complex. Like meditation and improving sleep!
If you have never considered meditation, I highly encourage you to look into it just a tad. Even deep breathing for 5 minutes in the morning while laying in your bed is better than nothing! You will train that sweet, beautiful brain of yours to stay calm in times of stress. I like to switch things up whether it is a moving meditation (walking outdoors on a lunch break or a little morning yoga), guided meditation on CD, or simply deep breathing followed by a little journaling.
The cool thing about meditation is there is no right or wrong way to do it. And starting is the hardest part! Try it without judgment and see where your mindfulness journey takes you. It just might be magical!