insomnia / Mental Health

What It's Like To Work A Full-Time Job With Insomnia

. 6 min read . Written by Prerna Prakash
What It's Like To Work A Full-Time Job With Insomnia

Since I can remember, sleep has only been a fleeting companion to me. Often I cannot sleep until I hear the birds chirping outside, and by that time it is already time to head to work. Many people tend to ignore insomnia and other sleep disorders. But that should not be a problem! Sleeping less means more time to work, right? 

For a long time, I believed that my insomnia could help me save time and get more work done. Over time, however, I have learned that the lack of sleep catches up with you as time passes. Insomnia might help you keep your deadlines and give you more time at first, but will inevitably lead to lower brain function and physical exhaustion. 

Basic Building Block Of Life 

Do you ever leave your house and then suddenly realize your phone is running out of juice? The mad scramble to find a charger and an outlet are panic-inducing. 

The palpitation that accompanies a gadget low on battery is the same that comes with a lack of proper sleep. A good amount of sleep helps our body recharge, rejuvenate, and get ready for new ordeals. Not only does proper sleep recharge the body, but it also has a ton of health benefits. 

Insomnia is linked to a slew of mental and physical disorders.

Often, insomnia can make your existing mental health conditions worse! While sleeping has always been a task for me, I never thought to relate my deteriorating mental condition to the lack of sleep. The inability to concentrate, problems while stringing thoughts together, and a severe hit on memory—all these things are a part and parcel of poor sleep hygiene. 

Working With Dark Circles 

There are some ways I have tried to reign in the detrimental effects of insomnia, especially when it comes to working. We live in a society where our jobs are critical factors in our socio-economic benchmarks.

Working with insomnia, however, is an exhausting process. 

Many times while working after a night of tossing and turning, I keep staring at the same page on a google document or get a strong migraine while checking my emails. The poor mental and physical effects of a sleepless night translate into the quality of my work as well!

Burning the midnight oil is often linked to creativity and imagination. However, the truth is a little different. Staying up at night might help you in your creative process, but over time, it burns away your ability to think out of the box and produce original content!

If you are suffering from insomnia and are trying to make your work life a little more streamlined, here are a few things you can do to combat the effects of insomnia at the workplace!

Making A Schedule

Often, when we don’t sleep the required amount of time, or have an unrestful sleep, little tasks become overwhelming. Mood swings and indecision may lead to problems in managing our work. 

I have found that making a schedule, full of information like dates and time, can help immensely. These schedules lighten the load on your already tired brain. 

Lying Down In The Dark

Often when you’re dealing with insomnia, you give up on sleep entirely. However, staying upright at the desk through the night is not ideal. Not only will it hamper your body from resting, but it also takes a toll on your eyesight, mind, brain function, and patience. 

Lying down in the dark, away from gadgets and gizmos might not be the same as sleep but it is much better than staying alert and awake. Often, people suffering from insomnia cannot go to sleep, even after lying in the dark for a long time. That being said, closing your eyes, resting your body and brain, and consciously not thinking about stress factors emulates sleep and has beneficial effects. 

To-Do Lists 

Combating insomnia induced memory loss is a big problem. I often find myself forgetting little things like passwords. When you have something important to remember, your brain usually gives a higher percentage of importance to that fact. This leads to you forgetting about the little things that need to be done throughout the day.

To-Do lists are the smartest ways to make sure that insomnia does not disrupt your work and daily life. Invest in post-it notes. Put them up on your desk. If you have a meeting at 3, put a little sticky note on your laptop, to remind yourself. The bright colors often stimulate the brain as well. 

Exercise After Work

A lot of us are living sedentary lifestyles. Sitting at a desk all day and leaving only to go home and lounge is a big reason why insomnia is making its rounds in this generation. It is hard to find a work-life balance to get out of the vicious cycle of sitting at work, sitting at home, and sitting at all other times. Exercise also increases the production of your feel-good hormones!

With work-from-home in place, our inactivity has somehow become worse.

The commute part of our daily lives has been done away with as well! Make sure you get some exercise after work. This can tire your body out, which sometimes helps with better sleep. You do not need to indulge in heavy activity. Something as simple as walking or playing a sport can boost your sleep tendencies. 

No Sleeping Pills 

I have often thought about taking sleeping-pills, especially during really bad insomnia spells. However, sleeping pills are notorious for getting you hooked onto them. Because of easy availability and quick action, sleeping pills have become the go-to for the working generation. 

However, sleep medication can wreak havoc with your internal clock and body systems.

More often than not, sleep medication ends up exacerbating your insomnia rather than curing it. This also affects your work. Sleeping pills can leave you groggy and unable to concentrate. It can also ruin your chances of waking up early or going to sleep on time. Before trying sleeping pills, make sure you consult a doctor, talk about alternatives, and spend some time doing your research online!

Sleep Journal 

Sleeplessness can have multiple triggers, and we need to understand what they are. These triggers are different for different people. For some, the late-night cigarette could be the culprit, and for others, it could be the temperature of the room! Keeping a journal can help immensely with narrowing down these triggers, and in the long run, eliminating them.

Sleep journals do not have to be elaborate.

They are more about taking stock of your situation, noting down sleep habits, and exploring your environment. Things like stress manifest themselves in your last thought before you fall asleep. Nothing these down could potentially help you confronting your stressors and solving those problems. 

Work and insomnia are not the best of buddies, but that does not mean that they cannot work together. Your insomnia might be taking a toll on your work, but little choices you make in life can lead to a healthier approach to working while battling insomnia. 

Do not ignore insomnia.

It is a big problem for a huge chunk of society. While you should take small measures like restricting caffeine intake and keeping a healthy sleep schedule, do not be afraid of going to a doctor. Specialists can help you understand, quantify, and solve your sleep issues. 

All you need to do is log off, and take the first step to sleeping soundly!

Need to know more about insomnia? Learn everything you need to know about your sleepless nights here.

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