Does losing sleep equal losing focus?

I've struggled to keep on track over the last few weeks...I couldn't understand why. The only big change has been waking up at 3am and not getting back to sleep until about 5.30...ready for the alarm at 6.30.

So two questions....what do you do if you wake up in the night? And does lack of sleep stop you from keeping on track?

Any nuggets of magic appreciated.

Thank you😃

24 Replies

  • Morning! :)

    Yes definitely lack of sleep will have an affect on both your appetite and your focus. From your body's point of view, lack of sleep is a form of stress, so it will increase appetite in preparation of any energy that might be needed to deal with that stress (the body doesn't recognise the difference between the stress caused by worrying, or the stress caused by being chased by a bear ;) )

    Also you may have found you've had real hankerings for things you would normally be able to pass by ie: sugary carbs / starchy carbs etc, because these are 'instant energy' foods. Your body is asking for energy foods because it is tired and is trying to get an additional energy boost to keep you going for the whole day. These 'cravings' if you like will be hard to resist because your body kinda needs them.

    With regard to what do if you wake up, I can only suggest trying to find out why you are suddenly waking up in the middle of the night? Anything on your mind, worries, anxiousness anything like that? Any alcohol in the evenings? (this can cause you to wake up once the body metabolises the alcohol) Any medication you are taking that could be causing it?

    I can only suggest, grabbing a nap throughout the day if you have any opportunity to do so at all? That may help short term, while you try to determine what's causing you to wake up?

    Hope that helps :)

  • Hi Michelle, thank you so much for your reply. I am always amazed at the kindness and consideration of my forum buddies! I tried a nap when I came home tonight....I think I napped for a minute or two which I'm pleased about, I've generally given the heave ho to the wine. dont take medicine. Let's see if the nap works...thank you again.

  • Hi PP,

    I'm really sorry to hear you've lost your focus and your normal sleep pattern. To me, and I'm no expert, I'd say the two were linked.

    Does it all date back to your holiday? It sounds like your body clock got out of whack and now it's developed a nasty new pattern. I think you need to resynch.

    You need to retrain yourself back into normal rhythm:

    1) Establish a routine, ie set yourself a bedtime and stick to it

    2) Don't eat a big meal, drink caffeine, or exercise just before bed

    3) Turn off computer/tv etc 1 hour before sleeping

    4) Have a nice relaxing soak in the bath and listen to soothing music before bed

    5) Make sure your bedroom is the right temperature

    I hope this may help in some way, I'll keep my fingers crossed for you.

  • Moreless thank you so much for your reply. You're always so kind! I'm going to give your list a go for at least a week. See how I go. Thank you again😄

  • I agree the two are linked. I often end reading in the night because I can't sleep, I use to have milk and biscuits at the same time! Now I try to just make a cup of decaf tea. The point is that I seem to feel really hungry when I wake at night. I drink a lot more decaf tea now , but it is a really hard problem to solve.

  • Hi Summer, thank you for your reply. I've never tried de caf tea so I'll give it a go...been working very long weeks so perhaps had too much coffee!

  • So sorry to hear you're waking up. I read somewhere that sugary foods in the evening will wake you in the middle of the night - sudden energy release? Also, there's the classic 3.00 wake up cause - worry/depression? Can you get lots of fresh air, refocus on the healthy eating and lifestyle? If I wake up I go to the bathroom even if I don't think I need to - I'm tricking my brain into thinking that's why I woke up so problem sorted, go back to sleep!

  • Hi Ceri, thank you for your reply. Although I'm in a challenging job and work long hours I don't really think I suffer from stress, I do really think a lot when I wake up...and am too interested in my thoughts! Love the idea of tricking my brain into a job done so get back to sleep.

  • I used to have this and its definitely a type of insomnia. Its a vicious circle as when you wake up at 3am you're like oh no not again! Then stress levels rise and you're more awake. I suggest following moreless's advice - don't eat or drink anything too close to bedtime, e.g. Have a cutoff time at 8:30/9. Also, frontload the day a bit more, do more active things in the morning, heavier breakfast & lunch, lighter dinner. For when you wake up, try to stay relaxed and stay lying there with your eyes closed. Remember your sense of time can be distorted, it may not be as long as 2-3hours of wakefulness everytime, and in the meantime you're still resting even if not actually asleep. Eventually the pattern should sort itself out. If not, a short course of sleeping pills could help, but I never thought that felt like proper sleep. As with any challenge like this, try to use a healthy diet to fix it, rather than an unhealthy one. Treat yourself to low cal snacks, comforting soups and lots of lettuce with your evening meal (lettuce helps you sleep). Good luck PP, hope your focus comes back soon 😊

  • Hi Ruth, thank you for replying...I think I'd heard that lettuce was good for sleep....I think you're right about time being distorted. I couldn't really be awake for three hours just lying there. This forum is full of good ideas...I will get there. Thank you again 😄

  • The 3am wake up! Funny it's always 3am. I think lack of sleep is never good and for me it would make me feel sorry for myself and reward myself with something nice. When I first started the 12 week plan o was hungry at night and it definitely stopped me sleeping. So I now have a low calorie hot chocolate just before bed. I needed the extra calories.

  • Hi Florence, thank you for replying. I too have options before I go to bed. I think it helps me to go to sleep. That's working for me.

  • Hi PP lack of sleep can be a bit of a hindrance, I wake up most nights between 1 and 2 and get up and stay up till 4 or 5 in the morning. During this time that I am awake I plan the dinner and even season it and begin the packed lunches also I use this time to work out and do my strength training. I know it sounds a little crazy to cram so much in, but I have gotten used to it as it happens often. I do end up getting back to bed till around 6.30 and I feel refreshed. I still stay on track, but I suppose that's because I go to be at around 9 pm anyway.

    Hope you pattern returns to normal soon hun x

  • Hi Trafford, wow, not sure if I'd make it through the day if I did that! How on earth do you manage that...and do you nap?

  • I used to nap all the time before I began this journey, but not any more. It just seems to be a lifestyle I have become accustomed to. This is why I like routine and don't like it to be disrupted. I am up between 1 - 2 most nights of the week and don't return to be till 4 - 5, but if I get a workout in before I go back to bed I feel great when I get up and it seems to work for me. If I didn't get the little bit of extra sleep before half six then I don't think I would get through the day.

  • Morning PP

    Sorry to hear that you're struggling with your sleep pattern, I can sympathise as I understand what you're going through. I have tinnitus which means that a full night of undisturbed sleep is a rare occurance for me.

    Have you tried chamomile tea as your last drink in the evening before you go to bed? I have one that is chamomile and spearmint which also aids digestion after an evening meal. If you wake up could you try to play some quiet soothing music which will help to relax you. I have just ordered a pillow which includes a speaker and connects to a smart phone so that I don't have to wear uncomfortable earphones in bed, it hasn't arrived yet so I can't actually offer any recommendation on how good it is.

    If something is playing on your mind that is waking you up, you could try having a notepad and pencil at the side of the bed. Write down what is bothering you or what you need to remember for the morning, knowing that you have written it down will help to put it out of your mind.

    I hope that some of this advice will help you, lack of sleep seems to throw everything out of synch and I can understand that you feel like this is making you struggle to stay on track. I'm going to give you some of your own advice here, I've read many of your posts in the past where to help people that are struggling to stay on track you have advised 'post on here and reply to posts'. I know that you have been on holiday recently but since you returned I have also noticed that you haven't been as active on the forum. Hopefully reading posts and getting back to your supportive role of posting and replying to posts on a regular basis will help.

    Apologies for rambling on.

    Take care.

  • Mrs gee you are lovely. Thank you for replying and thank you for being so caring and noticing that I've been less visible. I'm in full work mode now. And whilst I'm not worrying about work, I am thinking about it I'll try the notepad at the side of the bed....I do think that will work. I'm working long days too so posting is now a bit restricted to ten mins here or there. Again, all these things don't help the focus.

    Have a super week..😃

  • Some aspects of stress are down to perception.

    I used to be a very light sleeper, so when I wake at 3am I don't worry about it (usually), stay awake about an hour, then bore myself back to sleep with "I am calm, I am relaxed". So you can see I'm in a much better position than I used to be.

    Some people have mentioned hunger, and if waking in the night is unusual to you, is it the hunger itself that is waking you? Sleep time is when our brain function changes state of course, and this is partly to facilitate recovery from the day. Some of this involves replenishing our glycogen reserves. If we aren't in ketosis, and have cut back too far on what we eat, especially carbohydrates later in the day, we may wake feeling hungry, to forage.

  • Concerned, thank you for replying. I agree about the perception. I'm not stressed, just to interested in my thoughts. Interestingly, the thoughts ain't that great cos I don't remember them in the morning! I think I'm filling up too much before I go to bed...perhaps need to let my tummy rest before jumping into bed.

    Have a good week😃

  • Easy solution, work nights!!! 😄. Sorry, couldn't resist. Warped sense of humour, lol.

    Sleep deprivation is no laughing matter and a really tough one to solve. My own work pattern means my body clock is broken beyond repair and I have tried any number of ways to mend it, with little success 😕. I will say though, if you have lain awake for 15-20 minutes without dropping back off, get up and go sit in a chair in the dark for a little while, then go back to bed. This is probably the only thing that I find works about 60% of the time. Never turn on your tv, computer, etc... this just gets the brain going and will make it even more difficult to switch off for sleep.

    Good luck hun. 😊

  • Shelley, that's a plan! I feel like I'm working shifts as it is. I've never tried sitting in a chair for a while. I suppose boredom would kick in. That is really worth a try. Do you get up immediately or wait til you get frustrated?

  • Surprisingly, after about 15-20 minutes, even though your mind was in overdrive in bed, it just seems to slow and 'wander' leaving you quite drowsy. I then go back to bed and fall asleep within a couple of minutes. I will say it only works about 6/7 times out of 10. Hope it works for you. x

  • Hi, one of the tips that works for me when I'm struggling to sleep or when I wake up in the middle of the night is to listen to an audiobook. I find my brain focuses on the story instead of the million and one things I'm thinking about! I put it on a timer (using the Audible app) so it doesn't disturb me as I drop off to sleep. Good luck!

  • Hi Jessica, thank you for replying. Now that's an interesting idea....have a good week 😄

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