Humming can help, so can mini-rests and mini-bursts of intense activity.
When we are completely depleted on every level, it may be impossible to find/make the necessary time and space to rest. Overwhelming chronic exhaustion can make us scattered, irritable, moody, restless and unable to sleep. Not only is it wretched to feel this way, it impacts all our personal and professional relationships as well.
High levels of exhaustion also cost the economy; the number of Brits too sick to work is at a record high, increased by long Covid sufferers. Poverty, depression, anxiety, insecure employment and housing, poor sleep – these factors are all exacerbated by excessive screen time
It’s inappropriate to encourage people to exercise, eat well and generally improve their lifestyles when the tank is running on empty, and the bank balance too. Long-term sleeplessness and exhaustion due to circumstances unlikely to change any time soon are hard to turn around.
Sleep deprivation is common amongst shift workers, those with caring responsibilities, those on low incomes, and minorities, affecting more women than men. Chronic sleep loss can be caused by an economy that refuses to let workers rest.
But there are a few simple, viable and free ways to lift your spirits
Resting little and often
Regular, mini-rests, preferably for three to five minutes every 90 minutes, can help restore some energy. Any kind of screen use depletes our energy further, so no screens. Ideally, go outside; if this is impossible, focus on the breath, close your eyes, eat a healthy snack, look at the sky, hum, sing, pray.
Exercising little and often
VILPA – vigorous intermittent lifestyle physical activity research suggests engaging in three to four, single-minute bouts of vigorous physical activity a day brings huge health benefits. Climbing stairs, very fast walking, walking with heavy shopping bags all qualify as long as the activity is intense. More info
This helps neutralise some of the dangers sleeplessness poses to our health, such as the risk of heart disease.
Bhramari Pranayama (AKA humming) stimulates the vagus nerves and activates the Parasympathetic Nervous System
Humming with your mouth closed is great for relieving tiredness too, plus it produces nitric oxide (NO) - which is an antiseptic, antiviral and anti-inflammatory - in the nasal cavities. It also stimulates the vagus nerve and increases oxytocin levels, which both improve mood and energy.
More info on NO and humming/bhramari breath in this excellent video. For those with sinus, allergic rhinitis (hay fever), respiratory and cardiac problems it's worth reading some of the comments, really great results.