One of the important aspects of looking to become better is to learn more about yourself. I experienced this first-hand last night when I fell asleep ion the couch at 8pm. Something I rarely ever do. This was after I’d ranted and shouted at the rest of the family for no good reason. My amygdala was obviously underworked and needed to make its presence felt right before my body screamed ‘enough’ and sent me off to sleepyville…..
A little background
I have been sleeping with a Mandibular Advancement Splint since 2001 after participating in a clinical trial to test the efficacy of these devices to help prevent snoring + help the user get a good night’s sleep. I had one custom-made and tuned by a Dentist during the trial & have used it ever since. 10 days ago, the splint chipped and broke and is no longer safe to use (it’s made of a plastic of some sort and would now cut my gums/tongue/mouth if I continued to use it). I have been going to bed later and not waking up as refreshed as I had been when using the splint, and didn’t think much of it until this morning.
In thinking back, I have been slowly losing sleep each night (or not getting the right kind of sleep) over the past few nights, and it caught up with me. You can only go so far before your body screams ‘enough’. Before I fell asleep on the couch, I was snappy and Mr Shouty Man (my eldest son calls me that) and took out some hidden/underlying frustrations on the family. This is not an isolated incident and has happened before.
I also noticed that my behaviour mirrored that of my 4½year old son when he’s tired – he becomes unresponsive to simple requests, is snappy with others and frustrates easily. I should have seen the warning signs earlier, but acknowledge that most of the time you’re tired, many higher-level brain functions do not get a look-in, only the basic desires make themselves known/felt. So looking back on it, I now see that a combination of things banded together to put me in that position last night. I hope that with this new understanding of how I react to things when very tired, it might help me control the behaviour before I turn into Mr Shouty Man!
So what have I done?
- The above does not condone my behaviour!
- I have since apologised to my wife & children.
- I have explained to them why it happened and that it was not their fault.
- I have bought myself a replacement splint from Instantly Stop Snoring, a great Aussie company helping people get a good nights’ sleep! It just arrived so will let you all know how it goes 🙂
Will that be enough – time will tell, but I hope I have more understanding of myself to help me out next time this happens! (For more information about Sleep and it’s importance, check out one of my fave blog posts on the topic 11 Reasons Why You Absolutely Need More Sleep).
3 replies on “Understanding yourself”
That’s a refreshingly honest post, Andrew. Thank-you for writing it.
I’ll bet we all struggle with the uninvited appearance Mr Shouty Man (or equivalent) – and the untimely disappearance of Mr Loving Kindness.
The great thing is that you haven’t confused your ‘self’ with your behaviour. This puts you in a very powerful position to not only become aware of toxic behaviours and their triggers, but also to do something about it.
great article Andrew and one that is close to home.
As you get to know the signs Mr Shouty Man will disappear as will Mr Shouty Man’s familys reactions back. There are always 2 reactions to any action.
I’m off to show your post to myAndrew (popular name) as it may help his very simlar problem.
Building the good habit of getting enough ‘good’ sleep is difficult when you feel you haven’t finished with your day. You never think about how cramming in a couple of extra tasks at the end of one day and getting to sleep later will have such big affects the following day. Add a bit of mother guilt (http://ziggiau.wordpress.com/category/motherhoodparenting/) to that and no wonder you end up as a shouty adult.