Too Much Information

The internet is a great invention. There is literally nothing that you can’t find out via the world wide web in a matter of seconds and I quite like the fact that I can do my shopping online while wearing my rollers and tea-stained nightie. This means that I don’t have to put myself through the sensory nightmare of crowded supermarkets. I also like how I can keep in touch with people without having to physically write because I HATE writing. However, there is a downside to the internet and that is INFORMATION OVERLOAD.

The accurate term is ‘Cognitive Overload’.

Our brains are designed to take in lots of information but it seems that technology is moving way too fast for our brains to keep up. Cognitive overload can lead to stress and for sensitive people, like myself, it can make you PROPER CRANKY.

Wandering around a bookstore the other week, yes ACTUAL BOOKS, I was amazed (not) at how many relaxation/meditation books there are now with authors urging us to ‘unplug’ and simplify our lives. I came away with a book called, ‘Unplugged’. I was attracted to it because I was overwhelmed. After a four month hiatus from debilitating anxiety, I was hurtling towards burnout stage faster than a seagull after a Harry Ramsden chip on Blackpool pier..

One night I sat up in bed watching the hours crawl by (AGAIN) and I told myself that I would do whatever it took to get myself back to generally insanity, as opposed to ‘AM LOSING IT, DOC’ – insanity.

I realised that the internet is both friend and foe and that my use of technology was taking up the majority of my day, in one form or another. The first thing I did was to put an ‘out of office’ message on my Twitter. I normally just disappear for a few weeks but this time I felt obliged to inform the world of my absence. I suspect many may be praying that I don’t return ha ha.

The thing about Twitter is the volume of information in one hit. It’s a real emotional roller-coaster. On top of this emotional baggery is the news of the day – fires, terrorism, deaths, politics and Trump being a dick. It is an PHENOMENAL amount of information. The brain then has to trawl it’s way through the quagmire of info and somehow make sense of it. Is it any wonder that my dreams have been psychotic, if the last thing at night I am reading is this lot?

I’ve adjusted the brightness on my phone and enabled the night-setting. On my Kindle, I have changed my font to white on a black background which is easier on the eyes. I also make sure that I don’t have my phone by my bedside at night. If it’s there, it’s too easy to open it up and check in with the world because I will be gutted if I miss that Instagram pic of somebody’s ingrowing toenail, eh?

There is also evidence to suggest that Wifi signals emitted from phones and gadgets next to your bed can interfere with your quality of sleep, so if you are sleeping poorly and you charge your gadgets next to your bed, or worse, sleep with them under your pillow – it might be an idea to remove them from your room and see if your sleep improves? Why people sleep with their phones under their pillows is beyond me. Vibrating phones in pockets, I get. But pillows? No.

Its not the technology itself that is making me ill, well, maybe it is when it comes to migraines. It’s more to do with the amount of exposure I am getting and that choice is mine. Nobody forces me to check Twitter or look at pictures of somebody’s pie and chips on Instagram. It’s me.

I knew the amount of information I exposed myself to was hurting me. I was incredibly stressed out and needed to do something before I got back into breakdown territory. I couldn’t go back there again. NO FLIPPING WAY, HOSE!

So, I experimented..

The Experiment: To See If Using Electronics Less Improves Stress and Sleep

Monday

Kindle – 2 and 1/2 hours

Internet – 1/2 hour (e mails)

Instagram – 1 hour

Total = 4 hours

Sleep – 1am until 6am.

Reason I was so late was because ah wes watchin Catherine Cookson on telly an ‘ah forgot abyeut the time. It turk us an hoor tuh git tur sleep, pet. :/

Quality of was sleep improved.

Dreams not exactly sweet but nowhere near as funky.

Tuesday

Internet (e mails & blog) 1 hour 5 mins

Kindle (three hours)

Instagram 30 mins

Total = 4 hours 35 mins

Sleep -10pm until 7am

Woke up a few times in-between but not enough for it to be a problem. Dreams improved.

Wednesday

Internet (e mails & blog) 30 mins

Kindle – 4 hours

Instagram 30 mins

Sleep – 12am- 7.30am

I struggled to get off to sleep, probably because I’d watched another strife ridden Cathy Cookson before bed. I tossed about for a couple of hours but once asleep I pretty much stayed asleep. I had one of my reoccurring dreams where I buy the house where I was born, only it’s a lot bigger than it actually was/is. Also, it’s part house/part social club where you access the magical world of darts, pool and beer via the loft? No. I have no idea where it’s come from either. A pleasant addition to this particular version of the dream was that my parents were in it. My DEAD parents. Only, Dad was telling me I would have to get rid of some of my books.

WHAT?!

That one is easy enough to decipher because we need a new book case as I have too many books! Actually, what am I saying? You can NEVER have too many books!

Thursday

Internet (e mails & blog) 30 mins

Kindle 4 hours

Instagram 15 mins

Sleep – 11pm until 7am.

I had a few dodgy dreams but the one thing I did differently was to read my Kindle until 9.30 pm. *slaps wrist*

Friday

Internet (e mails, blog)  1 hour

Kindle 4 hours

Instagram 10 mins

Sleep = 10pm – 6.45 am

Dreams were NON ANXIETY and representative of what I had done that day.

Saturday

Went on electronics for hours on end to see if it was, like, a placebo effect.

It wasn’t.

I was wired all day and struggled to sleep at night. Stephen King was writing my dreams again and I awake from 5am on Sunday morning feeling like I’d been steam-rollered.

Conclusion

The evidence strongly suggests that my use of technology IS affecting my anxiety, sleep and general well-being and by making a few teensy adjustments I have improved things significantly and I have to admit that I feel better for it.

When it comes to dreams, my brain was starting to decipher actual things in my life instead of random rubbish via the internet and because I was getting more restful sleep, my body was feeling more refreshed on waking. I may not been Julie Andrews first thing but I wasn’t the total Mumzilla, either. I had more energy and my short-term memory was less shit. It was by no means a cure but it was a good enough improvement for me to consider spending less time on electronics for the foreseeable.

If you spend a lot of time on computers and stuff and are struggling with anxiety or sleep, maybe it’s time you unplugged?

Disconnect from technology to reconnect with yourself.

 

 

 

8 thoughts on “Too Much Information

  1. I’ve seen interviews and tv programmes about what they call ‘sleep hygiene’ and paid a bit more attention recently. They very often contradict some views so I think it’s a case of trial and error andcto see what works for you the best. There’s a few things I can recount, maybe these will be of interest to you Tracy….. one was to eat something (even just a couple of biscuits) as SOON as you wake, I can’t do this, the thought makes me feel sick and another was that you sleep in the foetal position on your non-dominant arm, I’ve tried this but then I over think it and get jiffly! Maybe you can add these to your routine and see if they help you?
    Social media and tv in general has altered so much, we live in a ‘real time’ constant 24 hour watch and see society and like I know you do, sometimes we just get overloaded and overwhelmed with the most dreadful sights that bombard our minds, we have no option but to turn off and walk away, not because we don’t care but because we just can’t accept the views hot wired to our brains.
    Don’t get me started on Instagram, you know how p*ssed off with that I can get….look at my fabulous Michelin starred meal, look at my 5 star holiday to the Maldives, look at my beautiful flawless selfie face, look at my house from a page of ‘House and Homes’, look at my model family and the crap goes on & on & on……how sad really, who are they trying to kid? Do they never have a Yorkshire pudding failure, a cake flop, a spot on the end of their nose, the kids squabbling in the back of the car…..? Are these people our real friends or is it all about one upmanship? Make your own minds up!
    Thanks Tracy, don’t think I’m meant to be stressed at this time in the evening 😳😂😉
    Big loves 😘Xxxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sorry I stressed you out lol. Sleep hygiene is important. Sleep is very important – vital – to our wellbeing. I will definitely be spending less time on electronics and will try and stick to actual books before bedtime. 🙂 Lufs you xxxxxx

      Liked by 1 person

  2. There you go, you’ve answered my question on your last post. I really do need to keep up!

    Fascinating stuff. Ive paid little more than lip service to the warnings but I do know if I’m on the computer beyond 10pm I’m guaranteed to get no more than 4 hours sleep, and none of it quality.

    Love the idea of keeping a diary, may give that a go. And a social media cleanse. Not sure I’ve ever fully recovered from following the whole election malarkey on twitter. A break would probably do me the world of good.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is really interesting, I tend to shut down with the information toon and walk away. I defo don’t take technology to bed, temptation too high and done before causing me to be up all night. Sounds like you know what helps you and where you.want to go. X

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have an addictive personality and I think that’s the problem. I know that technology with prolonged use, hurts me but I keep using it. I needed to prove to myself that this WAS the case, hence the experiment. I have managed to keep of Twitter for over a week now. YAY. I think a Twitter break does us all good. 🙂 X

      Liked by 1 person

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