What does community mean to you?
To me, it means a safety net. People to call when I have a problem, people to commiserate with when going through a hard time, people to celebrate with when happy things happen. It means having people there to help when you need it and being there to offer help when they need it.
Being in community means taking care of eachother.
But what happens when many of the ways we typically do this for each other become impossible because of the circumstances we’re living through?
According to Dr. Vivek Murthy in his book, Together, loneliness is an epidemic. One of the most prevalent epidemics of our time.
Loneliness was an issue long before COVID and it will surely be one long after. But, if we start to recognize it and take actionable steps towards addressing it, maybe we can slowly lessen the burden over time.
What is loneliness? The subjective feeling that you’re lacking the social connections you need.
According to leading researchers of loneliness, there are 3 dimensions of loneliness:
- Intimate(emotional): longing for a close confidante or intimate partner
- Relational (social): yearning for quality friendships and social companionship and support
- Collective: Hunger for a network or community of people who share your sense of purpose and interests
Being alone, in and of itself is not a risk factor for loneliness.
Isolation vs. solitude.
What if we responded to loneliness (like we do to hunger and thirst), instead of giving in to it?
What does any of this have to do with sleep?
Loneliness directly impacts our quality of sleep. Dr. Vivek Murthy citing the work of John Cacioppo said, “When we’re profoundly lonely, we tend to sleep lightly and rouse often, just as our ancestors did to prevent being overtaken by wolves or enemies.”
They found that “lonely people come out of sleep many times throughout the night, and though they may think they’ve slept through the night, these microawakenings undermine the quality of their sleep, leaving them fatigued and irritable.”
Coronosomnia/COVIDsomina… isolation→ loneliness→ awakenings
So what do we do? Right now, it’s necessary for survival to be physically separated from people outside of your household.
- Make plans to do a masked, socially distanced walk or chat, outside, with a friend or family member.
- Do something kind for someone. Acts of service create connection. Connection produces happy chemicals in your brain.
- If you’re someone who struggles with sleep and you haven’t been able to make the changes necessary to start living a well-rested life, I’ve created The Sleep Reclamation Project for you. It is possible to reach goals on your own, but the support and guidance of a coach and community make it more likely that you’ll experience success. In the program, you’ll get a monthly masterclass, monthly live Q&A, guest expert classes, a quarterly 1:1 with me, the Reclamation Resource Kit filled with tools to help you on your journey to better sleep, and access to our private virtual community. Registration is open now through February 4th. To find out more, head to abbydesjardien.com/enroll. If you’re listening to this after February 4th, head to abbydesjardien.com/membership to get on the waitlist so you’re the first to know the next time we open enrollment.
Let me know what you think about this episode!
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Song Credits: I Can’t Sleep by My My Snake Eyes feat. Red Red Revision