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Anxiety and Sleep: How Poor Sleep Might Impact Your Driving Anxiety
Episode 7413th July 2023 • The Driving Confidence Podcast • Kev & Tracey Field
00:00:00 00:41:12

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In this episode, Kev and Tracey invite Tracy Hannigan, an expert on insomnia, to discuss the importance of sleep and its impact on driving confidence.

We chat about:

  • The difference between tiredness and sleepiness
  • The bidirectional relationship between anxiety and sleep
  • Strategies to gradually shift sleep patterns and minimise anxiety before your driving test

While listening to this episode, ask yourself:

  • Are you an early bird or a night owl and how has this affected your driving?
  • How do you feel if you haven’t been sleeping well?
  • If you’ve experience unexplained driving anxiety how did you sleep the night before?

Tracy Hannigan

Tracy is a qualified sleep therapist recognised by the Society for Behavioural Sleep Medicine, and works exclusively with adults with insomnia.

Tracy's Website

Tracy's Facebook page

Tracy's Facebook group

@tracythesleepcoach on Instagram

Tracy on YouTube

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Transcripts

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Before this episode starts, I need to jump in with a very quick apology.

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There's a few echoes in this episode, but we spoke to Tracy.

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All three of us thought that this was a great episode that perhaps wouldn't

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come across in quite the same way.

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We rerecorded it.

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So hopefully you'll forgive us for some of the echoey bits and

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still enjoy the information anyway.

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in this episode, we're delighted to be welcoming on Tracy Hannigan,

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the sleep coach, and Tracy specializes in adult insomnia.

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Welcome Tracy.

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Hey, thank you for having me on.

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I'm really excited to be here.

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We are as well because this is something a bit new, bit different.

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It's um, cuz we all know that sleep affects us, but we also wanted to

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find out from an expert about does sleep affect the way that we drive?

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And could it be causing anxiety and stress?

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Yeah, so some of the context around that is that we hear from people

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who have been driving for years.

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Perfectly happy driving.

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Don't really give it a thought.

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And then all of a sudden, and they describe it as out of blue, they

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experience some driving anxiety and they dunno where it's come from.

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They can't fit it into a natural pigeon hole.

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They, they sort of say, it's not like I had an accident.

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It's not like something happened.

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I just had it bam outta the blue.

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And it's almost like a mystery, and we just are interested in exploring some

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of the possible potential contributing factors, and we think sleep might be

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one of those contributing factors.

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Yeah, I could definitely see how there would be a relationship.

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There's a, there's actually a bidirectional relationship

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between anxiety and sleep.

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And when people are having difficulty with their sleep, specifically, if

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it's insomnia related, their um, psychological arousal is higher.

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Their safety system, their radar is switched on.

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It's just a little bit more sensitive and it's very adaptive actually, but

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it becomes a bit of a vicious circle.

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So it's adaptive in the sense that.

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If we were, um, walking across the, the Masai chasing wilderbeast

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all day and we're very, very tired and we climb into a cave to sleep.

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We don't want our tiredness running the show if a lion appears, right?

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So if we we're anxious and we perceive ourselves under, under threat,

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it becomes difficult to sleep.

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If we then start worrying about our sleep, we start sleeping even worse.

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So it becomes a bit of a vicious circle in that way.

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But if, if people are sleeping poorly, that hypervigilance, that hyper

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arousal, that sensitivity to threat.

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Is actually a 24/ 7 phenomenon, so it can affect other things in people's lives.

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The unconscious scanning that people do when they're driving for things

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that don't fit the pattern like much too quickly or that thing just

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jumped out between, those cars are much more sensitive to those inputs.

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We might not necessarily react to them appropriately.

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Sometimes a bit, bit too much, a bit too little, but the safety

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radar is that much more keyed up.

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And so when you're in a situation where you are constantly having to

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be scanning threats, you could easily see how not sleeping could become

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paired with being anxious in the car.

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Anxious.

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That makes so much sense.

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Yeah, that doesn't it really?

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Yeah.

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So if you had a bad night's sleep, maybe you were woken up by the children or

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the grandchildren in, or if you suffer within insomnia and have, poor sleep

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patterns, then you are more on high alert.

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Yeah, some of the things that our brain becomes really good at when we don't

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sleep well, we always talk about the things that our brain becomes bad at.

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But there are things that we do get good at, and one is, focusing

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on the negative, focusing on threatening things, perseverating

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about things, the fixating on them.

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That's, again, that's simply our safety radar, being looking for danger.

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You know, we've become really good at looking for danger, but unfortunately this

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creates a little bit of a selection bias.

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So then we start seeing all of the negative things and then they start

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piling up and piling up, piling up, and we become, less able to kind of

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think laterally and think creatively.

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And so you can see how all of those things could create issues

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for people's driving as well.

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Yes.

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So not only might it be that you are on high alert for danger on the road

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and other cars, other drivers, but actually you're gonna be more likely

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to be having negative thoughts about maybe other things in your life.

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Absolutely.

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So you're gonna be focusing more on stressful areas of your life cause you

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had a lack of sleep because you're tired.

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Mm-hmm.

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Yeah.

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And then of course you then become more anxious and worried.

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Um, you might make poorer decisions.

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Uh, we do have slower reaction times when we don't sleep well.

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So all of these things can feed into, um, a scenario where it

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becomes a bit of a vicious circle.

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You know, you, it's normal to not sleep well.

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If we are anxious, it actually is a sign that our sleep system is working

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exactly the way that it should.

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It's just highly inconvenient when, especially when it goes, when it

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goes on for a long time and becomes self-perpetuating, kind of keeps

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feeding itself by doing exactly that.

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We start focusing on the arguments with the spouse and the things

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that are going wrong, and that just pour fuel on the fire.

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Sure.

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Yeah.

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So it's a real vicious circle almost.

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See, I'm, I'm thinking that as, as a driver myself, And I can put

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myself back into that situation.

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You've just described it when we were younger a few years ago, we were probably

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living on less sleep than we are now.

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And what that was happening was we knew we were tired.

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So I was telling myself, right, I'm tired.

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So what I need to do is to, God, I need to do this, I need to

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do this, and I need to do this.

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And it is that part of actually knowing that you are tired,

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you start overthinking.

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Absolutely, you become even more protective of yourself.

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You know, um, there are some scenarios where you, if you're actually

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really sleepy, particularly in a driving context, you need to take

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a nap or pull over and keep kind of the safety, safety piece first.

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Um, but y you're absolutely right.

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We've become, um, protective.

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And we, we, when we are feeling vulnerable, because we're perceiving

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all of this threat in our life, we're focusing all these negative things,

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our brain goes into overdrive to try to control these situations cuz we

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think that it's gonna make us safer.

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Um, so it, it doesn't usually, depending on the context in the, in the situation,

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sometimes that just makes things worse.

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But, um, Yeah, when people become, because of my specialty is insomnia

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in particular, when people become when they perceive the sleeplessness

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as a threat, that creates problems.

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It's good to be conscious of our sleep and to want to get good sleep, but over

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focusing on, I have to fix my sleep, I have to do this, I have to do that.

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Like the list that you were kind of outlining, that only makes things worse.

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How dangerous is that then?

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That's, is that It's actually really dangerous, isn't it?

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Knowing that you are tired but still choosing to drive as well?

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Especially if the, if it's sleepiness, sleepiness is the,

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is obviously the, the risk.

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Long, long drives and, and sleeping, um, or don't mix well together.

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You don't wanna be trying to do the two at the same time.

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And it usually happens on accident.

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You know, nobody intends to fall asleep with the wheel, but

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it does happen, unfortunately.

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Yeah.

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Yeah.

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So what, for anybody listening, is there a distinction?

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Tiredness, sleepiness?

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I think I can feel what the difference is.

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But how would you describe the difference between tiredness and sleepiness?

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So if somebody is tired and fatigued, they may or may not fall asleep.

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If somebody is sleepy, they will fall asleep.

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So that's, that is the main difference.

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Sometimes when people have longstanding insomnia, they have such high arousal

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that that sleepy feeling never comes.

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And people will sometimes say to me, I haven't felt sleepy in a long time,

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but their fatigue may start manifesting sleepiness in a different way.

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So people may start holding their heads or they may start doing

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things with their body that signal that actually sleepiness is there.

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It's just showing itself a little bit differently.

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But the biggest difference for most people is.

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Are you ready to fall asleep or do you just feel really like you've

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done three workouts today and you've been working in the garden and

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you've, you've been up a long time.

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That's the difference.

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Yeah.

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So that Tired hired, but wired,

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oh, tired and wired is how I describe actually how people feel when they

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have insomnia, uh, particularly during the day, but also also at night.

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That that wired piece of it means that the sleepiness can't

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come and that is the arousal.

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Yes.

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Yeah.

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No, that makes sense.

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And actually, uh, you see that in your children sometimes

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when they get overtired.

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Mm-hmm.

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And they can't fall asleep.

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And that's when they are sort of crying uncontrollably because they're so tired.

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Are you like, just go to sleep.

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But they can't because they're stressed and they're wired.

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Mm-hmm.

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And I recognize that in myself.

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So there are times when I'll say, I'm really tired, but I can't go to bed yet.

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I need to wind down.

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Yeah.

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Yeah.

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We've all, we've all been in experiences that are, are really stressful and you.

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Are, are awake for a long time, sometimes for days, depending on

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what's kind of going on in life.

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And there's just no chance that sleep is going to happen.

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Cause the stress level is just really high.

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I mean, if you use a, an example is, um, you know, suddenly

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finding out about a bereavement.

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You know, the stress levels and the upset is so high.

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Most people who have a close bereavement do not sleep for a few days at least.

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Um, just because this, there's no chance for that sleepy feeling to come in.

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And is this um, an age related, or, the reason I'm saying that cuz a

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lot of people that I teach to drive.

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17 to 22 is, is sort of like my main demographic of people that I

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teach, but they're very different to people that are in their late

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twenties and thirties because of life.

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Is, is different.

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Do the people, are they more tired when they're younger?

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17 to 22?

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Are they because of the lifestyle or was it.

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What you've explained to people that are tired and wired because there's so much

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going on, is, is there a difference there?

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So the biggest difference between that day, age demographic and the

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rest of us, cause I'm definitely not in that age demographic anymore.

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Um, the, the biggest difference is that young people, when they are

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going through, um, kind of second stages of puberty, their secondary

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sex characteristics are developing.

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Their brain is changing.

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They actually experience a change in their circadian rhythm, though

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the, the classic teenager who can't get out of bed in the morning and

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stays up all night, um, there's actually a biological reason for that.

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So if I went into the next room to wake up my son right now, he would

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be very sleepy because his brain is saying it's the middle of the night.

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And that's simply his biology.

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Now some people stay, uh, in what we call like that delayed phase, and

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they are just the classic night owls.

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Many become self-employed because it works better for

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them than having a nine to five.

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So if you are having lessons with people in that demographic in the morning,

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it's going to be more challenging them than if those lessons were

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being held in the late afternoon.

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The late afternoon is when they are starting to wake up and get moving.

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It's a little bit like hour 10, 25 in the morning to them at about

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four o'clock in the afternoon.

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And, and that is so true with less.

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I know some people it's not, it's not everybody is like this, you know,

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with generalizing, but it's, it's very true in the concentration levels.

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And the, I suppose, the engagement in the lessons as well.

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You know, people who are a nine o'clock lesson in the morning that

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are 17, 18, they probably struggle more because of they're tired.

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Their, their body is tired.

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Yes, they could be tired because they're not allowing themselves enough sleep.

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They could be tired because their body is telling them that

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it's the middle of the night.

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Yeah.

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It's the opposite of myself.

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I'm very much an early bird.

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I would be the one that would want the 8:00 AM appointment, but I would never

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book anything that required concentration at four o'clock in the afternoon.

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Ooh.

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And so what I'm thinking there is in terms of knowing yourself, Knowing

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your sleep patterns, knowing when you function best, it actually makes sense.

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And I know this isn't easy with driving lessons because you have to

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get what you can take at the moment.

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Uh, finding an instructor and finding a slot.

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Mm-hmm.

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You sort of have to fit in, but wherever possible, trying to book your driving

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lessons, learning new skills, something like learning to drive at a time when.

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That's best suited to you, your, your sleep patterns and

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your concentration levels.

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Mm-hmm.

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Because you're gonna be less stressed.

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Yes.

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You're going to feel, you're going to feel more capable.

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Yeah.

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You're going to be able to engage more.

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It's going to mean more to you.

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You're gonna have easier time with the muscle memory piece.

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Kind of starting to take a role in things.

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If you feel better, you're gonna feel more confident and you're gonna

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just do better in, in the lessons and be able to get more outta them.

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And I think that actually all of us driving or not in life could learn a

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lot from this because we're better at certain things at different times of day.

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I'm better at creative things in the morning and I can do

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brainless admin in the afternoon.

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That works really well for me.

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Some people are the exact opposite, but if you know that you can attempt

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to schedule your, your life around where your strongest suit is,

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depending on what you have to do.

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That could be fantastic, couldn't it?

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Just being able to fit things in around when you know you are

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at your best and therefore you have more belief in your ability.

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And that could make a really big difference to how much learning

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happens and how successful it is.

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And it leads to less procrastination too.

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Yes.

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So you end up getting more time and you end up being more productive,

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uh, with the time that you do have and things don't take as long.

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I've got so many questions.

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I'm, I'm, I'm, I'm taking, my brain is taking a bit of a

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leap pig, so I might be wrong.

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I might be going off track, but what I'm also thinking is that if somebody learnt

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drive 10 years ago at a timer the day.

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Where it didn't suit them.

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They were never at the performing at their best, and therefore they always left

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with these feelings that their driving wasn't great and that driving wasn't

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enjoyable, but then leads on to how they feel about driving later on down the line.

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It could definitely affect the mindset that they, that

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they carry forward with them.

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Um, particularly because there's no, usually people don't offer

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themselves an opportunity for that mindset to be changed and challenged.

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Mindset and the language we use around things in our life.

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Driving is a great example.

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Using my example, I tell myself I'm not a driver because I haven't

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driven in a very, very long time.

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Now this doesn't help me.

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No.

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The next time I have to drive, I'm going to be a nervous wreck, right?

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That is my mindset issue around it.

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But these kinds of mindset issues affect everything in our life.

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Yeah, and don't forget, as we've said when we were in contact earlier, at

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some point in the future, if you want to work on it, Tracy, you know where we're,

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I know exactly where I'm going to go.

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I did sit in the car the other day and learn where all the buttons were,

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so it's step in the right direction.

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I'll be fine once I actually start driving, it's just all in my head.

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Literally all in my head.

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I've gotta go back to, I've gotta go back to some of the questions, but if I was

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a, a 17, 18 year old, is there an ideal amount of sleep that I should be having?

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At that age, the typical amount of sleep that people get is really, it's

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tricky to know cuz a lot of teenagers deprive themselves of sleep because

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they're wanting to be up doing things.

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Um, yeah.

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And they also, because of school demands, they usually having to get up earlier

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than they would normally like, but you're looking at kind of a, a standard

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range of like eight, nine hours is, I would say is a, is a good number.

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They do need a little bit more sleep than us because they are.

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Developing.

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There's a lot going on.

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There's a lot to process.

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Most teenagers will sleep more than that, but certainly I wouldn't suggest

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that they try to get less than that.

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Most of them procrastinate around sleep pretty heavily.

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I live with two of them that do that.

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The amount of sleep that anybody needs is it's very individually determined.

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This is why I'm hesitant to kinda like pin a number on it.

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Mm-hmm.

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Um, the amount of sleep that a person needs is.

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Whatever number allows 'em to fall asleep within 15 or 20 minutes, but no faster

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than five minutes to wake up a couple of times in the night long enough to remember

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it, but to fall back to sleep and to wake up when they need to wake up with the

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energy that they need to do the things that they need to do during the day.

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Yeah.

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Yeah.

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So for some people, that's a lower number.

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For some people, that's a higher number.

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And when you start getting to the near adult ages, it starts to

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fall more into that, that pattern.

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But I wouldn't expect, , a 17 year old to have an issue if

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they are sleeping 10 hours a day.

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Mm-hmm.

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And I think it's really important for parents to know not to be constantly

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waking your teenagers up because you are depriving them of sleep in the end.

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Yeah.

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Yes, I've had a number of people come to me to talk to me about their

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teenagers, and the, the concern that everybody has is, you know, my 16 year

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old goes up to bed at nine o'clock and can't fall asleep for three hours.

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And the thing that is, that is off in that scenario is the

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expectation that that 16 year old should fall asleep at nine o'clock.

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Not that the teenager is not sleeping at nine o'clock.

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And so this can create a lot of stress and anxiety around sleep, which

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can then worsen somebody's sleep.

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They think they have a problem and they're doing lots and lots of things to

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try to fix this perceived sleep problem and become anxious about going to bed.

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It's just gonna make things worse.

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And this is, this is probably more related to me, I think, but.

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I like power naps in the afternoon.

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Mm-hmm.

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Um, and then I think it recharges me, you know, if I have a 10,

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15 minute nap and then I can get up again and then I'll go again.

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Cause it's mm-hmm.

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You know, like you said earlier in the afternoon, it's those, you know, I'm

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creative in the morning, in the afternoon.

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I find the power naps actually help me.

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Yeah.

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They can take the edge of the sleepiness right off.

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How long should that nap last because I've heard varying different reports on this.

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I mean, I love my little 10, 15 minutes, but if it goes to half

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hour, I quite enjoy that as well.

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Is is there an ideal way for a power nap in lunchtime early afternoon?

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I like a nap length that's in the 20 minute range.

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Um, we have a little bit of a joke in the house.

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That 22 minutes is a perfect number for us because we like that number.

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The issue is, if you nap too long, and this has probably happened to most,

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everybody who decides they're gonna take a 15 minute nap and they end up sleeping

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for over an hour, you often wake up feeling worse than when you, when you

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wanted to take the nap in the first place.

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Um, and the other issue is if you take too long of a nap, it's going to use

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up some of your sleep drive and affect your sleep, um, in subsequent nights.

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And so that's another reason to keep naps short, especially if you already

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have issues with sleep at night.

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You generally advise not napping unless it's for safety reasons, but to keep

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them short and early in the day so that you have lots more hours before

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bedtime to build up more sleep drive and kind of, um, maximize your ability to.

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Fall asleep and stay asleep.

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Now I'm almost picturing visualizing sort of like topping up my

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sleepiness in a pot sort of thing.

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So I need my pot to be full of sleepiness, ready to go to sleep at night.

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Is that, have I pictured that right?

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It's a really, that's a really good way to picture it.

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I use the balloon analogy.

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When we wake up after a full night's sleep, we have an empty balloon.

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And as we are awake during the day and as we are physically active, those are the

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only two things that fill that balloon.

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The balloon gets bigger and bigger and bigger, and you need a big

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balloon in order to be able to sleep.

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And then when you fall asleep, the balloon begins to empty.

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So if you take a big nap in the afternoon, you're letting somebody air out around.

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Yeah, I like that.

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And this is where the circadian system plays a role here, since we're talking

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about different age demographics, because they start building their balloon

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just at a different time than ours.

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And the circadian system is in charge of when does it stop

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taking us away during the day.

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So the circadian system doesn't tell us to sleep.

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It counteracts the buildup of that sleep drive.

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If we didn't have it, we would wake up in the morning with 100%

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energy and then we would slowly get sleepier throughout the day.

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But what happens in reality is we're awake and then we kind of hit this

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wall where the sleepiness comes.

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And that is when our circadian system has stopped sending alerting

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signals to the brain to say, stay awake, stay awake, stay awake.

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So that just happens at different times for different people.

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And in that demographic, more often than not, it's uh, it doesn't

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kick in until the wee hours.

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So, just for people that don't know, what is a circadian rhythm?

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The circadian rhythm is one.

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Uh, when we're talking about sleep is one of many, many biological, clocks in

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our body and in our brain, they usually anchored around key survival issues

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like access to light and access to food.

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So the circadian system with, with regards to sleep.

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Um, and the whole sleep system starting in the morning when you

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wake up is anchored and tied to primarily light, but also eating and

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other hormonal and chemical systems.

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We have these 24, 25 hour systems in us that operate all

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different kinds of functions.

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And when we're talking about the circadian system, it is the one

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that is tied to when we fall asleep.

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Brilliant.

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Yeah.

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Lovely.

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There was something you mentioned a little bit earlier that I wrote down, and you

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were saying that when people are that tired but wired when the sleepiness isn't

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there, but the fatigue is, and you said that sometimes it comes out in different

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ways, and one of the ways you describe was somebody lean their head on their hand,

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so putting their head in their hand and rest in their head, supporting their head.

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And that made me think sometimes you see people driving like that, don't you?

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Sometimes you see people with their, their elbow on the window and their

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head in their hand and then holding the steering wheel the other way.

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So I'm thinking that's something to avoid.

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That could be a, a little clue there that that driver is tired and the sleepiness

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is maybe coming out in a different way.

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Potentially.

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Yeah.

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And it also could be that even if they're not tired, they're

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bored perhaps in the car.

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Yes.

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And so when we're bored, we pay less attention to the things

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that we need to pay attention to.

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We tune out.

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Yeah.

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If, if you are doing the same route, you know, if you drive into

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work every day, the same time, probably seeing the same cars.

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You know, you, but you, you do zone out, don't you?

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Because it's, these sort of things happen and, and you just go with the motion.

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It's almost like the car knows the way Yeah.

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And it drives itself.

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Mm-hmm.

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Yeah.

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But of course when you're in that and yes, you're, yeah, you're right.

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It could be just being bored, just being disinterested.

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And then if something does happen, you are gonna get a real jolt because you

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weren't paying as much attention as you should have been, and that in itself

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can trigger off all sorts of things.

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Mm-hmm.

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Yes.

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You know, you don't see the car coming until it is much

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too close to you, for example.

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Yeah.

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Because you're staring off somewhere, zoned out, letting the car do the driving.

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The boredom's sleepiness.

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They're related, aren't they?

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You, you shut down a little bit.

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Sleepiness, you start to slow down a bit.

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Yeah, and, and actually anything that, if we have enough sleep drive built

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up and our arousal is low, that is a prime opportunity for sleep to come.

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Arousal can be low because we're doing something we really enjoy.

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It also could be that we are also bored.

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Um, but I do encourage people if, if, for example, with wind down routines at night.

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To do things that you enjoy doing rather than to try to bore yourself to sleep.

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Because most people, if they, if they don't have insomnia, for example,

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will hit that wall where they get sleepy and then they will go to sleep.

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So, why not do something that you enjoy with the time that you have on this

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earth, um, and do something that you like instead of trying to do things

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specifically to bore yourself to sleep.

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So, I've got a question.

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Go for it.

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I'm a 17, 18 year old learner who's got their test at

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eight o'clock in the morning.

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I know probably that that person won't sleep the night before because they've

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got to think about, getting up in the morning and all they think about is

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getting up in the morning so they're not thinking of sleep What tips are there?

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If there are any tips, I dunno, for that person for the night

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before their test, right?

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So I would actually think out a little bit further in advance, especially for that

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group of people in that demographic who are going to be in the middle of the night

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at eight o'clock in the morning, right?

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So, With that particular scenario, I would want to ensure that in the week running up

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to the, the test, that anything possible that is possible to put into place, we

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can talk about those sorts of things.

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Um, get put into place so that they can begin to sort of start to shift

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themselves so that that 8:00 AM is closer to a civilized time for them.

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They could even do this weeks in advance, for example, paying extra

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attention to not playing video games until two o'clock in the morning,

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particularly if there's lots of blue light and doing other stimulating things.

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Changing the evening routine so that there's a little bit more opportunity

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for that boredom to kick in.

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Um, if you imagine a teenager who has been grounded for something and they're

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not, don't have access to their phone or their computer, what do they do?

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They don't know what to do with themselves, so they sleep.

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So, uh, but, but setting it up as a positive thing a little bit earlier.

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Each night over the span of, of a week or two before the test just to ensure

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that there's enough sleep, maintained and make it a little bit easier for

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them to get up earlier in the morning.

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And I would combine that with getting up earlier in the morning in the run up to

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the exam so that it's not such a shock.

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Whether the person, teenager or not is worried about getting up in the morning

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or they're worried about the exam.

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Having the mindset that if, if they are nervous, which would be a completely

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normal thing to, to be, uh, feeling in the night before the exam, to do

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what we can to reframe that feeling.

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So, What does that feeling feel like?

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Feels like your heart could be racing.

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Feels like you're thinking of lots of things.

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Might have butterflies in your stomach.

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We actually don't do ourselves any favors by saying, oh my gosh, I'm so nervous.

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I'm so nervous.

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Right?

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Because that's like somebody's about to push me off the end of the plank, right?

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Those same exact physical feelings.

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Um, and our tendency for our thoughts to race also happen

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when we're really excited.

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So any nerves the night before, I would really kind of encourage

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my, my young person in my life to reframe them as excitement.

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You've had amazing lessons through you guys.

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They've built their confidence.

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Their body knows what to do.

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Their brain knows what all the road signs mean.

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They're gonna smash it out of the park.

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And that is what the feeling is.

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So reframing that feeling, um, going to bed as early as possible.

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Usually that's not the advice for people within insomnia, but just to make sure

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that they can get as much sleep as possible because the sleep's gonna be

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disrupted because of the anxiousness.

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Yeah, I think those two things further ahead than the night before,

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and then really working on reframing those feelings so that the confidence

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can be there as much as possible.

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Um, and that they set themselves up for maximum sleep the night before,

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so that they are less likely to fear, like performing poorly, especially if

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we don't sleep well the night before.

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We wake up in the morning and we go, oh my goodness, I didn't sleep last night.

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This is gonna be a disaster.

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And all that stuff starts happening in people's heads.

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It's, it's much less likely to be an issue if they've had adequate sleep, in

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the run up and if they're feeling more confident, then they are terrified.

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Yeah, definitely.

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And I, yeah, I love that idea, that really thinking about it

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beforehand and preparing, and it is just preparing, isn't it?

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Instead of leaving everything till the last minute and we,

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we use the word nerve cited.

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So that mixture of nervous and excited.

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Mm-hmm.

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So if somebody can't completely reframe, too excited if they, because

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people are resistant, aren't they?

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Sometimes.

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So if it feels a bit too much to reframe, completely, too excited, and then go for

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somewhere in the middle with nerve cited.

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, I really like that there are a lot of reasons why it might be challenging

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for somebody to completely reframe it.

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Reframing is a skill that takes practice to build and, um, it's,

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that's why it's hard to deploy in the moment and it's something to

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work on kind of along the way, which I love that you incorporate that.

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Because we do, we get lots of secondary benefit from saying, oh, I'm so nervous

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because then everybody rallies around us and boosts our tries to boost our

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confidence and they're extra nice to us, you know, in a couple of days ahead.

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Oh, that's great stuff.

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Um, but if we were acting really excited, maybe that wouldn't

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but nerve cited I think is fantastic.

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So Tracy, is there a question that we haven't asked that actually you

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were hoping we might ask about that would fit in with sleep and drive in?

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Is there something you were thinking, oh, I really want to talk about that.

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I really like that we came around to talking about what to do the night before

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and what we were able to kind of expand that out into, not just the night before.

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Um, yeah, I think especially in, in that age bracket, because they

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have more biological challenges around an 8:00 AM than somebody who

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is not in that age demographic or.

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Who was an early bird?

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That would be my favorite time.

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I think I probably signed up for an 8:00 AM actually.

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So I, I think that particularly for younger people, they also

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have less life experience.

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In being able to apply these kinds of mindset shifts or, or to recognize

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that they have this additional, it's not a fault of theirs.

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It's an additional challenge that they have and that they can work

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with it and not feel powerless.

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Yeah.

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Oh, I love that.

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So, Tracy, you've shared so much information.

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For anyone who wants to find out more about sleep, how do they find you?

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Where can people find you?

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Pretty much everywhere on the internet.

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If you type in Tracy, the sleep coach, I tried to keep it consistent.

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So Tracy, the sleep coach.co uk is my website.

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Um, Tracy, the sleep coach is my TikTok and my Instagram and my Facebook.

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Um, and you can always just drop me an email through the website as

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well if you have, have questions, want support around sleep.

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Brilliant.

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I think it's a fascinating subject.

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It it is, and I know we talked, we sort of like highlighted

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driving, but it's, it's a life.

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Subject almost as well, isn't it?

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Because it's It's affects us all.

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Yeah.

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And you can apply it into every situation and scenario.

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And I think we like to talk about sleep almost as much as

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the weather in this country.

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How did you sleep?

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Have a terrible sleep.

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It's a massive subject.

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Brilliant.

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Thank you so much.

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It's been brilliant.

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Thank you so much for having me, and I look forward to having you in

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the driver's seat next to me soon.

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Actually, I'll probably be in the driver's seat.

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You'll be in the passenger seat.

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Yes, you'll be in the driver's seat.

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Fantastic.

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Thanks, Tracy.

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Thank you.

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So, how did you sleep last night?

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It gets you thinking, doesn't it.

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When you talk about sleep, it really does get you thinking.

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And.

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Talking to Tracy there, you know, just, just made me think about

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myself and how much sleep I have.

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And I know it's really important.

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And it is one of the pillars that I look to when I look at my own health.

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So yeah, very, very interesting.

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It's such a fascinating subject.

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Isn't it sleep?

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It affects everything in our lives.

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Exactly.

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And we know some of the basics, we know we have slower reaction times.

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We know that we focus on the negative when we're tired.

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I didn't know before,

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but part of being tired.

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We also, look after ourselves in respect of.

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You know, we don't like the danger.

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So we look after ourselves.

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We won't do that because I'm tired.

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I and ofcourse this comes back to that us exploring the reasons behind mystery

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or unexplained or sudden driving anxiety.

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Um, we, we were sure that sleep was a part of it and Tracy's

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confirmed that hasn't she?

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She talked about

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anxiety affects your sleep.

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So if you're feeling anxious,

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that's likely to affect how well you sleep, but then she talked about

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the fact that if you haven't slept well, that makes you hypervigilant.

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It sets all your dangerous survival signals off so that

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you're on the lookout for danger.

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And that will make you feel more anxious.

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When you talk about it, it actually makes a lot more sense.

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Doesn't it?

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Here's like.

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Oh, yeah, that's obvious.

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Isn't it?

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Yeah, it really is.

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But until you say these things, we don't really know what's happening.

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And I think for anybody who has had that experience where they've had a lack of

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sleep and then they've been driving.

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Just recognizing that.

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It may not have been the driving that created your anxiety.

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It may have been your lack of sleep,

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but then what you may have done is associated those feelings of anxiety with

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what you were doing, which was driving.

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But if you're learning to drive as well at the time of day, you're learning to drive.

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That was really interesting.

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Wasn't there?

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Yeah.

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Yeah.

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So, you know, if you're an afternoon person and you're having lessons

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at eight o'clock in the morning.

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That's obviously going to affect you, isn't it?

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Yeah.

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Um, and that idea that, that could set you up with a certain type of mindset.

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Throughout your driving life then?

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If you can't concentrate well, no.

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Then you're going to find drive in stressful.

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Yeah.

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Which seems so simple.

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When you say it, doesn't it.

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Yeah.

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Just really keeping that in mind, you know,

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oh, are you driving outside of your best times of day and therefore,

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could that be partly responsible for the way that you feel about driving?

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Yeah.

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But it was also something we talked about with Tracy, there was the

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difference between being tired.

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And sleepy.

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Yeah, I thought that was brilliant.

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So I could feel the difference as soon as she said it, but it's

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not something I've thought about.

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Well, I didn't think there was any difference before this.

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So for me, I think tired and sleepy are both the same

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thing, but obviously not now.

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So I know.

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There's a big difference.

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So.

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If I'm saying I'm tired, I'm not likely to fall asleep, but if I'm sleepy, I am.

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You are very likely to.

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Yeah.

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So that's when you need to go and have a nap.

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Yeah.

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So that was really important.

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For driving safety.

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Isn't it.

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Exactly recognize the two and then be able to put that into practice.

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And then I know we've touched on this very briefly, but that thing about teenagers.

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The times the circadian rhythms are different.

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Biological clocks are different.

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And that's normal.

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And that's natural.

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So not only to try and work within that, but also for parents driving

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instructors, other people listening.

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There is a biological reason behind it.

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They do need that extra sleep.

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And eight o'clock in the morning does feel like the middle of the night for them.

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So it isn't just that they're being lazy.

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Bear that in mind?

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Yes.

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Definitely.

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Yeah.

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We also talked a little bit about long drives and sleepiness.

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And they don't mix.

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Yep.

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So, you know, if you're going to be going on a long drive, Break up the journey.

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Yeah.

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Take breaks.

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If you need to nap.

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Have a nap.

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It seems very simple, but how many of us actually do this?

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So I think that's what we need to take from this anxiety.

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And sleep are connected.

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Yep.

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I'm prepared.

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So that might be preparing for a long journey preparing because

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you know, you're not driving at the best time of day for you.

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Preparing if you know, you've got to get up for an early driving test.

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If that isn't the best time of the day for you.

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So preparing long in advance.

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So for the several days in the run up to your driving test, prepare.

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Yeah.

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That was good.

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I enjoyed that podcast.

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Yeah.

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Great.

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So.

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Hopefully you found that information as interesting and helpful as we did.

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If you do, don't forget to share the podcast with anybody else that

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you think might find it helpful.

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Click follow or subscribe on your favorite podcast player and

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maybe leave us a review as well.

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That'd be lovely.

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Tracy's contact details and our contact details are in the show notes as always.

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Um, so all that leaves us to do is to say, have a great day, whatever you're doing.

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