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We all know that sleep’s important and we should be getting seven to eight hours a night. But how often does life get in the way and those hours slip because of getting up for small children, waiting up for big children, being bogged down in work, or trying to fit in something resembling a social life?

When I’m busy with work, which is pretty much most of the time, I tend to go to bed later and often wake during the night with thoughts pinging around my head. I know I should be getting more sleep but as long as I’m feeling fine I can carry on like that, can’t I?

Hmm, not so much. Eventually my mind tells me I really need to put down the laptop and notebook and get to bed. It’s taken me a while to recognise the signs but they’re definitely there. Does this sound familiar?
:: everything seems to be a bit more difficult than before
:: you feel more fed up, nothing’s going to plan and there’s too much to do
:: the world seems a darker place, the news is particularly depressing
:: quite frankly, it all feels a bit too much!

I’ve learned, eventually, that when I start to feel the above it’s time I had some early nights. Actually, life hasn’t suddenly become extra hard, the news isn’t any more negative than a few days ago and my to do list is as long as it’s always been. But my ability to deal with it has been reduced because my mental reserves are depleted and my energy tank is running on empty.

If I go to bed early and read a book (NOT having a last minute pootle around social media on my phone) I’ll nod off earlier than usual and get a better quality, as well as a longer, night’s sleep. A couple of nights like that and, miraculously, I feel much better able to deal with the long to do list, I gain some perspective on life’s difficulties and feel decidedly less frowny! The magic of sleep, eh? Of course, what I need to learn is to snap out of this cycle and make sleep more of a priority. I’m working on it.

How do you know when life’s getting on top of you? And what do you do to get back in your groove? Perhaps sleep isn’t the issue and for you it’s taking time out on your own? I’d love to hear how you deal with life running you rather than you running your life so please share in the comments below![/cs_text][/cs_column][/cs_row][/cs_section][/cs_content]

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  1. I need more sleep than almost anyone I know… at least 8 hours, and usually more like 9. One of the things I’ve (reluctantly) learnt is that the wind-down is just as important as packing the hours in. I need to be in bed, or at least cosy with no screens for a good half hour before I turn the lights out. That means I can’t squeeze in another episode of The West Wing, or another go around Facebook or Pinterest. I’m more likely to read a book, have a bath, or write in my journal.
    I also stopped drinking after 9pm so I wouldn’t be up in the early hours to go to the bathroom 😉

    • That’s such a good point about winding down before turning out the lights, Jenny. I’m getting much better at reading in bed, usually because it’s the only time I actually read!

  2. I need loads of sleep, I like to make sure I am in bed for nearly 9/10 hours! I am not the best sleeper so this means I allow myself to have at least 7/8 decent hours sleep.

    There is a misconception that you can ‘catch up’ on the sleep and you can’t, it needs to be constant in order to get the benefits from sleep so as boring as it is going to sleep early, it is needed, especially if you want to have a great day at work the next day.

    My top tip would be to use your bed only for sleep, no watching TV! I find if you watch TV in bed before you sleep you add an energy to the room which is not suitable to sleep.

    • Great advice, Danielle, thank you! I’ve heard that you can catch up or store sleep too. On Radio 2 Chris Evans mentioned that although he gets up at a super early for his breakfast show during the week, at weekends he sets his alarm only one hour later because more than that and his body clock gets confused. I’m trying out that theory…

  3. I feel like you’ve hit the nail on the head with this post and I’ve been thinking about this myself lately. Maybe there’s some kind of guilt linked to not using every hour of the day, like how can you be sleeping when there’s X,Y and Z to do?! But you’re right, I think sleeping and slowing down in general has more benefits than we realise.

    • Glad the post resonated with you, Alyssa! I think you’re right, there’s definitely that feeling of always needing to do stuff but also a feeling of wanting to be awake and not doing stuff before bed, like talking with your partner or watching something on TV. We can’t fit in everything every day so I guess a bit more figuring out is needed 🙂

  4. Oh yes I definitely recognise those signs! Sleep or time to yourself is important but it’s easy enough to forget that. Especially since I have a demanding full time day job and find it difficult to “play” with my creative side. (My job Payroll Officer doesn’t allow me to indulge that!).

    What I find helpful is no caffeine after 6pm, staying clear of electronic devices for at least half an hour before bed, some soft light and a book with quiet music and it doesn’t take me too long 🙂

    • Thanks for your comment, Hannah! Yep, I have no caffeine after lunch and I’m working on leaving the laptop and iPhone alone for a little while before bed. Hope you can find some more time to creative fun, when you’re not payrolling 🙂

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