One of the things that I never really valued was sleep. I used to say, “I will sleep when I am dead”. I was notorious for surviving on 5-6 hours a day – all because I felt I had so much to do and so little time. Sleeping, to me, was just a waste of time, and I am sure a lot of you share the same sentiments.
Ironically, I married a Sleep Scientist who often commented on my lack of sleep i.e. it’s harder to lose weight without sleep, or, my least favourite: people who don’t sleep age quicker. I usually just ignored him – haters are going to hate, right?
Each night, before I went to bed, I would suffer from anxiety – I would go to bed at 1am and freak out that I had only six hours until I had to wake up. And each morning in the shower I would promise myself that I would sleep earlier that night – but it would never happen. It was a vicious cycle.
It was hard to really see the need for change because I was thriving on the limited sleep I was having. On paper, in every aspect of my life, I was handling my responsibilities.
If I am honest though, this lack of sleep came at a price – at least once a month I would just crack it, fatigue would hit me hard and over a weekend I would decide I didn’t want to be bothered by anyone and just sleep. I would sleep for hours and hours, repaying the accumulated sleep debt.
In my heart of hearts I knew something had to change, but my stubbornness clung on to the “who needs sleep” mantra.
It wasn’t on purpose, but the change started when we were overseas on holiday. Instead of going to bed around 1am in the morning like I used to I slowly started rolling my bed time back. Bed time became 11:30pm then 11pm and now it’s 10pm. I also imposed two rules:
1. I must sleep for 7 hours at a minimum, 8 hours would mean I’m on target, anything more was bonus round!
2. This is the big one – I no longer use an alarm to wake up.
The time away allowed me to practice my sleep habits without any harsh consequences, i.e. missing a work meeting because I slept in.
I have now mastered a personal sleep and wake up cycle. A person like me, who mostly hates rules, jealously guards my sleep time now.
I honestly can’t believe it took me thirty plus years to value my sleep – life is easier now because I have great sleeping habits. Each day I wake up feeling well rested, refreshed and ready to start the day.
As women we carry a lot of pressures, be it at home or at work, but sleep is a gift that we can give to ourselves in order to be what we need to be to others.
A rested mind and body will always make better decisions than the unrested.
I guess hubby was right – don’t tell him though. Xo