It often seems impossible to get a handle on everything, doesn't it? When you think you have one thing down, another goes tits up. I've found that lately. Work is going pretty well and I'm finding time to work out more and eat healthily. However, what I'm finding I have less time for is sleep!
I know how important sleep is for my health, and how I feel the next day if I don't get enough of it, but it seems to be the first thing I tend to let slide when life gets hectic. I mean, there's always caffeine right?!
But how can I change my bad habits and find a way of disciplining myself to get to bed?!!
Busy busy busy...
Some days I can be up at 6am (maybe for a workout or maybe because I need to get into the office early), I then have a busy day at work where hardly any of the time is my own. At the end of the day, I get home and I might choose to fit in a workout, shower, then cook and eat dinner. Or maybe that evening I'm out late at a networking event for work, or I actually find time to fit some much needed socialising into my life and have some dinner with friends! Whatever my day brings, most of the time I feel as though I have about an hour a day to myself to just sit and chill out! As a result, I feel a bit robbed if I then have to drag myself to bed at 9:30pm just to ensure I get those precious 8-9 hours sleep a day!! Whatever it is keeping you busy, I'm sure most of you understand exactly what I mean!
The problem with feeling robbed of that precious "me-time" and stubbornly deciding to stay up later and avoid sleep for another hour or two, is that often I just don't get enough of it. Now after years of doing it, I'm pretty good at functioning on a limited amount of sleep but this, as most of you will know, is not really recommended, particularly considering I have a busy job that requires a certain level of concentration and I'm also doing a lot of exercise at the moment.
Another problem with not getting enough sleep is that the next day when my body is craving an energy fix, it's so much harder not to just reach for the cakes somebody has kindly brought into the office for their birthday!....On a side note, I don't know about the rest of you but this seems to happen literally every week in my office!! It's a never ending cake-fest!!
Clearly, if I'm aiming to do well in my career, get fitter and look better.....actually, scrap that, even if I'm just aiming to tie my shoe laces and function like a normal human, I'm not going to achieve it if I don't get more sleep!!!!
Even at the weekend I don't tend to catch up on my sleep. Usually during the week we all have to get up for work and most of our time isn't our own. So those two precious days at the weekend become really important and, as far as I'm concerned, I want to spend as much of it awake as I possibly can.... also partly because then Monday morning takes longer to come around again...!
The weekend is also the only real time I get to do life-admin and sort my shit out and I don't really want to spend too much of my Saturday or Sunday doing that. To combat this, I'll often get up a bit earlier to get all of that crap out of the way so I can then spend the rest of the time enjoying myself.
Unfortunately all of this means I end up getting out of bed almost as early as I do during the week (even when I'm hungover, which totally sucks!) and usually (because at the weekend I'll be out with friends or maybe having a film night at home or something) I tend to get to bed even later than during the week! Also, does anybody else find that even when they've told themselves to have a lie-in, their brain doesn't fall in line and, lo and behold, wakes them up way before their alarm is due to go off?? That happens to me all the time!!
The result of all of this is that by the time Monday rolls around, I'm more knackered than when I left the office on Friday eve! It's dark circle city on a Monday morning for me!
I don't know about you but no matter how tired I am, and despite being pretty laid back most of the time and generally not a worrier, I'm also terrible at switching my brain off when I get into bed. I can be super chilled sat on the sofa catching up on Game of Thrones but then get me into bed and my brain suddenly wants to remind myself that tomorrow I must message blah blah about the BBQ at the weekend, don't forget that you have that deadline on Friday, and also...these bed sheets probably need a wash.....when was the last time they were washed?....hmmmm, I should probably wash them soon.....you know, that sort of thing! Argh!
I can quite easily fall asleep on the sofa during a loud action movie but then when I'm in bed the smallest sound can keep me awake for an hour! It's really annoying and it also means that even if I do get into bed at a reasonable hour, I don't actually get to sleep until it's too late.
I'm well aware that having trouble winding down also has a lot to do with the fact that I watch TV or look at my phone late at night before I get into bed (or more lately, work on the blog!). A cardinal sin I know! But when I don't have much time anyway and want to spend my precious hour of "me-time" slumped on the sofa watching Orange is the new Black or catching up with my messages on Instagram, what's the solution?!
The answer is I don't have one....yet.
I know the advice is to switch off all technology an hour before bed etc etc. Quite frankly I'm not sure I'll be able to do that but I'm going to give it my best shot to be more disciplined and see how it goes. My mission, to switch my brain off and get more sleep.
Over the course of the next few weeks I'm going to try to be more disciplined with the time I go to bed and with switching my mind off before and/or once I'm there.
I'm going to keep a sleep diary of sorts to record what I do each night to wind down (or don't do!) and how I sleep as a result. I've found a couple of apps to help with mindfulness and all that jazz and I'm planning to test them out as well.
Hopefully I'll be able to report back in a few weeks time feeling refreshed and revitalised and give you all some tips to help out in the event you're having the same problem!
Now over to you! To aid me on my mission, if anybody has any suggestions for how to wind down before bed and get the right amount of sleep, please let me know. Also, if anybody has any other recommendations for apps that might give me a helping hand winding down, please shout. I'll review a few of them in a future blog!
Happy sleeping everybody!!!