THERE were so many years where I got by on 3-4 hours sleep.
I led a crazy life, had a busy family with three children and an equally challenging job where I often did a total of 45-50 hours a week. It was too much and in the end I just couldn't manage.
I couldn't deal with the lack of sleep, and the rest I felt like I just had to carry on. There were swimming lessons, home work and all the other things that come with life. Endless washing, tidying and that is before I went to work. Until one day I realised that things had to change.
FOR me the thing that crippled me was the sleep. Some days my desire to control my working days got so bad that there was no time left for sleep, and other days where I would be nearly asleep while I was sitting behind the wheel - which, trust me, is very scary.
SLEEP became a quest for something which never happened. If I did manage to drop off, it would be first thing when I went to bed. I would sleep for 2 or 3 hours then wake.
FROM then on in, my brain constantly cartwheeled around, thinking, planning and creating ways to make my wakeful time more productive.
I was once given the suggestion that the best way to settle is to write your thoughts on a piece of paper - one night when it was really bad, I filled 2 sides of A4 paper, and was beginning to think I was going crazy.
EVERYONE'S life is difficult and complicated. We are all busy and struggle to fit in time. But for me, the answer was to find ways to be kind to myself.
THIS December I am on a campaign to show others that it is important to care for yourself. This month, more than any other, is a time where you as an individual, gets even less time than normal. Well, for now at least, try to focus on you. A huge part of that is allowing yourself to sleep well.
HAVING trouble sleeping? There are so many things which work for some, some more so than others. these include reading before bed, no electronics because of the 'blue light' given off by the screens. Allowing yourself to be calm and rested mentally (which can be easier said than done).
REGULAR sleep times is thought to be essential, both waking and sleeping. Other suggestions include spending time outside, it allows your brain to be exposed to the bright light needed for stimulation; and similarly at night reducing the light level helps your brain to understand that it needs to calm and slow.
PLANNING my day made a huge difference for me. I felt in control of what I had to achieve. I also planned my food. which allowed me to feel focused - and stopped some of the worrying. At the end of the day a calm mind makes for good sleep. So spend a few minutes and really truly think about the things you love to do which makes life calmer and more achievable.
Writing things down became a truly helpful way for me to regain control. Control over my eating, my diet, my sleeping, literally everything.