It has been a weird old week this one. My mum would say that its planetary, and talk of the position of Jupiter and such like. Emotionally, I have been all over the place without really knowing why. I have been a weird mix of giggle pot, intolerant human being and a tearful bundle. I woke up this morning and instantly felt tearful, and aside from only managing to grab a few hours sleep, being on the brink of a big decision, having a jam packed day ahead with the children, and working all day tomorrow…oh, wait, there lies the answer – I am sleep deprived and over-working.
When I do not get enough sleep, life seems so much more challenging, exhausting and fragile for a shattered Shelley. Long gone are the days where I would go out drinking and partying before driving straight to work for a long shift. In my youth I would flippantly declare “I will sleep when I’m dead” but now, if I do not get enough sleep, I feel half dead!
With a lack of sleep, I struggle to get off the starting block in the morning. Rather than an energetic push into the day ahead, racing towards the finishing line like an enthusiastic champion, I kind of drag myself along with one leg struggling, whilst looking like I am fulfilling the role of an extra zombie in the movie Shaun of the Dead. Everything seems so much harder when I am sleep deprived. My husband or eldest son will often find random things like tea cups in the fridge and milk left out on the side, where I failed in the simple task of making a cup of tea. Everything suddenly seems significantly more complex when your night has lacked Z’s.
There is so much research into sleep, that I cannot help but chuckle when I think of the irony of all the sleep deprived scientists beavering away into the night researching the importance of sleep! Research findings generally proffer that we need to aim for between seven and nine hours sleep a night for optimal health and functioning. I personally would love to sleep for the nine hours, but realistically I am more of a five to seven hours type girl, which often does not feel adequate when I have a sudden onset of four children bouncing on my head as a wake up call every morning (or newsflashes of “I’m hungry” as I wake up to the scary image of being eye-balled by a wide awake nine year old).
Why do I only get five to seven hours? Do I lay there tossing and turning and worrying about the world and its contents each night? No. I only have myself to blame, for alas, no matter how tired I am at the end of the day, even if I am at the point of almost dribbling, I cannot go to bed too early as I love the silence and stillness of the house when all our little bears (or bloody annoying kids, depends on what kind of day we have had) have gone to sleep themselves and my world feels like my own again, if only for about one hundred and twenty minutes a day. It may not be Utopia, but my goodness, it feels like a mini spa break. I can eat and drink with two hands, talk without being interrupted (even if I am only talking to myself, like I often do), watching something on Netflix (Netflix is a streaming platform where I seem to spend more time searching for something to watch than actually managing to watch something), catch up with texts and emails, talk to my lovely husband and stare at his amazing eyes as a reminder of how fortunate I am to have him in my life, do random searches for stuff on Ebay that I really do not need in my life, and once a week (possibly my favourite day of the week) I venture outside of our four walls and go to my splendid meditation group.
The older I get, the more I consider the fact that one day I am not going to wake up, that my life would have passed by in a blur of school runs, rat race, routine and looking after others, so I urge you, if only once a week, to make time for you and no-one else. Get out, stay in, dribble on yourself – whatever it is that breaks up the monotony of every day habits and reminds you that this is your life, make sure you live it. You know, as in live your life whilst you are alive, as it will be considerably hard to live your life when you are dead. Trust me.