Adequate rest is vital. Some people need less and some people need more. I think often the quality of rest is the key. If you have your finger on your off switch and the second you go to bed, deep restful slumber is yours you may not need as much. If you struggle to get to sleep, sleep lightly and wake frequently you can spent hours in bed and still feel like you’ve not had anywhere near enough rest.

For a little over two weeks I’ve been experiencing all of these problems. It’s made it hard for me to focus and I haven’t been able to achieve everything in my day that I’ve wanted it. Of course the items I sacrifice are my chill out times. Yoga, walking, playing the guitar and even reading have fallen by the wayside of late. I worked up a schedule that should have afforded me time for all of them but I’ve been sleeping so poorly that I just didn’t have the energy and of course that’s just making things worse because the problem here is that my off switch is really quite hard to find.

Night after night Pete and I go to bed and he drops straight to sleep the moment he tuns out the light. Me? Of course not. I toss and turn, and pick up my phone and wonder if I can turn the light on to read, I try to clear my mind, fail, pick up my phone again, message someone, tell myself i need to sleep and on and on. I can’t just turn off, I need to work at relaxation. Television, conversation, all the things we do in our own time in order relax and enjoy our recreation will still leave me too stimulated to be able to shut down my brain with any ease, particularly if something is going on to excite me or stress me out. Of course right now I’m very excited, I’m a working writer and I’m a little bit stressed due to my frustrated attempts to make the most of my time.

For the first week or so of having freelance work I wasn’t struggling with sleep. It could be that sub-consciously I hadn’t absorbed the reality of what was happening to me. But I suspect there is a simpler explanation: Pete and I were sleeping in the tent. I went on holiday in a tent every year when I was child, I spent my honeymoon in a tipi, I walk into a tent and my brain knows that it’s relaxation time. It shuts off. Obviously I can’t sleep in a tent all year round so I am faced with an interesting conundrum. How do I make myself turn off without sleeping in a tent?

I think for people like me with over-active minds the only way to unwind at night time is to have a routine. A simple routine that informs your brain that it is time for sleep and it can shut up now. If I had one it seems to have disappeared. Maybe the months of looking for work and failing to find it left me feeling so relaxed I didn’t need a routine anymore. Time to dig it back out and adapt it to my current needs. It may be that I need to leave Pete in front of the TV while I clean my teeth and head up to bed with a hot drink and book.

At least I hope so. I really don’t like being stressy, mopey, whiny, grumpy and inefficient.

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