The subject of sleep has occupied my thoughts over the last few weeks. Often between 3:30 and 6:00am! Initially I tried not to worry about it too much, as I have found in previous years that my sleep pattern can be disrupted when the clocks change. There has also been quite a lot going on, both at home and work so there has been plenty to occupy my mind when I regularly awoke at 3:30am. And as I became increasingly aware of my lack of sleep having an impact on me physically, emotionally and mentally, this just added to my list of worries.
All the things that usually help me to get back into a good sleep pattern didn’t seem to work this time. Reducing alcohol and caffeine intakes had no effect, practicing yoga or autogenic exercises, while relaxing, didn’t improve things and even a pre bed soak in the hot tub didn’t help me sleep through the night.
Thankfully my beloved partner knows that I have these phases and has supported me incredibly, as he usually does, even to the extent of sitting and chatting with me in the early hours of the morning. I am also fortunate to work for a company that takes wellbeing seriously so telling colleagues that I wasn’t sleeping well was not difficult and elicited both understanding and several colleagues saying they were suffering similarly.
Finally towards the end of last week I came down with a cold, nothing major, just a head cold. Now usually I would have just carried on regardless, but this time I thought differently. At work we having been talking a lot about the importance of looking after ourselves – for many of us this seems harder than looking after others. We also made a commitment at our management team last week to embrace World Kindness Day (which is today) and to hold each other to account to be kind to ourselves.
So I took things easy over the weekend and even though I did go into work the last two days I asked colleagues to cover some meetings for me and made sure than I left early each day, by canceling other commitments. Thankfully my cold seems to be clearing up and also last night I managed to sleep nearly 10 hours, so this morning I feel much better. I’m sure I could have carried on regardless but what is this saying to others and is it really achieving more? Increasingly I doubt that so I for one am trying to be kinder to myself and to others.