Sunshine Coast: we have a problem. Nearly half of us are sleep deprived. Research by the Sleep Health Foundation has found 45 per cent of us have poor sleep patterns that lead to fatigue and crankiness, which is making us work less, damaging our mental health, and causing us to make silly mistakes.
The study shows women stay awake worrying about the world, whereas men suffer more from sleep deprivation due to physical causes such as obesity and breathing problems. This is a fancy way of saying snoring their backsides off.
A person’s sleep ritual is very private and not usually shared with the world. One friend of mine has to have earplugs and an eye mask to block out all noise and light every night before she bunks down. One relative has to be surrounded by exactly seven pillows. Some of us need to sleep in the foetal position, whereas others prefer being flung on our backs with our hands above our heads like we are being robbed. I am lucky because most nights I am so tired I just flop down and flake out.
There were years when I was getting up all through the night to crying babies, where sleep was all I dreamed about and an hour’s nap would make all the difference. I have about three years where I do not remember much, which is quite inconvenient when friends are reminiscing about our past get-togethers. I just had a fog in my brain.
The experts say to get a better night’s sleep you should go to bed at the same time every night and cap your sleep at around eight hours. On top of this, you are meant to start winding down about an hour before you hit the hay. This means no exercise, no computer games, no television and no eating. It does not leave much, does it? My dirty little habit of taking a nip of port to my bedside and checking my Instagram is certainly not healthy.
My children, on the other hand, have the world’s best bedtime routine. I turn on their diffuser (it is amazing but cost the price of a small country) with their choice of essential oils (they cost the price of a large country). The oils come with a menu choice of lavender, orange, peppermint or eucalyptus. I could pretty much charge for a day spa service.
They have fresh sheets several times a week. They have flowers from our garden in their rooms. Then they have warm milk in bed and a few stories and snuggles. Then we put on an audio book and have final snuggles and chats about the next day and we tuck in all 34,857 toys and then it is supposedly sleep time. It takes forever. And I would not change a thing, as it is one of my favourite parts of the day.
And does my fussing and clucking work? By midnight every single night, all three kids and two dogs are in our bed fighting for real estate space on the crowded mattress. On a good night, I will get a foot to the face and on a bad night I will sleep on the carpet. Go figure.
Sami Muirhead is a radio announcer, blogger and commentator. For more from Sami tune into Mix FM.