The radio blares out at 6.30am. My hand reaches out from under the covers and whacks the snooze button. Oh noes! It can't be morning already, surely not? My whole body argues with my head. Just ten more minutes, please? I snuggle back in and instantly dive back into precious sleep. Ahhh, bliss! Then away it goes again - that loud obnoxious radio station with the annoying DJs whittering on about complete rubbish. Arrgghh!

The Bad Me whispers in my ear.."you could take a sickie you know, spend the day in bed, just what you need - go on, do it!"

The Angel Me taps her fingers and glares disapprovingly at Bad Me. "You can't do that, you're not sick! That's telling lies. You'll feel guilty all day!"

"Oh I know, I know, I'm getting up, okay? And I drag myself out of my lovely warm bed to start another day.

But I'm so tired! I sit at my desk, and fight off sleep. My eyelids droop, my chin drops forward, and I wake up with a jerk, looking around to see if anyone has noticed. I fall asleep just fine, I just can't get to sleep until the early hours. How can I get more sleep...?

Accordingly to research, you need sleep so that your body can repair and rejuvenate. If you don't get enough sleep, and most of us don't, you may find your concentration levels drop and your decision-making abilities are affected. Insufficient rest can also cause hallucinations.

Other effects of sleep deprivation include depression, heart disease, high blood pressure, irritability, slower reaction times, slurred speech, and blurred vision.

Apparently you are also more likely to gain weight as an effect of sleep deprivation, because the amount and quality of the sleep we get affects the hormone levels that regulate appetite. Hmmm, so that's why I've got those "love handles"!

It's also a sad fact that the older you get, the more likely it is that you will suffer from lack of restful sleep. Oh joy, I hear you say. Well, there is hope. Here are some things you can do to help you get a good night's rest:

  • Have a warm bath or shower just before going to bed.
  • Drink warm milk and vanilla or a cup of cocoa or chocolate.
  • Play relaxing music softly in the background
  • Make sure your bedroom is completely dark and you are not too hot or cold
  • Count sheep
  • Be consistent about the time you go to bed
  • Avoid fatty foods before bedtime

Ooops! Just looked at the clock. Seeing as it's now ten past midnight, I'd better head off to practice what I preach. Good night.. zzzzzzz