The importance of sleep

It is World”s Sleep Day on Friday!

Very few of us sleep enough because most people are leading rather hectic lives. What I certainly did not know is the impact this can have.

Years back I worked nightshifts for my partner’s taxi company and had tentatively started Starfish Travel offering tourists bespoke tours all over Scotland. That resulted in working several nightshifts, going on a day time tour and then returning to nightshifts.

It is common knowledge that nightshifts are not particularily healthy as they interfere with your bio rhythm and how you body reacts to sunlight.

If I was vaguely aware of this I ignored it and carried on switching between day and night shifts. I began to notice that I started to not sleep well during the few hours I did have for sleeping I lay awake worrying about oversleeping, not hearing the alarm clock going off.

This carried on for quite some time and I lost a lot of weight and worse still all interest in anything else in life. I was permanently way too tired to do anything. I also felt physically a lot weaker and it so coincided that my childhood asthma re-appeared as well.

You may think this is easily rectified ; just go and sleep. This is, however, not what happened in my case. I felt worse and even began to loose coginitve abilities. I would forget things and quite often struggled to even make the simpletest calculation. It effected me emotionally I mostly felt nothing. It affected how I interacted with people all the while just feeing too tired for life.

I went on a tour with customers over several days and began to feel quite normal after my first night’s good sleep in months. It happened again when I went for a MBA refresher course. Sadly, it did not seem to click in my head. I was strangely imprisoned in the world of little sleep.

I came across Matthew Walker’s book “Why we sleep” and it absolutely changed my life. While reading it I decided to try to sleep regular hours and preferrably at least seven of those for two weeks. Within days my memory, my mood, my health improved and I have not worked a nightshift since.

Instead I took up yoga to deal with my asthma and lack of general movement. I have meanhile qualified as a yoga teacher. I still ocassionally drive my taxi, but I have learned to look after myself in mind, body and soul and all of thanks to Matthew Wakers amazing reseach. Read his book or look him up on Youtube

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