Being a mum of four young boys means that a good nights sleep is well and truly a thing of the past. So, over the past eight years I have had to develop a good coping strategy or I think I would have literally gone insane.
Every so often research pops up to reveal that between 10 - 30% of adults go to sleep at night with their teddy bears. Why is that? What's the appeal of a stuffed toy, especially when it's old, tattered and has perhaps been around for decades and is now rather mucky and worn?
My top tip for when you are still awake at 3am or woke up at 4am knowing sleep just ain't gonna happen is to practise Yoga Nidra or yogic sleep. It's a bit like a guided relaxation or meditation which allows your mind to be guided free of distractions.
By the time I was 25, I'd burnt myself out physically, mentally and even spiritually: I developed psoriasis, which covered twenty per cent of my body, and I gained weight. But the alarm bells really started to ring loud and clear when I began regularly waking up in the middle of the night with a nosebleed.
When I've found myself subjected to a boyfriend's sinus acrobatics in stereo, I've taken my slumber elsewhere. I prefer to start my working day without looking like I've gone two rounds with Muhammed Ali.
The nights are drawing in, temperatures are dropping and many of us are starting to feel less energetic - I know I am! Fatigue is something we all struggle with at some point in our lives, and dealing with it regularly can cause real distress - particularly when despite your best efforts, you just cannot seem to improve your tiredness levels.
Science proves that our brain continues to be active at night at which time the brain cells shrink allowing the brain fluid to move freely; it's during this period of sleep that the brain has the ability to flush out the waste. This is different during the awakened state as the brain is expanded, restricting the ability to fulfil this role...
I really despise baby trainers. I'm also perpetually irked by telly doctors booby-trapping new mothers with their breastfeeding 'advice'. Baby trainers do the same sort of booby-trapping too, but they are far more sinister than that. Yes, in the year 2014 you will still be expected almost, to train your baby as though it were named Fido. Training babies is a bad idea.
As smartphone addiction creeps into bedrooms all over the country, it's clear that we need to make a conscious effort to disconnect. A nationwide epidemic of sleep deprivation, smartphone hangovers that sap our productivity, and an inability to switch off from work and relax, are all sure signs that our dependence on the smartphone has gone too far.
Visual cortex, the part of your brain that is devoted to processing visual stimuli is the largest cortical tissue within the brain. It's serious brain real estate. No wonder. As the wise saying goes "A picture is worth a thousand words". Visual content is rich in information. In today's world it is also overwhelming.
One of the most common sleep problems I encounter in my clinic is waking in the early hours - usually between 2am and 4am - then finding it hard to get back to sleep. In the long term, missing out on this vital stage of sleep can be debilitating and even lead to serious health problems.
Sleep is the most effective way of renewing, refreshing and healing our bodies and minds. It is an essential part of functioning as a human being and we spend almost one third of our lives in a sleep state. Sleep is without doubt, the best way to improve your health, reduce your stress and make you more effective and alert during the day.
Sleep has a love hate relationship with many of us. Its benefits cannot be denied: it has been claimed to be linked to weight loss, concentration, mood, attractiveness, long life, memory and overall better health to name a few. But despite knowing some or all of the facts, most people (myself included) find ourselves 'burning the candle at both ends'.
Do you think taking a nap is for lazy people? Or for summer holidays under the sun? You couldn't be more wrong. Recent studies show that napping increases your ability to think, decreases the risk of dying from a heart attack and boosts your performance by 34%.
My sleep clinic is constantly full of exhausted people wanting to know how to get more sleep, fall asleep more easily at night, stay asleep, feel asleep. This last one is interesting - many of my clients complain of feeling as if they've not slept at all even though they may have spent hours in bed and not really been awake.
*(Was Mildly Interesting) ... I've realised that waking up to the sound of a human voice - unless it's someone screaming 'The house is on fire!' - is far preferable to waking up to an iPhone alarm (yes, even Slow Rise). I've realised that it is possible to switch off from the internet, especially if you keep your iPhone in another room and you're a bit lazy.