Lack of sleep, statistics keep suggesting, is becoming so commonplace that feeling permanently exhausted is the new norm. One of the problems for insomniacs is that we’re so shattered by 9pm that we can’t summon the energy to go to bed. Not only that, we’re anxious that if we do go to bed early, we’ll be awake at 3am. Besides, hitting the sack that early feels weird.
In her New York Times bestseller, Better than Before, Mastering The Habits of our Everyday Life, Gretchen Rubin adds that many of us feel resentful stealing into our leisure time by going to bed before midnight. We don’t want to feel all we do is work and sleep. A law school friend of Rubin’s, evidently not enamoured of her job, told her, with what Rubin describes as “surprising vehemence,” that without that time at the end of the day to read and to relax, “I have nothing for myself.” We push through the pain barrier, feel relatively perky at 11pm, turning the light out at 12.30am, convinced we’re invincible.
Until the morning. As Rubin says, “it’s all very well trying to stretch out our days to cram more ‘fun’ in, but we might feel better and achieve more if we got more sleep.” Rubin’s personal solution is to get ready for bed earlier – take the make-up off, brush the teeth, and do whatever other rituals and sleep cues are part of your routine before you’re too whacked. She does it after she puts her children to bed.
I’m doing it around 9pm, after I’ve granted myself a final look at my phone but before I’m so tired those simple preparatory actions seem overwhelming. It makes a big difference.
Two weeks into my new pro-sleep campaign, I’m seeing results. What do you know, going to bed when you’re tired, rather than chronically worn out doesn’t mean you sleep less but more.
It helps to have presentable nightclothes and maybe that’s why matchesfashion.com report that sales of luxury sleepwear are “off the charts”.
I love cotton pyjamas: Bodas have a gorgeous pale blue with red piping combination (£58 for trousers and £70 for the shirt, bodas.co.uk), as well as lovely cotton and jersey robes. I am also very partial to a cotton kimono robe. Try the White Company, from £60, or look out for beautiful patterned ones, which tend to be pricey, in the sale (Isa’s are currently half price, at £143.20 on gilt.com). And make a point of sourcing inexpensive cotton ones on holiday. True you might wake at 6am instead of being dragged into consciousness by the alarm at 7am – but, providing you got your six to eight hours, there’s your extra fun time.
Luxury pyjamas, £120