I was the youngest of four children.
This meant, of course, I was always the first to go to bed. Trudging upstairs at 7pm, life seemed totally unfair, particularly when my brothers were staying up to watch amazing TV shows like, erm, That’s Life.
When I became an adult, I was suddenly allowed to stay up late. And I did, visiting clubs and walking home at 2am. When I moved to London I worked as a bar manager, heading into work at 6pm and coming home again at 8am. Then I became a reporter and life was one long round of red-eye flights, press conferences, product launches and parties.
As long as I found 20 minutes in the day to have a catnap, though, I was good to go. And I could sleep anywhere – taxis, tubes, friends’ sofas..
I’m not sure exactly when it changes, but these days I crave sleep like a junkie craves a crack pipe. I find myself daydreaming of warm beds and fluffy pillows. I pore over catalogues of bedspreads and throws and imagine how cosy and comfortable they must be. I dream of blinds that black out every speck of light, and doors that don’t get pushed open at 2am by small people saying, “Mummy, I’ve been sick.”
And I can never get enough.
I’m lucky to have a child with shockingly low standards of domestic excellence, so she’s quite happy with our morning routine of getting up at 8.10am and eating breakfast in the car. She’s also a fantastic sleeper herself, so will happily take herself off to bed on the dot of 7pm each night.
The problem is there just don’t seem to be enough hours in the day any more.
By the time I’ve dropped Flea at school, I’m usually already running late for work. There are endless deadlines, invoices, project updates, phone calls, conferences and events to worry about. Somewhere in between all of that there’s laundry to be done, the electrician to book, the dentist to cancel and the last-minute realisation that the car doesn’t have an MOT. I rarely turn off the computer before 1am, and it’s often later than that.
If I do get a spare 20 minutes in my day, there’s never NOT something to fill it with. There is always more to do. Life just expands to fill the cracks. If I try and take a catnap these days, I basically pass out for five hours and wake up disoriented with my hair plastered to my face and drool on the pillow. I know, it’s a good look, right?
It’s taking its toll. I haven’t been to the hairdresser in a year and my hair is spectacularly rubbish at the moment. Worse than that there are dark shadows under my eyes that laugh in the face of Touche Éclat. I look exhausted.
Either I need better make-up, or I need a better plan. So here’s the thing: how do you carve out time in your day for relaxation? How do you re-energise when life gets really, really hectic? Or have you abandoned the fight and accepted that life is basically about getting five hours sleep a night?