Going into this lockdown, I have been struggling with maintaining healthy sleeping patterns, not just that, but I have had no desire to wake up and go for a jog or work out. By the time the kids are asleep, I have admin, mails, calls and following day’s school program to catch up on, and it goes without saying that a glass of wine and some snacks help ease the process.

But my temperament has been off balance. I am losing my patience and focus. My libido has also hugely taken a knock.

According to everydayhealth.com, it is said by experts that good sleepers are more likely to experience positive emotions, like laughing out loud, feeling loved and supported by someone else and having satisfying sex, compared with the women surveyed who did not get a good night’s sleep daily. And women who aren’t sleeping well daily said they were more likely to feel irritated or angry, feel stressed or overwhelmed, feel hopeless, or experience negative thoughts compared with the women who did get good sleep daily. Well… this is me during this lockdown…

My sleeping patterns have also affected my boys’ sleeping patterns with my older boys sneakily switching on the PlayStation after the last light in the house goes off for the night. This has in turn rippled over into their grogginess in the morning and struggling to focus and concentrate during virtual class.

I was researching on some of the concerns we have around our health as women and I came across a comprehensive wellness report about women’s health and dissatisfactions women have with their overall wellness. It turns out, 25% of women are dissatisfied with their stress levels, amount of sleep, exercise, have trouble eating healthy and struggle with anxiety.

As I further read it started becoming apparent that we lack sleep or don’t have quality sleep because we are stressed, anxious, are not eating healthy and don’t get enough exercise. We are also highly stressed because we don’t have quality sleep, don’t exercise/get our hearts pumping, have trouble managing a heathy and balanced diet and anxiety grips us.

Our wellness is striking a balance of the essentials our bodies need and naturally do. We have deprived our bodies of the natural so much.

As women, we make such a huge mistake when we don’t prioritise our sleep. Watching this global COVID-19 pandemic at play has also ushered in epidemics such as insomnia. The simple truth is, if we do not sleep, we do not function. If I think back to the out of control spiral, I had with my health years ago and when I was at the peak of my post-partum depression, sleep was at the core of my issues. When I fixed my sleeping patterns, waking up and exercising got easier, cravings lessened, my emotions and crankiness improved.

There isn’t a pill or a cure all for wellness and amending our energy levels – but what there is, is sleep.

Lack of sleep has been linked to long-term health. Chronically not getting enough sleep has been linked to increased risk of developing hypertension, having a higher BMI, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and some cancers and when it comes to the more immediate effects, lack of sleep affects memory, learning, focus, our ability to control our emotions, appetite and our immune system.

And you know what? I get it… sleep isn’t a magical thing we can all do. Setting aside 7/8 hours of sleep a day isn’t as easy as we say it is. When there’s the breastfeeding baby and the deadline that one needs to get out the way. Or even that thing you need to get out the way at 2am in the morning. But it is clear that sleep is a necessity.

In a country where we have some of the highest numbers of people living with lifestyle diseases. Lifestyle diseases largely occur due to how we live: from our environment and exercise routine, to the food we eat, and habits such as smoking and excessive drinking.

As many as one in six South Africans suffer from anxiety, depression or substance-use problems (and this does not include more serious conditions such as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia), according to statistics released by the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG).

Sleep may not be the perfect solution to all our problems, but it most certainly is a start.

How has your sleep been affected during this lockdown? Have you been getting the best kind and some quality sleep? Are you only getting light sleep and not enough deep sleep to recoup your system?

Check out here and check what kind of sleep you are having: https://www.everydayhealth.com/sleep/light-sleepers-vs-heavy-sleepers.aspx