When was the last time you woke up naturally in the morning, just because you’d had enough sleep? Not because the cat jumped on your face or because the kids needed breakfast or because your partner was awake rummaging around for clean underwear? Not because the phone rang or a roadwork crew started jackhammering at 7:00 am or because you had to pee and just couldn’t ignore it anymore? And not because the alarm woke you?

And whose bright idea was it to come up with a clock that suddenly starts clanging, ringing or playing music as a sensible method of waking people up? I totally get why they call it an “alarm” clock – especially when you accidentally turn up the volume on your clock-radio while dusting it.

It can’t be healthy to get jarred out of a sound sleep day after day after day, no matter what the method, can it? And yet, I reckon it’s almost impossible for any grown-up to sleep until they’ve actually had just enough sleep. You’d need a completely soundproof, lightproof room without anyone or anything wandering in to wake you up.

In fact, they say that if you’re not in complete darkness and complete silence you’re not even sleeping as deeply as you should in the first place.

The room you sleep in is vital to getting rest. Make sure it is dark, clean and has good ventilation. Try to keep the air fresh and the room temperature between 60 and 65 degrees for the best sleeping conditions.

Do you know that in totally scientific experiments, lab rats that were denied a chance to rest properly died within 2 to 3 weeks?

And even if you don’t die right away, here are some other things that happen to you when you don’t sleep enough or don’t sleep properly:

  • Poor attention and motivation span.
  • Memory lapses
  • Decreased initiative, judgement,decision-making and problem-solving ability
  • Increased irritability.
  • Impaired ability to think
  • Decreased ability to handle stress
  • Negative impacts on the immune system
  • Depression
  • Heart disease
  • Hypertension
  • Slower reaction times
  • Dramatic weight gain (Because the amount and quality of the sleep we get affects our hormone levels)

Oh, and tiredness. Adults are always tired.

All this time we’ve been envious of all the energy kids have thinking it was because they were young and we were old. And really it was just because the little bastards get 14 hours of uninterrupted sleep every night.

All of which also explains why hating bedtime and relishing bedtime is the one thing that most clearly sets most of us apart from children.