I feel we must all agree that anything that is bad for our health will impact on our ability to achieve our goals, everyday tasks or in fact just quality of life.  A short piece in a major Sunday newspaper caught my eye with the heading ‘Retail boss blames her insomnia on email’.  The item goes on to begin, ‘One of Britain’s leading businesswomen reveals today that she had to seek the help of a psychologist to cure her insomnia’.

A lack of sleep results in our inability to function well during the day whether at work or carrying out tasks at home. Therefore, if or when insomnia rears its ugly head, we look for possible suspects to blame.  Room is too hot/cold; husband/partner snores; too much caffeine. We try herbal remedies, recommended fragrances, special pillows, a new mattress, perhaps even prescription drugs.  However this woman’s need for a psychologist shows that the root cause lies as usual, in our own head. The fact that a highly successful businesswoman felt that contacts via email were a major cause for her insomnia, highlights the fact that we tend to blame external factors for our problems instead of getting to grips with the real source.  After all, if a surplus of online communications is the protagonist, the solutions are obvious. Don’t take phones, tablets, laptops into the bedroom. Use an ‘out of office’ response whenever you are out/in a meeting/in bed. Easy, practical, right?

Problem is, this is NOT the problem.  As is usually the case, the responsibility lies in our own inability to resist stress and over thinking. This I know is not a new issue – we all do it, creatives and entrepreneurs alike – women’s brains are not good at switching off.  I raise my hand as hugely guilty of this self- destructive phenomenon.

So what do we do to re-boot the ability to get enough ‘shut-eye’? Truthfully I wouldn’t insult you readers by listing this or that as remedies for hyper-active brains.  I’m sure you’ve all looked into some or all of them.  The point is though, a lack of quality sleep is a real stumbling block for our desire to achieve and we must search for our own workable method to quiet our minds, whether it is traditional meditation, mindfulness techniques, or as in my case, plain old distraction – a film or a good book.  The point is in the final analysis, you must know yourself and put your own health and happiness at the very top of your priority list.  A lack of sleep will ultimately end in burn-out and as your own best friend, you can’t let that happen!

Jules Bannister

Jules Bannister's career has done 'the rounds' starting with women's magazine journalism then onto TV and radio promotion in the music business, following on into production work at the BBC, on Radio 4's News, Consumer and Drama departments. Fast forward several years and we find Jules working as a professional singer and actress with a love and a talent for performance. Jules is finally returning to her first love of journalism, once more putting to use her knack for empowering women of all ages and from every walk of life with the written and spoken word. Jules believes that how we write and what we say are an art form and a powerful tool with which to achieve our goals.