For me, sleep is not just something I pay attention to;  I guard and protect the amount of sleep I get every single day.

Medical journals will tell you not enough sleep or too much sleep are signs of depression, and I know for a fact that not getting enough sleep can have devastating effects for me.

When I had a nervous breakdown, now called a major depressive episode, I couldn’t sleep for days. Not because I was manic. I simply couldn’t sleep. It became physically painful as those of you with insomnia can well attest.

In fact, when sleeplessness goes on for too long, I liken it to torture.

I’m not talking about fatigue after a bad night’s sleep.

I’m talking about real, physical pain when I’ve cried for days without closing my eyes to rest.

So what have I done since that time? I constantly monitor what I’m doing during the day and evenings so that I know I’m in bed sleeping for most of 9 hours every night.

Science will say adults need 7 to 9 hours of sleep but that one in three gets only 6.9 hours of sleep each night. I simply can’t function on less than 8 and most people’s productivity is diminished after less than 7 hours of sleep.

No one wants to admit the need for adequate sleep, which puzzles me. Is it seen as weakness to need a lot of sleep?  Just like eating or breathing, sleep is part of the human condition!

So don’t ever feel guilty for declining a night out if you know you have to be up and productive the next day.  You’re simply taking care of your body AND your mind!