I've never been a good sleeper. Even from an early age, I remember getting to sleep was always a problem – and this continued into adulthood.

Going to bed later than everyone else, struggling to fall sleep and on many occasions getting up tired and irritable due to unfulfilled rest was normal for me. And to make matters worse, there was no consistency to it – it was not just that I could not get to sleep, sometimes when I did manage it, I would then frustratingly wake up in the middle of the night (early hours of the morning to be accurate) for no apparent reason and not be able to fall sleep again for two or three hours.

It really affected my social and business life. Usually, being tired and irritable does no-one any favors as you can imagine, and not being able to function at optimum performance consistently I know negatively my business negatively on many occasions.

For years I suffered with this 'condition' – and I tried all sorts of methods to resolve it. Herbal remedies, exercising at different times during the day, sleep therapy audios – nothing worked. Till I heard of this simple idea recently that I decided to try – and after only two days (well, nights) worked a treat. And it was so simple I did not believe it would work. I wish I had heard about it years ago.

And the idea is no more complicated than going to bed at the same time every night – then waking up at the same time the next morning. That's it. Simple. But it has to be done daily. No matter what, you need to stick to these timeframes. For me now it's bed 10pm every night, and up the next morning at 5pm. Consistently. And that's the key. You have to stick to this for it to work.

OK, we all have social occasions and events that sometimes come up that we like to attend and that's fine if we break the rule on the odd, very odd, occasion, but it's important to get back into your routine the very next night.

It's important because if you do have a sleep disorder or feel you're not getting enough rest through the night, lack of sleep can cause wide-ranging negative effects. I was surprised to find it can affect so many areas of our life:

1 – Decreased Mental Performance

Sleep deprivation adverse effects many of your cognitive responses. Your sense of judgment, elements of your reasoning, your attention span as well as problem solving abilities all get impaired when your body has not had enough rest. Your memory can also be affected as your brain's ability to process and store information is compromised due to the body's 'unrested' condition – and so you tend to forget things more often. For all these reasons it is difficult to maintain effective daily performance levels and productivity.

2 – You Age Faster

Lack of sleep contributes to the aging process and the way you look in general. Even after only a few sleep affected nights characteristics such as wrinkles, dark circles under the eyes and a draining of skin color become noticeable. The main reason for this is because of the higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol being produced by the body – something your body does when it does not have enough rest. The Cortisol is important in this case as breaks down collagen – a protein ingredient that keeps the skin tight, elastic and youthful looking.

3 – Problems to Your Health

A few sleepless nights here and there should not have any detrimental, long-term effects on your overall health – however suffering with this over weeks or months or even longer – definitely will do. Numerous diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and depression have all shown that chronic lack of sleep being a contributing factor.

4. Weight Gain

Yes – weight gain, and I was surprised as you are on this one, but studies have shown that weight gain and lack of sleep are – excuse the pun – co-operative bedfellows. It turns out that if you're not fully satisfied your body's production of certain hormones can get erratic, which has a direct impact on your weight. For example, inconsistent and shortened time can cause the body to increase the amount of the hunger-inducing hormone ghrelin it produces, while decreasing the levels of leptin (appetite suppressant hormone) it normally would in a fully rested body. Also, the production of Human Growth Hormone (HGH) which stimulates muscle growth and aids fat burning is reduced, which limits how your body can burn excess fat. This means that you're more likely to eat more and your body not burn off the calories at a fast enough rate if you do not sleep enough

5 – Risking your Life

We all know this – but it's very important to mention. Tiredness is one of the main causes of automobile accidents on our roads today. (The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that Distracted Driving is the main cause of motor vehicle crashes.) The most common causes of distraction-related crashes are rubbernecking, texting and driver fatigue. maim, or cause any number of other unwanted results. Having enough rest is important when we undertake activities such as driving or using heavy machinery or equipment, especially for long periods of time.