Reclaiming the Night
If you sleep really well, there are two things to immediately realize. Number one, your capacity to sleep is greatly envied by many, especially me, in this early morning moment. Number two, you must read on. I suspect some benefit might exist in these lines for you. And, if you do have sleep issues, come right on in to our shared experience.
Many years ago my mother said to me, “Oh, the women in our family have sleep issues.” I found myself ducking out of the way, trying to avoid this energetic whammy. Well, of course it wasn’t an intentional maternal whammy. My mom was the ultimate of mother-bears; she would protect me with her every cell, as she continues to do well past her life in a body. She was simply speaking the truth of my genetic inheritance.
I understand enough about epigenetics to know that I can re-pattern my genes. They do not bind me to inherited traits. But I swear to you, dear BlogFriends, as I age (oh, and I do), sleep, that wild and wonderful doorway out of awakened consciousness, sneakily and consistently evades me. Don’t even ask what time it is right now.
I am an instant-faller-asleep-er. Within a few minutes in bed, I slide away. That is the good and easy part of sleep. It’s the WAKING UP that gets much less easy. (I’m capitalizing to keep myself awake.) I wake many times during the evening. Sometimes I am able to glide back into easy sleep and or even soften into resting awake-ness by using relaxation techniques, breathing, or prayer. Yet often, I cannot find the willingness to do this. I choose the struggle. Then, perhaps about 4:30 or 5:00 a.m., I slide into some restless dreaming for an hour or so. I awake, exhausted and weary from the great sleep wars.
The holistic and not-so-holistic responses I have made, over the years to my sleep issues, not in any order of preference or sequence: every possible natural sleep formula, combinations of every possible natural sleep formula, liquid time-release melatonin drops, glasses to filter out the light of television and computer (fondly called bug-glasses in our family), sleep workshops, Benadryl, 5-HTP, natural remedies to reduce cortisol, natural remedies to increase cortisol, lifestyle change, noise reduction machines, the best earplugs made by God, and so on. Ad infinitum.
What I Have Learned in the Middle of the Many A-Night, Wide-Eyed and Awake:
- Probably I will not die the next day from lack of sleep.
- I may even be more effective at work, since my defenses will be weakened and my authenticity more available.
- Nights are long. Many minutes fill up a night. For those of you who sleep through, look what you are missing!
- I can relax into not sleeping. This is a profound insight and powerful life practice.
- Sometimes I just don’t want to relax and pray. And—so what? That, too, is okay.
- Sometimes I participate in my own oppressive awaken-state. And—so what? Yep, that’s okay, too.
- I have a choice about what I make sleeplessness mean.
Like with every single other thing on the planet, whatever is happening, sleep or no sleep, I can relax and let it be okay. I do not drive heavy equipment for a living. Being tired doesn’t put me in immediate danger. Yes, in the long term, there are serious implications to sleep deficit. But for today, if I practice relaxing, remember that resting counts, too, and just allow my reaction be what it is, I can soften into the night, and make my way ease-fully to morning. The sleep war is a choice.
Rest well, everybody!