In my life, sleep is an essential way to either improve my self-care and sustain myself or break my self-care and exhaust my energy, peace of mind and potency all in one shot.
When I’m rested, I’m more flexible to stress. My body is more resilient and willing to work, my head is more transparent and focused, I feel more comfortable and at peace. I’m more sensitive to myself and everyone else.
On the other hand, when I’m exhausted or overtired, my emotions and body feel more fragile. Sudden changes can send me into a whirlwind of an uproar. My mind is hazy and I’m much less likely to be good to anyone, including myself.
I know this about myself. I’ve understood this for some time now. So, you’d think I get enough sleep to make sure that the first scenario happens all the time, right? After all, I write on lifestyle and my self-care must be comprehensive, right?
Well, that’s not the case. I must assert on a self-care concept here, of self-sabotage.
The definition of sabotage is “a process or actions leading to hurt or hamper” or “deliberate subversion”. Why on Earth would we sabotage ourselves? That’s a complex answer, and a simple one. We choose to.
Sometimes it’s so scary to imagine growing, changing or making informed choices that we deliberately thwart our own efforts. We make choices every second of the day. Our life is up to us. These are thoughts and doing things in the manner we’ve always done them feels refreshing and changing.
I know I’ll feel much more pleasant if I get a good night’s rest. And sometimes, for whatever reasons, I don’t want to “feel good.” When common sense and self-love win out, and I can do what I need to do to get a good night’s sleep, I am rewarded.
Apart from the benefits I have been hinting on, a good night’s rest can also have special rewards for us creatively.
When we’re struggling with an obstacle in the hours before melatonin kicks in, our brains keep working on the issue while we’re resting and the answer might “pop out” as we wake up.
So, the longer and calmer we sleep, the more time there is for our “sleeping brain” to work on the puzzle that our “conscious brain” has been struggling with.
This relates to the spiritual discipline of praying before bed, for the solution to a problem. It also revolves around the self-help method of drafting a question on a piece of paper and slipping it under your pillow before bed.
So what keeps you from getting a good night’s sleep? How do you destroy your efforts? Over-work? Netflix? Instagram? Toxic Relationship? Future? Drinks, food or other substances that make it difficult to sleep? Erratic sleep habits?
Here are four things that worked well for me when I was trying to find my sleep:
- Turning off Netflix and my laptop one hour before I’d like to be asleep. This gives me time to wind down, silence my thoughts and prepare myself for sleep. When you let your mind run wild, try not to think about the worst possible future outcomes; this will lynch your sleep as it did for me quite a few times before. Before sleeping, your thoughts must conclude the day rather than start a new affair with a career or conflict.
- Try waking up early on the weekends. This means I don’t sleep in too long or stay up too late on the weekends. I try and keep my wake-up times or bedtime within about an hour of what I do during the weekdays. Otherwise, I spend half the week on re-adjustment and weeks fly too fast.
- I gave up coffee. Even before I gave it up ultimately, I had to limit my caffeine and say no to it anytime after 6:00 p.m., or else the caffeine would terribly impact my sleep that night.
- Breathing techniques and other relaxation exercises do wonders. Just a few minutes of deep breathing can soothe me and send me right off to slumber. The most straightforward tips are to focus on breathing from the belly and to focus on long exhalations.
Have you ever suddenly risen before sunlight with the solution to an issue, a new idea for an article or another creative glow? That sounds like the work of a good night’s sleep!