Sunday, 21 November 2010

Making friends with sleep

Sleep has always been my best friend and worst enemy. It reinvigorates me, nurtures me and comforts me - i really feel a new person after a decent night of slumber. If i go to bed with an unsettled mind, the miracle of sleep will always work its magic and have me in a decisive place in the morning. But my ubiquitous want to spend half of my life in bed (because it's like some safe, warm, secure amniotic sac to me) has been a hindrance to all that i want to achieve in my life. I'd plan an early morning, set my alarm - but wind up just hitting snooze for the next hour. I'd finally stumble out of bed - tired, demotivated and annoyed with myself. Not a great way to kick off a day of my precious life.

Sleep is also my favorite excuse for any bad mood, grumpiness, bluntness or any temporary downtime in my mental processing abilities: 'i'm tired/sleepy/fatigued/late night/ early morning/ didn't sleep well/ couldn't sleep/ insomnia' or 'cat/storm/noise/neighbours/aliens work me up in the night'. An old work colleague said to me jokingly that 'you're ALWAYS either tired, hungry or moaning - and often all three at once.' (As the proverb goes: There is never a truer word said in jest!)

Finally, I'm getting to grips with my sleep. It's funny because i'd thought i'd tried everything that the experts and doctors say, and in retrospect i had tried everything. The problem was that i had never persevered with anything. I'd never given this advice more than a couple of shots, I'd only dabbled and played around, perhaps not actually wanting to fix my sleep 'habit' because of the security it gave me. Whereas now, regular sleep times, sleep hygiene, avoiding caffeine and packing up my laptop an hour before bedtime IS working.

I'd attempted the 'Tony Robbins' hour of power a few times before. But it never seemed to override my sleep-centric system. But now i'm actually getting somewhere and feeling bouncy every morning.

The act of getting out of bed is the biggest obstacle i've had to overcome and i think i've finally managed to crack this one by resorting to my overactive imagination. First, i started to think about all the things i've missed out on because of my reluctance to give up my bed. I also started to think about all the bad experiences in my life that pushed me to crawl under the covers. I remembered times of depression i had once suffered, breakups with boyfriends, times of low energy/ low opportunity and a low standard of living. Then i thought 'wooaah, wait! I don't want to condition myself to hate my bed - it doesn't deserve this, it's been my best friend for so many years!'

So then i thought up another cunning idea and would provide me with a supportive framework... and remember a framework that supports you doesn't need to make any sense to anyone else. The only test of its steel is whether or not it supports you, where you want to go and what you need to do. Therefore, my second idea was that: Bed does love me! Whilst i'm curled up, warm and snug under the covers - Bed is awake, keeping and watchful eye for the bogeyman and allowing me to sleep safely and soundly. Bed cares about me and nurtures me through my sleeping hours. But... guess what? Bed need sleep too... so at 6am while I'm battling with my snooze button - Bed is at the tail end of a long night shift and patiently waiting for me to stop dicking around and just get the hell up. Then it's Bed's turn to sleep.

Yeah... it's a little quirky... and... erm... creepy. But, hey it's doing the trick! However, what the notion of loving, nocturnal guardbed does to my love-life remains to be seen.

My last point is that i was telling a friend of my success with my hour of power! She was very enthused by my accomplishment, but pitied me for the sleep problems that have plagued me for years. My friend stated that she was lucky enough never to have had any sleep problems, she just rolls into bed at eight and sleeps soundly to eight AM. I was listening to her 'wait a minute... she spends 12 hours a night sleeping and doesn't think that's a problem?!' And there you have it! Life is all about the standards your set for yourself, which ultimate determines what you assign the 'problem' label to! Apparently she sometimes lies in till 2pm on the weekend. Good for her! lol :-)