Last night I couldn't sleep. So tonight I took two paracetamol and some cough medicine to help me sleep. Sounds drastic I know, but I feel like I’m getting that winter flu again so really need to make sure I sleep. But as I went to pour out 2 paracetamol from the container, I felt like I was in some movie about to take a ton of sleeping pills. I realised this is what every night might be like for someone who can't sleep. The fear of going to bed, exhausted, wanting to sleep but knowing in a few hours they will be awake again and tomorrow will be another hard day. The pressure that is put on these pills to do the job and the reliability and addiction that comes with that fear and pressure. I got it.
And it made me think of how important our sleep is. I knew this already; but I had forgotten. I was reminded of the fear and stress that can come with sleep. I was reminded of the importance to actually prepare yourself for bed. To stop watching netflix 30 mins to an hour before bed. To make sure your bedroom is your sanctuary. And to have a good book by your bed. I spend time getting ready for my day, why don’t I spend time getting ready for bed.
In my previous job, the stress got to me and I stopped having a good nights sleep. I didn't stop sleeping but getting to sleep was difficult, then I’d wake up in the middle of the night thinking about emails I hadn't sent. Then I started worrying that I wasn't good at my job. I started worrying about financial stuff….the list goes on. Then during the day I was tired and getting upset at little things, but completely unable to control myself and the tears. In other words, I get the importance of sleep.
I started thinking about yoga (obvs) and felt relief that I had it. But then I realised I didn't very often get to a yoga class before I went to bed as I was the one usually teaching it. Then I got to thinking (as Carrie Bradshaw does) that there can be other forms of yoga to help switch off. I need to have more hot baths before bed to help my body relax. I need to read my book before bed to help me switch off. I need to take responsibility for my sleep and do what I need to do to ensure I get a full nights sleep.
This Friday is international sleep day and currently lack of sleep is one of the biggest phenomenons in our modern day society. How many apps, light bulbs, beds, pillows, the list goes on, are out there to help us sleep!! When really we should take responsibility; be that leaving your work on time to have an evening to relax; to not answering your emails late into the night. The world will still be there tomorrow.
My fear was forgetting what I remembered during the night and I would email myself so that the reminder was there in the morning. I have no answer for when that happens other then just write a note to yourself, send the email and then your mind is clear from the worry of forgetting. But then another one would come in and suddenly it was 4am. But that is a different story and lead me to change my job and become a yoga teacher who very occasionally self medicates to help sleep. But maybe the point is, I can recognise now what I need to be doing to help sleep. I know that watching tv past 10 is not going to help so I always go to bed at 10 and read for a bit. I can recognise that the stillness is needed before I go to sleep.
But hey we are human there are always nights when one can’t sleep….just watch them, and see how regular they are. Then do something about them.