A thought about sleep.
The theme of sleep has been on my mind lately. What is “normal”, what is “needed” and how to combine these with life as is with its many needs. This article has been going around on Facebook lately and I found it an interesting informative read and honestly a bit of a relief.
Before having children my sleep pattern was jumbled due to freedom of choise. In my travels I was ever so exited to discover siesta as a norm. In Spain everything literally shut down the hottest hours of the day, the shutters shut and later the streets and cafe’s are bustling tills late as people break up their needed rest into a few hearty chunks and now have energy these late hours. So much fun.
After having children it was the night feeding that woke me on a regular basis. Then I have chosen to have night work a few times a week. When the kids at last slept through the night I sometimes had the need to just shake things up and stay up all night in creative pursuits or to gather with friends or to dance. To feed the soul at this soulful time. Latest it is the 6 puppies that wake me with various needs at least once a night. Broken night sleep seem to just be part of my life. Naps are some of the most nurturing times for me and I adore when I am able to give myself this gift of time to quiet down in the middle of the day. Ahhhhh.
I know that lack of sleep can make me ill, not to mention make me feel crazy. Too much sleep makes me feel sluggish and depressed (but it is a rare “luxury”). That said I realised with the little ones that the expectation of so and so many hours of uninterrupted sleep is the biggest issue for me. Then I resist the awakening and get agitated and irritated when I am “needed” at random hours. Argh!! The irritation only adds to the stress and then I have a hard time falling back to sleep. If I am able to awake with acceptance, assured I will be able to go back to bed I am relaxed and then I actually do fall back to sleep much easier sometimes with the bonus of some great thoughts or realisations that I carry with me into the next sleep ( and if I am really lucky into the next morning) or the privilege of a moment noticing the sky or the scent at a time of the day that I otherwise would not have experienced. Adding to life , making it richer for me.
I am a very light sleeper and in sharing life and home with other families and animals I get woken up on random times for random reasons all the time . Obviously am not always thrilled about the interruption but I do my best to use it as an opportunity for awareness practice. To take note more than having a judgement around the awakening . Sometimes I have to tend to the situation ( my children , my animals, someone checking in, emergencies etc). Just as often it is not my responsibility and I can merely notice … footsteps ( human, cat or dog) , someone flushing the toilet, door opened and then closed, children laughing, child screaming, cat playing with toy, dog jumping of the sofa, laundry started and so on. I attempt to relax in to taking note and letting it go rather than forming an opinion.
This is a practice with which I attempt to meet life in general and obviously … I forget,get caught up in judging , opinions, expectations all the time often even without noticing. Hence it is truly a practice. When I do let go though the reward is much softening, continued rest and less stress and not to mention toxic moods and an expanding sense of freedom.
Night-time dreams , visions and thoughts tell me much about my self and life that I otherwise may have missed.
What is you sleeping patterns and your thoughts around it? Do you sleep enough , too much ? Do you worry about waking up not able to get back to sleep and then experience just this. Could you se this awaking time as a blessing to tap into in place of a curse to cure? What practices could you do at this extra time you are given that are beneficial to you. Do you allow your self the freedom to follow your natural impulse of rest when it come upon you? Does your lifestyle permit this? Is your diet ( includinc liquids ) and habits supportive or destructive to you resting patterns? Is there any minor adjustments that can be made if only even in attitude that may bring you closer to your natural resting needs?
I am curious to hear your thoughts …
Sleep as so many aspects of our life is not a one size fits all. We all have individual needs and these change with circumstances and seasons like everything else. They may go unnoticed if we do not take a moment to reflect. Can we become friends with sleep and rest and listen to our selves and our bodies and as much as possible take heed to what we hear and see what emerge as we do so.
Could it be that the power available to us is proportional to our ability to rest and let go?
( I read something along these lines somewhere but can not remember who the quote is from..let me know if you know).
I think it may have some truth to it.