Updated: Jan 19, 2021
Hello and welcome to another glorious day of sunshine.
I slept well last night, but why should you care? I’m simply telling you this because this is quite out of the ordinary for me. I am a bad sleeper and for many years now I’ve been on a quest to become a good sleeper. To say I was consumed by my inability to sleep well, is somewhat of an understatement. Over the years trying to ‘fix’ my sleep problem has become somewhat of an obsession. At one stage, and after trying every known remedy in the chronic insomniac’s handbook, I decided that I was going to go back to university to
study health science. I was going to learn so much about the biology of the human body, circadian rhythms and every component of sleep, that I believed I would be able to solve this debilitating disease once and for all. I’d given up all hope of ever finding a remedy, magnesium, meditation, good sleep hygiene, cherry juice, lavender, clean sleeping (seriously WTF), and every other supposed aid I’d ever read about in the ‘essential guide to (not) curing insomnia’ hadn’t worked, so I was determined to take charge of and get to the bottom of the problem myself, no matter what measures it would take. What of course I hadn’t come to realise was that the more I worried about and tried to ‘fix’ the problem the harder it was becoming to do so. I began worrying about what a lack of sleep was doing to my life and overall health. Was it going to shave years off my life, or was I going to crash the car or get struck down with some terrible disease? I was worried that if I didn’t sleep I would not give my cells the chance they needed to repair themselves. The more I didn’t sleep the more I worried. Of course what I didn’t realise was that none of this was helping, and embedded with this mindset I was only making matters worse. I had become so obsessed with developing a sleep routine that I was simply existing from day to day rather than living, in spite of the fact that nothing I was doing was actually making me a better sleeper. My sole purpose in life was to get through each day. I was exhausted and unhappy. It had to stop! If there is one aspect of our life that we do not have control over it’s ‘to make ourselves sleep’. You can certainly give yourself a window of opportunity to sleep, but you cannot ‘make yourself sleep’. Believe me I’ve tried!
What not to do. Should going to sleep really be this hard?
Then one day I stumbled across a podcast interview with Stephanie Romiszewski and as I listened I realised that everything she was saying resonated with how I had felt over the years I had been a bad sleeper. She described me to a tee. I realised then and there that my obsession with fixing ‘the problem’ was at the heart of ‘the problem.’ One thing she said really pricked up my ears and made me stop and take notice. She simply said that ‘good sleepers’ or people who sleep well don’t follow a list of rules to go to sleep at night. They simply go to bed when their bodies are tired, with not a lavender bath in sight. ‘Good sleepers’ don’t worry if they do have a bad night’s sleep. They simply go to bed the next night and expect to sleep well, and nine times out of ten they do just that.
So last night I decided to put aside all the rules, regulations and routines I had so religiously put in place over the years, go to bed at the time my body was telling me it was physically exhausted, and just let it be. I had no expectations about what would happen and by some miracle I slept just like all the others out there who do so without a set of rules to follow for a good night's sleep. I won’t say I’m cured but for now I’ll simply rejoice in the fact that I slept well. If you feel so inclined you can listen to the podcast here.
Until next time, may your week be both serendipitous and enjoyable.