by Anne Malatt, Australia

“Sleep that knits up the ravell’d sleave of care.” (William Shakespeare, Macbeth)

I have always struggled with sleep.

Ever since I was very young, I remember not wanting to go to sleep, having trouble falling asleep, waking during the night and not being able to go back to sleep, and waking in the morning feeling more tired than I was the night before. I used to stay up late, trying to avoid sleep. When I was in my teens, I began drinking to try and help me sleep, which only made the problem worse. I tried everything, and nothing helped (except chamomile tea, which left a strange taste in my mouth).

One day, in desperation, I decided to take the advice of a good friend and go to bed early. It was a revelation! I woke the next morning after a sound sleep, feeling rested and vital and looking forward to the day.

Knowing this, why do I still struggle with sleep?

I have come to know that the way I sleep is a reflection of the way I live the day.

If I live a day in anxiousness, pushing myself, driving myself to complete tasks, that energy is still in my body (and my head) when I go to sleep.

If I come home from work late, and still have to make dinner, eat dinner, clean up afterwards and let my dinner digest, I am not ready to go to bed early.

If I eat too much food, I cannot sleep for a few hours.

If I do not feel complete about my day, I take it to bed with me.

I have come to know that preparing for sleep takes the whole day.

The quality of my sleep is a reflection of the way I have lived the day.

The quality I wake up in reflects the way I have slept, which reflects the way I lived the day before.

The quality I wake up in is the quality I take to the next day.

Knowing this, sleep is everything.

So, if sleep matters so much, how do I do it?

The first thing I have learned is to understand how important sleep is and to make a commitment to going to sleep in the quality I would like – in gentleness, in love.

To do this I need to live my day in full, to feel complete when my work day is done, and to wind down in the quality I would like to go to sleep in.

The winding down rhythm at the end of the day is all important.

For me, it means finishing work at 5pm, feeling that my day is complete.

It means leaving work at work, and coming home in a way that allows me to bring home me, and only me.

It means preparing and eating food that nourishes and supports me, without overeating.

It means spending the evening resting and playing, without over-stimulation.

It means allowing enough time to get ready for bed in the evening, as I do to get ready for the day in the morning.

Sleep does so much for us, if we but allow it. It is up to us to support ourselves, to bring ourselves to sleep with love, so that we can bring the fullness of ourselves to each and every day.

My understanding of this has been inspired by Natalie Benhayon, who is a living example of the truth of this work.

424 thoughts on “Sleep

  1. What was in our body during the day does not disappear just because it is time to rest. We rest with it. Resting is a movement. We move with and in sync with that which have said yes to during the day. It makes too much sense. The quietness of night though is a very revealing time of the extent to which how we live helps us settle in our body or not and the impact that this has on us. So, trouble to sleep? Change your movements during the day so you are settle in your body!!

  2. We, as a society, have ended up in a vicious cycle of exhaustion and overdrive stimulated by coffee, sugar and other stimulants. People cannot sleep during the night as their nervous system cannot calm down and they wake up tired which leads them to reach for more stimulation. At one point we need to stop and take responsibility to care for our exhausted body and give it the rest, it and we so deserve.

  3. “I have come to know that preparing for sleep takes the whole day.” Brilliantly expressed Anne. I also love how you allow yourself enough time to get ready for bed as you do to get ready in the morning. That’s awesome inspiration for me.

  4. The way in which we live in each moment leads on into the next, and with that we always have the choice to re-imprint if we feel ‘off’ or deepen how we are living if it feels on track.

    1. I have found that unless I appreciate myself then it is hard to live ‘on track’ as it allows my mind to be consumed with self doubt and criticism. Appreciation is like a glue that sticks together those good moments which we simply do not use often enough.

  5. I find that I am more aware of what impacts on my quality of sleep. If I take on stuff from the day then my sleep is erratic and restless as I have gone to bed still carrying the day instead of going to bed to rest. When I am more open, less invested and express more of myself during the day – I can then settle in the evenings and my body is more surrendered.

  6. This is something I have learned much about and also been deeply inspired by, Anne – particularly through the presentations of Natalie Benhayon and Serge Benhayon. If we but choose one part of our daily rhythm to focus on – the quality of our sleep being a fabulous example – we cannot but be alerted to the whole cycle of each day, and made more aware of what’s going on for us in this.
    Thing is, are we really willing to see so much? It can be very exposing of where we actually sabotage ourselves… and yet so deeply enriching when we choose another way.

  7. No amount of sleeping pills can ever make up for taking the responsibility to live an honouring and self loving quality during the day. One is expensive in the long run, the other may be challenging but so rewarding to commit to in full.

  8. This is such a clear summary as to how the quality of our daily way of life impacts on the way we sleep, and then how the quality of our sleep impacts on how we feel the next day; simply a continuous 24 hour cycle, one in which the quality every single minute is as important as the next.

  9. Considering how we are in our day contributes to our sleep brings an enormous amount of responsibility which can mean we would rather have the quick fixes than the true lasting change. I remember when I got honest I wanted to sleep for days – and I mean days! That is not very practical with young kids so there was an element of having to be really tender with myself as I undid some of my normal go-to behaviour with stimulants.

  10. Anne you are presenting gold for people who are struggling with sleep – “The quality of my sleep is a reflection of the way I have lived the day.” That is something most of the people are not aware of. It means that we are responsible for the quality of our sleep and that is something some of us has to swallow.

  11. Yesterday I worked a late shift, normally the morning after I am completely dead. But I had to get up and out the door for 6:30am. Last night I didn’t feel so drained as I used to, and this morning, yes I am very tired but not a zombie. Something about how I am while doing a late shift has changed the quality of my sleep and how I then wake up. Seeing my day as a learning first comes to me as if I go to bed with unmet expectations that doesn’t support me to surrender to sleep.

  12. We can’t maintain our day at a fast pace and then literally skid into bed and expect quality sleep… our body first needs to wind down.

    1. Suse thats so true, I remember a few years ago, I was just living like that, fully in fast pace and then thinking if I just stopped an hour or so before, my body would settle down, how wrong I was. My brain never stopped and my body was just exhausted.

      1. There’s a big difference between what we’d deem a ‘good’ night’s sleep – sometimes it can seem as though we’re sleeping well, but actually the body is exhausted and basically shuts down to not take anything else on. When we’re not racing around in the day, and go to bed in that state of even-ness, the body gets to rejuvenate itself at night and we wake up actually feeling refreshed. It’s a totally different sensation.

  13. Anne – What great practical steps you bring to address ill-sleeping patterns and thus introducing the beginning of change to a deep quality of rest and rejuvenation to the body and feeling clear and ready for the next day.

  14. Anne, Your personal experiences with the profound changes in your sleep pattern, reveal how super important it is to have a winding down rhythm in place at the end of the day. This is then beautifully supportive for the quality we can bring to the following morning.
    How inspiring this blog is – a simple foundation to true wellbeing – thank you!

  15. There are so many people using daily sleeping pills to get themselves to sleep. If we all got to read this blog and open ourselves up to see the bigger picture of why things are a certain way. we can have evolution as humanity. I clearly notice when I am more anxiousness during my day. It means I am not really connected within me but I adjust to my surrounding to what people expect from me. To listen to the demands even mostly not spoken. All is energetically felt. And when I respons to all those demands I can not sleep.
    When I am with me during the day and bring me in all I do, in that fullness then my I sleep light and lovingly.

  16. Over the last few years I have began to truly understand that that preparing to sleep takes the whole day, our quality in our movements for the whole day impacts our quality of sleep. As I have become more aware and have changed my movement, my sleep is more restful and I am less tired when I awake. Still working on deepening the quality of my sleep.

  17. I love this line…”Sleep does so much for us, if we but allow it. It is up to us to support ourselves, to bring ourselves to sleep with love, so that we can bring the fullness of ourselves to each and every day.” Sleep is essential and even if we sleep well always looking at day and our rhythms will continue to deepen the quality of our sleep and the quality of what we bring during the day.

  18. I have never had trouble sleeping but have come to understand why I can sleep for 8 hours and still wake up feeling tired. The practical things you have mentioned in your blog Anne have made the world of difference to the quality of my sleep. Now I make sure I dont go to bed with unresolved issues buzzing around in my head and I don’t eat heavy foods for dinner as this makes me wake feeling sluggish the next day. As a result of these simple things I now actually need less sleep and wake feeling rested and ready for my day.

  19. I ate some food that I don’t normally eat and let an emotional issue run last night and then I had dreams that I was very active in and I woke up feeling drained. Almost like I had run a marathon. It was good to read this, this morning to refine my choices throughout the day and what I will choose tonight so that I have a rejuvenating sleep.

  20. My work does not allow me to be home early enough to enjoy an evening dinner with the family and a long winding down time before sleep now, and so it is all the more important to live my day with even more awareness in love than before, being even more gentle to myself than before, being more firm in standing by my own love than before to go to bed full of this love and understanding to myself, to still enjoy the immense benefits of sleep.

  21. Preparing for sleep takes the whole day – I completely agree. And a good night’s sleep feels like a great session – my body feels totally surrendered and ready for the next day and I feel more able to understand and appreciate what was offered in my dream.

  22. So very true Anne, I have long observed that children who don’t establish a good sleep rhythm of early to bed (which almost always means… early to rise), are less healthy, vital, mentally clear, focussed, even-tempered and joyful. It is hard to be any of those things when the body is lethargic and overloaded.

  23. You could have called this the science of sleep. There is far more to it then putting our heads on a pillow and closing our eyes. It is one life, in this all we do contributes to the next movement.

  24. It is incredible how much we as a society overlook the power of sleep, and how greatly the quality in which we sleep determines the quality in which we awaken, rise and move through the following day. Since realising this being aware of how I sleep is a vital part of my well-being routine, and if I don’t pay attention to honoring this equally important part of my day through winding down, reflecting, being thankful, appreciating and nurturing my body for carrying me through the day, I certainly feel it the following day. The more we honor ourselves throughout the day, sleep included, the more of ourselves we can bring to everyday.

  25. “I have come to know that the way I sleep is a reflection of the way I live the day” This is a great lesson to learn that we have as much responsibility for the way we sleep as in the way we live each day; it is all one and the same part of the cycle.

  26. Your article here alone gives us enough information on sleep and how to care for this period of our day.

  27. I find sleep fascinating, lately I have been getting too much of it and I swear its making my more tried, I think the model that we have been sold about sleep is much like the out dated food pyramid model. The best way to be vital and get the most out of the sleep you have is to feel things for yourself and in your body, this article has so many great tips of how to get the most out of bedtime, love it!

    1. Yes Sarah, I feel I have an internal battle between what my head is telling me, i.e. You need a good 8 hours sleep and what my body is telling me, which is it’s leaving me feeling more tired and groggy when I ignore these messages. The tussle is interesting as it goes against everything I have been told or read on getting enough sleep and I know that waking feeling refreshed makes a huge difference to my day so I resist what my body tells me in the belief I’m going to be left feeling tired and yet here I am, having not listened and feeling quite groggy.

  28. Sleep is a precious gift that allows the body to restore itself ready for a new day ahead. Thank you Anne for all that you offer to us about sleep, I have lately been making my bed in the morning with tender loving care , and when I get into bed each night I feel a sense of being wrapped up in my love.

  29. I spent a little while fixated on getting to bed early while missing all the other components to a good night’s sleep, so I didn’t really feel much difference. An early night is great, but so much of a good night’s sleep is about the quality I go to sleep in, and how I’ve been in the day. The more present I am in my day, and less reactive and emotional, the more energy I have, the steadier I feel, and the better night’s sleep I get.

    1. I know what you mean Bryony. I was fixated on getting to sleep early last night and rather than focus on the quality of my movements I rushed to get everything done so that I could be in bed early and then proceeded to lie in bed awake unable to let go of my day with thoughts racing round at a million miles an hour.

  30. Working in a health food shop has me seeing a train of people who have difficulties with sleep purchasing all kinds of remedies to bring it on or to keep them asleep so it really is a problem many suffer from. I love this quote . . . “Sleep that knits up the ravell’d sleave of care.” (William Shakespeare, Macbeth) and I love your sharing. Preparing for sleep is great advice for how can we possibly, after having a million things running through our mind, expect to suddenly on demand turn off and go to sleep?

  31. Sleep is a daily reminder (right in our faces) that the quality of your movements affects what comes next. This is as valid regarding the day relative to the night as the night relative to the following day.

  32. Sleep has always been my friend and while I struggled with it for a fair few years when I was unwell, I know as I did when I was younger sleep fairly well. I guess when we sleep we think everything shuts down but a lot of our body is still going and so we need energy to sleep. In that way it would be important what you go to sleep in, in that go to bed thinking about the day or the tomorrow and your sleep will be pretty full. I never really placed an importance on sleep as it was just something you did and after all you were asleep what does it matter. But now I can see another part of the importance of sleep that takes it well beyond a mere process.

  33. Sleep is part of our cycle, a cycle that gets repeated and repeated, so it’s quite peculiar how when we know certain choices impact our sleep negatively that we should continue to repeat them again and again. I’m exploring my sleep patterns at the moment and starting to look at what I use to stimulate me throughout my day and into the evening which then impacts on my ability to go straight to sleep.

  34. A friend recently said to me how supportive she finds it to go to bed early and I have realised that in order for me to achieve this I need to be prepared in my day so that what is needed is complete leaving space for me to unwind properly for sleep.

    1. Last night I put to the test my friends advice, instead of racing around and getting all of my chores done just before going to bed, I made a conscious decision to leave them until the morning. I took myself to bed an hour earlier than usual and although I struggled to get to sleep, I woke up much earlier and feeling more vibrant than I had the day before.

  35. It’s the quality I live in my day which determines the quality of my sleep, if I eat foods or drink drinks that stimulate me and live disconnected from my movements / body then this is the quality I take to bed with me and it is understandable that I may struggle to sleep. On the other hand if I am present with my movements and avoid foods which I know stimulate then surrendering to sleep is a joy.

  36. ‘If I eat too much food, I cannot sleep for a few hours.’ I find if I eat late I wake up feeling more sluggish than if I eat earlier, especially if I have overeaten too.

  37. I am still very much learning with this one ‘I have come to know that preparing for sleep takes the whole day.
    The quality of my sleep is a reflection of the way I have lived the day.’

  38. I love my sleep and being a shift worker I often work through the night and would feel very tired and grumpy after these work shifts. But like you Anne I have been discovering a lot about sleep and breaking down some beliefs around this and have also found it is not about how much sleep I get. it’s the quality of my sleep that counts, learning to apply these simple principles you have outlined here truly support us to enjoy more restful and quality sleep.

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