Sleep

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.

522 thoughts on “Sleep

  1. I did this just the other day ‘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.’ and while eating asked myself did I really need dinner and on reflection reading this I am thinking what if I went to bed and then got up and had lovely breakfast instead? This is showing me that being set in ways is not supportive.

  2. It’s very clear to see when we prepare for something, we perform better at it or have a smoother experience. Sleep is no different to any other part of life.

  3. Right now I can feel I am pushing it, my body wants to sleep and my mind is making excuses! My bed awaits! Love all that you have written here Anne. Great revelations.

  4. “It means leaving work at work, and coming home in a way that allows me to bring home me, and only me.” I can relate to that not just for work, but for my day in general. We can accumulate lots of reactions and carry things around with us from the day, instead of maintaining our connection to ourselves.

  5. I emerge from a long sleep after travelling interstate and with it being a long day, my body was exhausted. The timing of this blog couldn’t have come at a better time than now.
    Everything you have shared Anne makes absolute sense especially, ‘ the way I sleep is a reflection of the way I live the day’ and ‘If I live the 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’. All the other points are just as important, for me these two seem to be the ones that need refining at this stage of life.

    A further refinement is the ‘wind down’. I have observed, even if I read one text message or an email near to bed time, my body is stimulated, and my sleep is violated.

    There is much to ponder on here, sleep isn’t just becoming unconscious and horizontal, it is where every cell in our bodies rejuvenate and regenerate. So what are we doing to assist it?

    1. Thanks for your comment Sushila, and in particular “sleep isn’t just becoming unconscious and horizontal, it is where every cell in our bodies rejuvenate and regenerate. So what are we doing to assist it?”. Sleep is a vital part of our health and wellbeing, it definitely deserves a detailed inquiry.

  6. I get a sense that we spend our day expecting that sleep will fix it all for us in the end no matter what – whether that’s physical or emotional and don’t really consider how we bring ourselves into completion.

  7. Spending the whole day preparing for bed. I really love that, but wow, what a responsibility because by the time you got to bed you would have to be honest about the quality you had lived your day in. I can feel stinking thinking joining me in bed already!!!!

    1. If we looked at the analogy of a car, and the oil needed replacing, what is the point if the same old oil was poured back in. No wonder the car won’t function, so it is a no wonder our bodies don’t want to function 24 hours and propping it up with stimulants, isn’t the answer either.

      We really need to observe in the responsibility of how we live.

  8. I’ve always struggled with sleeping, there were times when I only slept by getting so tired I collapsed! There’s something so precious about taking myself to bed and to sleep. Could it be for me something that I have felt I didn’t deserve?

  9. I am currently fascinated by sleep because I can feel if I have a deep nights sleep how rejuvenating it is for my body. I know there is a balance to be had between how I am during the day to how I will sleep at night. The less reactive I am during the day the deeper the sleep I have because I am not carrying any unresolved issues of the day to bed with me.

  10. “I have come to know that the way I sleep is a reflection of the way I live the day”. This is my experience too. I know that if I have a day where I put my whole self into whatever is going on and prepare for bed when and how I need to, my sleep is sound and restful. If not my mind can tick over or I can delay going to sleep to try to make up for the feeling of incompleteness.

    1. I can see from your comment Fiona that when I hold myself back, especially by not saying what I feel to, then there is not a sense of completion at night because I didn’t honour myself, more like an unsettled feeling of loose ends and missed opportunities to be myself in full.

  11. ‘preparing for sleep takes the whole day’ and that captures the fact that our whole day is a never ending cycle with one thing feeding into the next and sleep is no exception.

  12. I’m beginning to realise that we have reduced the hours of sleeping to something we have to do, I have heard some people say it is a waste of valuable time, that life is too short for sleeping. But if we sleep in a way that rejuvenates our bodies then we do not need that much sleep. It is because we go to sleep with so much of the unresolved day racing around in our bodies in the way of nervous energy that the body actually cannot replenish itself. If we cannot deeply sleep with all that nervous energy coursing through our bodies is it then any wonder we wake up tired?

    1. Absolutely. It is in our interest to build a way of living that supports a way of resting deeply as we sleep so it actually holds the same level of usefulness or importance as our waking day.

  13. Sleep is a movement that is part of our overall daily patterns. Understanding our troubles require us to stop treating it in isolation and being willing to see how the rest of our movements impact on our sleep.

  14. There is a beautiful science to sleep that supports us to understand what is on offer every night through this cycle when we approach this part of the day. Our sleep is our time of repose where not only our bodies can deeply heal, restore and rejuvenate from the day of living but also the opportunity is on offer to deepen our connection to our Soul, to the multidimensionality that we are in essence, so that our body and being is ready to live the day again with greater presence and purpose of bringing the full potential of who we are to life.

    1. From this marker of truth, we are left to feel that we make our days by the energy we live, and so this is felt and is completely transparent by the quality of the way we sleep. So simple! Yet great to face, even when uncomfortable, it always teaches us something.

    2. There is something quite magical about falling asleep and that moment of spaciousness. I remember being so fascinated by that time as a child that I would struggle to surrender to it because I was almost afraid I would not be able to come back. Now I can feel that feeling is with me when I wake as well if I am willing to still myself enough to feel it.

  15. It is the quality we sleep in not the time we sleep, so allowing our bodies to go into a deep repose and surrender to that Loving rhythm will expand into our day, then that day will reflect on our sleep.

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