Have you lain awake at night, unable to sleep, worrying, tossing and turning, keeping your partner awake, getting more and more churned up? If so, join the merry throng of people who have difficulties with sleep, insomnia.
In fact a pattern can set in. The more you find you don’t sleep at night, the more it seems to set up an expectation that you won’t sleep. So, guess what, self-fulfilling prophecy, no sleep. I meet masses of people who think they “must” have their 8 hours sleep, come what may (tough if you or your partner has a baby, by the way!)
The one thing medics say not to do is to worry that you “can’t sleep”, because that’s more likely to keep you awake. Yet, as worriers know, that’s easier said than done, and you finding that as you lie awake your mind immediately goes to “I can’t sleep again” and off you go, stuck in being wide awake.
Well, there are things that can be done, and they don’t necessarily involve sleeping tablets, which tend to get a bit addictive, like a “prop”, and leave you feeling drowsy the next day.
One thing that people don’t tell you is that this idea that you “should” be asleep is a bit of a myth. We probably learned it early on in life when our parents wanted us to get off to sleep so that they could have “their” time or because they thought we “should”, that it was “good for you”. Yet people often don’t have regular sleep rhythms and can be awake in the night quite naturally.
The point is to change your relationship with the issue, by not making it an issue. There is something in all this about acceptance of what is. There is probably something else you could do while awake. A friend of mind does the Times crossword at night. The words “let go” and “surrender” come to mind, surrendering to it, rather than have it be a drama.
Also there is something important in all this about consciously managing your state, which is what we teach in The Point of Awareness. The key is to learn to manage the mind and learn to let go of unhelpful mental activity and re-focus. The yogis learned this thousands of years ago and we teach people to do it today. It is for example a very good time to meditate, when the world is silent and still. A good time to know more of your inner place of stillness.
Then you’ll get great sleep!