Something I figured out quite late in life, at 56 years old, is that doing what is good for me can really be pleasant and valuable. Yesterday I referred to the gremlin that sits on my shoulder and scoffs at me, well it is related to Kill-Joy, the saboteur, which makes everything as difficult as possible for me; together they have a field-day. I guess there’s a defiant little girl in me that colludes with the gremlin and Kill-Joy. Many routines go out the window such as sleep, eating for health and orderly living. Do you experience anything like this?
Today I am going to tell you a little about my sleep habits.
I have never liked sleeping. It is quite infantile really. I remember, as a five year old, sitting on the Persian carpet in the lounge, staying up with my mother and father and hearing the 11 pm news on the radio. I knew it was time for bed for the adults, and therefore me. I guess as a child I always thought I was missing out (fear of missing out) and didn’t want to miss out on what was happening in my world. I have always been curious. Many years later, in adult life, I would lie awake with excitement, my creative mind whizzing about creating things. People suggested I keep a gratitude journal and at the end of the day i should think of all the things I was grateful for. Well that could keep me entertained all night. The more I thought about all the things I was grateful for the more excited I got.
Not only do I like staying awake before going to sleep but I love waking up in the middle of the night to read, think and write. If that is not enough I enjoy waking up before sunrise. I lie awake listening to the bird calls which fill me with exhilaration. It is not something one can keep up and be fully functional for long. It played havoc with my memory and organizational skills.
What I had to face up to over this last December is that I am very much an ‘ideas’ person and I live in a world of ideas – mostly in my head, instead of action being the follow through of my ideas. This leads to frustration. After this admission I decided I wanted to make some of my ideas a reality. I found Mel Robbins YouTube talk really helpful. You can listen to her here
As some of you might know my husband, Derek, made one of his dreams come true when he went to flying lessons and now flies a microlight. The best time for him to fly is early morning. So he started an early morning routine, and being normal human being, he needs 8 hours sleep so goes to bed early. This is where my early bed routine began for sure. It was something I made happen.
And this is what I discovered…
when I go to bed early I make time for all the ablution routines, no longer saying ‘I’ll shower in the morning’ and for some reason I then happily make time for me to slather oils and creams on my body whereas in the morning I am always too in a hurry and I neglect my skin. I feel so comfortable sliding into bed between the sheets with my skin feeling hydrated instead of dry and prickly. My skin is no longer one of the many distractions to falling asleep. I feel nice. I smell nice. I feel like a baby ready for sleep.
Yes I do still have nights where my mind is whizzing about being grateful or creative or the like, but I have learnt a trick from Mel Robbins. It is called the 5 second rule. She first stumbled across it to help her get out of bed in the mornings; ironically I use it to fall asleep. When I catch myself getting on the hamster wheel of thinking I tell myself that I am going to count from 5 to 1 and then it will be time to sleep. It really is a decision that ‘now is the time to sleep’ but maybe because there is still that little girl in me that needs being treated like a child or maybe it is a way that the mind can shift seamlessly into a new gear, I am not sure, but it works for me. It works in the middle of the night too when my mind wakes up and wants to play. And now in the mornings I wake up feeling so refreshed and ready for the day that I am sold on getting enough sleep. I look forward to sleeping and in this regard I want to do what is good for me.
I enjoyed Mel Robbins talk on the 5 second rule. You might enjoy it too – it is an hour long so listen when you have the time.
Till next time, take care,