It’s normal to wake up during the night, we all do it several times. Usually we don’t remember them because not only are they short, we also just roll over and slip back into sleep.
However, when you find yourself lying in bed around the witching hour, as some call it, unable to get back to sleep, quiet quickly your mind starts to get busy with thinking. Racing from one thought to the next with no end in sight, your mind can feel like washing machine stuck in the spinning cycle. Then there is this strong feeling of anxiety in your tummy or chest that suddenly pings up. Your heart is pounding loud and fast. You can’t stop tossing and turning wishing to be anywhere but here in your bed.
We all sleep. It’s a basic human need (and a basic right actually but let’s leave that discussion for another time). But how we sleep differs greatly. Some sleep early, some late. Some sleep longer, others sleep shorter. And some sleep well while others have troubling sleeping. Many menopausal women often struggle with sleep.
Anyone who is familiar with the series Suits will recognise Harvey Spector’s corner office – all that beautiful light streaming in through the windows, immediately boosting the mood of anyone who enters, increasing alertness and sense of mission. Then the camera moves to the windowless area the legal associates are placed in. They have only a little daylight – it seeps insipidly through the windows in the doors – and their main source of light is artificial. Without it this people are literally in the dark.
What is the most common misconception when it comes to sleep?
That everyone needs eight hours. We need however much sleep we need, and that can differ between people, but it doesn’t mean that we need that exact amount every single night. If you’re someone that tends to sleep 7.5 hours, you don’t always need that much. It’s like eating—there are days when you eat more and days when you eat less. Sleep is not a static thing; it’s quite the opposite. Little kids need a lot of sleep, while older people need a little less (although that’s still debated). Sleep also doesn’t happen in isolation; there’s a day that comes before it, and a day that comes after it so if we don’t sleep exactly the same every single night, that’s ok.
This journal entry is an excerpt from a previous interview which I did with the guys from Home Hero. We talked about sleep (naturally!), the role of your sleep environment and the benefits of having a personal meditation teacher.