To Sleep is to Die but Without the Commitment
Wring this fresh off a far-too-short week long trip to London, the extra couple of days that I booked off as a break from being on vacation is feeling like heaven sent right now. Jet lag is one of the few things I am not afraid to use the word hate in regards to; I loath it, actually, to the depths of my core and always attempt to manage as best as possible, or avoid having it altogether. I feel this way because I know that when I fall victim to it, my distorted sleep cycle starts to negatively affect me in so many different ways. I’ve always planned my trips this way, where I set aside an extra day or two upon my return to adjust to being back. Turns out the recommended treatment for dealing with symptoms of jet lag is an extra day off living within the time zone you are adjusting yourself to. When our circadian rhythm is disrupted, it can show up in different areas and mess you up at work, or at school, or while driving, and many, many other ways. Our bodies need time to recover from this.
Sleep is not something I play around with anymore, although during my high school and university years I viewed sleep as something that needed to be conquered. I would celebrate myself and boast about being able to withstand and function with an inconsistent sleep cycle like it was an accomplishment — this being especially true when it was for academic reasons. When I look back, I’m truly amazed that my younger self could even do it, and with ease! Downing X cups of coffee or cans of RedBull in order to keep on pushing through what needed to get done. In today’s 2019, there are very few things I will prioritize above my sleep anymore, even if I am expected to do so, because I think it’s a really unhealthy part of our society, and even more unhealthy to ourselves.
As humans, we need to sleep and we know this; think about the way we treat young kids in relation to sleep. We know that sleep can affect our immune systems, our ability to think clearly, our growth, our moods, etc. Thus, we need to treat our sleep cycles with the level of importance it deserves; we need to prioritize it accordingly — the way we do for young children. If it helps, think of the younger version of yourself and it may become easier to give yourself what you need. Being part of a society that values hard work and the hustle and bustle, our bodies need to rest in order to keep up with our hectic lifestyle. I think if you manage to not feel tired when the people surrounding you are constantly complaining about how much they do, it only proves that you’re doing something right. The more nights we go without a proper sleep, the more likely it is to show up and hurt us in drastic ways, because it’s simply harder for us to make proper decisions when we are sleep deprived. The unexpectedness of life will for sure bring circumstances when our sleep patterns will be disrupted, for reasons like travel or raising children or an alternating work/school schedule — but when our sleep becomes our priority, we will find ways to become balanced again.
Creating healthy daily patterns and habits around sleep will make it that much easier, and here’s a few tips that might help you start. Being aware of my amounts of screen time, having a consistent bedtime routine, and avoiding procrastination are some areas that helped me improve my sleep hygiene, and now I rarely have trouble falling asleep. On the few occasions that I’m forced to run off of 4 to 5 hours of sleep, they’re always followed up with me curling up in bed before or by 9PM in fetal position dreaming about alternate universes, because I’ve learned what works for me in order to have a deep and restful sleep. Also, because I no longer make sacrifices in this area to maintain other (less important) areas of my life. This makes me quickly and easily able to get back on the right wavelength for me to function with content and grace.
If you’re someone who has a racing mind for the majority of the time, especially when you need nothing more than to get some shut-eye but just cannot manage to doze off for the life of you, this little tip might help. When my body is fully exhausted and I finally hop into bed, but my mind keeps going a million miles a minute, thinking about everything and anything imaginable, I just lay in bed with my eyes wide open and have a staring contest with the ceiling. I purposefully completely tire out my eyes so much so that they eventually become much too heavy to keep open and I simply fall asleep since my body can no longer bear it. My eyes eventually flutter to a close as I surrender to whatever lies ahead. It works every time!
I’m thankful for you for reading this until the end, and if you have any stories or tips that may help another fellow reader and dreamer, share them with me or in the comments section!
Nothing but love, always ~