12.22.18 - "The Palatable Medium Of Metaphoric Dream"
Dear Sweet Babe,
Today I want to talk to you about sleep.
Now, I happen to know, for a fact, that you are already an expert sleeper. But, some people do not find sleep as easily as you. Some people wake up in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep no matter how hard they try. Some people lay in their beds for hours, minds whirring, holding their REM cycles just out of their reach, like a cruel bully with their lunch money. Some people even suffer from sleeping diseases, like narcolepsy, where they fall asleep at strange and unpredictable times, or insomnia, where sleep eludes them for days upon end.
So, why do these people who struggle with sleep suffer so?
Well, because sleep is an important time for all of us. When we sleep we not only rest, but we give our bodies time to heal, our minds time to reconnect, and our subconsciouses needed time to play. Through sleep we are allowed to recenter our bodies, letting the tensions of the day to fall away, and for small tears and wounds that we’ve suffered throughout our waking hours to heal. Through sleep we are also allowed to refocus our minds, allowing for long term memory to deepen synaptic links and for the organization of our waking hours to take place, shifting important information to the forefront and inconsequential tidbits into our subconscious. Through sleep we are allowed to reconnect with that subconscious, seeing hidden patterns and secret truths that we have kept buried through hurt and shame, all through the palatable medium of metaphoric dream.
In short, sleep allows us to return to a healthy state in order to get our being as close to factory settings as possible.
And, that’s often why people find sleep so difficult. Now, I can’t speak for the neurological diseases of narcolepsy and insomnia (a sleep pathologist, I am not), but I can speak to what I have personally experienced. I have found that those who are suffering from a mid-sleep awakening or those who find it near impossible to fall asleep are going through a tumultuous time during their waking hours, and they are bringing that stress into their bed with them. The stresses of life are causing their mind to whirr with unsettled thoughts and concepts, which keep sleep from settling in.
So, how do we avoid this?
Well, anxiety is the enemy. The incessant fretting and worrying over what we cannot control will lead you to ruin with your sleep. So, when you are going to bed three important things will help you to leave your anxiety out of your bed and your dreams:
Develop a night time routine. Whether it includes brushing your teeth or a glass of warm milk, an ambient noise machine or the drawing of black out curtains, experiment early with sleep tactics that you can put into your bed time routine. With a routine you will find yourself preparing not only your body but your mind for the prospect of sleep. And, if there’s one thing the Boy Scouts got right, it’s in encouraging people to “Be Prepared.”
Write out your thoughts and feelings. Anxious thoughts are inescapable. We all, at one point or another, will worry about our decisions, past and future. This is inevitable. But, if you find that you are being plagued by thoughts, try writing your worries down. It helps to get these thoughts out of your head, and to know that they are safe if you ever have a need to return to them.
Create a healthy sleep environment. In my many travels, I have slept in many places. My tour took me to some of the seediest hotels I have ever seen. My tourist travels have taken me to couches and exquisitely soft beds alike. There have been more than a few times that I have slept on a subway car or in a bus seat. But, the best and most fulfilling sleep that I’ve ever had has been in my room. I have my ivy providing me with loads of oxygen, and my lavender pillow spray to lull me into aromatic calm. I have my three pillows to prop my head to just the right height, black out curtains to block out the brilliance of the city that never sleeps, and my computer to play whatever YouTube video, Netflix cartoon, or ambient noise that I need for each sleep session. Create, through experimentation, a sleep environment that supports the best and most fulfilling sleep that you can find.
Sleep is a crucial part of our lives. There is documented evidence of what dangers can befall those who don’t treat their sleep with the respect that it deserves (there is a bitchy and overly caffeinated college student that comes to mind), so be kind to yourself. Take the steps to ensure you get the sleep you need, and find your balance.