I don't usually try to berate myself so much these days (self-love and compassion tend to work a lot better), but I think there's one part of my life which I feel like could be nailed better.
Now this is an important thing for any individual, but for my highly sensitive self, this is a big one for me.
In an ideal world, this is what my sleep routine would look like:
- Evening yoga class, evening meal (without consuming sugary sweets), some evening downtime (Netflix), before reading in bed and gently going to sleep
Now, to be fair to myself, sometimes - exactly that happens. And oh boy do I feel great the next day.
Last night, though, this happened:
- Evening yoga class
- Came home and had a delicious roast dinner
- Watched an hour of Johnny English (those movies make me laugh however many times I watch them) over dinner/after
- Went upstairs, brushed my teeth, got into bed
- Started reading articles on my laptop, and then watching Netflix on my screen in bed (my little bro recently got me hooked on “Making a Murderer”, I’m not particularly one for binge-watching shows but man this is good)
Went to sleep about 1.30am, woke up at 7.15am when alarm went off, groggy, floated in and out of sleep until I leapt out at 7.40am as I had something to get to for 8am, which I then had to re-schedule as I was running late.
I'll say this again. For human beings and especially sensitive human beings, the fundamentals in life tend to be extra-important and sleep is one of those crucial fundamentals, arguably the biggest as it's a basic need and have you ever gone 2 or 3 days on the trot without sleep... it isn't pretty and it is most definitely *not* good for one's mental health. Just ask Arianna Huffington.
This is what a restful night does for me:
- An awesome start to the next day, feeling fresh (oh, nothing in the world could replace that joyous feeling of being well-rested and ready to go)
- Even though I've gotten better at not letting a blip ruin my whole day, there's no doubt about the fact that starting my day well is a big advantage for me, and sleep helps me to do that (see below)
- I feel more calm, level, measured, and able to focus / less likely to deviate for the tasks I want to do that day (e.g. more clearheaded and willing to calmly flow into creative task mode rather than jumping into emails/darn social media)
It's very difficult to put into words exactly the benefits a restful night's sleep has for me, but it is worth it’s weight in gold.
According to scientists, most of us clearly favour one end of the “morning lark” <-> “night owl” spectrum.
My feeling is that I am more of a night owl than a morning lark, but I wonder if that's because I'm so used to feeling tired and not getting the sleep I need (8-9hrs, I need my sleep) that I am groggy when waking, especially during the 5 years I had working in the city and being constantly exhausted. Come Friday's, especially if I'd gone for drinks the night before, I could barely barely function. And, for me, having a day that isn't productive in some manner is very demoralising.
Also, as a last-minuter I think that sometimes, come the end of the day, I know that it’s crunch-time so I really ought to get things done. But then again, the night-time provides a feeling of gentle and quiet solace for me, and I seem to find flow more easily. This can be the case early in the morning, too, especially when well-rested… I write best, as Michaela Chung once put it during a Skype call we had, at the edges of the day.
Even if I am genetically more of a night owl, for me that should *at most* be an excuse to get some creative work (for me, writing) done. NOT an excuse to watch television or do stuff on my laptop, even if it is stuff that is serving my personal growth (e.g. articles, interacting with a couple of communities I am part of, and so forth). And even if I am in beautiful, flow creation mode, if I sleep at 1am or 2am or 3am, that isn't gonna help me at all the next day because. Whether I like it or not, I gotta show up and work at my day-job.
It's been cathartic to write this. Clarity-inducing even. I hope I manage to stick to it. Take it on board. And get to bed at a reasonable hour (I'm not even putting a limit on it, maybe I should, let's say 11pm), no matter *what* happens.
I feel tired. And you know what? It serves me right.