‘To sleep is an act of faith’ – Barbara Grizzuti Harrison
Firstly, I must apologise for the radio silence. It has been more than six months since my last offering but I assure you, this has been for good reason. Settling in to my new home and life and finishing Book 2 were no minor feats but throughout, I’ve mostly slept like a baby (one that sleeps well, that is). Yes – I’m sleeping better than I’ve ever slept. I used to need to sleep with a fan on at night – nothing to do with noisy neighbours or ferreting foxes but simply to erect a defence against my own noisy thoughts. However, after decades of waging war against my own insomnia, studying the delicate workings of the melatonin-secreting pineal gland, and helping others to sleep, maybe…just maybe…I’ve cracked it. No fan at night, no favourite pillow propped up just so, no sleep monitoring devices, no scented oils sprinkled on the pillow to calm mind and deepen breath. No props. Just…simple….deep, velvety sleep.
Apparently we’re meant to spend roughly a third of our lives sleeping. It’s an innate ability that’s encoded in our DNA. So why is it so difficult at times?
To answer this let me draw your attention to another innate need – the need to feel safe. Every living organism has this need. And I’ve long known that sleep and safety are inextricably connected. We sleep when we feel safe. Whatever safety means to you – inbox emptied, food in the fridge, money in the bank, children happy at school, fulfilment at work, relationships harmonious, and so on – whatever makes up the messy, challenging, glorious tapestry of your life. If we can let go of all of this, even the messiest of unfinished business…then we can sleep. Because, after all, to sleep is an act of faith, a deep abiding trust that whatever is going on in life, you can let it go, put it on hold for some hours so that you can sleep deeply and restoratively, waking with the energy and resilience to face whatever lies ahead.
Sleep problems are not created when you put your head on the pillow at night. Every choice you make during the day – every thought, every behaviour, every conversation (especially with yourself), whether you laugh or cry, the number of times you find yourself at the coffee machine, the number of times you swipe, how
you live and love – all of this settles in your nervous system and affects your ability to sleep effortlessly. The key to deepest restoration lies not in superficial sleep hygiene methods (although they might help a little) but in examining the choices we’re making in life. Are we making choices that are building inner safety and trust? Or are we making choices that fuel fear, quicken the breath, and foster distrust?
So much of life is uncertain. So much can change at the drop of a hat. And as life continues to go ever faster, one of our greatest resources lies in going deeper within, finding that place of inner stillness and safety from which we can move outwards to action, not always knowing where we will end up but always trusting.
And in so doing, maybe we can sleep deeply and effortlessly…and without props.
I promise you won’t have to wait so long for my next instalment. In my next blog, I will share practical steps to creating inner safety and trust thus helping you to create the pure sleep that you truly deserve.
Yours in amazing health and energy,