Your Relationship with Sleep- Friend or Foe?

I have been very tired lately.

Well-researched articles about zoom fatigue are beginning to appear in credible publications. Since I am on zoom all day, I attribute some of my exhaustion to this. I also cannot dismiss that the pandemic itself, and all the complicated emotions it stirs in me have also been a contributor to my lethargy. The wide range of feelings I rollercoaster through each day use up energy unless I acknowledge and move them, physically or creatively. They drain me like an invisible leak in a tire if they go underground, unnoticed or repressed.

I have been allowing myself power naps or short times to meditate in between sessions to balance out my weariness. I work out three times a week with a private personal trainer and once a week with a private yoga teacher, all on zoom. I know these scheduled physical movement trainings have saved me during my struggle with low energy. They have enlivened what can become flat in me. These days, allowing myself plenty of sleep or to just rest has moved to the top of my self-care kit. Sleep has become my best friend.

What is your relationship to sleep? Especially these days?

One person said to me, “I don’t like to go to sleep, but once I am there, I love my bed and love my sleep. How does that make sense? Why do I avoid just going to bed?”

Some of us may avoid sleep because we think we have too many things to do, so we delay tucking ourselves in at a reasonable hour.

Some of us may avoid Life by sleeping a lot, not wanting to get out of bed in the morning and face the next day.

Our sleep schedules may have been messed up from the pandemic fallout, our worries or isolation.

Some of us may avoid sleep because we don’t want to dream. In my opinion, dreams are a download from our unconscious and higher selves inviting us to face the things we have put off looking at. These dreams or disturbing “nightmares” are messengers from beyond, not always delivering us pleasant messages. Maybe that is why we wake up in the middle of the night and find it hard to go back to sleep. All the more reason to keep a dream diary and see what they are trying to tell us.

For me, at these times, I either choose to re-enter the dream that woke me up, diving back into it bravely, or I meditate and reassure myself that at the very least I am still resting. When I embrace my wakefulness, and settle myself down, I find within a short time I am back in the depths of sleep, right where I left off.

Sleep may also feel vulnerable to us. It is like dying while we are still alive, disconnecting from our egoic self, losing our sense of I-ness. Will I die before I wake? Who will I be when my Ruthie role is turned off? In Shakespeares’s Hamlet, our lead character reminds us, “To die, to sleep  to sleep, perchance to dream  ay, there’s the rub, for in this sleep of death what dreams may come…”

Finally we all are aware that science has shown us that ample sleep helps our immune system so we get sick less often, and it even lowers our risk for diabetes and heart disease. Sleep reduces stress, improves our moods, gives more clarity and helps us get along with others. Lack of sleep makes us grumpy, more susceptible to illness, and ultimately less productive in a balanced sense.

So what is sleep for you? Friend or Foe?

If sleep does not feel like a good friend, but rather an essential need you resent and fear, for your highest good, especially in these crazy times, maybe it’s time to do everything you can to make peace with it.