What if you could see your insomnia not as insomnia at all—not as some “ailment” that needs fixing, but rather, as something else, something that was serving your evolutionary process?
Part of the healing process is about becoming the master of your thought patterns and deciding how you will interpret your experiences and the world around you. After all, things may not change on the outside appearance, but when you change the way you look at something…well, you know the saying—the things you look at, change.
Use these three tips to start looking at your insomnia through a different lens—one that isn’t based on struggling and challenging, but accepting.
1. Realize that “night time is for sleeping” is not the only correct answer
Sure, there are chemical reasons why sleep may make most sense at night time. When we lose light, our pineal gland produces melatonin to help us go to sleep. But what if the lights never go out? What if you are most inspired in the evening hours? What if you are an artist, or a writer, who feels most connected to inspiration when the sun has set? Just because you can’t sleep doesn’t mean you have insomnia; maybe it just means you are a creative genius who should be creating. Maybe you sleep better in the morning hours, between 4 a.m. and 10 a.m.
Listen to your body. What is YOUR natural schedule for sleep?
Every person on this planet is different. We are all unique individuals with specialized and personalized gifts and ways of running. We have been so conditioned by schooling and the hours of operations for most establishments, to sleep at night and be awake in the day. It is just that we don’t all work that way. Establish your own rhythm. Love it. Love you. By embracing your authentic rhythm, you will find yourself free of the diagnosis and free to be more fully you!
2. Realize that everyone may not need 8 hours of sleep per night
Once again, the recommendation for eight hours of sleep every night for health has been ingrained in our consciousness with very little thought taken to its contrary. Who exactly decided how much sleep YOUR body needs? Maybe your body functions very well on little sleep. The issue is, we usually don’t excuse ourselves sufficiently when pondering this notion. Many of us keep a tape running in the back of our minds that regularly questions our rationale against losing the eight hours.
If you remember when you first learned that you needed eight hours of sleep, you were probably a child, and these words were likely repeated over and over by a well-meaning parent, who then passed along this program to you. Funny thing is, once you release the tape which tells you this is required, you get to make up your own rules for sleeping. I know many people who function quite well on 3 hours. I personally fluctuate between 4-10, depending on the surrounding circumstances. And check it out, I looked it up: no one has ever died from not getting 8 hours of sleep, or from no sleep at all, for that matter. Sure, your normal functions might shift if you don’t sleep for a while…but let’s talk about that for a minute. I’m curious how much of a change in functionality is due to the loss of sleep, and how much is because of our fear of losing functions?
Don’t get me wrong, I love my sleep—but if for some reason life is handing you the “no sleep” card, perhaps there is good reason. If nothing else, you can try a new program, like regular meditation using yoga nidra recordings to improve the quality of your rest and rejuvenation even without sleep.
The most important thing to remember about sleep—or anything—is that YOU get to make the rules for your body, but before you can do that, you have to understand which rules come from programming, and which ones are actually YOU. Try talking to your body about when it wants to sleep and how much sleep it wants. See what your body tells you and try listening to your personal requirements for sleep.
3. Realize that a sleepless night can be a great time to meditate.
So you find yourself laying there, unable to sleep, thoughts running through your head. You toss, you turn; nothing you do puts you to sleep…not the music, not the black curtains, not the white noise—nothing stops the thoughts in your mind.
Rather than fighting against what your body is naturally up to, why not use the same things that have caused you angst and led you to describe your state as insomniatic: how about naming the entire practice “meditation” instead?
Meditation simply means you are completely present with whatever is happening. You have activated the observer faculty of mind, and you are able to watch what your thoughts are—observe your tossing and turning; observe the restlessness; observe the state of the night, the darkness, the quiet, your response to it…all of it as the unattached witness. Not judging yourself, simply allowing it to be what it is. This changes the entire experience and opens you up to the present moment, which is never a waste, even if it lasts all night.
So, maybe you don’t have insomnia, maybe you are just a wild spirit who wants to play and think and create and heal, and hey, maybe you don’t have time for sleeping. And, like a child who has run themselves out to empty, I believe that when we absolutely need to sleep, we just will. No pressure. It will come on like hunger or inspiration and we will sleep…and dream deep.