Sleep is the golden chain that binds health and our bodies together.
Sleep is something most of us need. I certainly benefit from a decent night's kip. The more regularly I sleep well, the better I am able to function. Long gone are my teenage days when I was able to lie-in once a week(end) and sleep until midday, when would wake feeling refreshed and recharged. My body tells me it needs at least seven and a half hours of proper sleep each and every night to feel restored upon waking. Which requires some conscious effort.
My working day tends to start late and finish later. The practice of psychotherapy is, in this way (and perhaps some others), something of an antisocial vocation. I have something of a routine on concluding my client work which enables me to shift mental gears and adjust into my evening. I have another routine prior to going to bed, again facilitating a further shift, and preparing me to sleep. For sleep, just like any other activity, requires some preparation...
Why should my body adjust automatically on getting into bed? It needs to be eased into this, just as I might check my handbag before leaving home in the morning, or travelling to the pool when anticipating a swim. Body and mind need to be in sync, and creating the optimal circumstances for this to happen involves changing lanes, and shifting down through the gears as I leave the mental highway that the average day requires me to travel.
The more I feel in need of rest, the more consciously I should prepare for it. For whilst the body may be physically tired, the mind might be in an unhelpful state of alertness - particularly when I'm 'over tired'. The chemicals that whizz around my mind-body keeping me going, and maintaining the pace, are hard to switch off, and no amount of glaring at the clock and telling myself I need to be on my game tomorrow will make this shift which cannot be forced and must be embraced.
Put your thoughts to sleep,
do not let them cast a shadow
over the moon of your heart.
Let go of thinking.
Sleep is the best meditation.