I had an experience the other day and a few thoughts about it I wanted to share with you. Before we get to that, a couple quick updates:
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Ok onto today's blog:
It is no secret that I keep some strange hours. Sometimes I go to bed early, sometimes I go to bed really late. Sometimes I wake up early and sometimes I wake up even earlier than really early.
The other day I went to bed about 10pm and woke up at 1:30am. I used to be that person who, when waking up at a time when I didn't "have" to be up, would lie awake in bed and stress out about not being able to go back to sleep.
I would lay there and tell myself all that was going to go wrong if I didn't sleep. I would remind myself over and over again how tired I would be and all that I needed to get done that would not get done if I didn't sleep.
Also this was my favorite time to start to worry and stress out about things like bills to pay, all my "problems," etc... And as icing on the cake, this was my favorite time to be critical of myself. You know have all those positive self talks about all the things I did wrong, how I should have handled this or that situation differently, and of course how, if I could go back in time, I would say this or that differently.
Super productive time, right?
I got to a point in my life where I got fed up with this so I decided to make a new rule.
The new rule: Anytime I wake up in the middle of the night, I will allow myself 5 minutes to go back to sleep. If I cannot fall back to sleep, then I need to do something so that I am no longer laying there thinking about not going back to sleep.
Well the other night roles around and I wake up at 1:30. I got up and went pee then climbed back in bed. I laid down and instantly felt like I was not going to be able to fall back to sleep. I laughed about it and said: "Ok, five minutes, starting now."
Five minutes later... well that didn't work time to do something productive.
I didn't feel like working, what I felt like doing was exercising! (Always trust your gut feelings) I got up, got dressed, and headed to the gym.
At 1:55am the gym was pretty empty - who am I kidding the gym was totally empty!! haha
Over the years I have found that when I workout, I often have some of my best brainstorms. I attribute it to my mind being so clear and focused on the workout that it frees up a lot of brain space to allow ideas to pop up.
As I settled into my workout I had some pretty profound thoughts that I wanted to share with you.
The first thought was this: What would change for me, if instead of telling myself "I can't sleep," I instead started to tell myself, "Maybe I am supposed to be awake!"
If I am supposed to be awake, "Why am I supposed to be awake and What am I supposed to learn/do?"
The first statement is so freeing... I am supposed to be awake. That is a statement of taking your power back from a situation where it is pretty easily to feel powerless "I can't sleep."
I can't sleep sounds like you are helpless. I am supposed to be awake sounds like you are making a proclamation of power!
If the above did not sink in, re-read it and re-read it again until it does. If you have ever had a sleepless night, one where you have tossed, turned, and bemoaned not being able to sleep, you know exactly how those nights turn out. Imagine if you looked at the situation from a different perspective and started using that time.
On "sleepless nights," could you find the time, the time you cannot find in your "normal" waking day, to: exercise, write the book you have wanted to write, prepare healthy food for the week, get caught up on emails, clean the house, start your new business, organize your photos, etc... Incidentally aren't most of these things the things that you might lay awake stressing about? Why not get them done?
Perhaps that is what Your reason for being awake is.... Your brain is trying to tell you, "Hey, You are not that sleepy right now, if you get up and do this, you will feel accomplished and You will sleep like a baby tomorrow."
It's a possibility right?
Remember the perspective you choose to live your life from will determine the life you live. If you insist on continuing to live your life from the perspective of "I can't sleep," don't be surprised if you get more sleepless nights. However, if you choose to live your life from the perspective of "I am supposed to be awake," do not be surprised when you start accomplishing more than you ever imagined possible.
And maybe, just maybe, you might find that this new perspective leads to nights where you are sleeping like a baby.
Give it a try, what do you have to lose?
Note: I finished my workout at 3am, came home, went to sleep for one hour, slept like a log, woke up at 4:15 to my alarm refreshed and excited for the day.
If I can do it, I know you can too!!
Enjoy the pics,