I do a lot of hand wringing over my sleep. I’m not huge on sleeping in and I don’t need 12 hours to feel functional but when I go to bed I want to get sleep right. For me, this means a little compulsion is involved.
All the lights must be off or covered and that includes LED lights on the TV, street lights outside, cell phones, alarm clocks, everything. I used to put a t-shit over my alarm clock in Charleston so I could still hear the music when it went off at 7 a.m. but wouldn’t be distracted by the red lights at 3 a.m. Sometimes I would wake up in the middle of the night and know something was wrong and realize my printer light was still on. The inanity of this is not lost on me.
Similarly concerning, all doors and drawers must be closed. Not a joke. Shirts, shorts, undies, whatever must be all the way in the drawer and it should be closed fully. The closet door should be shut tight and curtains drawn all the way. I think this stems from a need to have my closet closed when I was young and still afraid of murderers and pirates hiding in the shadows. Then it mutated into a control issue and a sort of if-it-can-be-closed-why-shouldn’t-it-be slightly mentally ill manifesto.
Lastly, no sounds. What.So.Ever. Except for a fan. Maybe. No ticking clocks, no television, no sound machines or frogs chirruping in a jungle, no nada.
Adam, at first amused and then thoroughly annoyed and finally slightly more complacent, has agreed to support my neurosis, because, of course, that’s what it is. I want to go to bed and I want it to count so that I will feel refreshed and rejuvenated to tackle tomorrow. In our cruel world, spending so much time preparing for rest would seem to counteract any productive sleep time, but in fact, I think I’ve gotten pretty good at falling asleep quickly and maintaing quality rest. But lately I’ve hit a rough patch. Thoughts of planning a wedding/vow renewal (or not planning because that is in fact what has been going on), organizing trips home, wanting to find a meaningful job or at least a more valuable way to spend my many capable hours and attributes, and more tap dance around my head in a whirling frenzy and I can’t find the peace I so desperately seek.
Enter: meditation. I’ve strayed far from yoga most simply because I don’t have a mat. It can be done without one, but as you can so painfully see I love routine and have had a hard time constructing a practice without one. We ordered one online last night so I eagerly anticipate getting back to the mat, but until then I have a new meditation routine to practice. Visit here and scroll down the page for one of the most harmonious voices you will ever hear. I followed his instructions and found myself lightheaded with relief after nine minutes.
At one point he says, “Feel sounds passing through your awareness without untangling you.” Is that not what I let the red television light, open drawer, and tickling clock to do me? Untangle me? These few minutes of meditation helped separate me from the control I think I need over my body and released some of the anxiety I clutch in my sleepy fist. Give it a try and discover if it grants you a similar freedom.