Is that a problem for you?
I’m afraid if it is, you’re not going to like this next sentence…….Sleep is my core skill. I seem to have some kind of spirit level in my brain, so that whenever I lie flat, the sleeping potion floods my brain and, instantly, I mean instantly, I’m asleep. I move between the two states of sleeping and waking the same way. It’s like some kind of switch. Click. I’m asleep. Click. I’m awake. Now you know what really puzzles me about this? I have absolutely no voluntary control over this switch. I can’t just “decide” to move between the two states. Mind you, if I need to be up at a certain time, then I tell myself that before lying down, and usually, (I’m not confident enough to not use an alarm), I wake up about 2 minutes before the set time (and switch the alarm off before it goes off by itself!) How does the brain do that? How can it do it so accurately?
There are many, many mysteries about sleep and I know lots of people really struggle with sleep, whether it’s trouble getting off to sleep, or waking repeatedly or just too damn early. In my role as a doctor I suggest a number of things….I don’t have a one size fits all approach to anything, but try Heartmath for starters. Lots of people find that helps. I don’t just mean try it before sleeping time, I mean integrate it into your day. I believe various different meditation practices can help, as can the usual areas of exercise, diet, and “sleep hygiene” (which involves establishing pre-sleep habits).
People sleep differently in different cultures too. Tokyo must the be city with the greatest number of day time sleepers. You see people asleep in cafes, on the metro, everywhere really. It’s quite surprising for a visitor. The countries on the Med have a habit of the siesta, which might have more to do with sunshine than anything else (“Mad dogs and Englishmen…..?”)
So, have a think about sleep this week. What patterns and rhythms work best for you? What induces a “good” sleep for you?
And here’s a couple of photos of sleepers I took earlier (first one in Tokyo, second one in the afternoon in Provence)
And here’s what we all hope for (this taken again in Tokyo, on the hoarding around a building site)