How to Sleep Well

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The absolute enemy of the the sleep is rules. In fact, the absolute enemy of most things that should happen naturally is rules. Things that are natural should remain so and any attempt to impose ‘order’ on them is counterproductive.

I want to incorporate a small, furry animal into the story here – one who will be made to do things outside his nature by dint of training involving electricity, but I don’t know such an animal and so I’m not going to. Besides, it wouldn’t be nice to think of training anything with electricity, apart from maybe a toaster. And by that I mean training a toaster to toast bread more efficiently by judicious use of electricity, not training a small, furry animal to toast bread more efficiently by means of the judicious (or not) use of a toaster because that would be inhumane. I mean, the toaster just wants to toast bread, not be subjected to the company of small, furry animals, right?

Anyway – like I said – I’m not going to introduce a small, furry animal into the story. So what’s next?

Oh, okay, yeah – sleeping.

Here’s how to sleep well: stop using other people’s ideas of how to sleep well. So, yeah – maybe you can stop reading (or listening) to this immediately. Except that, you can’t, can you. I mean, what if there’s something entertaining or useful just around the river bend? It’s, like, when you’re walking across the moor, trying to find your way back to civilisation, or, at least, somewhere you can sit down and have a nice picnic without being bothered by those pesky insects that seem to think that you’re an all-you-can-eat buffet. So you walk and walk and walk and all the time you’re thinking: maybe I should turn back now but at the same time you’re thinking: what if there’s a small cottage just over the next rise and so you go on and on with (dwindling) hope in your heart until, finally, all you have energy left for is to sit down and play a game of Candy Crush Saga, even whilst knowing that if you get a high score it’s not going to be uploaded to the server because you don’t have a signal (unless you find that cottage (and even then BT might not have deigned to run a cable to it because, let’s face it, it’s not really worth their while to spend several thousands of pounds if all they’re going to get back is thirty quid a month, right?)).

So, yeah, let’s get to the point now. Here’s the point: if you set rules on where and when you can sleep then as soon as something comes along (and something always does) that breaks one of those rules then you’re not going to be able to get to sleep.

Here’s how that works:

  • If you set a rule that says that you have to be comfy before you can get to sleep then you’ll toss and turn until every single part of your body is supremely comfortable. If your arm is hanging off the edge of the bed or your toes are outside the duvet or there’s a crease in the sheet under your left elbow or the pillow isn’t at the right angle underneath your neck or you’re too close to the edge of the bed and feel like you’re going to fall off or the duvet is bunched up next to your back or anything like that then you won’t be able to sleep.
  • If you set a rule that says that there has to be absolute silence in the room before you can drop off, but then a car idles outside your window for more than six seconds or there’s an insect whining in the corner of the room or someone is breathing too loud or snoring or someone next door has the TV on too loud or there’s a kind of clicking noise in the far corner of the house or a bird flaps loudly on the roof or anything like that then you’re going to stay awake listening to it and wishing it would stop.
  • If you set a rule that your mind must be completely clear of any kind of thought or worry before sleep can overtake you and then you realise that you’re lying there thinking about what to cook for dinner tomorrow or worrying about whether your best friend will ever talk to you again after you said that unforgivable thing to them today or you’re concerned about what that lump on your big toe is or you’re excited about what’s going to happen next in that bodice-ripper you’re reading or anything like that then you’re going to be prevented from falling asleep.

Here’s the kicker: it’s not these discomforts, sounds or thoughts that are keeping you awake. No, what’s keeping you sleepless is the fact that you have set a rule in your mind that you can’t sleep unless these things stop. It’s the rules themselves that are keeping you awake. Without those rules then you would be free to sleep whenever and however you wanted.

Imagine this:

  • You decide that you can sleep in any position with any amount of bedclothes. You then fling yourself on the bed and, within seconds, you fall asleep – content and dreamless.
  • You make your mind up that you can sleep through any noise and so you drop down on your bed and drop off into sleep without a care in the world for what others are getting up to.
  • You embrace and accept all your thoughts and you plump them up into a big, comfortable thought-pillow, lay your metaphysical head down on them and then sleep and sleep until you’ve done.

Wouldn’t that be nice? Well then, just try it out. Not in the sense that you set a rule to say that there must be an absence of rules. No. Just stop setting rules. Full stop.

And that’s it for now. Happy sleeping, mi compadre.

2 thoughts on “How to Sleep Well

  1. Pingback: How do Stuff Well – an A to Z | Robert C Day

  2. Pingback: How to do Stuff Well – an A to Z | Robert C Day

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