Shakespeare said,"to sleep perchance to dream." In Hamlet he speaks of the fear he has in death and that his permanent sleep will not give him peace. Hamlet was truly a tortured soul.
I am an insomniac as of the last 5 years. I feel a little like
Hamlet when I am unable to sleep enough to allow my body to recover from the days events. The nights I do sleep, I have bizarre dreams of people either that I know and do not act like themselves or of people I have never met. My dreams are often as confounding as my life is, so they bring no solace to my mind.
I am acutely aware of how important sleep is to the mind, body and soul. Children only grow when they sleep. Bodies do most of their healing during sleep. Prayers are often asked and answered in the twilight of one's sleep. As a nurse I encouraged my patients to rest, to sleep as much as they could in order for them to heal faster and stronger from whatever it was that ailed them. As a massage therapist, many of my clients fell asleep on the table. The sweet relief they felt from being cared for by tender, knowing hands allowed them to surrender to the peaceful tranquility of the moment. To sleep is to trust so much in the moment that the body, mind and soul is able to let go completely and fall into another place. Sleep is so important that the lack of it destroys the body and the person, quite literally, one night at a time.
Back when I was a single mother I didn't get but maybe 3-4 hours sleep in a 24 hour period. I was exhausted all the time. I would day dream about sleeping. I would cry from frustration of how tired I felt. I told myself if I ever got the chance to sleep again I would revel in it. I would take long naps, go to bed early, sleep in on the days I could. I would happily plan my sleeping and treat my bed as if it were my very best friend. Back then it nearly was.
I am able to get up when I want. I work at my house so I can wear what I want, do what I want, when I want as often as I want. What I want more than anything is to sleep. Here I go again, living sleep deprived at a time when I am the master of my destiny. I don't have the worries and responsibilities of young children, or a patient load that weighs me down. I have a beautiful room and bed that lay in wait for me to rest my head and sink away into the abyss of thoughtless meanderings. No such luck. I am awake at 3 or 4 in the ,every morning, writing either on paper or on the computer taking care of business on little to no sleep, with a cup of coffee in one hand, my bifocals sliding down my nose and a very tired pup on my feet.
I have set a goal for my middle aged self. I am going to try and do the very things I have lectured all of my patients about. I don't get enough outside activity to make me really tired. I sit when I work, and spend much of my day doing paper or phone work. It's hardly heavy lifting. I do eat right. I don't do fast food, and I take my vitamins so I can level out the chemical part of me. I worry. I know it's futile and solves nothing, so why waste my time on it? Habit, I am sure. My mind races through my head picking and pulling at what I am sure will be the demise of the family on any given day. I grocery list my chores, the ones I don't like to do therefore put off until things become drastic, I gather all my insecurities and concerns and magnify them to 1000 times their normal size so I can scrutinize all the things I shoulda, woulda, coulda. I play this game with myself for hours until exhaustion takes over for a few hours and I sleep so hard, I can't focus for hours when I do wake up.
I am giving up all the things that are preventing me from sleeping. I know to say I won't worry is very different from not worrying, however if I don't at least try to get rid of it, it will become me, and I will become it. I will exercise during the day because when I don't I feel almost sick. I will reward my hard working body with warm baths, chamomile tea and 6 uninterrupted hours of peace. I will forgive me every night for the things I couldn't get to or got wrong, so that my mind doesn't feel it necessary to carry it around all night. I am making a plan to surround myself with all things peaceful. Life happens, I get that, but life stuff doesn't have to be shouldered like a yoke all day, every day. I pray, for me and my family and everybody else I can think of. My big plan includes me letting go and letting God. If I could fix it myself I wouldn't be praying about it, so why not let God handle it and forget about it. He doesn't need the likes of me getting in the way. I will continue to eat right, but more than that I will eat what I know will help my cause. Being goal oriented it helps me to calm down about a quandary when I make a plan. I will write down all the things that will promote my cause. My cause? To sleep perchance to dream.