Sleep is the soul's nutrition.Lack of sleep wounds our ability to cope with ourselves and the world. Things do change, but sleeplessness isn't an automatic result of age. Depressed? Confused? Do something to get good sleep before your troubles grow.
The body likes routines.✖ Our muscles learn simple things. Regular bed-times. Regular bed. Regular wake-up. Our body likes that. Helps make it happen. Regular is the point. Nothing right or wrong about any schedule, unless it's the disruption of one you have established.
✖ Sleep habits set in childhood or youth have persistence. I delivered a morning newspaper, up every day at quarter 'til five. I say it's that I like the dawn air, the clear light, the sense of possibility before the sun shows himself. But really it's just a habit, left over now for more than half a century, my liking to sleep by 10, up by 6. I can work on re-setting my habit, but it is work, and not worth the trouble unless change, for some particular reason, is needed.
Slug-a-bed sleeps poorly.✖ If I'm sick, or recovering, I sleep a lot. Otherwise, depression, boredom, circumstance, if I lie around in bed or on the couch all day or hours at a time, it drives away sleep. Sets my body aching. When I get up, I get up. Move around. When I sit to read or write, I sit up, relaxed but not folded into myself. And every hour or so, get up and move around, take a drink of water, look at the sky.
✖ The best cure for sleeplessness might be a walk around the block. Clear the head, get the muscles pumped with oxygen, refreshed, a little tired. Then they can relax without feeling poisoned by stale blood. Toxins are flushed out. Nutrition is at the ready like a fresh margarita by the beach chair. The body can like a little sleep.
Be calm with yourself.✖ If I ask myself a question as I go to sleep, it is often answered by the time I awake in the morning. If I take to bed the worrying of the day, the catalog of injustices, the fears, the tears, they do not let me sleep at all. Nothing is helped. I am exhausted as well as whatever I was before I tried without success to sleep. So, ask the question. Empty the mind. And let sleep take you away.
✖ The mind is very like a muscle. Stretches help the brain relax. Use meditation. Chanting. A little song before bed. A nursery story, a little reading in a book that's simple brain-candy. Find something that sparks up your mind and puts it in a place where it can afford to relax. I call it, Combing out the tangles of the day. My little prayer, Blessed are you, creator of all things, who has given us . . . and here I recall some little delight of the day. My instant comb-out; you find yours, it will help you sleep.
Take drugs, or not.✖ Anxiety can get out of control. Muscles can go into spasm. Swelling can overwhelm the circulatory system. Soft measures always help: Deep breathing. Picture your calm place, the seashore or an alpine meadow. Imagine holding your brother's hand. Stretch the muscle. Drink water. Eat a banana. Smear on arnica cream. Rub in toward the heart. In critical situations, a pill might get you over a crisis – but only your body and your heart can heal the underlying problem, the fear, the strain, the sprain. Pills to restore balance, good living to maintain it.
✖ You are not your friends, don't borrow cures. Your medical team, including your pharmacist, can help you figure out whether drugs and what drugs might help. Rely on their advice – and your experience. Nothing should make you either sick or crazy. And if you begin to depend on any drug, talk with your team about how to get away from it. Dependence comes only as usefulness wanes.