Sleep – your Enemy or your Friend?

Sleep – your Enemy or your Friend?

I love sleep! I love the soft feeling of drifting off to sleep snuggled in between my pillows and blankets. This has not always been the case. Far from love, I used to detest going to bed.

For this reason, today, I wanted to talk about what kind of relationship you have with sleep. Are you struggling to fall asleep? Do you resent sleeping as you see it as a waste of time? If you are feeling stuck in these patterns, it’s time to re-examine this relationship dynamic.

I learned that sleep is your friend! Do you want better skin? Better digestion? Be more talented and creative? Sleeping will give you that and more!

There is numerous research that shows that chronic lack of time in sleepland leads to elevated stress hormones that cause inflammation and, eventually, disease. Sad news.

On the other hand, adequate and restful sleep leads to:

  • Improved focus, memory and cognitive ability (a.k.a. Smarter)
  • Increased sex drive, better mood regulation, and thus better relationships
  • Less stress, less inflammation, and more overall health
  • And let’s not forget improved appearance of skin, hair and body shape

These are some compelling arguments of why we should change our relationship with sleeping. If sleep is your friend, how would you spend quality time with your friend?

Here is what helped me to turn my relationship around:

  1. I made it a priority! I used to leave it as the last item on my agenda. Now I build my schedule around my 7-8 hours of sleep.
  2. I made it uninterrupted! There is nothing quality about interrupted sleep. I put my phone on airplane mode, turn off my computer and all the lights.
  3. I actively encourage myself to spend time with my friend!  In the past, rather than spending much-needed quality time on sleep, I would stare at a TV screen, be glued to my phone or attempt very unproductive studying or work.

To demonstrate what I mean by this last point, let me use a real-life example. The other night, I was in bed on time by 10 pm. Scientists believe that 10pm-11pm is the best time to go to sleep. But while I made it to bed on time, I noticed that I was feeling resistant to actual sleeping. My body and mind were tired, but I wanted to seize the last moments of the day and watch some YouTube. And you know how addictive that is, being sucked in into never ending series of videos.

 image displays a sleeping dog on a beach and text sleep your enemy or your friend?

As I listened to my own internal voice of resistance, it reminded me of my childhood experience.

Quite often, as a child, I wanted to stay up and read more at night. At times like these, my mom would gently but firmly coerce me to go to sleep on time. And now, I could hear myself bargaining, this time with myself, for 5 more minutes as if I was 10 again.

Once that recognition clicked in, I knew that at this time I had to be my own parent! I had to look after myself even though the playful and childish part of me wanted to stay up and youtube. I said firmly to myself “Viktoria, lights out.”

With these three attitude changes, I discovered for myself all the great benefits of quality sleep like alert mind, healthy skin and next to none food cravings.

And now it’s time for you to examine your relationship with your sleep. Do you treat it as friend or enemy? Do you keep it on your low priority list? Do you actively encourage yourself to sleep and rest despite the little rebel voice inside of you? I would love to hear from you. Share with me in your comments below.

Your Global Therapist,

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