The Pursuit of Blissful Sleep

Good evening ladies and gentleman

We spend approximately one third of our lifetime asleep. If you live until the age of 75, that means you would have spent 25 years asleep. The vast majority of your brain is out for the count, just the parts keeping you alive remain full of the sparks of life.

As we sleep, we rest and recover from the day, or night that preceded it- or thats at least what we intend i suppose. Yet the pursuit of sleep is often littered with problems and obstacles. When all you need to hit the reset is a few hours sleep, the joy of your bed can sometimes seem like nothing more than a figment of your imagination.

When you can’t sleep it feels as if your entire DNA is being re-structured because you don’t feel like you. In sleeplessness issues can be bought so far forward it can be impossible to ignore.

The rougher periods generally come from something different. Sometimes we can choose not to sleep, occupy our minds with something that we feel is necessary to drive us forward and other times we just have no choice.

It’s a confusing thought to wander what the point of going to sleep is. I’ve had this thought pass through my mind more times than i care to count, like I’m trying to delay the inevitable passage of time to delay tomorrow as much as i can. Eventually you have to concede and go to bed for the sun will soon rise again, to only lie there under the soft white sheets, wandering why you are alive, what is the meaning of life, what did you do with today and what did you learn. I find myself thinking sometimes in quite a profound way and other times i feel so totally blank- tired of thinking so much but still not sleeping.

What follows comes the realisation you failed in your pursuit of blissful sleep. In its place nothing more than a persistent curiosity of where you went so wrong or what you’ve been thinking about to get to this point of poor or sometimes no sleep. Which ironically, makes sleep even more difficult.

When you are open to life and every feeling that comes with that, it gives you an acutely different perception of the world. But take away the majesty of sleep, its as if you’re handing over the reigns of your life to someone you’d barely trust to tie your fucking shoes- something that can often be a struggle. Sleep deprivation, or insomnia in some cases is taking away the one thing you need more than anything else in the world and taking that away is a danger like few others.

What happens to your mind when you don’t sleep? To me, it’s the capacity for emotional context and balance, which is the one thing that gives you the perspective on your life, what you are and who you are, the part of you that sees you that you’re special, different, unique, capable and even loved.

Born of no sleep is the issues of overthinking- which can be a fairly constant battle to manage. I’m generally always thinking about something, considering some form of theory on old school philosophy, modern takes on old ideas and questioning the very social hierarchy that emotions seem to place upon people. I think about how easy it could be to accept the world “just as it is” and how i must fight against it for what i believe in. In periods of no sleep, that voice that screams to give up- to not be okay with “not being okay,” to “submit” is so much louder. So much harder to ignore.

It’s a difficult to sensation to explain when you find yourself beyond exhausted. I think its a misconception to assume to be tired simply as a result of not sleeping, i can sleep for hours and still feel so much worse than i do having “rested.” Lack of bliss is a powerful force for you have slept, but not rested. Nightmares plague your soul, your unconscious mind filling your dreaming body with every possible fear it could bring on, the tossing, turning, fears of what may or may not happen, the fear of loneliness while wanting so badly to just be left alone.

When you don’t rest, its as if your soul remains asleep. I wander how we go about dealing with this inability to find that blissful sleep we all strive for. The way i see it, its your mind telling you something in your life isn’t sitting right with you. Whatever it is your entire system are out of balance and until you figure out what it is, the pursuit will be nothing more than that, a chase for sleep you are always going to struggle with.

Jim Carrey said that depression is your minds way of telling you that is tired of playing a character for the benefit of society and i feel like this thought could be used to deal with the issue of sleep. The way i look at it there is some form of internal struggle or conflict making the pursuit of blissful sleep a near herculean distance to run. Your mind is telling you that something is wrong, the question is how open you can be with yourself to look deep into your reflection and try and understand what’s going on.

Now i say this like it’s easy. I know its not- sometimes it feels a near impossible task in which genuine sleep feels nothing more than a distant blissful memory. I can spend hours lying in the dark staring into space, feel absolutely nothing when lost deep in a music playlist seemably never ending. When you’re there, in your way, you fear you may never be able to pull yourself out.

Worse still- you aren’t sure that you want to.

But what if we tried? I’m not saying it’s going to help immediately, in a week a month or even a year. I hope as you read this as part of the bleary eyed life we all seem to live these days you connect with these words and give yourself that chance. Talk to your people, people who see you truly, not as the character you play. Even your dog, it doesn’t matter.

Write it down, write a song, write a poem. Take a photo, create a work of art. Cry. Cry floods and floods of tears until you see it. I know it’s scary, it feels impossible. Find your way to let it all out. Doesn’t matter what it is. Please try. Please.

Then maybe, someway, somehow..

The Pursuit of Blissful Sleep will be successful for us all.

Yours, with love as always.
DR x

Photo Credit- Sofia Garza

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