Embracing Insomnia

My sleep patterns have gotten increasingly sporadic as I get older. I often find myself awake in the very early morning. when it first began, I would find myself stressing about begin awake and fretting about the next day. The anxiety overwhelmed any attempts to relax and breathe.

Through my meditation practice, I was presented with the idea of just embracing these moments. At the least, lying in bed in the dark is a good time to practice and I often do fall back to sleep. I also explored the medieval practice of two sleeps or biphasic sleep where people slept then got up during the middle of the night, a period of wakefulness called the Watch. It was used for chores and religion. They would then generally go back to sleep for some time before rising for the day.

Very early this morning, I knew I needed to just get up so I moved from bed to chair and picked up my book. I was just starting to get drowsy and considering a return to bed when the cat arrived with a tiny, very-much-alive mouse who immediately burrowed into a pile of dirty clothes. I was able to push it into my empty tea mug, pad downstairs, and deposit it outside, facing down the glares of my cat.

That activity was enough to convince me to just stay up. After all, I was downstairs at this point so I figured I would make coffee. While it brewed, I did the dishes, mopped the kitchen floor and folded laundry. I headed back to my chair and my book, steaming mug in my hand. Another perk of these early mornings is watching the sunrise over the woods that border the now barren fields.

It’s noon time now and I feel no worse for wear. I am attending the New Member Welcome class for Ali Manning’s Handmade Book Club and then planning an afternoon outside. I suspect it will be an early night; I usually sleep better the night after an insomnia night so there’s that to look forward to. Meanwhile, it was lovely to wander back into the kitchen for a second cup of coffee and find my clean dishes and floor.

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