Awake at 4.30 a.m.
Earlier this week, my cat decided to call me at 4.30 a.m. in order to be fed and let out into the garden. We have had this cat for over 11 years, but this wakening me up is new. Anyway as I opened the back door of the house I was amazed at the noise! Although I could not see the local birdlife, I could certainly hear them.
I stopped to listen and enjoy for a few minutes, but then decided that 4.30 was just a little too early for me and I headed back to bed. I barely remember hitting the pillow so I guess that I went straight back to sleep. However, I have had other occasions when I have tossed and turned, read books, surfed Facebook, even done some on-line shopping and sleep escaped me.
I have learned over the years that focusing on my breathing, (rather than on not sleeping) and a little music are most effective for me, in terms of getting back to sleep but my focus, as I write today is on what to do the following day. You see, I have also learned that my biggest challenge from disturbed sleep are the patterns of behaviour that I engage in the following day that can more often than not set me on the road to a pattern of missing sleep. Sweet sugary carbs and coffee saw me through my children’s early years as I functioned on a pattern of poor sleep and poor eating.
However, now that I am older and I hope a little wiser, my reaction to a poor night’s sleep is considerably different – As I plan my day I look to see what tasks can be taken off the to-do list, where can I take time to just rest and breathe and if possible have a 20 minute power nap. I try to make healthy food choices although it is still a major struggle not to hit the coffee.
However the bigger struggle, when I am tired, is to be fully mindful of my behaviour and to be really conscious about the food and exercise actions that I take and about the sharpness or irritability that may creep into my voice.
And so my challenge to you this week is to consider your own patterns of behaviour when you are tired. Fully understanding our pattern and whether it supports or hinders us is the first step towards making the decision to change the pattern to take more effective action.