"As a general rule, my sleeping pattern has always been pretty good as I'm in bed most nights around 10.00 pm, I am asleep by 10.30 pm and I'm awake, refreshed and up by 8.00 am to face a new day. Since I contracted my terminal illness, however, and especially when I am receiving a course of chemotherapy, my pattern can be sometimes irregular. Occasionally, like tonight, because I slept a long time last night and rested all day, it is almost 2.30 am and I have still not gone to bed and am wide awake. Sometimes, I may wake up around three and if I don't go back to sleep again, I simply get up for a few hours and occupy my alert mind.
I have been a Relaxation Trainer for over fifty years and could if I so wished to, encourage my body to go to sleep through the employment of imagination exercises. However, I learned many years ago that it is the 'quality' of sleep that governs one's daily behaviour and not the duration! Providing one can get six hours good sleep on average, nothing untoward is likely to adversely affect one.
Now, going to sleep with a worried mind is a much different matter to worry about and is a state of affairs that should not be ignored. Being constantly untruthful, occasionally unfaithful, behaviourally proving unreliable and untrustworthy in your dealings with others or generally not living a good life are all things that are capable of the disruption in good sleeping patterns and the loss of good sleep. Also, money troubles, partner troubles, child concerns or for that matter anything that is able to trouble your daily mind and is still mentally unresolved by the time your head hits the pillow will trouble your potential of exercising a good sleeping pattern. If you go to bed with worries inside your head, they will not resolve themselves when you close your eyes. You will either be unable to get to sleep or if you do have small spells of broken sleep or a mixture of broken sleep, your sleeping pattern may be disturbed by nightmares.
Many people who have lost a loved one that they miss so badly in their lives can be adversely affected by not having mentally and psychologically allowed their body to move forward since their loved one's death even many years later. Their mind tells them that they ought to 'move on', their body can shout at them to 'move on', yet their inner worry tells them it would be a betrayal and be wrong to 'move on' and give one's future love to another. I know so many bereaved persons in this psychologically sinking boat that will never allow them to place their feet back on steady ground with establishing romantic and loving relationships again, and the vast majority of them have poor sleeping patterns.
Gandhi once said that the human voice can never reach the distance that is covered by the still small voice of conscience. I know, that for me, I sleep better each night when I have lived a wholesome day in which I have tried to be a good partner, friend and neighbour. When I hit the bed to settle down, I know that there is no pillow as soft and comforting as a 'clear conscience.'
Most of us instinctively know what is the right thing to do, and the hardest part we often find is doing it. We often ascribe conscience as being an arbiter of truth in all matters great while forgetting that a clear and sensitive conscience is no more than a steady and scrupulous integrity in the small things as well! We have to acknowledge what our body needs, even when our mind is not yet quite ready to fully accept or readjust to it.
Conscience is no hider of the truth and is forever witness to the wrong we are part of. It is that silent part of the inner conversation that warns us that someone may be looking so we 'd better do right. Well, let me tell you as a Christian, someone is always watching you! I have always been interested in discerning the 'poker face'; the person who can tell you a bare-faced lie without a blink of their eyes or a look of deception. whereas others cannot deceive anybody and disguise the lie that is written large across their face. None of us, however, can truly deceive ourselves. Sleep patterns can often be unhealthy simply because we are attempting to do the impossible; deceiving ourselves throughout the day in both thought and deed. And all the sleeping pills in the world, however much they initially knock you out, are incapable of convincing you in your sleep that a lie is actually the truth!
In terms of society as a whole, I frequently ask myself, 'Where is man's conscience to allow such and such to happen in their world without intervention?' We can be remiss when it comes to looking out for our friends, families and neighbour, yet we save the greatest loss of way far too often for ourselves. It is only when we neglect conscience does the mind and body become disjointed in purpose and the commission of wrong, and in rarer circumstances, evil, become possible.The best way to have inner guidance to signpost our way is to let our conscience be our bodily compass.
While the voice of conscience is so delicate that it can be easily stifled, it is nevertheless impossible to mistake it. It is a peace above all earthly dignities morally measured and is never far away from the good cause. Should you ever engage in either a misguided or bad cause, it will stir you and leave you unsettled; making inner peace once more only possible after you have righted the initial wrong or resolved your problematic feelings."
So the next time you are up looking at your laptop during the middle of the night when most folk are fast asleep, ask yourself first, 'How do I really feel about my life right now? Am I happy with it and the things I daily do? Or are there things that I would like to do, places I would like to be and persons I would prefer to be with if only I 'could move on.' If the answers to some of these important questions suggest that a change is needed to make you happier, have a piece of three o'clock am toast and a cup of tea and return to bed resolved to do something tomorrow to start such change. If on the other hand, you have a perfectly happy life, still have your three o'clock tea and toast before going back to bed with a clear conscience. It really doesn't matter if you don't drop off to sleep when you are happy and your conscience is clear as mental and bodily rest is in the process of total resolution; it only matters when you worry!
I hope that some of these issues may provide possible answers and solutions, both clarifying things for some poor sleepers as to what is happening to interrupt and disturb their sleeping patterns while reassuring those without unresolved daily problems that it isn't the invention of new problems when you are in bed that is preventing you sleeping. We don't find ourselves hatching new problems at nighttime in bed; merely unresolved daily ones!I'm off to my bed now for a good sleep and will be up around 10.00 am."::William Forde: April 10th, 2017.