A Year of Mindfulness – 3 – Bedtime

Photo by Kate Stone Matheson on Unsplash

Now one thing you should know about me is that I love, and I mean love going to bed. It is probably my favourite part of the entire day. So when I picked out my piece of paper from my jar and found that this week’s challenge was to focus on my sleep, I felt like I’d just won the lottery. My task was to make bedtime my absolute number one priority, above all else. I might even get so much sleep that I turn into the ‘morning person’ I’ve always wished I was. Result!

The first thing that struck me about this week’s challenge was that I felt excited and almost relieved that I had an excuse to go to bed. I realised that at some point in my life, I have made myself believe that I should stay up for longer instead of going to bed when I want to. I think things like ‘I can’t go to bed now, it’s too early’, or ‘doing (whatever random task I’m currently doing) is more important than going to bed’ and ‘I shouldn’t need that many hours sleep, I’m a young and active 29 year old girl’. I often try to fight going to bed, rather than listening to my mind and body. This challenge gave me the permission that I apparently need to put myself to bed early.

In an ideal world, I’d go to bed at 9.30pm each day. But my hot yoga classes don’t finish until 9.30pm, and by the time I’ve driven home and showered and faffed about, it can be anywhere between 1 and 3 hours before I get to bed. But I can’t go to earlier classes due to work. I was supposed to prioritise bedtime, but I’m also trying to prioritise self-care, so this felt a little like a battle of the self-care regimes. The competitiveness of these two tasks that are supposed to make me feel relaxed actually started to stress me out. I decided that both could win, just on different days, and so I amended the challenge slightly. I’d prioritise bedtime on days without yoga, and as much as possible on days with yoga. Win win, Battle of the Self-Cares was no more.

Photo by Charles on Unsplash

The first night I prioritised my bedtime, I went to bed at 9.30pm, it felt like all my Christmases had come at once. The challenge actually explains how to get yourself relaxed enough to sleep, and I laughed to myself, thinking on what planet would I need advising on how to get to sleep?! Within a minute of my head hitting a pillow, I’m gone. That in itself made me feel grateful, because evidently, some people must need to be told how to do it. The challenge was already working and causing me to become more aware of myself, and I hadn’t even got through night one yet! I woke up the morning after feeling amazing and rested, though still wasn’t a morning person, but maybe that would come in time. I thought about how this challenge might even beat the kindness challenge to the top spot. The nights that I went to bed early were great, but they were few and far between this week. Really, this is a challenge which needs to be given my full attention as I don’t think I got the true benefits of it when trying to do it along with late yoga classes.

Takeaway thoughts

Until this challenge, I’ve never really contemplated and, as such, figured out how many hours sleep I need each night. I have friends who tell me they are absolutely fine as long as they get a good 3-4 hours, whereas others tell me they need a solid 8 hours if they wish to function like a nice, rational human being the next day. I think I’m definitely in the latter camp. Maybe from now on if I get a solid 8 hours or more every night, I’ll become the morning person that I’m on track to be. I think I’ll take this particular challenge forward to find out! Now I have another excuse to start going to bed at 9.30pm, YES!

Lesson learnt this week: I don’t need permission to go to bed.

Other lesson learnt this week: I’m definitely not, and likely never will be, a morning person.


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