I Need More Sleep

Do you believe, absolutely, you need more sleep? Try questioning this thought, instead of believing it’s true.

I need more sleep.

Some people think this thought so many times, their despair is deep and their frustration very intense.
Have you ever awakened in the night?
Or had trouble going to sleep?
When I went to the School for The Work, followed by the immediate news that my then-husband wanted a divorce….
….I had the most wild mixture of new thoughts about the universe and reality I was completely riding at the top of an electric shock, it seemed.
It was oddly not completely stressful all the time.
The world looked new.
I had The Work to question my thoughts. I would write long worksheets, and talk with new friends on the phone to do The Work, and return again and again to noticing I was fine….
….and again and again to noticing I was terrified, or enraged, or abandoned.
I woke up every night at 3:30 am for 9 months.
No matter what time I went to sleep.
I was *positive* I needed more sleep, I needed to stay asleep, that nothing good was coming from it, that it was a requirement for my wellbeing and health.
I began to worry that it would never end.
I felt dizzy sometimes, like the world was water and I was on a boat, as if my balance was off and I might fall.
But I didn’t fall.
During that time, I was up one night during a weekend with Byron Katie all about relationships.
I was spending the night in a hotel room with a dear friend, and so as not to disturb her, I went into the glaring well-lit bathroom and sat on the closed toilet seat and wrote at the top of a piece of paper:
I must go to sleep. 
 
Then, I began to do The Work and question this belief.
Today, I notice because of the creative work I’m adding to my day (a webinar on Eating Peace, a 3 day retreat this coming weekend, enrolled in 3 classes, and quite a big load of clients and telecalls) I stayed up until 12:30 am last night.
I’m sure I need more sleep, in this moment.
I can feel the urge to close the eyes, the energy of what lying down would feel like.
I can picture what it would be like to have more sleep, to feel vibrant, energetic, and calm all wrapped up together (not nervous, zippy, and too-speedy and drained).
A voice inside says (when I believe the thought I need more sleep) that I should stop complaining.
“You’ll be OK. Sleep later. Stop whining!”
(I notice this is not a super helpful voice).
So who would I be in this moment, right now, without the belief that I actually really do need more sleep?
What if I didn’t have a reference for more sleep, less sleep, perfect sleep, requirements for sleep?
What if the amount of sleep I’ve gotten is just right?
Weird.
It doesn’t seem true.
It seems like 8 hours of sleep would be fabulous, that resting deeply would be really, really good.
But if I just allowed that to go on the shelf for a minute, and relax without the belief I need more of sleep (or anything)?
I feel the body, I feel my chest and heart beating. I notice sensations in my eyes, my face without judgment that they’re bad sensations.
I see the time and notice I can slow down.
I’d let things be as they are in this moment.
Some days, sleep. Some days, no sleep.
It is never All-Not-Sleeping. It is never All-Sleep-All-The-Time.
Turning the thought around: I do NOT need more sleep.
 
How could this be just as true?
Are there any advantages to this state of sleep/body/rest?
Yes: I love the dark night when no one else is up, when the air is very still and quiet (or early morning). I love that my thoughts get to rise up and appear very obviously, not hidden by activity during the day. I love that I can trust that if I’m awake, I should be for some important reason–and think with delight of sleeping later. I love that my body can do such brilliant energetic things without much sleep.
I love discovering the OTHER stressful beliefs appear about my life, in the absence of sleep…..
…..like “I am abandoned” or “this needs to be fabulous” or “I need more people to come to my retreat” like I have had recently.
Turning the thought around again: My thinking needs more sleep.
 
Wow. Now THAT thought is true….oh so true….oh so truer.
My thinking (my believing) needs to be resting, lying down, fading into oblivion, pausing, dreaming peacefully, unencumbered, relaxed, still, quiet, comatose, knocked out, dark, slumbering, silent.
I notice my thoughts appear, but I don’t have to think they’re true.
“You can’t change your thoughts. No one can. That’s not possible. I am suggesting that you just investigate your thoughts and meet them with some understanding. Sleep deprivation is not hurting you. It’s your THINKING that is so painful…..It amazes me how people think we have some control here. It’s very painful to think that.” ~ Byron Katie
Who are you without your story that you need more sleep, or more time, or more energy, or more love, attention, comfort….whatever it is you think you’re missing?
As I finish this Grace Note, I notice I have 90 minutes until the next scheduled thing on my calendar.
Oh! I’ll go lie down now and close my eyes, instead of filling up the minutes with “work” and activity and “getting something done”.
Funny how that happens.
Much Love,

Grace

Last chance, we start tomorrow: Seattle Eating Peace. To learn more click here or hit reply and ask.

8 Replies to “I Need More Sleep”

  1. Yes, the “sleep deprivation” story is a doozie!!

    I agree with pretty well all that you’ve said Grace. My experience of it is that it’s really really difficult for me to do The Work effectively when my brain has an abundance of cortisol! … the ol’ brain doesn’t think very well when it’s been sleep-deprived.

    I’ve taken to simply “leaning in” to the feelings I experience when my sleep has been less than I’d like. I focus as intensely as I can and without judgement on the mental grogginess and feeling physically ill – wherever it manifests in my body – and the emotions that arise when my performance isn’t up to par.

    Funnily enough, if I can find a genuine “yes” to the question “can I allow that feeling to be there?” … it often goes away!!! (but it has to be a truly genuine and unconditional “yes” :-) )

    I’ve had the same experience with depression and fear! …even in some quite intense situations: I have a huge fear of heights – and – I take myself rock climbing outdoors most weekends – haha!!

  2. Great comment Lisa. Yes, I really think sometimes people use The Work to move into a passive approach to what’s happening. It’s not like if you get a diagnosis, or experience with sleep disruption as you’re going through, and do The Work and take no action. I find that when I really honestly answer clearly, for my truth, then I can move forward without fear. Keep going on your journey to get sleep. It’s a place of holding what is (lack of sleep, but alive and living life–noticing this) and taking efficient steps to understand and shift what’s going on. If the sentence “sleep deprivation can’t hurt you” doesn’t work for you, it’s OK. :) Much love, Grace

  3. Hello Nancy! Yes, I will repeat the webinar very soon–it may come out a little different since it will be live, but I’ll be going through some of the very same ideas. I’ll do it most likely during a morning hour Pacific Time so people in different time zones can listen. Also, I might be able to actually access the one I did last night via recording–stay tuned. If I can I’ll send out the link in an Eating Peace note. I hope getting a link will work for you! (It did work for many others). Maybe there’s something on your device or where you are where you might have to type in the link to a new window on your screen, and then it would work? In any case, yes….either another webinar that I do again and/or the recording of this one I will share soon!! –Much love, Grace

  4. Hahaha “pottie’s organs”! Should be body’s organs. Apparently my proofreading skills are suffering as well😂

  5. Hiya Grace, after only sleeping 1 night out of the last two weeks, I “woke up” to your note this morning. I agree that a lot of stressful thoughts that can come along with not sleeping can be questioned. I really enjoyed asking myself today who I would be without thought I need more sleep. Where I’m having a tough time, is with Katie’s comment that “sleep deprivation is not hurting you”. Has this not been proven by scientific studies throughout many years that the body needs sleep for cell reparation, immune function, hormone balance, and many other essential functions? I observe myself making more numerous mistakes without sleep than with sleep. I can’t remember if I took my supplements, and My mind is drifting while driving. I feel even now as I’m writing this, the adrenaline coursing through my body the same way you did it every hour of last night. This has become a chronic condition of the past five years or so in my life, I never know when it’s going to come or when it’s going to leave, and of course we know what raise levels of cortisol throughout many years does to the potties organs. But I remember how I feel after I slept indeed vastly different than when I don’t sleep. I have a refreshed perspective, I have more energy for physical activities, and a mental clarity. I truly don’t understand her comment that sleep deprivation can’t hurt you. I understand that I’m happier without these thoughts, but that doesn’t mean they’re not true.

  6. GOOD MORNING, GRACE – WONDERING IF WE ARE GOING TO HAVE A CHANCE TO SEE THE WEBINAR YOU HAD LAST NIGHT AS I WAS UNABLE TO ACCESS IT BECAUSE THE CLICKS DIDN’T RESPOND. ANY CHANCE OF REPEATING IT? THANKS.

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