Since my early 20s sleep has been a delicate friend. It takes me a long time to fall asleep and I awaken easily. Even looking at me seems to wake me up. I am especially aware of how light a sleeper I am when I am listening to my partner snoring beside me. Even more so, because it takes him 10 seconds or less to drop off.
My mother says I slept a lot as a teenager. I do remember getting up around noon. Now, waking up at 8.30 is a late lie in for me. To compensate, I have learned to love (and need) naps. Back in my clubbing days, ‘disco naps’ were essential before going out. If I have a night out now (no alcohol, of course), I’ll need a nap the following day to recover.
People often say to me that they couldn’t possibly sleep at night if they’ve had a nap during the day. I find the opposite to be true. I can’t sleep at night if I’m too tired. I’m sure there’s a hormonal reason for that but I don’t know the science.
I nap a little most days. An hour of “down time” does me the world of good. If I’m really lucky, 30 minutes of that will be sleep. I find it almost impossible to sleep in an environment other than my own bed. I have to create the right conditions for sleep. Most of these practices serve to make me feel safe and to remove distractions.
My steps to create my perfect napping experience:
– Turn my phone on to airplane mode.
– Meditate beforehand for a few minutes or even longer.
– Undress: sleeping in clothes is rarely comfortable.
– Pray. I do a lot of this.
– If I need to be somewhere later, I set an alarm on my phone. This is really just to help me relax , knowing that I’ll not oversleep. I almost never have to rely on it.
– Listen to music or a relaxation meditation. Often, I listen to track 3 of the album Sacred Nature by Philip Carr-Gomm. I think music or voice helps by giving me something to focus on.
– Wear my Mindfold mask. A Druid friend told me about this a few years ago when I explained how nourishing darkness was for me.
– Relax and reassure myself that even if I remain conscious, my nap time will be a healing time.
I know some of my friends are insomniacs and ‘delicate sleepers’ too. Do you nap? How do you go about it?