I've always had a tendency to sleep late. Lately, I haven't been sleeping much before 3am and last night, I slept at nearly 5am.
This is not sustainable for me. I have to be up in the morning. And I'm fully aware, the importance of sleep. It's been made abundantly clear to me that there are many, many negative health impacts, both physically and mentally, to lack of sleep. And the discoveries of the importance of sleep keep coming...
I felt reassured recently reading an article that said that some people just are predisposed to later bed times. But at the same time, I know that my mental health plays a part in pushing sleep away, even when I'm grossly fatigued.
Sometimes, it's because the intrusive thoughts that TV or some task keep at bay during the day, bubble up as I'm falling asleep. And I know this is where a meditation practice would help me.
And sometimes, it's because at night, it's the only time I feel I don't belong to anyone besides myself. I don't owe anyone anything. I don't have to live up to anyone's expectations.
Of course, I WANT to be connected to others. I fully believe that loneliness and isolation are at the root of our unhappiness.
But I feel like hiding away from those transactionary relationships. I can be around people and still feel alone, even lonelier than I'd feel if I was actually alone. I can spend all my time with someone, suppress myself in order to match the another person for fear of losing them, and still feel completely alone because I am unseen.
I think there are practices that can expand the feeling of autonomy and freedom I feel at night into the daytime. And I think there are practices and principles to put in places in relationship to others to be less about 50/50 transaction and merging and more about mutual respect, admiration, and radical acceptance.
Here are some resources for others navigating tough mental health stuff:
[Image description: A picture of a light coming through a window. Everything is Black except for the Window. outside the window there's a bit of silhouette of cityscape and a gradient of setting sun, orange fading into blue. Sitting at the bottom of the window sill is a small vanity mirror.]