#mentalhealth – Self-care: The power of sleep

Everyone knows how important sleep is. How crummy it is to be tired and how good it can feel to look at the clock on a saturday morning, roll back over into the embrace of your feathered doona and whisper

…just five more minutes…

and we have doctors and teachers and our parents nagging us. They tell us we look tired, that we should sleep more, that we shouldn’t stay up until three am watching Netflix.


But when we’re not well, when we are under the pump or are suffering from stress, we need sleep more than ever. I’m not going to talk about all the ways you can get more sleep, or sleep hygiene (a topic I’ve skirted a few times but really don’t want to get into. I’ll get to it. I promise.) I want to talk about how sometimes, sleep is both a blessing and a curse.


Stay with me here.


For me, sleep is a safe place. I don’t have a whole lot of nightmares or stressful dreams. I don’t have a lot of dreams, period. Sleep is about a day ending. Sleep passes time that would otherwise be filled with mental agony. But what happens when it doesn’t have the ‘reboot’ factor that I hope for? What happens when I wake up?


Waking up is the flip side to the escapist nature of sleep. It’s the nasty necessity that comes with being able to totally disconnect with the world for a few hours. And it’s my least favourite part of the day.

Waking up is about getting back out of bed, and beginning once again the grind of doing everything that needs doing. And it’s hard.


…just five more minutes…

takes on a whole new meaning when I’m avoiding doing the washing, cleaning the cat litter, feeding the cats, looking the messy kitchen, doing the washing up, putting the bins out, starting my uni work, maybe getting to some writing, preparing my room to be vacuumed, maybe visiting my parents, maybe visiting my grandparents, maybe….


You get the picture. And I don’t have kids. I don’t know how anyone gets out of bed when they have kids…


And then theres the off food in the fridge that I’ve asked someone to clean out three times this week and it hasn’t been done – I should probably do that. And then there’s probably some groceries that need doing. Oh, and I should check if the garden can be done, and obviously I need to shower, which means picking out clothes, and then I have to clean up the floor so no one slips on it and then… and then… and then…


It’s easier to stay in bed. But staying in bed doesn’t actually make anything better. It makes it worse. Because I’m thinking all of this while snuggled like a burrito in among blankets and pillows and cats, and it’s ruining a safe space. My bed should be a safe space. Beds are for sex and sleep – there’s a little sleep hygiene for you. Beds should not be for stressing, stressing until you cry, or giving up on life altogether.

That’s why I hate waking up. Not only is it hard, it actually brings everything i have to do, haven’t done yet, and should have done already to the surface and then it doesn’t matter how well I slept. It’s 9am on a Saturday morning and I’m stressed out of my brain and just want everything to be over.

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