How is it that when I have nothing to get up for I am in bed by half eleven, and when I have to be up at the crack of dawn, I seem to think that 3am is a good idea? Or when I have been up chatting with a friend all night and suddenly we are both aware that we can hear the milk floats driving past, without ever being aware of how quickly the time has passed. Relationships with time are peculiar, exciting days go fast, boring days don’t. I have friends who are up at daybreak and others that rise in the afternoon, some of whom survive on four hours sleep a night. I think having this little sleep would hurt. We think of time as steadfast, regular and linear, but in actual terms, it is generally anything but.
Sometimes I seem to work best with a deadline. I love the fact that I write every day, it provides a structure within my day. We all have things that are regularly timed. Times when we eat various meals in a day, times when we do specific things within a week, a month, a year. We all find our own rhythms and most people with instinctively know whether they are a ‘day’ or a ‘night’ person and we fill our schedules accordingly.
The idea of circadian rhythms is one that appeals. Sleeping when it is dark, waking when the sun comes up seems like a much easier way to operate, more in tune with what our bodies need. So often in my life, I can see really simple solutions to challenges that I face, but for some reason, making things more complicated seems to be much easier.
I think having insomnia really challenged my relationship with time. Before insomnia, I think I was fairly fixed on when I thought things should happen. The hours between one and six were definitely those meant for sleeping. But as I couldn’t do what I expected to do at the time I expected to do it, I felt cross, really frustrated with myself. And then I started to change. I accepted that I would quite possibly be awake at some point and started to use the time more productively. Washing up at 3am with a cup of tea and the prospect of an hour or so of inane fb gaming became something to look forward to! And then I stopped viewing insomnia as something bad, and things became easier. My sleep didn’t get any easier through this acceptance, but I stopped letting it control my sense of wellbeing. This felt important. I stopped resenting the time spent awake in the night.
I am still not very good at organising a regular schedule in my life, but I am great at appreciating what I am doing at the time that I have chosen to do it. Perceptions of time continually alter, but if I can let go of my fixed ideas of what it should be, I can maybe enjoy it more.
Map Point. Where in my life are fixed points preventing my happiness?