My abiding memory of my teenage years is being sleep-deprived and exhausted. Being awake at 4am. Eventually, age 22, I trained myself to sleep with sleeping pills and ever since I’ve been mostly free of insomnia. It’s come with certain rituals though. When I travel, I get to be free of those rituals and do things I would never do at home, using electronics in bed being the big one. And I still sleep OK.
But having had insomnia I do fear it coming back. Lying awake feels terrifyingly familiar. If it happens a couple of nights in a row I will get anxious. If I feel like I haven’t been physically active enough I will go to bed expecting not to sleep… and then I won’t.
Anyway, The Sleep Book (Amaz0n) was refreshing because it’s not about how to arrange your life around rituals for sleeping, but about sleeping normally which means – doing nothing. About reclaiming your life from insomnia and living it again. It’s a 5 week program, so I read a chapter a week.
Even though I now mostly sleep fine, I still found it helpful – and one of the things it clarified for me was that my sleep rituals? I don’t need them when I travel. I don’t really need them at all. But I’ll keep some of them anyway because I like them for their own sake, now.