A strange thing happened to me while I was spending a considerable amount of professional time on the subject of sleep. I already knew a lot about it through my work but day after day I was learning more about the importance, the near miracle, of sleep. So each night I went to sleep a little more consciously and with a little more respect. It began to feel like a relationship. What the heck, I will go ahead and say it. I fell in love with sleep.
How did I know I was in love? I awoke around 4 a.m. as usual when I am in the middle of a creative and intense work period. That's enough sleep to barely get by and my mind starts getting to work, without my permission. If I don't get up and connect with these great ideas, will I even remember them in the morning? So between the fear of forgetting and the creativity that is trying to engage, going back to sleep is just a faint memory in the rear view mirror.
But on this particular night, the outcome was different. As my mind started trying to take over, I didn't take the bait. I found that I was so happy sleeping, and appreciating the experience so much, that I completely ignored my busy mind and went right back to sleep. I think I was even smiling slightly.
You know how it is when you fall in love. Everything looks rosy. You feel great. Nothing really bothers you too much. And you can't wait to see your beloved again. For me, that's every night around 10:30 or 11 p.m.
The next step was to treat that relationship will all the love and care I show to my "other" loved ones. I show up on time, about the same time each night. I make subtle preparations to be sure I can bring my best self to the experience, including not inviting my technology to join us. And I appreciate the time we spend together and the wonderful benefits that go along with that.
And what a partner sleep makes. It nurtures and nourishes, rejuvenates and refreshes, heals and energizes. And all I have to do is show up and make it the most important thing in my life for seven or eight hours. Not bad. Certainly better than a lot of other relationships I have had over the years.
This is the one relationship in which I don't mind sharing my partner with anyone and everyone. The truth is that all your relationships are likely to be a lot better if you take up with this one. And if others do the same, imagine the difference that could make to all of us.
Go ahead. Dare to fall in love with sleep. It will never let you down.