The real reason why you don’t want to go to sleep at night.
It’s 10pm. All you want to do is to sit in front of the computer and start googling “what is the best sleep hygiene”; “how to claim the morning to win the day”; “how to treat a fungal toe nail”, pick your topic. You are the master of your domain!
This rather unhelpful rush of energy that we experience as the night draws in, is so elusive and attractive, many of you, especially those who suffer from insomnia speak about this with great puzzlement.
So what is this?
Are you just plainly silly that you don’t understand that going to sleep earlier might help you get up earlier in the morning? So to help you seize the day?
Or is it that your self sabotage part always triumphs over your more logical part?
I understand that you have tried to talk yourself out of it. You read those blogs on sleep hygiene. You download the meditation app to help you wind down at the end of the day. But the energy you get at 10pm is so powerful that before you know it, you have let another episode on Netflix to play on. And yes, it’s midnight.
So what is going on?
“When the night draws in, I get this urge in myself that I want to treat myself. It’s my time. I am alone with my kid in bed. I just want to do something for myself.”
“But I also experience this terrible self criticism that says I am an idiot for doing this. That I am so useless for wasting my time like this”
What I hear in these words is that you feel the need to compensate yourself from all the work you had to do to survive in this world. Being a manager at work, being a mother, being a daughter, being a polite customer who doesn’t make a fuss at the waiter! All day of playing a role in the world without having had any time to bring joy to your heart. And I say to you, my dear reader. Please take a moment to acknowledge this.
How could you blame anyone for wanting to take a couple of hours to herself after a long day of performing in the world?
Save yourself from the shame you bring to a very natural desire of yours to do something for yourself!
Oh, no. This blog will not tell you how to stop doing this. I am writing to you to help you create some space and awareness around this strong need of yours to do something for yourself.
Take your time. Ask yourself what are the effects of binge watching Netflix at 11pm on Tuesday you are craving for. Sit with what comes up for you. Acknowledge your desires and be compassionate for them.
Then, only then, I believe you can respond to that desire.
If what you want is to “switch off from the world and to be entertained”, why don’t you give that? Allow yourself to do this. Perhaps, you could do that earlier? Or you could do that by reading good fiction instead of Netflix. Now, the point of this exercise is for you to understand what you are trying to achieve by doing whatever it is you are doing at night rather than going to sleep.
Carl Jung said “Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”
Bringing awareness around what you do, why you do what you do is the first and the most important step in changing your behaviour.
You are a complex and messy being. And it’s OK. But it’s your job now as an adult to bring awareness to why you do what you do and respond in a way that aligns with your values.
So tonight, if you find yourself binge eating, scrolling mindlessly, watching yet another episode on Netflix, playing yet another round of a game on your phone, ask yourself this question ever so gently “What am I seeking to achieve?”
I trust you will meet a part of you who feels sad, angry, fearful, resentful that you didn’t get to live the day with your full heart open. That part of you needs your attention and love.
Your fellow messy being, Yanan Kim.