No cheating now.

4 Jun 2018
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I'm not a good sleeper. No matter what time I've gone to bed, how dark it is outside, or how warm and cosy my room is, I wake up at 5:10 each morning and rarely manage to get back to sleep. It's hugely tedious and tiring (although frustratingly not tiring enough to pop back into the land of nod).

I was talking about it the other day with a friend. "Ah well, sleeping is cheating" I said and I laughed it off. I've no idea where the phrase comes from, but my friends and I used to say "sleeping is cheating" a lot in our early twenties; competing to be the bigger party animal or the "stronger" person.

But it got me thinking. Sleeping is not cheating. Sleep is one of our most fundamental basic human needs. Sleeping is not cheating at life, it's not a sign of weakness and it doesn't mean you don't know how to have fun. And proving that you can keep on going without it doesn't make you a better/more likeable person. So why did we say that? Perhaps one-upmanship at a stage of life where we're still trying to work out who we are and where we fit. But at what cost? And did we really need to prove ourselves that way?

I then started wondered what else we cheat ourselves out of. Waking rest and relaxation? Good nutrition? Positive and supportive relationships? Each one is equally essential for the smooth running of our brains and bodies. And yet so often we keep going, keep pushing ourselves to be bigger/better/stronger, chastising ourselves when we're not and ignoring the subtle or obvious signs that we need some time for ourselves.

And at the end of the day, we're only truly accountable to ourselves. We have to do this for us, so we can also give to those around us. So, don't cheat on yourself. You're worth more than that.

Shizzle

A Moodscope member.

A Moodscope member.

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Comments

Duma

June 5, 2018, 4:17 a.m.

I cheat myself out of time off. A common trait among the self employed. I work, pro bono, but still only give myself the ‘minimum five’. Leap year day and WORLD MENTAL HEALTH DAY (10/10). Five days off in four calander years. 25 days in a standard twenty year term. Not bad, what am I complaining about. It’s a mans life in The UHC. (Male Ram Plates, disposable).

Reply

Duma

June 5, 2018, 4:22 a.m.

Where are my manners? Duma, out.

Shizzle

June 5, 2018, 5:07 a.m.

Hi Duma. That is not much time off at all! It must be so hard, though, to take time off when you don't have the "support" that company employment offers: sick pay, mandated leave etc. Additional pressure on you, as well as needing to keep securing continued demand for your work for the future. I'm sure taking time off would take practice after so long of not doing it too. All the best.

Duma

June 5, 2018, 6:20 a.m.

Hi Shizzle You get used to it. I would not know what a day off would entail. But, I enjoy and relish every moment I devote to my chosen vocation. Interesting read, btw, thanks!

Duma

June 5, 2018, 6:24 a.m.

1.5K+ Dark Net post interactions, in the last 28 days. I’m blogging again, quite quietly. So business is booming It’s all good, Duma.

the room above the garage

June 5, 2018, 4:35 a.m.

Similar to me shizzle, early waker these days but it’s not insomnia it’s just that I need to be up early and my body knows and kicks in. I need 8.5-9 hours a night and with 3 teenagers it’s just impossible to get the sleep I need. However, I think this early waking is far less damaging that the waking around 1/2am. I’ve read the nervous system replenishes 10pm-2am which is critical sleep time. Extra awful in the winter/dark mornings though. I’d love a nap today... :-) love ratg x.

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Shizzle

June 5, 2018, 5:11 a.m.

Thanks RATG. I didn't know that about the replenishment. I do try hard to be in bed by 10pm although often don't manage it til more like 10:30. You're right though... I don't consider myself to have insomnia, just to be a rubbish sleeper with an over active brain! I think knowing what we need (for you 8.5-9 hours) is hugely valuable too. It helps us to focus on trying to get it, hard as that must be. BTW I loved your blog the other day. Was a busy day for me so I didn't get to reply but yes, you are good enough. It's an ongoing struggle of mine too. I recently read a fiction book that said that addicts often have high self importance combined with very low self esteem. Obviously very different to depression but the low self esteem definitely seems to be a common trait amongst those with mental health challenges. Anyway, I digress. Thank you for your reply to this and for your blog the other day. And yes, naps are saviours if you can (I'm not good at letting myself take them either!) All the best Shizzle.

Duma

June 5, 2018, 4:56 a.m.

Poppy? You’re awfully quiet.

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Oli

June 5, 2018, 5:04 a.m.

Morning Shizzle! I think it depends how you look at it because I love being up at 5am. You get so much more of the day. Obviously early nights are the trick to that one. And the trick to early nights is ummm.... going to bed early! But *that* is where I thought I was losing out when I was younger: I thought along the lines of "I've been at work all day so the evening is *my* time." As soon as I realised that the early morning was really *my* time I just started going to bed earlier.

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Shizzle

June 5, 2018, 5:14 a.m.

Oh Oli! Thank you for your reply and for looking at my "challenge" the other way round. So very refreshing. My other half is a night owl so my early nights mean our overlap time is limited. But I am not him and he is not me so we do both need to work to our own strengths. I see my evenings just as you describe. I could have some wonderfully peaceful mornings of "my" time. If only the rest of society did the same! I find I'm always the first to leave evening activities which I struggle with but equally I've gotta get back to bed. Hmmmmm. Thank you for your reply.

Hopeful One

June 5, 2018, 5:55 a.m.

Hi Shizzle- I too wake up early with a similar sleeping pattern to yours but in my case it was 5.26 for a long time .However, for some unfathomable reason it now varies but always before 5.26!Anyway its a myth that we all need between 7 to 7.5 hours. I have discovered that approximately 5% of the population get by with 5 to 5.5 hours. The important thing is that, to be effective i e getting up refreshed and alert, we need to achieve >90% efficiency with the hours we sleep.This is calculated by dividing the hours slept by the hours spent in bed.So in my case 5.5/6 x 100= 91%.Anything less will result in lack of alertness and not feeling refreshed the next day. Warning: today's laugh contains adult material which some may find offensive. Wallace walked into a supermarket with his zip down. A lady cashier called out to him and said, “Your barrack door is open.”Not a phrase that he normally used, Wallace went on his way looking a bit puzzled.When he had finished shopping, a man came up and said, “Your fly is open.”Embarrassed he zipped up and finished his shopping.At the checkout, Wallace intentionally got in the line where the lady was who told him about his “barrack door.” He was planning to have a little fun with her, so when he reached the counter he said, “When you saw my barrack door open, did you see a Marine standing in there at attention?” The lady, without missing a beat said, “No, no, I didn’t. All I saw was a disabled veteran sitting on a couple of old Duffel bags.”

Reply

Shizzle

June 5, 2018, 12:48 p.m.

Hi HO. Thank you for your reply. You're right, there are some people who can get by on much less sleep. Many politicians are famous for it! My other half is the same. He can cope remarkably well on very little sleep. I find that less than 7 hours and my emotional state becomes very quickly eroded. But I do agree with you that time if I spend long time in bed but not asleep I feel far less refreshed than just getting up and on with things. Thanks for the laugh too!

Lexi

June 5, 2018, 5:05 p.m.

:) Thanks for the smile HO!

DAVE

June 5, 2018, 6:35 a.m.

Hi Shizzle, The last paragraph for me encapsulates within all that life throws at us. We are all children of a ***, all equal in His eyes....BUT and here's the difference we have our very own Moral Agency to Choose which path to tread, what to do and not to do....As a result we can only be accountable for that which we as individuals do...And if there s a Maker waiting to Judge our Mortal Life in a Heavenly State, then and only then can we feel 'At Home' in the presence of Deity. Unless we choose to go over the cliff with all the Lemmings t certain death, we must follow our intuition, become and develope this 'Spirit' if you will, because as individuals we bring to others' lost a new lease of life which may not be fully comprehended by those who always look at their 'LOT' from a mortal point of view and not the bigger picture through 'Spiritual Eyes' a the prospect of (who can really know) a Heavenly Place where Body & Spirit are ONCE more reunited... Sleep as you say is vital for our wellbeing, and smooth progress to address all adversities that try to pull us down. As a suggestion Shizzle...When you get into bed...Say to your self (sub-conscious, "I'm not going to sleep well tonigh, s I may just as well RELAX and let the mind fall into a FALSE sense of security...Practicing this a few times in the week, may just help....NUT...in so doing, why not change you sleep/Wake pattern... Keep occupied, birth physically and mentally first thing in the morning and keep it going until you find you need to rest... Who knows, if you think you are an evening persn, you may well find that a morning person gives you the sleep that which you lack. This is only an opinion, as I can only read between the lines... Good luck and thank you once again for your blog Shizzle , you have a knack in bringing thoughts into words *** bless your heart. DaveXX.

Reply

Shizzle

June 5, 2018, 12:52 p.m.

Hi Dave. Thank you for your reply. Thank you for your suggestion. You're absolutely right that there's no point fighting. The skill of relaxing into life and trying to work smoothly through things is such a valuable one (touches on my yoga relaxation post of a few weeks back). Prayer and meditation can of course help with this too. Which makes me realise that I've never tried that in the morning before. I tend to get up and read. Maybe that's worth a go too. Thank you!

The Gardener

June 5, 2018, 6:59 a.m.

Thanks Shizzle - I am currently waking between 1.30 and 2.30 a.m, and lucky if I get much more sleep before getting up. I agree the 'must have 8 hrs' is something in our consciousness - but a few SOLID hours is better. I read, drop off, and wake straight up again. Just had a phone call from tribunal, needing loads more papers, to allow us to sell the house which Mr G agreed to 3 years ago. Shattered, so much more paperwork, and he was in such a state yesterday that I do not think he will live till this wretched tribunal. Sorry to be such a grouch - mind total turmoil, thanks for joke HO, here is a little 'dessert'Weep not for little Leonie, Abducted by A French Marquis! Though loss of honour was a wrench, Just think how it's improved her French, (Harry Graham, a favourite with Ogden Nash.

Reply

Shizzle

June 5, 2018, 12:55 p.m.

It's so hard to sleep when Big Things are going on, isn't it? And you have so many Big Things in your world. Finances and paperwork prey on the mind and even when they've gone it takes time to recover. I'm so sorry to hear the tribunal has been so tough. My heart goes out for you. I hope you have a breakthrough soon, and of course absolutely no apologies for "being such a grouch". We're all here to listen.

Shizzle

June 5, 2018, 12:56 p.m.

PS I completely agree: solid hours are much more valuable than fitful ones.

Wyvern

June 5, 2018, 7:09 a.m.

Hmm, yes, sleep... I sleep pretty soundly at present, but then often I wake at 4 or 5 o'clock. If I go back to sleep (which I can easily do) I find I have monstrous dreams. So I break the action by getting up and having a cuppa. If I feel sleepy later in the day because of not having had enough, I can have a nap - but not too long, or the next night I will definitely wake early.

Reply

Shizzle

June 5, 2018, 12:59 p.m.

Thanks Wyvern. That sounds like a very valuable plan. I have in the past been through phases of waking around 3 or 3:30 and not being able to get back to sleep. When that happens I also get a cuppa and read for a while before heading back to sleep. Doesn't work if I wake after 5 but earlier in the night it works well. The dreams are a tricky one. I've not really thought of it before but I also have horrific dreams (the stuff of horror films / thrillers) maybe once a week. I'm not sure what the solution is, but you're not alone. Thank you for your reply.

The Gardener

June 5, 2018, 7:31 a.m.

Wyvern, I did this for years, almost exactly the same - had to force myself to get up, drop back to sleep and the dreams were worse. I could find no association - like excess alcohol, poor diet - was depressed and severely stressed then - now 10 times worse, but luckily no recurrence of dreams.

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Lexi

June 5, 2018, 5:07 p.m.

Hello Shizzle! My norm is asleep at 10, up at 2, back to sleep at 4 up at 6. I work for myself so I do indulge in a nap from time to time, but always feel guilty about it, but then again, my best hours are early morning to noon, then around 5pm, so perhaps the naps are helping me recharge. Great blog!xoLexi

Reply

Shizzle

June 6, 2018, 1:43 p.m.

Hi Lexi. That sounds like a frustrating sleep pattern too. But naps are so important to keeping going and keeping feeling on top of everything. Keep doing them if they work for you. Thank you for your reply.

The Gardener

June 5, 2018, 5:22 p.m.

Lexi, absolutely no guilt about 'naps'. I used them as a desperate re-charging process in the last 18 months that Mr G went downhill. In fact, I organised a 'mini-holiday' in under 2 hours. Absolute comfort, whether on terrace in sun or curled up by radiator. A Kir, delicious sandwich, SUDOKO or novel to provoke sleep. It was not mindfulness, or Yoga, but it worked, because I switched off. Greetings across the pond. As well as my myriad problems, I am hoping, very selfishly, that strikes keep at bay next week - son from Abu Dhabi, grand-son from Melbourne, hope to converge on C de G and come on here by car. This is next Thursday, French strike day if they are on. Won't tempt providence, but can dream. Grand-son has not seen new house - will Top Doc prevail on French beaurocracy tomorrow? Please, I need an excuse to drink champagne. Brilliant Bach on France Musique,

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Lexi

June 5, 2018, 5:59 p.m.

TG, Sudoko or a crossword does the trick for me, and I absolutely love getting out of my office and sitting in the sun, though my patio comes nowhere near your terrace I am sure. I hope the strikes hold off. I'm going to dinner tonight and I'll have a glass of bubbly to wish you bon chance! xo Lexi

Cathy

June 6, 2018, 6:12 a.m.

I've fought and fought it but **** it my natural sleep pattern just IS to sleep about 5 hours at night and have a 2hour nap in the afternoon...if I can't have my nap I get a headache...It can be 2-4pm or 5-7pm but it's going to happen and the more I've accepted it the better! Wish society was a bit more accepting though. There's such a stigma! Napping is lazy...is It?! Or is it just normal for some people??

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Mary Wednesday

June 6, 2018, 7:22 a.m.

I read recently that research suggests that lack of sleep is contibuting to (among other things), obesity, strokes, heart disease and dementia. I am trying to get more sleep. Not easy, but I'm trying.

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Shizzle

June 6, 2018, 1:44 p.m.

Doesn't surprise me at all. Sleep is such our body's recovery time. As you say, it's hard getting it but keeping trying is the only way.

Valerie

June 6, 2018, 9:58 a.m.

You are so right,sleep is vital to physical and mental health.I have had problems from an early age,having been at one time as a child not allowed to sleep.I also had problems with sleep walking,and night terrors. I am not impressed by the "sleep is for wimps" attitude.I know a few people who have lived like that,and they are now ageing very badly in all respects.I try to grab every opportunity now for a lie-in,to get into credit for when sleep eludes me. xx

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Shizzle

June 6, 2018, 1:46 p.m.

Hi Valerie, That sounds exceptionally tough. Interesting that the people you know are ageing badly having not slept well over the years. It all ties together to form part of our health, mental and physical. Lie ins are something I've never been able to do but for those who can I know they can be glorious!

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