Those who know me know that I am not one to rise early. My bad habit of staying up late began in high school where I’d study the night away. This later evolved into some serious night sessions cramming for VCE exams and then university exams into the early hours of the morning. As a consequence, I became somewhat of a night owl.
Habits of a vampire
I used to phone friends at 10pm when most of them were jumping into bed. I’d watch The Late Night Show with David Letterman and sometimes when I was stressed and couldn’t sleep, I had been known to read a novel or stay up writing in my journal until two in the morning! Of course, this unsustainable practice of staying up late meant that I’d often find sleep in and run late for work.
I suppose life in the city, with all of its stress and deadlines, had a great effect on my health. Soon I was popping Stilnox pills prescribed my doctor hoping it would cure my insomnia. It didn’t really work. It only caused hallucinations and some ‘bad trips’ which involved me sleepwalking and talking in my sleep. I moved on to drinking a glass of port as recommended by dad. This was a good short-term solution, but not a very good long-term solution as I did not want to resort to drinking alcohol every night.
Country life restored my equilibrium
Many adult years spent fast city living had elevated my cortisol levels to the point of insomnia and it took a move to the country to find balance. Living slow was the antidote to fast living. Leaving the city was the best thing I could have done for my health. It was the wake-up call I needed.
Nowadays I am up at sunrise, usually beating my alarm which is scheduled for 6am. You could say that I’ve become quite the early bird catching the worm. To be truthful, I wake up so early because I go to bed so early. With no distractions in the evening except conversation around a bonfire, I am often in bed by 8pm. Early to bed, early to rise. I now understand the meaning of this common phrase.
This habit that I have picked up from living here in the country is something I adore. I feel healthier, am more awake and have loads more energy than I otherwise would if I was in the city. And you know what? I’m even aiming to wake up before the sun rises so I can start the day with a breathtaking view of dawn.
It’s about mindset, not about where you live
Now if you’re living in the city and thinking: there’s no way I’m leaving the city to find a permanent cure to my insomnia that’s okay. Whilst a physical move is what I needed to solve my sleeping problems you don’t need to move. In fact, all you need is to practice slow living. Make conscious choices, practice mindfulness and if that doesn’t work, try meditation. It helps you breathe and forces you to slow down.
So before popping sleeping pills, why not try meditation? It’s a natural and effective option, and it doesn’t cost a thing.
If you’ve cured your insomnia naturally, feel free to share what worked for you in the comments below!