I am a good sleeper. I go to bed early, usually no later than 9:30pm (and I consider this late), and I wake up between 5:00-6:00am. Rarely do I even get up to pee and my partner, when I am with him, seldom, if ever, wakes me as he gets up often.
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My Bedtime Routine
There are a few requirements I have as a bedtime routine. Besides the ritual of teeth brushing, face washing and moisturizing, I now brush and oil my hair with this delicious smelling hair product I get from my friend’s boutique in the Chicago area. I usually give my pillow or myself a nice spray with one of these delicious sprays too based on plant and flowers.
Once I make my way into bed, I must have some white noise- usually a fan sound does the trick. I can’t have any blue light blinking or blaring in even a corner of the room. Though I bring my phone to my night table, it is always face down and I never keep the sound on anyway.
I usually put on a podcast, a meditation, or a book I am listening to set with a one hour timer. The final part of my evening routine is that I must have clean feet. I don’t always take a full shower, but I must lift my feet into the sink and rinse the day with some lotion or potion smelling product of summer sandal wearing off or I simply cannot fall asleep.
We all likely have our quirks and I have learned to lean into mine because it certainly makes for a good solid night sleep.
And Then I Awake
There are those occasions however when the imaginary bell tolls at 3:00am and I can’t seem to fall back asleep. Many times it is a full moon that has caused the disruption, but the Supermoon of August 11th has passed. Perhaps it is the waning release as it lets go of the powerful hold it seems to have and that release has stirred the pot.
In the old days when I was in the throws of motherhood, or marriage, or big business ownership, my mind would do a downward spiral into fretting and anxious thoughts. I have since learned, especially in the last two and a half Covid years, to change that debilitating thinking into forgiveness and gratitude thinking. It has been miraculous giving up the thoughts of what didn’t or may not go right that used to crackle and pop and change them into thoughts of what is and could go right instead.
My One Line Affirmation
If my mind wanders into the darkness, I have trained it to immediately shift into a one line affirmation.
I am open and receptive to all of the goodness and abundance in the world.
This phrase immediately calms me. Most of the time, this puts me right back to sleep, but on the rare occasion like this morning when I can’t, it usually means I need to write.
The Privilege to Live Another Day
Today was that day. Bursting and bubbling with creativity, after an hour of trying to fall back asleep, I decided to get up. I went downstairs, turned on the kitchen lights, made some coffee and met my morning friend, my laptop. I opened the front door to let in the morning sounds of waking birds especially the cardinal and that never disappointing early morning light.
Cardinals and the sun rising to remind me that Yes Alayne, You do get the privilege to live another day.
There is a quiet in the morning that is succinct and precious. Short lived. People still sleeping mostly, houses still dark, the air is still as it waits for its day to rise.
It is a quiet unlike any other part of the day and since I am an early riser, I, more frequently than not, get to witness its glorious and unassuming intent.
I seldom sleep past 6:00am but when I do, I am disappointed I have missed this time. Because more than anything else in my busy brained days, this is the time of the day that sets me up for the rest of the day.
I witness the light that is changing as it prepares for the fall. The coolness of the morning after the July heat feels like it is September already and I have to remind myself that summer is still very much alive. This year’s July heat seemed like August so any breath of coolness even for a moment during the brief early morning makes me want to start whipping out stews and soups. When the weather cools, I turn off my AC, that as welcomed as it is during the high heat, there is nothing like the fresh air of open windows circulating the smells in my home.
The Extra Time
As the day comes to life, and the morning catches up to me, I hear the familiarity of the sound of the paper getting delivered. I begin hearing runners’ sneakers hitting the pavement and the bells and clinking of collars from dogs out with their humans. I am happy that I got my ass out of bed. The early morning has given me the extra time to watch the birds and write for a few extra hours. It has gifted me the extra time to pack the picnic for the beautiful beach day that lies ahead where I am sure to fall asleep many times to catch up on the few hours I missed.
The morning is my constant companion and I always feel a little sad for people who miss it.