by Ben Parry, Bexhill, Australia

For a while now I’ve been waking up in the ‘middle of the night’ at around 2am. I do go to sleep fairly early, but that is still only five hours sleep, so waking up then is just something I’ve been writing off as an annoyance, and I’d just go back to sleep for another few hours. Why would I wake up at 2am if I’m going to be wrecked at work by midday? I need my 7-8 hours sleep or I won’t be able to function. In fact, some days I know that even with 7-8 hours sleep I still hardly get through the day, so waking up even earlier is the last thing I would want to do.

Well, I was getting pretty annoyed that it kept happening, so one morning I decided I would teach myself a lesson and just not go back to bed. That way, I figured, I would be so exhausted by the evening that I would drag myself to bed and would probably get ten hours of solid sleep the next night. So I stayed up, but what to do with myself? I live in a house with other people so I couldn’t do anything noisy. Plus, I felt like I should only do something gentle, like I didn’t have the energy to get started running in a frenzy preparing for the day or anything strenuous like that – so I didn’t.  I did a bit of meditation, some reading; I even went for a fairly long walk because it turns out that three hours is a lot of time that early in the morning.

When it came time to get ready for work, I still felt this quiet steadiness. It is difficult to describe exactly; it wasn’t a tiredness, just a feeling that if I did anything physically hard on myself, it could really affect me and it wouldn’t feel good. I definitely didn’t need to reach for the sugar or anything to get myself ready to get into the day, because I had been really careful with myself that morning and it felt like all that extra time had been allowing me to prepare already for the rest of the day.

Well, I was at work, and I was still feeling like I really had to be careful and gentle with how I was going about my day: it wasn’t about making sure I didn’t run out of energy to get through the day anymore  or avoiding the pain of being too hard with myself. Now I was beginning to notice that I actually was more comfortable with the ‘steadiness’ I was feeling and I didn’t want to upset that feeling – it was becoming like a surety I could rely on throughout the day.

Normally through my day there would be the morning period where after waking up I would still feel sleepy, and it would be a chore to drag myself around to get ready for work. For the morning at work I would be fine… for a few hours at least, before I began to feel the tiredness kicking in – it would come like waves in peaks and troughs. Then by the afternoon on some days I would almost be falling asleep at my desk.

In the steadiness I was feeling, I didn’t see the same variations in my energy level throughout the day; it was just always the same steady feeling. So long as I remained being careful with how I was doing things, it didn’t seem to change, but I was still getting as much done at work as normal… maybe even more because I didn’t start to slow down in the afternoon. I got home that night and did everything else I normally do – walk the dogs, make dinner, shower and then by 8pm I was feeling in my body that I couldn’t go on any longer doing things. I was tired and a little sore, but it definitely wasn’t the exhaustion I was expecting. It was more a rewarding tiredness that meant laying down in bed felt really beautiful. I was sure I would get a full night’s sleep. Then I woke up again at 2am, only five hours later.

As I kept on with the same routine over the next few days, it began to feel more and more natural. For so long I had always believed that ‘you need eight hours of sleep a day’ like I’d always been told, but I really felt more consistent when I just got up when I woke up, rather than trying to hit that magic number. The ‘steadiness’ that I felt became more and more familiar and more and more beautiful, because it was always there with me.

I began to realise that the way I was feeling normally when I would go back to bed was already my body under stress and a general feeling of anxiety about the day. I would be forcing myself to jump out of bed, rush to the shower, get dressed, shove breakfast down my throat without pausing and prepare for the rest of the day in only a short amount of time, and that pressure was the feeling I would wake up to: that was the feeling I would be comparing the rest of my day to. I only had that stress as a reference point for how I was feeling so I was trying to get back to that feeling, with sugar, caffeine and working under tight deadlines, because that was the way I thought I was supposed to feel.

The only reason I’m writing this is because I wanted to share the possibility that what we’re told by everyone while we’re growing up, what we all hear the doctors, scientists, nutritionists etc. saying we need to do to stay healthy and well (which is always changing so fast it’s hard to keep up with the latest research and findings), may not always be right for us. Just because something is generally accepted by the majority, doesn’t mean there isn’t something else better than the current way. Why shouldn’t we be open to really feeling what our choices are doing to us rather than just accepting what we’re told? Of course, there is a greater responsibility, because we can’t just pick and choose what we WANT to be right for us ‘(I love bacon, so the Atkins diet is going to be true for me!!)’; we actually have to rely on our own feeling of what a choice is doing to us… and who can know us better than ourselves when we are truly honest?

It is only this that I have ever seen presented at the Universal Medicine courses and presentations that I’ve been to: Serge and Universal Medicine have never told anyone what to do. It has always been understood that it is my responsibility to make my own choices based on the way these choices affect my life and my body. Serge presents what he has found to be true for him in his experience, and then it has only ever been up to me to try it (or not if I don’t feel to), to see for myself if it might be true for me as well. Whenever I’ve put to the test what has been presented for myself, it’s always made me feel better in my body than what I have felt trying to follow the ever-changing rules that are always being presented in the media from the latest studies and research. When the world is in the state of illness and turmoil that is prevalent, wouldn’t it make sense to be open to finding the answers through a different way of life?

291 thoughts on “Sleep

  1. It is very easy to dismiss the feeling of being ready to start the day early in the morning. I found that the morning offers a lot of wisdom of how to be with ourselves and hold ourselves in the day. It also offers space to actually truly nurture ourselves and do what we need to do. The other thing I found is that sometimes it is the early hours of the day that truly replenish me more than sleeping longer when I was tired the evening before.

  2. I remember the way I was living and believed I needed 8 hours sleep, it was true I felt like I did need a minimum of 8 hours sleep. So when I started to change some of my choices like cutting out caffeine for example or drinking alcohol I found that I didn’t need so much sleep. Also the time I go to bed has a impact on how I sleep and the quality. How I prepare myself before hand also is another factor. So many elements and choices make up the whole of our experience not just one isolated choice.

  3. My work routine means I don’t get to bed before 10.30 pm and sometimes later. Despite this I’ve found I can still wake at 2.30am and 4.00 am latest and feel ready to wake. On occasions when my body needs more sleep, I accept this.

  4. Listening to our bodies is important. After a recent medical procedure and still in recovery, my body called for certain foods not usually eaten when feeling well but need to support the fragility I felt. It would have been foolhardy and harmful to deny this rather than respond in the moment to what my body needed.

  5. I can relate to the ‘steadiness within’ you describe and for me also it flows from waking up early and giving myself space to prepare for my day, To feel much the same at the end of the day as at the start and regardless of number of hours worked has a holding quality that supports me to enjoy my work.

  6. It is beautiful to feel the steadiness that you are supported by when you honour your body’s messages on when to start your day.

  7. How to break a paradigm we are all taught and locked into (how much sleep) is just to feel how we are day by day, to experiment with how we wake, when we wake, how we live… and then review, review, review

  8. If we rely on the ever changing advice that is outside of ourselves we will never build trust and confidence in ourselves.

    1. So true Fiona. Its only by feeling from within and trusting that inner knowing that we all have, that we come to know what is right for us and what is not. We do it as children but because we are ‘taught how things should be’ as we grow we tend to forget about that inner wisdom that we have constant access to, if we so choose.

  9. “Just because something is generally accepted by the majority, doesn’t mean there isn’t something else better than the current way.” Wonderful Ben I agree as for me too it is important to find out what my body wants and to make my own experience than following without feeling what the majority is doing.

  10. It is up to us how much sleep we need, and it may vary from person to person but at least when we experiment it gives us the truth of what our body needs moment by moment, instead of being under the belief that we need a solid eight hours or whatever version of belief we adhere to.

  11. ‘we actually have to rely on our own feeling of what a choice is doing to us… and who can know us better than ourselves when we are truly honest?’ Honesty is a powerful medicine and gift to ourselves as it cuts through all the falseness, ideals and beliefs and creates space for us to ‘feel’ what is true for ourselves.

  12. I find the days when I wake up at 1:30/2am to be the best days ever! generally I wake up around 5am but feel more refreshed when I can wake up naturally which is around the 3/4am time. How I live the day determines how and when I wake up.

    1. A lovely reminder Leigh, that how we live our day determines how and when we will wake up. In the last few days I am waking around 2/2.30 am, since I have fully committed to my work, interestingly, I am working more, doing longer hours, but need less sleep!

  13. Aligning to our body’s true rhythm brings a natural ease and flow to our movements and a greater awareness of how our body is feeling, sensing how we need to be with ourselves in order to maintain our natural harmony throughout the day and when we prepare ourselves to go to sleep.

  14. This really turns our beliefs about sleep upside down, and I love how you simply explored it for yourself, how you were open to allowing your body to show you another way.

  15. The beautiful thing about this is it shows us that there could be a different way of doing things if we’re open to exploring and don’t allow ourselves to get stuck in our rut of only doing life one way – plus it shows us that we are often capable of so much more than we realise.

  16. It is gorgeous to read how much you value yourself in this article, because you know what it is to be gentle and caring with yourself and so you are already living the way of love with yourself, so naturally what comes up next for you is to be given, by your very own body – the one that you have been so beautifully caring for – more time to dedicate and to learn to this personal and frankly quite stunning relationship.

  17. There is such gold in what you share Ben, for instance ‘Why shouldn’t we be open to really feeling what our choices are doing to us rather than just accepting what we’re told?’ … this really opens up what we’re told and how we are about it, do we in fact check if it works for us and how it feels or do we go with it because others say it’s good? It really comes back to an honesty with ourselves and our bodies, not what we think should be true but what in fact is.

  18. The other entrenched belief is we need three meals a day to be healthy. This ‘guidance’ fueled by the food industry negates the human being when it tells us what do regardless of who we are.. Another way is to listen from within, build a new relationship with our bodies, and respond to what it needs, not from anything imposed from outside.

    1. Yes there are so many myths about what we need to do to be healthy that are increasingly being debunked but if we are willing to listen to our bodies’ communication we release the hold that these beliefs can have on us.

  19. Even when ill, perhaps taking medication to kill an infection that still, steady pulse still supports us to rise early and do what needs to be done

  20. Interesting how your body was waking up when it naturally wanted to but you imposed on it another rhythm driven by a false belief, we need eight hours sleep a night. We do it all the time. You express beautifully how the body responds to early wake up calls. Rather than being drained, it feels steady, feels nothing is too much and this quality is sustained to the end of the day without the intake of any stimulants. What a blessing.

  21. ‘we actually have to rely on our own feeling of what a choice is doing to us’, yes we do, and our bodies never lie, it is always communicating with us, it is only ourselves who override the messages in favour of comfort, comfort more comfort!

  22. Found myself back here again! But you know this blog never gets old because sleep is such a fundamental part of supporting our body to be able to do all it needs to do. I love how you went to teach your body a lesson for waking up to early and your ‘self’ got the lesson. I bet your body loved the opportunity!

    1. When we are open and try something new and say ‘I’ll give a go and see what happens’ can reveal treasures that support us for life. Playing safe, fearful of straying beyond what we know kills the natural curiousity we had as children,.

  23. Building a relationship with our body around what it likes and what it doesn’t like, what stimulates and what is unimposing, builds an intimate relationship and means we are more free to make decisions knowing there are consequences for ourselves. Bringing that level of responsibility to ourselves brings a much more accountable body and contributor to life.

  24. “Who can know us better than ourselves when we are truly honest?” – absolutely! And note to self: justification is not part of this honesty.

  25. It is amazing what can happen we listen to and respond to our body rather than imposing upon it what we think is best.

  26. We are the ones who best know how our body is truly feeling and when we listen and respond to what our body is communicating we are able to build a steady foundation that supports us throughout the whole day.

  27. Serge Benhayon and Universal Medicine present that our choices impact us (this we know but often want to ignore) and so then it’s up to us how we are with this, do we examine them and see what making a change might change! Or we can ignore them, but the truth is we can’t get away from our choices. What’s shared here is such a beautiful example of how choices impact us and how we often have pictures that are not true, and we can explore life from how we feel in our body, and the steadiness shared here is an example of how it can be.

  28. Our actual quality of sleep is so important for our body for too many of us just close our eyes to shut down and shut out the world for a while – which is not truly rejuvenating.

  29. We’ve all said it in my family how awful we feel when we wake up early, lie there and then fall back asleep. For me, I feel like I’ve been hit by truck, as the saying goes, I feel wrecked like I haven’t slept at all. I’ve had similar experiences of getting up when I wake up regardless of if it is 2am or 3am and feeling super gentle and very focused on what I am needing to do.

  30. ‘we actually have to rely on our own feeling of what a choice is doing to us’ … and that’s the kernel of listening to our bodies, not brushing aside what they show us and following the signals it offers, and being open to a different way.

  31. I have found it quite shocking to hear those who are well regarded intelligently (in the sense of what we think intelligence is today) place everything on what research claims without one jot of discernment whether it is true for them and when I have spoke up and questioned it I have felt ‘how dare you question it because ‘they’ know more than you’ and ‘who do you think you are to question it!’ Interesting hey? It made me realise not everyone is like me and the experiences such as this have supported me to speak up and not hold back embracing the quality of truth I am to bring to the world.

  32. The more consistent I am with staying with my body and what I can feel, and the more I listen to its signals and respect them, the more consistent I feel generally in life. I love that steadiness you mention in this blog Ben. It feels like our body’s natural pulse and alignment, and the more I feel it, the less I want to do things that will disturb it or throw it off balance. Steadiness is a very underrated feeling but it is the foundation for a solidity, depth and expansion that is felt in the body – that feeling of an absolute knowing of who we are.

    1. Yes this steadiness is underrated but I reckon that is because we don’t feel it very often and without a physical feeling of steadiness it is just a mental construct and an ideal rather than a palpable reality.

  33. You are so correct, Ben, that the present systems are not working evidenced by the increasing illness, disease and violence in the world and that we need another way. Serge Benhayon and Universal Medicine is offering another way. and the evidence of its success is in the health and wellbeing of the student body which is bucking all the trends.

  34. Oh yes please, bring that on. I love the self-discovery and accountability that comes with that. Research is really helpful to get a general overview, but the manipulation of results really irks me and means we lose trust in what is being researched. The most important body to listen to is our own – our own governing body that is with us 24/7/365/lifetimes.

  35. When we begin to challenge and expose all the ideals and beliefs we have accepted as true, we begin to experience life in a more expanded and multidimensional way.

  36. I love the humour in your blog and can relate to my body waking me early and before my head says that I’m ready to get up. Sometimes, I try to go back to sleep only to find that there is no way I can get back to sleep because I am simply wide awake which means I am forced to get up and get on with my day. When I do I have so much space to prepare for my day that it has much more of a flow than the days that I rely on my alarm.

  37. Your description of the space you feel / felt during the day is so simple you can’t help but feel it. I can pick out times when I live this, but its interesting because I’m also confronted by why would I (and continue) to get myself get pulled this way and that?

  38. There was a period when I started to wake up really early, and like you, in the beginning it stressed me out that I wouldn’t be able to last the day without being really tired. But, when I let the expectation of being tired go, and just ran with the early wake up time, I noticed I was absolutely fine by the end of the day. Sure, physically I was a little tired, but to be honest, no more than usual. I now embrace and encourage early wake ups, because I enjoy the extra space I get to do things, I normally might not get the chance to do. And plus, that time in the early hours of the morning when the world is asleep, is the best!

  39. Thank you Ben there is much to be learnt from your sharing, when we honour our body and wake up when it asks and treat it gently without any sudden movements we get to feel more of what supports us and the quality we need to move in, and through that quality we discover that we need quality of sleep not quantity.

  40. I have definitely noticed this pattern you write about here Ben where my body wakes up earlier than I had planned and then I stay in bed and go back to sleep thinking it is too early to get up and when I do this I don’t really go back to sleep properly but kind of doze and it actually makes me feel more tired when I do get up at the time I think I should be getting up! So maybe we don’t need as much sleep as we think but it pays to actually listen to our bodies and let them tell us how much sleep they actually need.

    1. And when I wake up with the body’s impulse it has got me fully prepared so its easy to get up, but more often than not when I go back to sleep I then have to peel myself off the pillow, eyes like sandpaper and feeling 10 x worse than an hour or two before!

      1. Sometimes I wake at 1 or 2am, question why this is and instead of listening to my body, turn over and go back to sleep. When I wake up it is never the same, as if a special quality or opportunity has been lost.

  41. Thank you Ben for this great sharing on sleep. It is so true that we need to be open to listening to our bodies and the way we treat them where everything including sleep is concerned . There are a lot of old myths around sleep and how much we need . It is also in the energy that we do things that is important as you mention .

  42. I love getting up early and having plenty of time to get ready for the day but can still get caught up by not paying attention to how I prepare myself for going to bed both in how I wind down but also in how I prepare my bedroom. It has turned cold here in England and I have been feeling to buy an electric blanket but not got round to it yet and was not warm enough last night which affected the quality of my sleep so it feels important to be constantly open to making adjustments to support our bodies.

    1. Our body likes to be at ease with the surrounding temperature and keeping ourselves warm is such a simple nurturing gesture that allows the body to do whatever it has to without the added burden of having to sort out temperature regulation. When we are cold the body has a tendency to contract and become tense in protection so keeping ourselves warm at night when the body regenerates is very supportive.

    2. The wind down space at the end of the day is often overlooked, but equally important to the space we give ourselves in the morning. A warm bath with essential oils and candles can be a beautiful way to mark the begin of repose. Preparing our bedroom for sleep with candles and incense a nightly ritual that nurtures.

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