In a recent staff meeting with the Zen Habits Team, it was suggested for each of us to go through one of Leo’s courses like a student would. I chose his ‘Beautiful Mornings’ course. I love waking up early and seeing the first light of day, but to do that and feel rested, I needed to reel in my bedtime.
In the course Leo’s asks that we implement something into our morning to make it more beautiful. There’s a book that’s been laying on my bedside table for years. You can tell by the cover it’s been well used, and the pages aren’t as bright, white as they once were, but it’s been laying there waiting to be used some more frequently. I’ve re-inserted it into my morning and praying over my adult children.
Most mornings I wake up and my mind begins rolling through the day, but last year I promised myself I’d ‘watch the day unfold‘. Being in need of more practice, I’m sticking with it this year. There’s one thing I feel the need to do before anything else, (even coffee), and that is to spend time with God.
No matter how the day unfolds, or what I see on my plate, by putting Him first I’m trusting His plan instead of mine. When it comes down to it lovely, the only reminder I need today is, I am second.
I’ve been thinking about this, and had a vision I’d like to share. It took some thought and planning ahead, but it’s well worth every effort. The first thing I saw to do was to scrub the beach rug clean.
It’s odd, but in January hundreds of birds fly overhead all day long dropping red berries. My truck looks like it lost a paintball match and everything is covered in bright, red, splatters, including my front porch. That is where the beach rug resides.
For me this year, outside is where I see a sacred space. To sit Yogi style on the rug at sunrise, wrapped in a warm blanket, and tap into the sights and sounds of the early morning. I imagine it being like unguided meditation at it’s best.
What is a beautiful morning?
It’s about creating some space for meditation, reflection, movement, writing, or anything else you’d like to have room for in your life. And finding some space in the mornings for that, a sacred space that takes advantage of the quiet and beautiful light of the mornings.
After posting a good night’s sleep I learned as soon as my eyes open, to sit up in the middle of the bed immediately. To sip a glass of water and give my body a chance to catch up with my brain. Sitting in the middle of the bed meditating in that quiet, stillness of the morning is beautiful for me, but recently I find myself gazing out windows often. Like my heart is nudging me outside.
The front porch is clean and waiting.
Let’s follow the heart outside and see what we learn by being present in the early morning light. I’ll let you know where this leads, but in the meantime I wish you a beautiful morning.
The most gratifying part of Blogging is the readers.
You never know who you’re gong to reach, or who your words will touch. The phrase, “I’m just gonna write in hopes that someone needs to read it”, has served me well. The good night’s sleep series was fun to write, but my reward was you reading it. You encouraged me with your comments to continue the path.
To just write about it one more time.
This wasn’t a planned series. What began as an experiment in August to find out why I wasn’t sleeping good was fun to share. So, I started with the main one being a good night’s sleep, and then you nudged me on toward the next one, until there were five!
A lot of you could relate to watching TV before bed, and there were a few that recalled those early days of the Twilight Zone. The original Twilight Zone, in black and white from the early 60’s, still haunts us. Maybe there was an episode entitled, ‘2020’ that never aired because it was too unbelievable. 🙂
What truly thrills my soul is when you become inspired. You read something and feel a spark, and then you fan it until it grows into a flame to light the page. That is what happened with one of my Reader’s, and here’s part of his comment, “I’ve always been blessed with good sleep. In fact, I now wonder why I haven’t ever written about it. One thing for sure, placing a “do not disturb” rule on you phone doesn’t hurt!”~ Des from Think Ahead.
I don’t know many people who sleep good, so I encouraged him to teach us his ways by writing about it, and he did.
You can read Des’ Blog post entitled, Thankful For Every Good Night’s Sleep, here. Our list of sleep snatchers are similar, but Des showed me it really comes down to being thankful for every good sleep. It won’t be perfect and it doesn’t happen every night, but by doing what’s best to ensure it, it happens one more time.
I don’t have a set time to go to bed. Knowing how many hours sleep is needed, the earlier I go to bed, the earlier I wake up. If I stay up late, I wake up later than usual, but that’s okay at the end of the week. I prepare my bedroom first thing in the morning for evening, by making my bed and removing all evidence I was there. When I walk in later in the day for sleep it feels inviting, restorative and pleasing to the eye.
The sheets are changed once a week, or every two weeks, depending on the week. Invest in yourself by owning good sheets and pillows. Think of sheets as your favorite shirt you can wear all day long, without even noticing it’s there. It feels that good to your skin, like your skin really vibes with the fabric it’s made from. Sheets should feel good to your skin. The higher the thread count, the more luxurious the feel.
Sheets are an item I need to walk into a store for. No shopping online for these, but I’m the same way with my shirts. If I see a set that appeals to me, I unzip the bag to feel them. I don’t pull them out of the bag, just a touch is enough. They can be expensive, but on sale is a sweet find. The true test is wrapping myself up in them. Once purchased, I take them home to wash them in perfumed wash and place them on the bed to in hopes they add quality to my sleep. The smell and feel is a win.
The bed is my main piece of furniture in the room, but here’s a table on each side of the bed holding some of my favorite things. It’s not a workout room, storage room, or an office. It’s designed for sleep. There’s a vintage vanity chair at the foot of the bed to sit and put my shoes on before leaving the house. Sitting on the bed, messes up the bed! 🙂
I’m single, so I get away with as much bling as I want. My bedroom isn’t girly by any means, but there are feminine touches. Pillows and blankets add a cozy feel. For color, I stuck with the classics: white, silver and gold, but any item with bling fits the room.
I go in and light a Voluspa candle 30 minutes before bed.
This little chair made it’s debut in a post written in February of this year. That weekend I went to a local vintage shoppe and found some pieces for my room, so even back in February I was staging for better sleep. At the end of that post, I admitted drinking Bluebottle Cold Brew and it was late in the day. This journey revealed I cannot do that and sleep. You can read the post here, and see more bedroom items purchased that day.
The final thing that helps me drift off to sleep is a nighttime tea. When this finding sleep experiment began in August, I tried lots of teas, but always came back to this one. It’s affordable and can steep for up to 15 minutes, so by the time it’s done steeping, it’s the right temperature to drink and enjoy. Another good one is Jetlag PM, by Tealeaves, but it’s more of an investment.
This concludes our little series. Thank you for following alongside me, and here’s a recap of what was brought to light:
The journey begins to a good night’s sleep. Next up was Know Your Flow. I stopped drinking coffee by noon. Then Mama Knew Best showed us that it matters what you watch before bed. Determine how much sleep you need and go to bed in time to get it, but don’t overdo One More Minute. When you wake up in the morning, sit up in bed to prevent falling back to sleep.
Thank you for your love, kind comments and support. ~ Barb.
To know is revolutionary. Knowing where I messed up allows room for improvement in that area, and there’s always room for improvement. The simple fact is…I overslept.
I know how much sleep my body needs. It runs with optimum capacity of 7 hours sleep. Looking back on my life, it varied and could run on less when I was younger. The body knows what it needs. All it asks is we pay attention.
What you just read was written yesterday.
It’s a new day and I’m not tired. It’s 7:30 am and I’m listening to it rain as I type. My goal is to publish at least one post a week, and Wednesday’s at 9:00 am work best. I woke up an hour ago and sat up to drink from the water bottle beside the bed. Soaking up this morning stillness, offering up gratitude for a new day.
It would have been easy to stay in bed and listen to the rain, but I didn’t want a repeat of yesterday. My body naturally woke up after 7 hours sleep and I know the key to success. Get out of the bed. If I lay there telling myself, ‘One more minute’, I’ll fall back to sleep and wake up an hour later feeling tired. That’s not a good tired.
This all started month’s ago while creating simple habits. I was tired of disappointing myself by putting things off. Laying in bed in the morning was one of them. I knew if I laid there long enough, the inevitable would happen. A simple habit is just that. Placing my feet on the floor and butt out of bed is relatively simple.
What a difference it makes waking up before dawn and watching the day begin. I get to start the day instead of oversleeping and falling into the day that began without me. My mind is clear, the body is refueled, and I think this is the first morning post I’ve written with no coffee in my body, which is terrifying.
Coffee will appear soon enough. I just wanted to share this special part of the day. I’m going to tag this post and schedule it for 9:00 am, so I can keep that promise to myself. I encourage you to give your body the sleep it needs, but not one more minute.
This is part of what seems to be the never-ending series of how to get a good night’s sleep. You can read them in order here:
Harnessing a good night’s sleep became a priority. I took it for granted by assuming going to bed meant sleep.
One night I was watching a show on my laptop in bed. An advertisement came on of an ‘All Natural Sleep Aid’, and it was safe for children. I thought how fitting being advertised here, but we probably wouldn’t need it if it wasn’t for online viewing. The sad part is they targeted children.
Growing up, I never viewed TV in the bedroom. It was a family affair where we all sat in the den and watched something together. It was a big night if we got popcorn and could sit with our drinks in the den. There was only one TV, in black and white, with no remote. (Telling my age) It was literally a box with legs sitting in the room’s corner.
Mama turned it off at a certain time for all 4 of us to get ready for bed, but I knew Twilight Zone came on at 11:00 pm. That was the scariest show on TV in my day, which is lame compared to now. After everyone had gone to bed and the house was still, I tip-toed into the den in time for Twilight Zone and clicked on the TV.
I sat on the floor as close to the TV as I could get, to keep the volume low, but still hear it. You’ve probably already guessed; I didn’t get away with this. Mama got up to check that we were asleep and saw the glow of the TV screen. I don’t know which was worse, getting caught by Mama, or being scared shitless by watching The Twilight Zone at a young, impressionable age.
It’s hard for me to watch scary or intense shows before bed, so I choose a calm one. It helps to stop watching shows in bed altogether. If there’s something I want to watch, I sit in the den, or at the kitchen table to enjoy, but I’m mindful to shut it down at a reasonable hour. I want my bedroom to be a haven for sleep. It loses that peaceful aura when I walk in with a laptop.
This is just one of the many instances in my life where once again, Mama knew best.
To prepare for sleep, I chose to halt the flow of day into evening. Work was one of them, which was mentioned in the previous post, and we’ll dive deeper into working from home soon. Today we’ll keep walking toward a good night’s sleep.
You know my love for coffee, and the coffee bar was always flowing, until I got serious about a good night’s sleep. It didn’t take long to realize coffee was making me restless in bed. It was tough to admit, but my mind is fueled by coffee, so it would not relax if I drank it late in the day. I would lay in bed and continue thinking just like it was morning.
Now, I stop the flow of coffee by 2:00 pm and sometimes before noon, which is instrumental in a good night’s sleep. I’m learning a good night sleep takes discipline and saying no to the flesh. One day, my daughter offered me the rest of her Chocolate Cold Brew after 4:00 pm, and sadly I poured it down the drain.
Life will tempt you on your journey. Walking out to the mailbox, this was waiting.
Normally, I squeal with excitement when Blue Bottle arrives. A month ago, I would have raced into the house and started the kettle for a Chemex. My excuse would be, “I haven’t tried this blend before!” It’s tempting to give up a good night’s sleep, but when we know better, it’s time to do better.
I watched my actions as the morning coffee flowed into afternoon and then evening. When it became night, I felt trepidation because I had crossed my boundaries that day and wasn’t sleepy. I hadn’t had a successful night’s sleep in months and I don’t believe we’re supposed to dread going to bed!
There is a flow to this life, and being mindful of what flows into my day and at what time is an intricate part of having a good night’s sleep. Coffee now has a slow flow and a stopping point.
Maybe it’s not coffee for you, but if you’re having trouble relaxing your mind to fall asleep, there’s something in your body from the day that thinks it needs to stay awake. Know your flow.