I love going to bed early, I always have. As a kid I’d go to bed early and I’d get up really early, – it’s just naturally what I did.
Even when I was in my early teens I did this. I would always be up before 6 am to do my paper round. What I really loved was that it was quiet, no one else was around apart from the birds, a little wildlife and the sun coming up – it was a really precious time. In the summer time I would be up out of bed extra early, by 5 am, and after my paper round I’d go for a swim at the open air swimming pool before cycling to school and just about getting to the class register in time… it felt great.
What didn’t feel good was when I used to have to wait for my dad to pick me up from my grandma’s house in the evenings. Often he would work late till 10 pm or later, and I would be dog tired, trying to stay awake, wishing I could go to bed. This would make it a struggle to get up the next day and I would be like a zombie in the mornings and it felt awful. I would rarely speak to anyone in this state.
When I progressed into my later teens and life became about going out in the evenings and drinking, clubbing and taking drugs, I really suffered. Often I would go straight to work in a restaurant that morning (without going to bed at all) and my dad would have to meet me with my work uniform at the train station.
When these sorts of weekends happened and I had ignored my sleep rhythm completely, I would usually get sick. Often I would suffer from tonsillitis, or I would feel completely wiped out and needing to stay in bed for a few days, feeling feverish and depleted. This happened regularly, as during this time I rarely listened to my body at all.
I still don’t like the feeling of being really knackered when I go to bed. Even if I lie in the next day, I don’t feel as energised as when I have an early night. In fact, if I doze on or fall asleep again, I can feel really groggy from too much sleep or not having the right quality of sleep.
It’s like I’m not honouring my body when I’m ready to wake up and start the day. This is the same as not honouring what I’m feeling when I’m tired and ready to go to sleep.
About 7 years ago, I heard Serge Benhayon present at a Universal Medicine workshop that our bodies get the most beneficial rest when sleeping between 9 pm and 3 am. So I decided to try it.
At the time I was working full time 9 am to 6 pm, commuting 3 hours each day, and studying. I would get home around 7.30 pm, have supper, and would try to read or do homework afterwards, but of course I was too tired. I began setting my alarm for about 5 am, and actually did my reading and assignments in bed. Sometimes I would go for a swim before work and for the first time ever, I would make myself a healthy and delicious breakfast before I left the house, rather than rushing out the door and grabbing a snack at the train station. Suddenly, mornings were my absolute favourite time of the day again:
I was allowing myself the time to do various tasks without rushing and I even enjoyed my commute, as there was time to walk along the river instead of catching a bus.
Now I go to bed between 9 and 10 pm, sometimes earlier. I love going to bed early, getting into bed and snuggling, writing in my diary, drinking herbal tea and massaging cream into my hands. I love waking early and I get so much done in that time, whether it’s writing, cooking, studying, exercise, massage … If I tried to do these things in the evening after working all day, I know I would be feeling too tired to enjoy them in the same way.
In the evenings I can come home and start winding down from my day, knowing any other tasks I have to do can be done when I wake up bright as a button the next morning. I don’t feel the need to stay up late after a day at work to have ‘me’ time, as I have already had this before work.
It feels natural to me and makes so much sense to go to bed early when I begin feeling tired in the evening, rather than staying up late and actually waking up still feeling tired before a new day ahead. I’m still refining this rhythm and my sleep, as sometimes I might eat too much in the evening, slob out, or eat something sweet, and consequently I struggle to get up in the morning, so I’m beginning to notice more how I am and what I’m doing at the end of my day to ensure I feel great when I wake.
What’s interesting is that the same principle also plays out throughout the day. I notice if I eat too much at lunchtime or don’t take a break from my desk, I can get sleepy or unfocussed. What started off as just experimenting with going to bed a little earlier and doing homework in the morning instead of the evening, has developed into a rhythm that supports me throughout my whole day.
My body is always telling me what it likes and what it doesn’t. I am learning to listen and honour this and take more care of myself. Winding down from my day and going to bed early has certainly been a big part of the way I now self-care.
With thanks to Serge Benhayon, Universal Medicine practitioners and the student body who are a constant support and inspiration to me.
By Laura Hoy, Essential Oil Consultant, Company Manager, Brighton, UK
Sleep – Time To Restore And Refresh
Early to Bed, Early to Rise, Makes you Healthy, Wealthy and Wise
By preparing for bed early, giving myself that space to wind down and support my body means that I wake up more refreshed and supported for the day ahead. When I keep going to the last minute before getting into bed, I find I wake up in the same nervous tension I went to sleep in and feel quite tired and lethargic the next day.
I occasionally still find myself wanting to go back to sleep when I wake up, what I consider to be too early, but when I do the drugged-up state I wake up in the second time always has me annoyed with myself that I didn’t get up at the earlier hour after all. I am coming to see clearly that if I am in a rhythm of early to bed waking up early comes naturally, with the exception of when I am unwell and my body is asking for more sleep. I now am coming to love the early mornings after so many years of rejecting the stillness and the space they are offering. It is a very reflective start to my day.
I love this article and it makes me realise how joyful it feels going to bed early and waking up early, my body loves this rythum. I feel cared for, ready for the day and vital when I stay in this rythum. If I go to bed late I feel tired, grumpy and like I just want to catch up on sleep, rather than ready for the day.
Yes it is a lovely confirmation of the loving choices that we can make to support ourselves throughout the day.
Laura, I can very much relate to enjoying going to bed early. I love this and this feels very natural for me to do so, if I stay up late my body gets tense and my eyes get sore and I find it hard to focus – clear signs to me that my body does not want to be awake.
It is simply a conversation with our bodies, not a rule. Yet, when we honour the blessing of this conversation, the body breaths again and we find we are able to concentrate, to have fun, to be ordered and, well, be ourselves. I am a complete convert to going to bed when my body tells me it is tired as I have found myself coming back to the wisdom of my body that was waiting patiently for my self destructive ‘rebellion’ to be over!!!
I know I would not be able to work the long hours I do and feel so energetic if it was not for going to bed early.
Going to bed early is medicine for entire being.
Simply said ignoring our sleep rhythm means life becomes all the more so harder.
Ignoring our sleep rhythm is taxing on our bodies. It’s like making them walk up an escalator that’s going down, hard yakka.
A few weeks ago I was doing exams, and whilst revising there were times when I got very tired and wanted to fall asleep at the desk. I practiced taking myself off for a short nap when I felt really tired, and it actually made a huge difference to my revision, focus and ability to pay attention to what I was doing, as well as my wellbeing during the exams.
It sounds like you are really utilising that inspirational and beautiful time of the day – the morning. So many of us do not wake to enjoy the space it offers, it is a great way to ponder, feel energised, to work, exercise etc and I find with a family it offers me the space to complete tasks and projects that I would not otherwise be able to.
I too love early to bed early to rise, and this is what I do most of the time, I find sometimes if I do computer work say after 7.30 at night I can find it hard to for my mind to settle down or fall off to sleep easily. I realise my wind down time is a very important part of being able to have a reposeful night’s sleep.
Recently I had a big interview and I know one of the reasons I didn’t nail it on the day was the night before I didn’t get to bed when my body needed to – so much can be said for going to bed when the body truly needs to.
For years I would force myself to stay up late because my partner wanted to watch the TV and I had this belief that I had to also or I would be missing out on something, and in addition to that I was also addicted to the TV. What I found was that I would naturally fall asleep in my chair and then grumpily go upstairs without saying goodnight around about ten o’clock. So the quality of my sleep was racy, and I would wake up exhausted. When I started to go to bed early, there was a transition period, but on the whole, I could feel the benefit straight away, and it reminded me of how I was as a child whereby we would be in bed by seven, asleep by eight and up with the sunrise in the morning.
What I am observing is that when I eat sugar I then am not able to sleep well and then I am more irritable and reactive the next day.
This is the perfect picture for this blog, the ladies smile and obvious contentment reminds me of how I feel when I go to bed early, relaxed, wound down and content with my day.
LOL, that’s exactly how I was last night, I now have a pot of cream for my feet, one for my wrists by my bedside – it feels so much better to take a moment to feel how me and my body is at the end of the day – rather than just crashing and getting my head to the pillow asap.
Being content in what is offered in the day and knowing that who you are is enough and appreciating this is the quality we can sleep and support the body with when we commence a new day.
Going to bed early is the most delightful and supportive choice that I’ve ever made after working with Universal Medicine.
There is a rhythm that our bodies love that brings harmony and connection, we just have to listen to our bodies to find it.
I am absolutely with you, with regards to the paper round Laura. It was so beautiful to watch mists lift, light transform and day unfold – like an unwrapping or unveiling of a magic gift. How can you watch a stunning sunrise and forget about God? Thank you for sharing your Love and how this appreciation of divinity inspires you to sleep beautifully.
Thank you Laura, giving our-self the space where our daily rhythm is aligning to what our body has always shared is so important to our overall well-being and sleep is an essential part.
“Going to Bed Early” is a wise choice.. and going to bed at whatever time and when the body needs to rest, rejuvenate is equally as wise a choice too.
What a gorgeous way to support ourselves, some nights I work late at work or on community projects I am involved in, what I find is that by that having an early to bed rhythm most nights when I can it really supports those nights when I do need to stay up and stay alert and present.
I’ve noticed this too Sam, if my usual early to bed rhythm is strong, then this supports me to not get wiped out if I have a late night commitment and also when travelling in different time zones. It also makes me cherish the early night ritual even more.
Such a great read Laura! I have always been a night owl…. found it really difficult to get out of bed when I was a kid and to a certain extent still do. I resist going to bed early SO MUCH I can’t believe it!! If I have a reason to get up, I will, because I have to. I used to work long hours in a cafe and would have my alarm go off at 3.30am sometimes in order to be at work for 5am…. I totally managed it because I had to but as soon as I was up and about, I wasn’t tired. Similarly I used to have central London appointments at 6am to avoid traffic and be able to get back to work on time, that again involved 3.30am starts and on those days I noticed I was on it all day, feeling great. So I do have to evidence that getting up early works for me but am having real difficulty choosing it consistently. I love what you say about having “me time” in the morning so you don’t feel like your whole day has been about work and therefore stay up later to have me time, that is very cool.
Sounds like when there is ‘purpose’ you can get it together and it feels good. This is something I have noticed too, when I have an ‘important enough reason’ I’m up and on it bright and early and that focus is present through out – then there are some days that I wake early, but go back to bed for a snuggle as there is no deadline and before I know it 2 hours passed by in a blink!
I am learning to stay with the feelings of what I don’t like and still surrender to it, if something is being absorbed by my body to stay with it and not want to run away from it. When I stay and not need it to change, it clears, such is the wisdom of the body.
I was talking to my colleagues recently and our jobs are quite demanding, everyone was sharing how they go to bed early as a way to support themselves in the job.
When I was in my 20’s I used to look at the time and plan my sleep from there. Weekdays was 10:45pm and weekends – 2am-3am. And I used to push myself based on the timings. These days, i have to appreciate that I don’t clock the time anymore. I allow myself to go to bed when my body tells me – it is a totally different experience and one that is so supportive for me. A total change and so much more loving to my body.
Thank you Laura. A very simple loving free act that does not take much of change for it to become a loving discipline part of your rhythm.
its quite funny to understand that as a child you and your body already knew the rhythm that supported you.
I watched a first aid training video recently where they showed toddlers walking around lifting boxes and they instinctively know how to lift something heavy in a way that absolutely supports their body, they just don’t ‘think’ to compromise it.
What a difference this makes – honouring the body and just playing with sleep and the quality of sleep. I certainly spent some time in my 20’s staying out all night and pushing through – and I would notice how my face would change. I would have a puffy oily face that was not me. My hair would be oily and my voice would go deeper. It was a huge flag that my body was pushing itself. I have not felt that way for years, and I don’t miss it one bit. Now my evenings stop around 9pm, which supports me for the day.
I totally adore going to bed early, all that time I spent watching mindless tv over the years when I could have been in my bed. I now go to bed at the same time as my daughter, we read, most times me to her but sometimes she will read to me. Its is a beautiful time to share as I am always off to work in the mornings before she is awake.
This is really lovely Kev, I’ve observed that many parents want to have ‘me time’ after their kids go to bed, what does that say about the quality of the time in their day with their kids? I’ve also noticed that many parent suffer sleep deprivation and wondered why they don’t just go to bed earlier -I’m sure there are many reasons, but it could be so simple.
I got up super early today, worked hard all day and got lots of things done all staying connected with me. I know for sure I would not be half so active, productive and committed throughout my day if I did not have a steady rhythm of going to bed early- I just would not be able to do it.
I have been going to bed early again recently and I am loving how I feel – so much more with myself. I am also having more baths than showers these days, not only is it very warming as the days are cold now but also it supports me to be more at ease in my body and not go into the drive to get things done.
I love an electric blanket Elaine, I put it on before bed to warm my Pj’s up – super cosy.
I love the commitment to an early bed, that is now so much part of my routine that my whole day is structured to support me to arrive in my room early to wind down for bed – and it really is seeing the whole day as leading into my sleep and either carrying with me all the issues I have accululated or laying myself down ready to really rest.
When I go to bed early I always feel I have more time to prepare myself for sleep and the quality of sleep is entirely different to if I have found things to distract myself with instead of going to bed.
As a child I also loved going to sleep early and remember clearly how horrible it felt when I had to stay up late in a restaurant when all I wanted was to be tucked up in bed.
Such common basic sense that for many might seem child’s play but it rarely is lived! Sometimes the body is wiser than we care to think, much less admit.
I have always enjoyed going to bed early but during most of my life I believed that this meant I was missing out or that I would be seen as rather dull. No longer, I have given myself permission to listen to my body and once again enjoy going to bed early having a deeply restorative sleep and waking early in the morning to start the day.
This is one of my favourite blogs to read – why? because it reminds me of the importance of sleep, getting to bed early and the importance of wind down. Get this right and we have the foundation of a fruitful loving life. Getting sleep time right is going back to basics – basics that we need before we more forward in other way.
Thanks Samantha, we are such a super intelligent species, but seriously, how many of us have got the basics down – sleep, diet and exercise?
Great to read how your attention to detail has supported your whole daytime/bedtime routine that allows you to have beautifully restorative sleep that means you are then fully able to participate in life as soon as you wake up.
What I love about what you have shared Laura is how you have noticed how it infiltrates into your whole day. The impact by honouring and respecting the body has a massive ripple effect and when we start to live like this our acceptance of what were are worth starts to shift. I know that when I bring awareness to all that you have shared and live from what my body is asking I know and feel that I am absolutely worth that honouring and love.
I love that I am more likely to get up at 3 30am these days rather than to go to bed at that time. I used to love going to parties and stay up all night to be with the dawning of the day. Now I do that every day. There is such a lovely energy to the early mornings and like-wise going to bed at 9pm or so means there is a winding down and stilling energy supporting us as we prepare for sleep. A time when our bodies, if we let them, seem to be saying yes, it’s time to rest and recuperate and prepare for another day on the morrow.
I know what you mean about the energy of the evenings and early mornings, just now we are heading into autumn and there is not light for a while, I just put some fairy lights in my bedroom to bring a bit more gentle light to room when I’m winding down and waking up, it feels very gorgeous. I actually just read this article on making a sacred space in your bedroom which made me appreciate those little touches that make such a difference to the feel of the space and how it supports us: https://doctoramelia.com/2017/10/16/sacred-space/
Reading your inspiring blog and some of the comments I feel I am pushing my body in the evening when it already feels tired, I still have ‘important’ things to do, instead of honouring my body and say it is enough for the day and go to sleep in a caring and nurturing way. I do realise now that is no wonder I don’t wake up energized. Great call to feel into and adjusting my rhythm not only of the evening because this is a reflection of how I am with myself during the day.