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 Early Night - The Fix All Cure

early nightBefore we get started on the transformative qualities of an early night, a couple of clarifications if I may:

1) I am not your mother (even though this article may make it sound like I am)

2) I'm normally "late to bed, late to rise", so hopefully I won't sound too preachy when I explain the awesomeness of getting to sleep at a reasonable time.

You cool with that? Sweet. Here's some breaking news:
Us humans need a good nights sleep. Yet few of us actually get as much as we need.

Perhaps we do catch up on weekends, staying in bed past noon and not doing much else with our day, but I reckon that sleep becomes "extra magic" if we manage to start it a little earlier and grab an early night.

In fact, I even heard someone the other day claim that "every hour of sleep before midnight is worth twice as much as an hour afterwards".

Whether that's true or not is open to debate. In fact, I don't much trust the person who told me that. He has been known to exaggerate over the years. Repeatedly. So perhaps we'll strike that claim from the record.

Even so, it certainly got me thinking that an early night could be just the thing to fix a wounded soul, and I considered it worth an experiment. I decided I'd have an early night soon and test / record my results...

... but when? It's so easy to put it off for more "important" things...

Cue God

early nightLuckily enough, God / The Universe / Infinite Intelligence is not without impeccable timing and a keen sense of humour.

Within a couple of days of me promising to investigate the personal development benefits of an early night, He bestowed upon me my first real bout of depression in a couple of years.

Cheers, Big Man.

Yeah, I used to get depressed all the time. I'd feel like my mind was a runaway train, forever ploughing forwards in a dozen different directions, constantly chewing on and worrying about every little aspect of my life - career, money, relationships, friends, "where I was going", yadda yadda yadda.

Luckily (I say "luckily", what I mean is "after months of NLP and personal development and spiritual work and stopping smoking weed and exercising more and constantly trying to maintain a positive outlook 24/7"), I was able to throw off my depression and banish it from my life.

early nightThat was two years ago, and since then I've primarily been a happy, productive bunny.

I even went as far as to tell near-enough every depressed person I came across since that depression was "easy to let go of", which with hindsight was perhaps not as politically correct (and compassionate) as it could have been.

Anyway, Karma is a motherfu**er, and the Big Man decided it was my turn to see things another way again.

So, the past few days have been as sad and lonely as any I've had in a long time. I'm not quite sure what brought it on, but suddenly I began to experience the all-too-familiar sense of a rushing, fleeting mind; a deepening sense of apathy and despair; and a separation of body and soul which makes me feel a bit like a sad vampire with no sexy lady to nibble on.

Anyway, all jokes aside I felt miserable, as if everything was running away from my control. I wanted to quit (everything!), curl up in a ball and retire from the world.

God dammit I was depressed, and there was no curing me. If history is an indicator, I could expect to feel like this for the next few weeks / months.


Bring On The Early Night

So... that brings us to the original purpose of this post: to evangelise the benefits of an early night.

early nightI hope that by reading this, you may remember what to do the next time the world becomes too much for you to cope with. Rather than turning to drinks or drugs or women or worse, you might just recall this totally affiliate-free and natural remedy and give an early night a go.

So... here's what I did:

Last night, after an awful day in which everything that could have gone wrong, did go wrong, I remembered a passage from (I think) The Power of Now.

Basically, what I had to do was "accept my depression" - and stop arguing against it in my head. I decided to "watch" the depression inside of me, and just let it be there. (This sounds a little loco, but if you read the book you'll get the idea) 

Anyway, when I allowed my depression to be there, a slight sense of relief began to wash over me. It was as if I wasn't fighting with myself anymore, and almost as if I was letting an old relative come to visit for a little while. I knew he wouldn't be staying long, but it was OK that he was here for now.

Rather than try to consciously legitimise my depressed state, I just let it be, and decided to do something more worthwhile with my time: Sleep.

So, last night I curled into bed (in the foetal position, no less) at the rather unglamorous time of 8pm. I spent the next 12 hours in a deep, peaceful sleep, without letting my mind wander off to thoughts of career, money, success of anything else "important".

Today, I feel like a new man.

Why Is An Early Night Such a Natural Healer?

After waking today and genuinely feeling on top of the world, I stopped to wonder why my Sleep Strategy (future Trade Mark??) worked so bloody marvellously. Here's some ideas off the top of my head, which may or may not be brutally obvious:

  • An early night recharges our body and minds. Without good amounts of deep sleep, we can quickly get "caught up" in the various stresses of life, and get sad, anxious or depressed.
  • Sleep "resets" us - so whatever we are going through, a good, deep sleep can help us to chill out and see new perspectives.
  • A long, deep sleep is quite self-indulgent (after all, we're "supposed to be" busy bees, constantly worrying about the next challenge in our lives). When we have all this stress, and yet still decide to treat ourselves to 12 hours of undisturbed slumber, perhaps we are sending a message to our subconscious that we deserve a break and a chance to feel relaxed.
  • Good sleep sharpens the mind, allowing you to see "problems" as "challenges", like all the good personal development books tell you to do.
  • A good deep sleep reminds you that there is more to life than striving for goals or "success". Instead, the simple things (like waking up rested next to someone you love) are far more important than any perceived goals you "have to" accomplish.
  • Sleep is fun (particularly when you start early), and releases endorphins and heals your broken body and mind and is just a bit of a "treat" in this busy, busy world we live in.

So that's me, imploring you to have an early night tonight (or whenever you next feel stressed).

The next day when you wake, you'll thank yourself for it. You'll start to see life as the awesome, fun challenge that it is again. And, if you're like me, your depression will float off somewhere else, to go and pester somebody who hasn't had the sense to treat themselves to a well-deserved rest.

Sleep easy, and sleep long, my friends...

PS - If you have trouble sleeping, you might want to check out Binaural Beats as an inexpensive, natural sleeping aid (far better than shoving sleeping pills down your throat). Check out my new website Binaural Beats Geek.com for everything you need to know about brain wave entrainment, in a simple and easy to understand manner. Get 90 minutes of free downloads too. Boom.

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