For the past fifteen years or so I have been an insomniac. My sleep patterns were very erratic. Some nights I only fell asleep in the wee hours of the morning, others I fell asleep very early and then woke at 3 am.
I have started to track sleep using a Fitbit and sometimes just looking at the stats made me miserable.
In part, the lack of sleep was due to my health issues but I had to face another truth too: I was surrounded by too much stuff!
Over the years I had developed some habits that might need changing. I had lots of things around me to entertain me when sleep evaded me.
My philosophy was as follows: if I can’t sleep, I can use the time to create and stay positive!
After years of sticking to that philosophy, it was time for simplicity. I started to clear my side of the bedroom (which is on the second floor of our home).
I moved out bags filled with books, art supplies, half-knit socks, and goodness knows what else. The bags went to the library across the hall and to my office on the ground floor to be sorted or discarded.
I made an altar, a sanctuary next to the bed that I can look or sit at to find Stillness.
I no longer have a “to be read” pile of books next to me, nor a stack of journals I might feel the urge to work on when wide awake in the middle of the night.
I just have my small art journal basket for when I have a bed day and want to create and my journal. That’s it.
The next things to be banned from the bedroom are going to be my electronics other than my Kindle and maybe my phone so I can listen to podcasts or write my midnight flashes of inspiration.
Comfort was an issue too. So my husband and I replaced the mattress and bedding, making the bed a warm and comfortable nest.
Another change my ever creative mind dreads (oh shock and horror) is that I am going to stick to bedtimes. When my bedtime app beeps, I put everything away and then journal or read until I sleep.
Making everything calm, relaxing and simple around me has done wonders so far, I journal before sleep to empty my mind, I read and then I sleep. My average sleep per day is at 5,5 hours now (measured over weeks) with the occasional night of 3 hours tops to 7 hours.
I need to get to 7 hours a night on average and I am convinced that simplicity will help me get there.