How to Go to Bed Earlier - The School Of Life - Deepstash

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The Problem With Rising Early: We Can't Sleep Early

The Problem With Rising Early: We Can't Sleep Early

There’s a pattern that goes like this: it’s late, given when we’ve got to wake in the morning, but instead of going to bed, we stay up. The next day, of course, we feel sluggish and weary and we promise ourselves an early night. Then it happens again: it’s already midnight and we’ve got a normal start the next day but we don’t turn in. It’s not that we’re full of energy – we actually feel desperately tired – but we resist going to bed. And the following day it’s the same: we’re worn out yet we don’t turn in until a very late hour. And it keeps on going. 


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We Know We Are Wrong Yet Continue Our Sleep-Wake Cycle

We Know We Are Wrong Yet Continue Our Sleep-Wake Cycle

At times during this erratic sleep cycle, we feel deeply frustrated: we call ourselves idiots and worse: obviously we need to get to bed early, yet we are too stupid, stubborn and self-sabotaging to do so. And to our profound exhaustion, we add the burden of self-disgust. But our anger at our own behaviour doesn’t lead us to change our habits. If our partner complains about our late hours we dismiss it as nannyish nagging – and it’s all the more irritating because we know they are right. 


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The Paradox Of Being Wrong

The Paradox Of Being Wrong

It’s one of the weirdest features of being human: a completely clear sense that how we’re behaving is bad and counter-productive doesn’t get us to stop. Harsh criticism is the utterly entrenched human tactic for getting people to change – just as self-condemnation is our instinctive strategy for self-improvement – yet it doesn’t actually work. It induces panic, shame and despair but doesn’t bring about the desired alteration. 


181 reads

Childhood Nights

Childhood Nights

For many years, through childhood, night-time seemed immensely exciting. It was a secret, mysterious zone when from our darkroom we might hear the grown-ups laughing around the dinner-party table, talking of things we weren’t supposed to know about and catch, perhaps, the sweet scent of cigar smoke.

If we were ever allowed to be up late it was for some special occasion; or there was the thrilling time we had to take a late-night flight at the start of an overseas holiday and the world seemed enormous and filled with adventure. 


171 reads

Associating Life With Late Night Adventures

Associating Life With Late Night Adventures

And even though such lovely associations may not be at the front of our minds, we continue to have a subterranean, but significant, sense that to go to bed early is to miss out on the joys of existence. Our late-night activities might be utterly prosaic but just by being awake into the early hours, we’re participating in an ideal of what adult life is supposed to be like. And so, night after night, the bed is there, quietly waiting for us to draw back the sheet, turn out the light, lie down and close our eyes, but it’s half-past midnight or 2 am and we’re still up.


154 reads

Have A Thrilling And Complete Life In Day Time

Have A Thrilling And Complete Life In Day Time

The thrills that have implanted themselves in our memories were only by accident linked to being up late. The conviviality, the sense of discovery and adventure, the feeling of exploring big ideas and the experience of emotional intimacy have no intrinsic connection to the hours of darkness.

The deeper engagement with a friend or a lover, the determination to investigate a neglected area of our potential: these aren’t late-night speculations; they are the tasks of our day-time selves – requiring for their proper accomplishment, our poised and well-rested minds. 


161 reads

The Bottom Line

We will, at last, be able to let ourselves turn in early – and get the sleep we need – not when our irritation with ourselves reaches an unbearable peak and we renounce as hopeless our search for adult happiness and finally submit to the banality of an early bedtime, but when we relocate our longings and seek our pleasures where they can more realistically be found: in the bright, energetic hours of the new day. 


173 reads



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