Sleep: Discipline is Needed

When I”m overloaded with work, the first thing I do is cut my sleep short. Waking doesn’t require an alarm clock in the summer,  cats know that first light means food, so lacking opposable thumbs, they wake me. The earlier the sun comes up, the earlier I get up, often at 4:30 a.m. Luckily, now that the nights are longer, the fur beasts snooze till I get up.

The heart is where the juice starts. © Quinn McDonald, all rights reserved.

The heart is where the juice starts. © Quinn McDonald, all rights reserved.

Trouble is, I’m a night person. I can easily work till past midnight, but not if I have to get up to teach, usually around 5 a.m.

I cannot burn the candle at both ends. Sure, it makes a lovely light, but a lovely light is no longer enough. I need combustion to fuel the day. So, I’m forcing the discipline of an earlier bed time. It rarely works, but it’s necessary. I’ve been through it before.

Self-discipline is rarely amusing or fun. But it is the heart of success, whatever your success might be. Without a good rest, without rich and complex dreams, we become shaky and weak. It’s harder to think, to plan, to appreciate, to imagine the future. It’s impossible to concentrate, to do good work without enough sleep.

Unfortunately, I’m not one of those splendid people who can live on five hours of sleep. I need seven, and eight is welcome.

Knowing what you need and giving it to yourself is not self-indulgence. It is a discipline you need for happiness and to thrive.

Check out these 10 signs of sleep deprivation.

—Quinn McDonald is a creativity coach whose energy drains without enough sleep. There is always a well that needs filling, isn’t there?





12 thoughts on “Sleep: Discipline is Needed

  1. Pingback: Weekly Retreats - Link Round-Up | Pierced Wonderings

    • Insomnia is a horrible problem. Go to bed at a regular time. No iPads, iPhones, or other objects that have light in them (they wake you up). I’m a believer in warm milk (with vanilla) before bed. Then I read a book that’s not challenging (and no mysteries or scary stories). You might also benefit from writing down your worries right before bed and leaving them there in a notebook so they don’t wake you up. It’s hard to beat insomnia, for sure.

  2. There was a place where I almost drifted off down a road of my own thoughts. “I need combustion to fuel my day.” I need fire in my belly and a spark for my brain. My brain and my belly . . . when they work together I’m ready for take off. And then, “Knowing what you need and giving it to yourself is not self-indulgence.” So where is my fire coming from, not just now but over the next decade or three? These things occupy my mind but don’t keep me awake.

    Sweet dreams Quinn, may you have enough to light that fire deep within!

    • My brain and belly are seldom on the same track, but if both are stoked, I can have the best of days! Fire comes from the sparks you throw. Or in my case, by hitting my hard head against flint.

  3. “Self-discipline is rarely amusing or fun” – you nailed it! I am a night person too and must force myself to go to bed. I am a bit like a toddler in that I never want to go to bed!

  4. I need 8 or even 9 hours of sleep to be at my best. That isn’t always possible, but I do my best to get it. My mother was one of those people who rarely slept more than 5 hrs and seemed to feel that her kids were lazy because we all needed more sleep.

  5. I agree wholeheartedly and do my best to maintain sleep discipline under difficult circumstances (illness). And you’re right about feline alarm clocks. My two were right on time this morning

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