Sleep memories and how sleep memories can really dominate your life and your relationship with sleep, is a topic that is quite close to my heart.
Generally, my sleep memories are very positive. I don't have a lot of memories of nightmares and the most beautiful sleep memory I have, was back when I was a little girl.
We were at our country house and my sister, who’s 8 years older than me, and I used to share a bedroom. Mainly, I remember the beautiful sunny days, where we could just play outside, go to the neighbor's farm and hang out with the cows. We played in the barn and helped get the cows back into the barn in the evening and just ran around until it was time to go and have dinner. We'd have dinner together as the sun was setting and the last sun rays would shine in through the window. The silver leaves of the tall Birch trees were shimmering in the evening sun. It was beautiful and really idyllic. Simply beautiful to go to bed too and I liked it. My sister and I weren't too close, but sharing that time together, I really remember it very fondly.
That's a beautiful sleep memory I have and that's how I recall sleep for me, but when I talk to my clients it can be very different.
I had one client for example, who grew up in a very small house with a sibling and before she was ten years old, she was sleeping in the backyard in a caravan on her own and was terrified. Obviously, there's a lot of trauma going on there. She was really scared and traumatized for so many reasons. Her relationship with sleep was affected and had to be looked at.
My challenge for you today is to think a bit about your sleep memories. When someone asks you ‘how did you sleep when you were little’, where do you see yourself sleeping? What memories come up?
I also have two memories of me having nightmares and I know exactly which ones they were, but they didn't affect me that much. I am really fond of most of my sleep memories. Negative memories are a big piece in your sleep story. If you feel uncomfortable, if there's stress together with your sleep and especially if you have issues with your sleep at the moment and your relationship is on the rocks, all of those negative memories can come up and influence you as well.
A little tool for self therapy, so to say, is to write about it. Personify sleep and write a letter to it, especially if it was a difficult time, and then to forgive it.
This is how I'm remembering you... this is what I remember us being like when I was little… I know it wasn't your fault, there were circumstances….
I love you! I'm sorry that we had this past together…"
I know it sounds really weird, but give it a try! It is healing. If you need help doing that then reach out to me and I'll be there for you. It is not a sleep tip necessarily, but it's more of being aware of what your relationship with sleep is and has been. It could be something for you to dive into.
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