The Paradoxical Dilemma of Sleep

© 2000 Michele Toomey, PhD


July 24, 2000

Being in a coma and then deep sleep for 7 weeks has forever changed your relationship to sleep. Both consciously and unconsciously you wrestle with it. Sleep is longed for even as it's feared. You work at being "able to sleep" even as you are "chased by sleep." Finding the integrity of your relationship to it is complex and difficult. How to get sleeping into a rhythm when it occurs at night and not unbidden during the day, is definitely a dilemma. When to yield to it and allow your body to dictate sleep is juxtaposed with containing it and teaching it boundaries and rhythm. Reconciling this paradoxical need will take trial and error. One thing is certain, however, the body will have the last word. We cannot MAKE it stay awake and we cannot MAKE it go to sleep. Force and dominance, as always, are not the key. Understanding, care, respect and creative discovering are the tools containing sleep. We need both. Today as I write this you are sleeping. Not your choice, but your need.

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