Changing the Habits of a Lifetime

I’ve written before about the need to review whether you are behaving in a certain way or organising things due to a situation that no longer serves you.

However this week, I made a decision to change a habit that is so much a part of my routine I couldn’t even tell you when it began. It wasn’t planned, it just happened one night and I’ve stuck with it as the benefits were immediate.

For as long as I can remember, before I go to sleep I need two things: a book and music. I read the book until my eyes feel sleepy (or my light has faded too far to see) and the music plays for an hour before switching off.

My reasoning behind this has been that they both shut down the thoughts of the day and allow me to focus elsewhere to settle my mind so that I can wind down and sleep.

Man asleep in bed
Image by Annie Spratt via Unsplash

However, over the past year or so my sleep quality has become poorer so I have been researching ways to improve it. And time and time again the advice is to make the room as quiet as possible.

But of course that couldn’t refer to the music I listen to as I settle down to sleep could it? I need that music to calm my chattering mind. So I’ve ignored that advice; I made lots of other changes to my evening and bedtime routines, but that one I never touched.

Until one night, about a week ago, when I remembered that I’ve stopped listening to music while reading in the day. And decided I’d try the same when going to sleep.

Every night since I’ve tried the same thing and I actually think I’ve fallen asleep faster. And when I wake in the night I don’t debate with myself as to whether music would help me sleep, I just don’t put it on.

Who knows how long this will last, but my reason for sharing this with you today is not that I’m asking you to go to sleep without music, or even think about how to improve your sleep at all. It’s to remind you that just because you have done something for so long that you don’t even think about it any more, that doesn’t mean that it’s a non-negotiable when you are looking to make changes or improvements. Not to your life, your relationships, your environment.

What is something that you’ve just accepted as fact that you could actually look at from a new perspective and see if it is still essential in the way you have been assuming it was. And how could you make a change?

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