Taiji Day 87: two sleeps

I did Taiji: eight pieces of silk, the form, and five golden coins. Not bad, not good. This is getting to be normal.

The other side of it is bad sleep habits from almost two decades, which I’m trying to fix. About two months or so ago, I realized that both Jason Miller’s course and Frater RO’s course were urging students to reconnect with their dreams. I wanted this, badly. When I’m healthy and getting enough sleep I have amazing dreams. But how much was enough? How do I get that much?

The trick seems to be (for me) is using the concept of segmented sleep, as found in a lot of traditional societies. Sleep dysfunction is a relatively new phenomena: people in pre-industrial societies got up in the middle of the night (paywall, now, alas). A Roger Ekirch has done some work on this, and published a book called AT DAY’S CLOSE, about this segmented-sleep concept… I have to admit, I haven’t read the book, but got a review of the idea from the New York Times, and from the BBC.

In any case, I’ve been trying to bed down between 9:00 and 9:30 on weeknights. I wake about 3:00 from a good but vague dream which I’m able to recall in some detail and write down. Then I sleep again from 3:30 to 5:00 am. That’s 7.5 hours of sleep or so, which is a lot better than my old five hours. The dreams in the second sleeping session are clearer, more defined, sharper, more vivid and more easily recalled and written down. It seems to be a good system.

6 comments

  1. Hello Andrew, great to find your blog and this post. Will look at the rest soon. Just an encouragement to get “At Day’s Close” , it is a truly excellent work that opened my mind so much and confirmed a lot of inner information I had recieved. Thanks 🙂

  2. How are you using the concept? Are you purposefully waking up during that time, or are you just more relaxed about it?

    I downloaded the iPhone app Sleep Cycle about a week ago. It tells me that I usually wake up between 3 and 4 during the night, then dive back into sleep. It would annoy me if I remembered waking up. Now I see it as part of the nightly ebb and flow.

    • Part of it is that I assume that I’m going to wake up around 3:00-3:30, and be awake for a half-hour to an hour. I have a notebook and pen next to my bed, so I can make notes about the dream I have. I find that writing “I do not remember my dream” every day for a few weeks was enough to help me remember my dreams. Occasionally asking during daylight hours, “wait, am I dreaming?” and then working through the reason that I’m NOT dreaming, also helps me remember my dreams.

      You may not in fact be fully waking up, too. You may just be moving in the restless way you move just before you wake up.

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