While attending class on Thursday (via Zoom, of course) for one of my voice studies theater courses, we were discussing our bodies and getting deep into our habits — like how our body connects itself through habits that we've gained through the years, especially as students. At some point, these habits might have protected us, but now they can easily be used against us. Especially in the career of performance, our habits require us to have the bare minimum of limitations when it comes to what we can do with our bodies.
One thing my professor got into discussing was beds. Beds are a trap.
But, how could this be? Beds are so amazing, right? They keep us safe and warm when resting our heads during this time on Earth. We cry, binge-watch TV shows and nap within these soft sheets — how could they be so negative for us in the long run? Well, I will tell you.
Beds do exactly that: they coddle us. All of these tensions and habits we learn during the day, but when our heads hit the pillows, they stay with us till the very next day. Whereas, when we sleep on the floor (I used my yoga mat and blankets…I'm not that insane), our bodies are forced to release and remember our original state. At first, I thought there was no way. No way I was going to be able to sleep on the floor knowing my years of obsessive desire to only have the softest of the soft when it comes to my bed. I was used to sleeping on clouds, to feeling as if I was floating with no effort, and now I was being told I would be sleeping on the floor like a prisoner in a foreign jail. But if they could do it for years, who said I wouldn't be able to do it for a weekend? I'm saying I can. I knew I could do a weekend, so I did. I started on Friday, mostly because on Thursday I attempted it, but I woke up at four in the morning only to crawl back into bed with my dog. So, Friday was the beginning of the challenge.
After a day at the pool, I came home to my apartment and dog to a night of interesting events. I turned on my light, grabbed my green thumb thick yoga mat, and laid it out on the floor. One of my biggest issues is that I'm a side sleeper. It’s comforting and makes me feel like I’m being cuddled inside the pouch of a kangaroo. Truly. But instead, what's recommended is to sleep flat on your back. So after a shower and some wine to ease the sleeping process (recommended to those 21+ only), I got ready to lay down.
It was weird at first, seeing my dog enjoy my plush mattress topper while I laid confused on the floor. The reversed roles were enough to send me into a panic. That first night I found myself waking up often, trying to give into the bed that screamed right into my ear as I slept. Waking up in the morning was interesting. I would roll over and snooze the alarm as if my body had no idea what “five more minutes” meant. I did, however, notice that I had less pain in my back, which was enough to make me continue on my three-day journey.
After a long, productive day of cleaning and homework, I found this day to be the easiest. NOT. I purposely worked my ass off all day, possibly causing an abnormal amount of tension everywhere, and yet I still found myself waking up at the crack of dawn. Frustrated and angry at 2 a.m., I proceeded to stomp to the side of my bed and grab my face mask — not the one for the lower part of your face, but the one that covers your eyes...simpler times. After putting it on, I found myself waking up later than usual. Being woken by my body with her legs crossed and heart beating, the sun pierced my eyes. My lower back was painless and I felt taller than the day before. The energy within me was something I had never experienced when sleeping on my side on a bed. This might become a once a week thing for me.
During the last round of my challenge, I found I finally had all the tools I needed: a thin blanket folded for a small pillow, a blanket for the legs, my yoga mat, an eye mask and a melatonin pill, which my mother had mailed to me with a bunch of other vitamins. Why not decide to run the diffuser with calming essential oils while white-noise sends us off to sleep? By this time, I noticed that the experience was not the issue, but rather how I brought self-care into my sleep routine that mattered. That night I slept like a baby, still in the womb and ready to party. I woke up an hour before 12 p.m., which is outside my normal time. I continued on a path of positivity, the same refreshed spine and mind to match. I continued on with my day and was able to not only work a six-hour shift without pain, but also sat and wrote after work for fun. FUN. (Well, it is fun).
After this weekend, I feel refreshed — especially after giving in to my fears of discomfort. This weekend of saying yes to the unrealistic has made it realistic in the sense of implementing it into my life. The idea of sleeping on the floor every day would most definitely be the challenge of a lifetime, but I don't think that once a week would kill me. Truthfully, it might help me. I'm thankful for my professor, Vivian, of the Theatre Program at UCF; a woman who has already changed my life in a matter of two weeks. May it be for the weekend or further on in life, being able to control the pain you feel in your body is a blessing. Why not take advantage of it?