A woman often used to walk in her sleep. She got little sleep as it was, without having a disturbed sleep. Sometimes her son would find her wandering the house. Sometimes she would wake in the morning to find things rearranged and – most frustrating of all – she would have to hunt everywhere for her keys that were not where she had left them.
One day as I was chatting with her child alter, the alter mentioned in passing that last night she had slept all night. That aroused my curiosity. “What do you usually do?” I asked.
It turned out that the alter only felt safe to play without ridicule when everyone else was asleep. She particularly liked playing with keys and her host had moved her other toys away from the bed, so she had to get up to access them.
“I try not to wake Mommy (her host),” she said. “Please don’t tell her.”
I gently persuaded her that her host would not be angry and obtained her permission to let the host know. It turned out that the host had overheard part of the conversation anyhow.
The host and alter were able to work out some amicable and effective solutions. An obvious start was to keep the toys by the edge of the bed, so that the alter could play with them in bed. Better still, the host explained to the alter how they would both feel more refreshed if they slept at the same time, and the host began slotting into her waking hours a time when her alter could play in privacy. She also purchased a pocket doll for her alter to play with when she was at work. Both alter and host benefited from this new level of mutual understanding and cooperation – and enjoyed better quality sleep.
All alters of yours who consider themselves children have a deep need for play. They cannot heal – and so you cannot heal – without it. If they are starved of playtime their need will compel them to find time for it when they should be asleep.
In practice, people with usual adult responsibilities find it difficult to find sufficient time in the day for alters to have adequate playtime. Nevertheless, it is vital that they do all they can to make time. Sacrifices such as cutting out television will probably be necessary to give little alters the playtime they need. The benefits of doing so, however, will extend way beyond sleep but will end up being so great that it is not a sacrifice but an investment in healing, fulfillment, increased productivity and, in the long term, probably increased income.