Recently I've been reading about the importance of getting the proper sleep and getting enough of it. It is said that lack of sleep can lead to critical health issues and might even be a contributor in an Alzheimers diagnosis. What really caught my attention is it's been discovered that, when we miss a siginifcant amount of sleep -- say, a full eight hours, we can never really make it up. Unlike what we thought as young adults, you cannot make up a night's loss of sleep by "sleeping in" over the weekend. How many of us did that during our high school and college years? Pulled all-nighters, then slept all weekend. But here's the clencher for me. Sleep plays the very important part of daily cleaning out what they call "waste in the brain" -- things that are no longer useful and need to be discarded as garbage. Wow, our minds are like computers that need to be cleaned out every single day by getting rid of this waste in order to retain those things that are not only important but crucial to our daily function and memory. My husband is an IT man and talks about all the trash he finds on computers that needs to be cleaned up and discarded. This process plays a huge part in making a computer run more efficiently. Our brains are little computers. Or maybe computers are little brains, I don't know. But I find this data on sleep very interesting. The act of sleeping has always amazed me.
I, for one, have always been a good sleeper. I come from a long line of good sleepers. When I have something pressing on my mind, I am like Scarlet from Gone With the Wind. I will think about it tomorrow. I know this is a gift to be able to turn off my mind at night. This ability comes from my father's side of the family. He is a good sleeper, my sister is a good sleeper, and I am a good sleeper. We can all fall asleep in a heartbeat. My mother on the other hand was one of those who could stay up most of the night because her restless mind would not be relieved, and then fall asleep around 5:00 a.m. right before the sun came up. My brother takes after my mom in that respect. I cannot tell you the times he's mentioned that he didn't sleep well the night before. My husband is 1/2 Greek (the thinker) and tends to be the restless one in our marriage when it comes to sleep. My eldest daughter follows his pattern, but I don't think it's solely because she's 1/4 Greek. My youngest who is also 1/4 Greek is like me...she can fall asleep anywhere and is gonna get the rest she needs one way or the other. Our great need for sleep and fulfilling that need is the fuel that keeps us plugging along and, if we don't get it, she and I shut down. We do totally come by it naturally as I said. My 88-year-old daddy can fall asleep at the drop of a hat and not because he is 88, which probably helps, but he has always done that. You can be talking to him one minute and he's snoring the next. He sleeps more than anyone I know.
I hope I never get that bad.
We have all heard the old saying sleeping like a baby. The super cute picture above shows my sweet three-year-old Emma Grace sound asleep on the sofa. Most babies do have a gift to sleep well -- that is, after they get their days and nights straightened out. There can be all kinds of confusion around them -- loud talking, the TV roaring, the dogs barking, and there they are, falling asleep in the midst of it all, only to be awakened when everything stops being noisy and the silence returns. That has always been a mystery to me. I think they are made like this, because a small child has no control over noise factors, so they are programmed to sleep in any conditions if necessary. That is how important sleep is to their development. Those who are able to sleep through noise are blessed indeed. Some people actually NEED the noise to sleep. My husband runs a huge fan at night by the bed that has the capacity to blow things off the wall. In fact, one night it did. Because of his night restlessness, he was sleeping on the sofa with this monster fan next to him (I, in the other room, sleeping like a baby in the quietness). My beautiful rest was interrupted by the sound of crashing glass on the other side of the house. I awoke with a great start -- you know that fear that seizes you when you think an intruder might be present? I was sure we were being robbed, but gathered up enough courage to go into the living room to find a good-sized mirror on the living room mantle had been blown off and crashed to the floor. Now that, my friend, is too big of a fan. Ever heard of noise makers, honey?
So whether you are a excellent sleeper, a bad sleeper, or fall somewhere in between, it behooves us all to make sleep a priority by allowing for more of it and trying to make it better quality. If you are one who makes sleep a priorty, you are no longer considered lazy but smart indeed! Research is proving that the proper amount of good sleep can make all the difference in your ability to be productive. In case you are a young whipper-snapper and think this doesn't apply to you, think again. Do you drive? Data shows that a lack of sleep plays a huge part in car crashes. Even young people fall asleep at the wheel. I've tried recently (because of what I've been reading) to make the falling-asleep process even better. I lie in bed with my eyes closed, being aware of my breathing, and pretending to float on my back in the water in the salty, warm ocean about mid-June-ish. I have to be careful, however, because my fear of a shark biting me in the rear-end or lopping off an arm just as quickly steals my peaceful moment of calm if I'm not careful, and that is counterproductive. But how we fall asleep is just as important (they say) as the sleep itself. Do you have a TV in your bedroom? That's a no-no. Do you fall asleep conversing with your good friends, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram? Another no-no. Let the world and social media take a backseat on your ride to a better sleep experience. Instead, read a book, focus on your breathing or something that calms you, or have a wam glass of almond milk. All formulas for inviting our best friend, good sound sleep, to come and visit for a while.
I do have one confession to make. One night early in my marriage, my hubby and I were lying in bed. To this day he has not let me forget this sad story and loves sharing it with people when the subject of sleep comes up. The lights were out and we were talking (or at least he was). He supposedly was pouring out his heart to me, thinking I was listening (and I'm sure I was, although I don't remember). Before he knew it, I was sawing logs. Sorry, honey, what can I say? Pour out your heart to me during waking hours or not at all. Daytime is for talkin'...nighttime is for snoozin.'
Posted by CC
I love to write; you love to read...let's share!