“Give me the beat boys and free my soul, I wanna get lost in your rock and roll and drift away”
—Dobie Gray/Doobie Brothers, written by Mentor Williams.
Sometimes when I can’t drift-off to sleep, I turn on music and it peacefully sends me to dreamland. I know it’s not that easy for everyone. Sleep is elusive—and troubling for a lot of people. It can be far from restful and rejuvenating. From night shift jobs we had in our younger years, to sore bodies and joints, to worries or just plain unknown causes, genuine sleep is dependent on a lifetime of experiences. Sometimes getting to sleep is a straight-up crash as soon as our head hits the pillow. Other times it may take a good book that rests our bodies if sleep doesn’t show up, or our minds won’t quit.
No matter what, sleep is necessary for survival. It’s essential for quality of life.
If I go for a long walk and lift weights, or do a significant amount of errands (transporting a 40 lb bag of dog food for the Scotties or lifting 26 lb chlorine jugs for the pool), I am slipping away by 10:00 pm. Things start to wind down after dinner: kitchen is clean, pups walked, stars watched, and I am ready to restore. I wake up at 5:30 am, so it’s no wonder I’m down for a hot shower. I need to instigate some sleep rehabilitation!
On the rare occasion a party lasts past 1:00 am and the guests are so content they’re not leaving, I’m happy they’re happy—but sleep is beckoning. Once we had a particularly long party where some of the guests were staying at my house, and boy was I not sure what to do! So I went inside and began to clean-up, and the party naturally ended. Fun is good—and I love a great party—but we all have our limits. You don’t want to miss a thing, but you have to respect your body’s cues to call it a night. It’s a tricky balance.
If you have something on your mind and you can’t sleep, you might toss and turn trying to strategize or solve whatever it is that keeps you reeling. Most of the time—if you can coax yourself to sleep—the answer will be waiting for you in the morning, along with the sunshine. Don’t let any worry rob you of precious rest. Not much can be done in the middle of the night to fix your car or make money grow on trees.
“It is a common experience that a problem difficult at night is resolved in the morning after the committee of sleep has worked on it.” —John Steinbeck
A short afternoon nap can really add some energy to your day, if you’re able take advantage of it. They don’t call it a power nap for nothing! Sometimes you need a 10-minute siesta to reboot. That’s what it’s called in Spain. And a midday rest in Italy is a Riposo. All over the world people take breaks more seriously than we do in our workaholic driven country. We push through, but we all would probably be more productive if we could just catch a quickie—or at least a Savasana—to calm our mind and bodies.
The ultimate idea is to be able to schedule and achieve sleep for 8 hours every night. During our waking hours, we set aside time for exercise that energizes us. Why not “officially” schedule our sleep? In an ideal world, I would arrange Sandman visits for all the non-sleepers so they could experience the rejuvenating feeling of a full night of restful sleep. Our bodies are supposed to feel good!
Insomnia and the feeling of exhaustion from inadequate rest are huge issues for a lot of people. Is it possible for us to find a way to get a good night’s rest, to sleep deeply, and experience the quality of life it brings? A friend of a friend swears by the 4-7-8 breathing technique that will supposedly put you to sleep within 60 seconds. She used to take medication, but has been successfully falling asleep without it for over a year now.
Without sleep people can’t hit the full height of wellness. Everyone has the dream to quench their desire for waking up strengthened and full of energy.
Sleep is something I do not take for granted. If it takes a cup of tea, a glass of milk, a warm bath or a breathing exercise… make it a priority. Set aside that extra bit of time to make sleep work in your favor. Sometimes a good math book will even do the trick. 😴
Arianna Huffington came out with this great article on sleep, with wonderful little nuggets such as this from it:
“Sleep deprivation is the new lingua franca.”
“Every night can be a reminder that we are more than the sum of our successes and failures, that beyond all our struggling and our rushing there is a stillness that’s available to us, that comes from a place deeper and more ancient than the unending noise that surrounds us.”
Sweet dreams. xoxo