Dreaming of Sleep

“Sleep that knits up the raveled sleeve of care,

The death of each day’s life, sore labor’s bath,

Balm of hurt minds, great nature’s second course

Chief nourisher in life’s feast”

              “MacBeth”, Act 2, Scene 2

William Shakespeare


Do you get enough sleep?  Do any of us? Did you know that sleep deprivation is one of the top health issues in the United States?

Babies need around 17 hours of sleep daily
Babies need around 17 hours of sleep daily

Our bodies need at least 7-10 hours of uninterrupted sleep everyday.  Yet most of us, even when we get the hours, it is fairly interrupted.  For the parents of young children reading this it’s pretty much a foregone conclusion that you’ve forgotten what uninterrupted sleep even looks like.

Sometimes we choose to be sleep deprived…thinking we have no other option. I know that happens to me at times.  I live in a fairly small house and have 2 noisy boys.  Peace and quiet is a rare commodity and most often to be found once all my men are in the land of Nod.

There are times when the issue is one of not being able to sleep.  Insomnia.  Not that much fun to experience, even though it is a common theme for comedy.   Many times I’ve gone to bed unable to actually fall asleep, despite being incredibly tired before laying down.

At a certain point the sleep cycle becomes so deformed from our sleep deprivation that getting regular sleep becomes even more challenging.  The results of this can be profound on your health.  A well-rested body is more resilient against illness and injury, so the opposite is also true.  A tired body is more at risk from illness and injury, further complicated by a tired brain that may not make the best decisions about safety.  Being tired is quite often the culprit for clumsiness.

So how do you break this cycle once you are in it?

Sleep Hygiene is the term many medical doctors and psychologists use when referring to changing your sleep habits.  Now, when I first heard this term I thought of dental hygiene. It’s a bit different though.

Basically it’s a fancy way of saying, “Winding down”.  Sleep hygiene is about what you do the hour or 2 before heading to bed.  Most sleep experts recommend that if your favorite “wind down” is watching the telly you watch a comedy or light drama.  Serious documentaries, the News, and Scary Movies are no-no’s on the winding down list.  The endorphins produced in the body when you laugh help ease you into a state of comfortable and sustainable sleep.

Visit the National Sleep Foundation to find out more about Healthy Sleep Tips and how much sleep your body likely needs depending on your age.

A healthy toddler will sleep just about anywhere.
A healthy toddler will sleep just about anywhere.

Now I’m off to get some sleep. See you Friday for a fun post about crochet “surgery”.

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