Lessons We Learn…. About Sleep

As I was lying in bed this morning waking up to a new day, my mind started thinking about sleep.  Not that I wanted to go back to sleep; just the benefits of sleep, the downsides to sleep deprivation, the energy boosting charge of power naps, and so on.  In that state of coming awake all kinds of thoughts passed through my stream of consciousness.

I thought about my daughter and son-in-law who, with a new baby, are facing the stage and challenges of sleep deprivation.  I recalled, when my daughter was born and came home after spending 10 days in the highly lit and active environment of the NICU, having my husband order me to bed one night to get some sleep while he stayed up to entertain the mis-programmed baby.  I was so disoriented from lack of sleep that I didn’t know which end was up!

The next thought about sleep that circled through my brain was that, growing up, it seemed to me that my father thought anything could be cured by sleep and Vitamin C.  No matter what the problem, you just needed to get more sleep and down doses of vitamins!  Even in his later years he was never convinced that the medications that his doctors prescribed, even those for his dementia, did any good.  He was not persuaded even if we, his family, were able to observe to him that we saw improvements!  Pshaw!

And then my mind was on to the great benefits of a Power Nap!  When I worked the 3-11 shift as a nurse during the years that my kids were still young and I had to get up and get them off to school in the morning, I survived only by the use of the Power Nap! After lunch, I would settle in for 30 minutes or so.  I rarely had to set the alarm because if I fell asleep on my left side on the couch, my left hip would start to ache just a bit at about the 30 minute mark and wake me up!  And off I would go for the second part of my day!

Now getting a good night’s sleep can be difficult for some.  Most of us have probably experienced insomnia at some level, some time in our lives.  There are many things that can interrupt sleep.  Topping the list would probably be worry and stress but there could also be medical issues, pain, and hormonal issues (you women know what I am talking about).  Then many of us throw in the use of caffeine (to keep us awake!) and alcohol (to relax??) which both impact the quality of sleep.

If you are not sleeping well, you may benefit from the Power Nap.  If you have not experienced the Power Nap and wish to try it, the National Sleep Foundation provides information on the types, tips and benefits in this article on Napping.

Leonardo da Vinci said, “A well-spent day brings happy sleep.”  I think there is wisdom here.  I know that if I have had a busy and productive day and feel that I have gotten the things done that I set out to do, my mind is able to relax into sleep fairly easily; if my mind is perseverating on something that I’m worried about or didn’t get done, not so much.

Yawn!  All this talk of sleep is making me feel like I could use a nap…….

Time to Power Up!

On the journey with you…….Kathy


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