The power of zzzzzzzzz

By Caitlin Kelly

IMG_0538

 

Yet another snowstorm!

 

This has been a brutally cold and snowy winter for the Northeastern U.S. and Canada, with millions losing power as trees shatter and fall on power lines. Every week has brought more ice, snow and shoveling of same.

The best bet for anyone who can?

Bed!

Naps!

It’s becoming ever clearer that getting a full, deep night’s sleep is essential to health, mental and physical. 

From the U.S. Dept.of Health and Human Services:

Studies show that a good night’s sleep improves learning. Whether you’re learning math, how to play the piano, how to perfect your golf swing, or how to drive a car, sleep helps enhance your learning and problem-solving skills. Sleep also helps you pay attention, make decisions, and be creative.

Studies also show that sleep deficiency alters activity in some parts of the brain. If you’re sleep deficient, you may have trouble making decisions, solving problems, controlling your emotions and behavior, and coping with change. Sleep deficiency also has been linked to depression, suicide, and risk-taking behavior.

Children and teens who are sleep deficient may have problems getting along with others. They may feel angry and impulsive, have mood swings, feel sad or depressed, or lack motivation. They also may have problems paying attention, and they may get lower grades and feel stressed.

Boy, do I know this firsthand.

The only time I’ve been utterly sleep-deprived — as I’ve never cared for small infants who need multiple night-time feedings — was when I got pneumonia in March 2007 and spent three days in the hospital. It’s a terrible disease that fills your lungs with fluid that you cough up and out, hour after hour after hour.

Some people break ribs from coughing so hard.

All you want to do, and need to do to heal, is sleep. But your poor weary body won’t let you.

 

We need to rest.

We need to sleep.

 

One of my favorite things to do, as I’ve written here before, is to fall asleep by candlelight and to light low candles in the morning’s darkness to slowly and calmly wake up. (As someone who works from home, and with no children or pets to care for, my schedule is very much my own, unlike most people’s.)

The very worst choice is something many of us now do — read on a blue-lit screen of some sort before bed or during the night. It physiologically shocks us back awake, even if we don’t want it.

 

20140101102321
The sofa beckons…

 

I’ve been napping more this winter than ever before.

Maybe it’s a low-level depression.

Maybe I’m not sleeping as well each night as I need to.

But every afternoon around 3:30, unless I’m fully committed to something else, I snuggle beneath the duvet or a throw, fluff up my pillow, and disappear for an hour or so.

It’s a great luxury, I know, to be able to re-charge my batteries during a workday.

I also know what a bear I am when I don’t get enough zzzzzz’s!

 

How’s your sleep these days?

Do you take and enjoy naps?

16 thoughts on “The power of zzzzzzzzz

  1. I get a nap, for an hour or so, just about every day. I kind of need it in order to keep me going into the evening. Once it starts getting late, though, I have trouble getting to sleep, nap or no nap. There’s a troublesome interior monologue picking a fight in my head that gets me so worked up I can’t sleep. Thank you, H.P. Lovecraft.
    I have tried listening to Lovecraft, with its grandiloquent language and the most persistently droning narrator I can find. It seems to create a verbal overload so none of the voices make any sense. GO MISKY!

    1. I think it’s a skill…so many people have told me they can’t nap (which is frustrating if you’re whipped.) I also hear so many people complaining of insomnia — they need naps!

  2. I also had pneumonia this winter in January. The coughing was horrendous. The only way I could get any sleep at all was being sort propped up. It was terrible, so I understand what you’re talking about.

    I find that as I get older my sleep is more fragile (as is the rest of me 😉 ). Little things can awaken me – going to the bathroom can awaken me if I’ve already slept for 4 or 5 hours. I’m starting to find that my sleep is a precious commodity that I have to carefully protect.

    Good post. 🙂

    1. Poor you! It is so so so tiring! People have no idea how it wears you out. Very sobering…and a slow recovery, too. I had to get the nurse to swaddle me very tightly in a sheet just so I could somehow cough and not fall apart.

      I think it’s probably quite normal (ugh) to feel a bit more tired as we age, with weaker immune systems, etc. I feel more and more protective of my health, physical and mental, as without it….we’ve got nothing.

      Thanks!

  3. I’m travelling a lot at the moment, a new job. A combination of training and backfilling other engineers with fault-finding where I can. In another life in the RAF the skill of being able if not to be deep asleep, but to be able to switch of close your eyes and get rest, even in noisy and busy places was a skill I acquired and have still got. But waking in different rooms, the way the light falls or the space sounds all affect how I sleep, so it is a learning curve. Then going home and being in bed with someone becomes a challenge in its own right. I’m hoping time will make the adjustments for me.

    1. So true! I have a friend whose book tour seems to be endless — she travels with (!) a roll of black gaffers’ tape with which she tapes down all possible sources of light, including hotel blinds.

      Congrats on the new job! Hope it will settle down for you…

      1. 🙂

        I didn’t learn to drive til I was 30! I took lessons in Montreal — in the dark, on hills, with crazy French drivers. It sure gave me confidence, though.

  4. i love 20 minute naps and wake quite refreshed. as for nighttime sleeping, i have always struggled with staying asleep, but love, love, love to sleep. i feel so much better when sleeping as long as i need to.

  5. Pingback: [BLOG] Some Sunday links | A Bit More Detail

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s