Sleep Is For Wimps


How typical, Ms "Taken For Granted" is out, totally oblivious to the ‎wake of her aftermath…

Mayday! Mayday!‎

We are often blissfully unaware of the abundant wealth which the ‎simple things in our lives embody. Pause to practice gratitude daily. ‎One never knows what tomorrow will take…‎

Today at the age of 54 my body is signaling change: sleep has become ‎a precious commodity. I find myself dealing with insomnia in its many ‎forms.

Feelings of longing and abandonment are a lousy stand in for ‎dreams…‎

The Pixie Dust has gone AWOL it has! No more lingering in bed to flirt ‎with dawn’s radiant sun rays, no more giant yawns to devour with ‎gusto the slumbery residue of night and gone (forever? I surly hope ‎not…) are the supercharged energy reserves to tackle the new day ‎with fervor. PD come home!‎

A night owl? No, that was never my scene. Early to rise and always in ‎bed way before my friends and family, that was me. Sleep came easily ‎and I would ride the tail of my dreams nonstop till morning.‎

When my alarm clock would pierce my blissful slumber at 4:30 am for ‎the early morning milking, it was pure torture and I found it very ‎difficult to get out of bed. Motherhood? That too painfully jolted my ‎cozy blanket of sleep. Consideration? Not one of my three children let ‎me sleep through the night for a very long time…

‎Jetlag that too was devastating. Each transatlantic trip to visit family ‎grounded me for weeks. I was taxed coping with the transition to a ‎distant time zone and felt forever like a doormat, unable to rise from ‎my knocked out stupor. ‎

Are you familiar with those who have an innate ability to sleep: smug ‎folks who can effortlessly fall asleep and wake up at the snap of your ‎fingers? I live in the shadow of such a fortuitous soul.‎

Need to sleep? Merely lay down your head. It is as simple as that!‎

Traveling abroad? Simply set your watch to the new time zone and ‎you are done. The secret is to fall asleep on the ground, long before ‎takeoff. Wake up for the meal cart. Coffee and dessert is a must. ‎Afterwards close your eyes again. Your internal and external clocks are ‎in sync. At the hotel lights out according to the new time zone. In the ‎morning you awake renewed, refreshed and ready for a full day’s ‎work. Transatlantic, transposed and tripped. No jetlag for you! ‎Incredible is it not?!‎

I take the potion and he falls asleep!
It can be so terribly frustrating to ‎live at his side…‎

We live in a connected world, live 24/7. Our attention and focus are ‎online following the money: the internet and the economy have their ‎hold on us. Our time is a precious commodity.

A badge of honor is ‎awarded to those able to sleep two hours less at night.‎

When the caveman lay his head down to sleep he was liable to ‎awaken within the clutches of a wild beast’s jaws. Despite the risk, he ‎went to sleep … Surely if sleep served no higher purpose it would ‎have been evolutionarily weeded out.‎

O sleep! O gentle sleep!‎

While in the Elizabethan era Shakespeare and his likes sang praises of ‎sleep, famous figures from the earliest of modern times went off in the ‎complete opposite direction. Thomas Edison took pride in his ability to ‎sleep only four hours a night. Margaret Thatcher too was infamously ‎known for her motto: “Sleep is for wimps!” ‎

Of late sleep can be seen in the headlines in the media, ground ‎breaking research is a hot subject. It is not clear if we are heralding a ‎wakeup call or simply leveraging technological innovations.‎

It would be interesting to plot a bar graph portraying our sleep habits ‎from the invention of the light bulb until present day. Plot the years ‎from 1880 onwards on the X axis. Plot the average hours of sleep per ‎night on the Y axis. In the background place the technological ‎innovations by year: light bulbs, radio, telephone, television, ‎computer, cell phone, internet, tablet, smartest phone, etc. Without a ‎doubt the artificial light and the time spent using these technologies ‎harm our sleep: both its quantity and quality.‎

It is common knowledge that upwards of one third of our life is ‎invested in sleep. With such a high investment there must be a ‎lucrative ROI or return on investment. What are the opportunities and ‎the risks that we can anticipate?

‎ Science is constantly inventing and reinventing itself. What is true ‎today may not hold water tomorrow

Today three hypotheses as to the main functions of sleep:‎

♦ Restoration
♦ Energy conservation
♦ Brain processing and memory consolidation

Healthy sleep can promote our health in many ways:

♦ Improves concentration
♦ Increases attention
♦ Sharpens decision making skills
♦ Increases creativity
♦ May protect against Diabetes Type 2‎
♦ Improves mental health
♦ Reduces risk of Alzheimer, Parkinson, osteoporosis and cancer
♦ Reduces mood swings
♦ Reduces incidence of substance abuse and over eating
♦ Strengthens the immune system
♦ Restores, rejuvenates and removes toxic biological debris in the ‎brain

Lack of sleep can turn any advantage into a disadvantage. Sleep is ‎only effective when you get enough of it.‎

New studies show irreversible damage stemming from an ‎accumulated lack of sleep. Sleep debt may damage and kill neurons ‎and brain cells. Accumulated debris such as amyloid protein in the ‎brain leads to a greater risk and susceptibility to chronic disease ‎such as the likes of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.‎

So yes, perhaps sleep is a waste of your precious time, but for your ‎body it is time to repair, restore and rejuvenate.‎

Before you go offline and dim the lights may I share with you two ‎videos: one amusing and uplifting?‎

‎“Sleep is the interest we have to pay on the capital which is called in ‎at death; and the higher the rate of interest and the more regularly it ‎is paid, the further the date of redemption is postponed.”‎

~Arthur Schopenhauer