Are You Waking Up To Tiredness
A lack of zzz’s can zombie-fy us!
There is no substitute for sleep. Like healthy eating and exercise, sleep is an essential part of our total wellbeing. To quote Thomas Dekker (1572-1632) – “Sleep is the golden chain that ties health and our bodies together.”
In the 24/7 society, where we are open all hours, chronic sleep deprivation can steal our sanity in the wake of tiredness.
We complain of being tired all the time and yet through ignorance, indifference or inaction, we do little about it. Even motorway gantry signs warn us – ‘take a break – tiredness can kill.’ But we accept lack of sleep as a normal anti-ingredient of modern living. We want things done yesterday and we are prepared to drive ourselves on with adrenaline to complete the next item on the to-do list. Gadgets abound to help us streamline work but they only serve to move us on more efficiently to the next task, the next chore and so on . . .
It is much like an overdrawn bank account which never quite makes it into the black. The sleep deficit is an imbalance which yearns for the duvet of darkness.
In Paul Martin’s book, Counting Sheep (the science and pleasures of sleep and dreams) he quotes Sancho Panza’s eulogy to sleep from Don Quixote as follows:
‘God bless the inventor of sleep, the cloak that covers all man’s thoughts, the food that cures all hunger, the water that quenches all thirst, the fire that warms the cold, the cold that cools the heat; the common coin, in short, that can purchase all things, the balancing weight that levels the shepherd with the king and the simple with the wise.’
It is worth noting that sleep satisfies hunger and quenches thirst. When we crave for sugar and caffeine to get us through the day perhaps we are in fact hungry and thirsty for sleep.
So, why are we sleepless in suburbia?
Why do we deny ourselves the sleep that we so readily need?
The answer is quite simply this - we put our needs and our wants before our selves. We compromise our integrity: our soundness of body and mind. Our wellbeing is at the bottom of our to-do list. We place ourselves last instead of first and by the time we reach the bottom of the list it is literally too late.
Imagine this scenario: You are feeling extremely tired. But you need to do an ‘important’ chore or task. You also want to watch television. Bed beckons, yet you resist the desire for sleep in favour of completing a chore which could wait until tomorrow or watching a television programme which could be taped or easily dismissed. You get to bed eventually and when the next day dawns you wake up to tiredness. Your first thought is of getting to bed early that night but when bedtime comes you are faced with the same choices and the carousel never stops . . .
Unless you take action to jump off.
You must consciously decide to put your wellbeing at the top of the to-do list. If you constantly wake up to tiredness then you probably aren’t getting enough sleep and you need to do something about it. Do you need to radically change your lifestyle? Do you need to change your job?
You do need to know how much sleep is right for you and how long it actually takes you to get to bed from the moment you start thinking about going. How will you wind down before you go to bed. What can you afford to eat, drink, read, watch, before you go to bed that will not stop you from falling over to sleep? Accept that there are very few jobs which cannot wait until tomorrow. You must be self-ish. You must look after your self first. If you don’t adhere to this basic premise then your wellbeing will be eroded. And you will be locked into a lethargy which will rob you of enjoying the daylight of your life.
If you are dreaming of getting more sleep make up your mind to do something about it tonight, tomorrow night and the next night . . .
You will start to waken before the alarm clock and when you step outside in the morning I guarantee that you will hear the birds singing in the trees.
A few more zzz’s will put the zest back into your life!
Sleep well and look after yourself.