A good definition of sleep I got from my little son is that “Sleep is a deeper rest of the body and mind”. So, that means sleep is different from just rest. Experts have recommended to us certain hours of sleep if we want to be sure that our bodies get the much needed rejuvenation it needs daily.
For adults who are 18 years old and above, it is recommended that you get 7 to 9 hours of sleep. School-going children should get between 9 to 11 hours of sleep. So, you can imagine how one wonders when in some homes as late as 10:00pm, kids are still jumping and playing around. They should be sleeping. Well, they are not our point of interest here. The adults are the focus of interest.
Everyone can testify to the importance of sleep. You must have experienced how drowsy you feel when you have not had a good sleep for days. It really disturbs and makes simple tasks heavy. You may have had the experience of just dragging yourself around and the body is just waiting for the next opportunity to hit the bed.
The body indeed needs rest in order to rejuvenate itself. In Nigeria, we say, “Body no be fire wood.” Besides other possible interpretations, this saying also refers to the fact that the body cannot be made to work as though it is an inanimate object.
Rather, the body is made up of systems that need to pause and get back some life to keep going on.
It is said that early to bed, early to rise, leaves one hail and healthy. Of course, it may not be the only thing you need to do to keep you hail and healthy but it is one of the very important things to do to keep sane, to function effectively and even for longevity.
God is so gracious and merciful that he allows us to sleep and wake up. Deep and sweet as it may be, we still get to wake up from it. I have experienced sleeping for days and not waking up, so I know it’s not funny.
In our world of today, we are preoccupied and distracted by so much. Work, family, career, business, cell phone, TV, laptop and other electronic gadgets take up our time.
The electronic gadgets in particular have become forces that struggle with our sleep time. The cell phone has become the last thing we look at before we doze off and the first thing we stare at when we wake up.
Yet, we are advised that we need to avoid staring into electronic gadgets at least an hour before our sleep time. When we stare into these gadgets, the brain gets stimulated and shutting down takes more time.
So, if you really mean to sleep well and sleep immediately, leave that phone to have some rest while you prepare to sleep.
A few other things you could do to improve your sleep are:
Have a cool bath before going to bed. This helps to calm the body and puts it in a relaxed mood.
- Have a well ventilated room if an air conditioned one is not available. Your lungs need good and fresh air even as you sleep.
- Drink less water as the evening approaches. This is to prevent you from waking up frequently at night to urinate.
- Put aside your worries. They do not solve any problems. Rather, count your blessings and go to bed with a positive mindset. You will see the difference it makes. Even your mind will have the space to work out some solutions for you by the time you wake up.
- Before sleeping, raise your thoughts to God in an attitude of trust and surrender. This will put your mind and body in a more relaxed mood.
- Avoid meals after 8:00pm. Going to bed with a full stomach isn’t interesting, though it is a habit for many. I just imagine that the digestive system is stressed and overworked when we get too much stuff to digest before bed. Something light for the stomach is best, and before 8:00pm. Some persons do not eat after 7:00pm. So see what works for you.
I write this because I am concerned that I need to improve my hours of sleep to function better. If you struggle with sleep, the disciplines needed to sleep better may not come easy. But if for nothing else, for your health and your sanity, it is worth the trouble.
The challenge with a writer is that inspiration could come at night. For example, you wake up to use the rest room, and there, ideas, sentences and phrases begin to flow. Trust me, you owe your pen an obligation to put down what has just crossed your thoughts.
Interestingly, you may need to hold the pen for the next 30 minutes or one hour, or even more. Now, isn’t that a break in your sleep? Ok, get back to bed as soon as you are done. I am telling myself that if I am to dedicate myself to full time writing, I would need to create a lifestyle around writing such that I still get me good hours of sleep. Ok, this is not about writing.
However, the point here is that whatever your engagements, ensure you create a lifestyle that allows you to still get your 7 or 8 hours of sleep daily. This may mean having an hour of sleep in the afternoon. That would be great! Your body honestly need rest. Please give it!
So, go ahead and improve your sleep.
You sure have the power within you to do so.
And do sleep like a baby!