The Gift of Sleep

In the past few months, although I’ve been trying to get a lot of rest, I haven’t been sleeping in the day. I’m not sure why, possibly I just feel it’s too indulgent. I shouldn’t feel that way since I need a lot of recovery to ensure I can get my Graves’ disease into remission. I’m on a medical sabbatical from work so I should be doing all I can to recover.

Being a mother of small children, I’ve had a good few years of interrupted sleep. Now that my youngest is three years old, it’s only the occasional nightmare that wakes her (and me) up in the night. But being in a depleted state, I most certainly feel it the next day.

 

There are a plethora of articles online that promote the benefits of sleep. Some benefits include: curbing inflammation, improved memory and concentration, improved cognitive function and decision making, reduced blood pressure and cholesterol levels, improved mood, fat loss, muscle building, tissue repair and more. My favourite three, most relevant to my current state of health are spurring creativity, reduced stress and improved immune function. These are the things I need in order to restore myself to full health.

There are some horrifying experiments done on rats for sleep research which show that you will die without sleep if it goes on long enough. I’m sure all mothers know the feeling of sleep deprivation and how hard it can be to work a full day with inadequate sleep. When that goes on for a few months or years, your ability to function at work and in day-to-day life is substantially impaired. I’d encourage fathers and friends to help out to make sure mom gets a good rest.

I’m a great sleeper and much to my husband’s disgust, I often fall asleep seconds after my head hits the pillow. I have noticed that on the days I meditate, I sleep much better. I have also learned that I need at least one extra hour of sleep per night when I’m training towards a marathon or ultra-marathon. It may seem pretty boring to go to sleep so early but the body just needs that extra restoration in order to function properly. Take a look at this TED talk about getting more sleep.

It’s clear that some people need more sleep than others and at the moment, I need a lot of sleep. I’m striving for eight hours at night and I’m trying to get a few hours in the day as well. I’m hoping that this will help my body restore order, get my immune system to stop attacking my thyroid and to not feel so fatigued. One positive by-product will be a happier me, benefiting my family too.

Isn’t it funny how kids resist sleep because there’s an opportunity cost of playing? And sleep-deprived mothers wonder why anyone would resist something so valuable. Only when sleep is inadequate do we truly realise how much we need it. I’m not sure how much sleep can be guaranteed for me over the Easter weekend, with the kids home and my husband away, but let’s hold thumbs.

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Kathy
I am a champion for living your passion. Writing is my passion, my destiny and my calling. I am a mother of two beautiful daughters and a wife and live in Johannesburg, South Africa.

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