I’m a good sleeper, and I realize I’m lucky because far too many people have trouble getting a solid 8 hours of deep rest. My husband manages no more than 3 to 4 hours in a night, on a good night, and that’s not unusual. Most people I meet complain of an inability to get a solid night’s sleep so I truly value my body’s cooperation here. Quite honestly, I don’t know how people function without a full 8 hours of sleep every night, I just couldn’t do it. (I get 10)
Now my husband is sharp, witty even, and a clear thinker, despite his lack of sleep, so obviously sleep deprivation doesn’t affect us all in the same way. When I’m deprived of a good night’s sleep my thinking is foggy, and I’ve actually caught myself stuttering because I can’t get the words out clearly. In short, I turn into a vegetable; an incoherent turnip!
I love my sleep time and look forward to it. I even like the ritual of bedtime. After supper my husband cleans up (that’s our deal and since he does little else, I hold him to this) and I relax with some television. By 9:00 I head up to bed, my herbal tea is steeping and will be delivered eventually. I wash up and enjoy a little reading, while I sip my tea, then turn on the news, which invariably puts me to sleep….and there I stay sleeping soundly, and, (if my husband is to be believed), snoring apparently, until morning.
It comes easily to me and I’m not going to question why, I’m just grateful it does, but I do feel for those who just can’t seem to get enough mind rest. I suppose there’s a case for ‘active minds’; the events of your day simply linger in your subconscious keeping your brain awake, ever thinking. But why is it some of us can turn it off while others can’t? (I can hear my husbands voice clearly saying ‘because you’re a dope and the rest of us aren’t’)
There are countless sleep aids on the market and when one is desperately over tired they are a God-send, but unless your chosen aid is a natural product there’s a risk of addiction and the last thing a body needs in addition to exhaustion is a chemical dependency.
Have you ever watched a sleeping child? They sleep without abandon; arms comfortably overhead, mouth open and breathing is deep, and when they awaken they have a rosy cheeked glow and the rumpled hair that clearly says I’m rested and ready to play…..until nap time. (Maybe we need to spend more time learning from our children,,,they’re clearly doing something right)
Studies have shown that certain foods contribute to drowsiness, those high in protein in particular because of the tryptophan, an α-amino acid found in proteins. So maybe we need to change our eating schedules – load up on eggs, spinach and salmon right before bedtime. Just don’t wash it down with a nice Pinot Grigio cause that’ll counter-act the effects of the tryptophan. (Alcohol is a stimulant…who knew?) Apparently hot cocoa is the best night time drink but I’ll risk insomnia before I give up my nightly wine!
I guess at the end of the day those of us who easily enjoy a good night’s sleep are just plain lucky, and those who don’t are destined to be on an endless quest for the right sleep aid/routine. I’m just glad I don’t fall into the latter category.
I wish you a good night’s sleep, and long live the bedtime ritual!