Wellness

Sleep. Perchance to dream

We’re living through unusual times.  I’ve gradually adjusted to seeing friends and colleagues over Zoom, my morning commute is so much shorter and I can sleep until 6.30 or 7.00 a.m. instead of responding to my usual 5.15 a.m. alarm call.

Wait!  What?!  What was I thinking?  Who gets up that early?  What’s the sense in starting the day anxious, skipping breakfast in order to catch the early train?  What’s clever about working through lunch, staying at work late and arriving home in time to grab a late dinner and an hour in front of the TV before bed and starting it all over again next day?

I’d been proud of my energy.  I had stamina.  I had a youthful approach to life.  An energy, motivation, joie de vivre.  And then when lockdown came, I realised I’d been deluding myself.

Sure, I enjoyed a slightly slower pace.  Instead of the mad dash to the station, I had time for coffee, for watching the morning news and for some daily extra time.

Then I noticed that I’d started to dream.  Sure, we all dream, I get that.  But somehow as I focussed on my busy life, I forgot about dreaming.  I can’t think of the last time I’d recalled one.  Until lockdown, sleep had been merely another item on my to do list.  I did it, but not very well.  I slept, but I didn’t wake refreshed.  I slept, but I didn’t dream.

When I started to sleep properly, I also started to feel better.  I slept longer, deeper, and awoke more refreshed. And I began recalling my dreams. 

As we sleep our brain processes the day’s information, consolidating memory and regulating emotions.  Dreams are part of the sleep cycle.  I’d been dreaming all along, but my rush to start the day early and to be perpetually rushed, didn’t allow time for me to remember. 

I’d built anxiety, stress and sleep deprivation into my working routine.  I’d forgo good quality sleep and miss out on time to wake up naturally and refreshed.  I’d de-prioritised wellness and I’d lost perspective. 

I’d wake up believing that I was full of energy when, really, I was on a treadmill.  I’d forgotten that eight hours sleep wasn’t just a myth.   I’d forgotten that sleep was an important wellness tool and I’d forgotten that dreaming is a sign that my sleep was doing its job.  Thankfully, I now know different.

Here are ten reasons that you need for good quality sleep and the dreams that follow,

  1. Sleep Keeps Your Heart Healthy
  2. Sleep May Help Prevent Cancer
  3. Sleep Reduces Stress
  4. Sleep Reduces Inflammation
  5. Sleep Makes You More Alert
  6. Sleep Improves Your Memory
  7. Sleep May Help You Lose Weight
  8. Napping Makes You Smarter
  9. Sleep May Reduce Your Risk of Depression
  10. Sleep Helps the Body Repair Itself

If you want to read more about the benefits of good quality sleep, check out this article: https://www.verywellhealth.com/top-health-benefits-of-a-good-nights-sleep-2223766

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