When I was younger, staying up late to unleash some weekday-accumulate stress during the weekend often resulted in past midnight “home-comings”. It was a habitual weekly endeavour to ensure not getting home before the little finger on the clock hit 12. These rituals came with lots of beers, laughs and dancing. On these evenings, I always forgot how dreadful Sunday would feel. Sunday did not exist. It was a void before Monday arrived and another week of study/work was upon me.
Sleep? Definitely did not take even 3rd place.
Weekend catchups of sleep often did not happen. As a student, I worked on Saturdays, too. So the only way to get some time away from the daily rhythm was Saturday evening, with Sunday being the time to give my biological clock to reset itself to its normal position. I even managed to work two jobs during the summer holidays. My 16-hour working datyan early morning newspaper round, followed by a full day out in the flower fields. It took me just under two weeks before I got as sick as a dog.
Sleep? Never thought it could be the cause of all of this.
Driven to lead companies to reach their goals, I have had my fair share of all-nighters. The success stories of finishing projects, papers and reports within specific deadlines was all part of my aim to climb the corporate ladder . It was to show that I was not afraid of skipping a nights’ sleep. And with the belief that I could catch up on my rest over the weekend was a mentally given for me.
Sleep? Just catch up with a 10-hour shut-eyes before throwing myself back into the corporate world. It was my ad-hoc time to catch up some quality sleep and the essence surrounded just around that.
The issues related to sleep deprivation will always surface.
Our bodies love rhythm, and of a beat that is constant. From the brain to our intestines, we have all kinds of clocks embedded in our system that signal when a certain time has arrived. The sensation of being awake and getting to sleep is regulated by our circadian clock that roughly runs its lap in 24 hours.
Sleep and being awake are not separate instances – they are intertwined. This defines the essence of quality sleep.
A symphony of the rising and falling of the hormone melatonin controls our state of being awake and when slumber time is upon us.
This circadian clock slowly changes with time. Younger people often see their sleep cycle starting later while changing its approximate dial as people get older; the cycle turns often turns back a few dials. Yet the basics of following your circadian clock remains a constant; it tells you to unwind, relax and get ready for a good 7-9 hour of sleep.
The real magic actually happens when shut-eyes is upon you. The magic really happens when you respect your sleep rhythm constantly and consistently. From a nutrient point of view, a good night sleep regulates blood sugar levels, it may use fat for energy, it regulates our hormones and hunger levels, repairs and restores, and cleans up our waste products. And these are only a few parts of the nutrition side of it!
Simon and Garfunkel’s The Sound of Silence may very well be the very best song that summarizes sleep perfectly. For those not aware of the lyrics, look up the song on YouTube and listen carefully.
What these two musicians may have put in words about the objective experiences related to sleep. At the core of its function lies more, so much more. And of a healing factor that only a few actually know about.
For some it sounds like a lullaby. And those with a sound knowledge of bed time rhythms, there is ample scientifically proven material in that song explaining the essence of quality sleep.
Sleep may not always be silent for outsiders (i.e. those who have a snoring partner), giving it a feeling of a curse rather than a magical moment. It is the quiet interior of your brain and GI tract where some serious healthy churning going around to start the following day afresh.
If in need to know some basic techniques to get your sleep up to healthy levels with some nutritional advice, let’s talk!
Sleep is the best meditation | The Dalai Lama