Friday, February 12, 2016

To Sleep, Perchance to Dream

Energy eludes me today - my late movie night is catching up with me. I can hardly wait until Sunday when I can sleep in. But it's only two more days of work before the magic day arrives, I can make it. I can. Really! At least, I think I can...

There's something so nice about sleep. We all need it and we all
operate poorly when we are sleep deprived. 

Why do we need to sleep? What's so important about shutting down the outside world for a time and moving to that inner space where dreams become reality? One of the major discussions about Tolkien's writing is his unstated assertion that elves don't sleep - or they sleep rarely - or they don't need as much sleep - or - or. You get the idea. The discussions rotate on and on, rather like dreams hop-skip from subject to subject, ever changing. Long and strident back-and-forths have ensued about whether elves close their eyes in sleep or not. But whether elves sleep and have their eyes open or closed, I know that I get cranky and overly stressed when I don't get enough sleep and I operate on six hours. Less than my six and I make mistakes.

Why do we need sleep? The body self-repairs and makes
plans for the next day while asleep. If sleep is interrupted,
it isn't as effective. 

To the best of my knowledge, all creatures on earth sleep. From the sharks in the water, the elephants on land and the birds in the air, we all sleep - we all pay homage to our diurnal cycle. Trees sleep during the winter. Do insects sleep? I don't know, but it wouldn't surprise me if they did. When humans have experimented with sensory deprivation over long periods of time, sleep schedules get messed up and test subjects skirt the edges of madness. When tortures are forced upon people, one of the big ones is messing with sleep patterns and not allowing quality sleep time. I can see how that would be effective. Lack of sleep causes mental pain equivalent to physical torture.

Sleep deprivation takes its toll on the body and mind,
decreases alertness and increases stress. 

So while I wrangle with making it until Saturday night when I can finally get twelve hours of sleep under my belt, be kind to yourselves. Allow yourself to sleep if you possibly can. If you're an insomniac (and I used to be one way back when), try to set up a reasonable schedule that will lull your body into healthy repeatable sleep patterns. It takes work and it's not easy, but once success has been obtained, insomnia becomes a rare visitor instead of a roommate.

All animals sleep - human or not. This bear is having a lovely
cat nap. Let's leave the sleeping bear lie, shall we? 

Have a wonderful Friday. I'll start the day out by swimming. DH is planning something nice for our Valentine's Day dinner, so I'd better try and keep my weight where it is so that I have a little wiggle room.

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