Never Enough Sleep

by Jill Radabaugh on May 19, 2011

My personal experience with lack of sleep, begins with my personality.  Even as a little girl, I couldn’t bare to go to sleep, because I felt I would miss out on something exciting.  I remember hearing other children playing outside, when I was in my bed trying to sleep.  That was torture.  As a high school student, I would stay up late watching tv, or cramming for tests or homework assignments I had procrastinated.

Sleep deprivation can have tremendous effects on our brains and our bodies.  Some of the effects include an impaired ability to manage stress, to  think, and control our emotions.  Also, depression, heart disease, high blood pressure, weight gain, and increased aging may occur when our bodies don’t get enough rest.

As a young mother, it was the obvious baby crying to be fed in the middle of the night, lack of sleep.  As my children got older, sometimes the only time I had to myself was in the middle of the night, painting rooms, finishing projects, working on paperwork.  I felt that was “me” time.  But one four-o-clock in the morning, as I looked in the mirror, after sheet rocking all day and painting all night, I knew I had wrecked my body.  This was the beginning of my lesson to slow down and take care of myself.  It took me an eight year battle with my health to discover that we can’t push our human bodies into destruction and expect them to cooperate in perfect health.

Our society celebrates people who can function on 4-6 hours of sleep, and can pull all-nighters, as heroes.  Other cultures would wrap you in a shawl, bring you some tea, and insist that you rest your mind and spirit.  That’s what we can do for ourselves.  We simply must take better care of our bodies, do a sleep study if we snore, use nightly routines to get to sleep, and perhaps get some help from a physician or a medication if necessary.  Eight or nine hours of sleeping is the key to a life of health and presence.

These days, I lie awake at night thinking about my grown daughters.   I think about their college, weddings, babies, futures, and their safety.  I try to solve the world’s problems as I am in bed for the night.  It’s a woman thing, a Norwegian thing, a Mom thing.  But at some point, I let it all go, give it to God, listen to some soothing music or white noise, and go to sleep.  I allow myself days here and there, just for rest.  I remind myself I am a human being, not a human doing, and I am still valuable, even if I accomplish nothing but being nice to myself that day.

What are some things you do to allow rest in your life?

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: