Rev. Suzanne Marlatt Stewart
It has been my observation that, for many of us in our conversations, “sleep” is a popular topic, especially lack of sleep. We cannot escape the truth that everything is connected, including how we live during the day and how we put ourselves to bed that night. The fact of the matter is our body needs sleep and does not survive without it.
But as with many things, as we get older, we tend to make it harder and more complex for ourselves, and that includes getting a good night’s sleep. My experience is that getting a good night’s sleep is less frequent as I age. Also, the hot weather we have been experiencing doesn’t help; however, there are several other factors that affect our sleep.
We now have technology and electricity 24/7, we can easily fight the natural cycle for us to wind down and sleep. Poor sleep can impact our health in many ways, including chronic health conditions and poor psychological health.
For example, watching TV close to bedtime, you can find yourself continually going over the show. By drinking alcohol, you may not be able to fall asleep. Eating sugary foods (particularly at night) may result in nightmares and waking up in the middle of the night, feeling unsettled and unable to get into deep sleep.
Writing this out, you can see how all the things you do during the day can impact your sleep. How can you bring it back to the simplicity of going to bed when your body is telling you it needs rest, and not to ignore it?
Observe your daily routine and be aware of what happens after you eat, drink, and do certain activities. With the factual results, you can then make small but powerful changes that leave you less foggy and less vague.
Simply start to be more aware and observe what reactions occur from the actions you take. For example, note what it feels like in your body when eating sugar. Does it feel racy or thirsty or restless? What does it feel like in our body when we watch a lot of TV? Does it feel overtired and lethargic, or restless and mind racing? And how do these feelings in our body then influence our behaviors?
Sleep is essential for all of us. Our bodies need quality sleep, and it can be a very beautiful space to let go of the day and connect to a stillness that we all hold beneath the surface of our waking hours. Being more aware, and observing what supports and what does not support our sleep, is a life-changing exercise, as when your body remembers how grand it is to feel rested and rejuvenated. The body becomes more and more responsive to the depth of rest it can have during sleep, and this depth of connection and stillness can be felt as glorious, as you wake facing the day with purpose, vitality, and joy.
“Having peace, happiness, and healthiness is my definition of beauty. And you can’t have any of that without sleep.”—Beyonce
Rev. Suzanne, a resident of SaddleBrooke, is an independent writer and speaker. She was ordained nondenominational, representing all faiths, and her focus is inclusivity. Email her at [email protected].