We all know how important sleep is. I know it especially first thing in the morning when it's over. Research is also telling us that getting enough of it makes us sharper, more creative, able to remember what we've learnt and ready to learn new things. We're more resilient to illness and infections. When we have enough deep sleep and dreaming we're better at problem solving, decision making and less moody and impulsive.
We know it. So how come our time for sleep gets eroded? We stay up late doing 'stuff' and a good night's sleep feels like a luxury. Why do we still believe that sleep can be dispensed with?
Before electric light our ancestors used to spend 14 hours a night in bed in winter. Before the Industrial Age people used to receive guests from their beds! The circadian neuroscientist Russell Foster says that if you need an alarm clock to wake you the chances are that you are sleep deprived. We are a culture of the sleep deprived in denial.
So how can we reclaim the night for our sanity and well being? So many people right now talk of how tired they are. We need to give sleep priority status, move it to the top of the To Do list. With the winter solstice just a few days away it's dark here by 3.30pm. It's an invitation to curl up and rest. Let's put down the wrapping paper, shut the laptop, switch off the phone and answer sleep's call.
We wish you a very happy and restful holiday.
Una, Sean and Sarah
Image credit: Microsoft