A Good Night’s Sleep – Part II

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Beautiful Palm Springs, California

Photo taken by the author

 

“True silence is the rest of the mind, and is to the spirit what sleep is to the body, nourishment and refreshment.”
– William Penn

“Many things – such as loving, going to sleep, or behaving unaffectedly – are done worst when we try hardest to do them.”
– C.S. Lewis

 

As the sun follows the moon in nature’s rhythmic pattern, just as each season follows the other during the calendar year, so also is sleep nature’s way of working in us as individual’s. This is so because in everything there is a natural restoration to the balance of all things created.

Sleep contributes in a large and powerful way to our bodies biological and circadian rhythm. And just what is meant by the term, circadian rhythm? Below are some descriptions of this term:

  1. Our body’s rhythms are governed by a “master clock” located in a tiny region of the brain called the suprachiasmatic nucleus. It works much like a conductor, striking up one section of the body’s orchestra as another quiets down, taking its main cue from light signals in order to stay in sync with the 24-hour day. (1)
  2. The circadian timing system (CTS) has been shown to be involved in the coordinated daily variation of almost every physiological and psychological system evaluated thus far. Maintaining synchronized circadian rhythms is important to health and well-being. (2)
  3. Often referred to as the “body clock,” the circadian rhythm is the 24-hour cycle that tells our bodies when to sleep, rise, and eat—regulating many physiological processes. This internal body clock is affected by environmental cues, like sunlight and temperature, and determines whether one feels wide-awake and energized or tired and depleted at different times of the day. (3)
  4. Your circadian rhythm is basically a 24-hour internal clock that is running in the background of your brain and cycles between sleepiness and alertness at regular intervals. It’s also known as your sleep/wake cycle. (4)

“A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor’s book.”
– Irish Proverb

I know for us in the West, the minimum eight hour sleep that is recommended by healthcare professionals, is often not always followed as we are surrounded by activities, of all kinds, that compete for our attention, which naturally results in our own lack of sleep. However, each of us knows by now, or is in the process of learning and discovering, what is the number of hours of sleep needed, in order for us to function well the following day and to maintain our optimal levels.

Like anything else in life, some people are better than other’s at falling to sleep, and staying asleep. For these people, their heads need only touch their pillow (or whatever they set their head on, horizontal or otherwise) and they are instantly out. Meanwhile, for the rest of us mortals, it can take a significant more amount of time for our eyelids to reach that shut-eye effect and for our brain’s to finally turn-off. The gift of sleep, as I am coming to discover, really is just that – a gift.

“I love to sleep. I’d sleep all day if I could.”
– Miley Cyrus

“There is a time for many words, and there is also a time for sleep.”
– Homer

Sources:

(1) https://www.webmd.com/balance/features/power-of-circadian-rhythms

(2) https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/892.html

(3) https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/basics/circadian-rhythm

(4) https://www.sleepfoundation.org/sleep-topics/what-circadian-rhythm

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