(A Woman’s Guide To Reclaiming Wholeness After Sexual Abuse)
Blog and Podcast Show notes
By Simone N
For a more in depth discussion, check out the podcast episode for this blog, to listen.
Do you neglect your need for sleep? Why is that?
Why us sleep so important, and why is it so damaging when we don’t get it?
We are in a very sleep deprived age, people have never been so tired. We are wired, distracted, busy and overwhelmed. As a result of lacking restfulness and sleep, we become (more) stressed, depressed and sick. I believe, western cultures are more prone to this, because of fast-paced, complex and high maintenance lifestyles/societies, which don’t allow for much down time and rest.
In addition, some of us don’t know or care of the importance of a good night’s rest.
To neglect something is to not properly take care of something. Pertaining to sleep, you are failing to respond to your body’s need for sleep. There are are a few reasons why we would neglect this need.
The first reason, is that we are too busy, we are working too hard (long periods of time, shifts, burdened with tasks). We say “I need to do this..” or “This has to be done before…”, we are trying to complete/accomplish a heavy workload, in a short period of time. When our minds are busy/stressed/anxious, it is very hard to think of or settle to sleep.
The second reason, we may neglect sleep, is some of us grew up in an environment, and/or cultural upbringing that taught us that we do not deserve to sleep and rest. Specifically it may be something that was indoctrinated within us about gender roles (religious beliefs, ideals, culture).
The third reason we neglect sleep,(which may sound strange) is we are disturbed(bad memories, flash-backs) agitated and/or worried. You would think that if you felt this way you would want to sleep, but that is not always the case. I will explain why that is. When we settle to sleep we are with ourselves; our thoughts, emotions, we reflect on the day, memories resurface, and many times it is about things we don’t want to think about. So what we do is, distract ourselves with t.v., social media, video games, texting, until we are too exhausted to stay up any longer, and fall asleep. It works in a way— that we are distracted from uncomfortable thoughts, but we loose a lot of sleep in the process.
So why is it so damaging to neglect our need for sleep? The body cannot function at its optimum when it’s tired. Sleep revitalizes, renews, and repairs the body, when it is deprived of such, it is harder to fight infections (become sick), does not recover as readily, has lower energy (slow, less efficient, clumsy). Sleep helps with renewing the mind (cognitive ability, sharpened thoughts); emotional wellness ( more balanced, a positive outlook, happier, calm). When deprived of sleep, we tend to be more sluggish, unfocused, unbalanced (emotionally), off-kilter, irritable/miserable, and causes depression (over time). When you choose to ignore your need for sleep , you are sabotaging the quality of life significantly, as it is essential and important to your overall well-being and life.
Neglecting sleep can be over come in a few ways.
- Minimize time spent on entertainment and technology. Phones (texting), computer(everything on it), t.v. (sitcoms, and movies).The more distractions, the less you will sleep. Set a schedule for each day. When you find time for extra-curriculars and entertainment, set a timer (give yourself a limit). This is how to develop discipline.
- Organize your day the best you can; if you have many things to accomplish, prioritize. What is most important, do it to within the schedule, leave the rest. Set a time limit for each activity. Don’t forget to schedule in sleep.
- Create a bedtime routine. As you do this your mind will create a pattern and develop an anticipation for sleep time. Just as you developed a pattern to do things a certain way to have sleep at the bottom of your list, give it some more importance by increasing the focus on it.
- Take some natural substances (that facilitate sleep) at a certain time of night; within your bedtime routine, it can help a great deal. (Remember, natural, no drugs).
- If you are agitated, disturbed/upset by flash-backs and bad memories, there are a few things you can do to alleviate this. When having a flash-back, the important thing to know is that this is something that cannot be stopped; it comes about quickly/immediately, and is unpredictable. Your subconscious is releasing. With this situation, you just have to ride it out, as it will come up anyway. The key is to anchor yourself in the present moment with deep breathing, as well as reminding yourself of the safety of the present moment. When you deliberately are choosing to think of that which is disturbing/ agitating/worrisome, it is required that you move your self into a better feeling/thinking space, to allow for a better rest. Watch something funny or soothing, to calm/balance and/or elevate energies.
Sleep is very important to your well-being. so it needs to be one of our priorities ad responsibilities. If your body is sending a signal to sleep or rest, listen to it, and obey. It knows what it needs. If you follow it’s promptings, it will reward you with better health; body, mind and spirit.
Next article: How To Overcome: Physical Neglect Part 2