I love my sleep. In fact, I love sleep so much, that sleep is the first thing I think about when I wake up! If I don’t get enough sleep, I am cranky and rather unpleasant. I love the fact that I can fall asleep anywhere within a couple of minutes. I think it is really important to our mental, physical and emotional wellbeing.
It has got to be important, if we spend a third of our lives doing it. A recent study done by Jessica Payne and Elizabeth Kensinger in the USA has shown that sleep helps reorganise memories, highlighting the emotional content attached to those memories. This reconfigures your memories helping you to produce new and creative ideas.
So, all those cat-naps on the sofa after school and work in my teens and twenties were not laziness, but solid preparation for the excellent memory that I have now.
My husband has never slept well and he can’t remember last week, never mind his childhood. He would forget his head, if it were not attached to his body. He once took the dog for a walk on the beach and forgot to bring her home!
They also discovered in their research that people would remember memories with high levels of emotional content far more readily and vividly than normal memories. Even the content of a memory will be stored differently, depending upon where the emotional charge is within the event; i.e., you will remember the colour of the car that hit you, rather than the scenery around it…unless you didn’t see the car, which is maybe why you got run over in the first place – anyway you understand what I mean.
In NLP therapy on clients we use this emotional charging of memories (real and false) in many therapies from trauma to phobia cures.
In today’s active society, sleep is one of the first routines to be compromised, as people get up earlier to travel further for work. We work longer hours and stay up later to socialise and study. There was no mention in the report about children or any recommended sleep, but the National Sleep Foundation says under three years of age is 12-15 hours; three to five years, 11-13 hours; five to twelve years, 9-11 hours; teens 8.5-9.5 hours and 7-9 hours for adults.
So for me, I am ticking the box and getting enough sleep. I do love the Spanish siesta in this country, it really suits my style, however, I do believe it could be improved by making it from about half 11 in the morning until Thursday!
It is not just the size, but also the quality of sleep that matters. Humans like animals are designed to be awake and alert during the day and sleep at night. This means that light (artificial or natural) on your skin stimulates the production of the hormone cortisol. At the end of the day, when it gets dark, your cortisol levels drop, which then stimulates the release of melatonin and other repair and growth hormones.
They say you don’t really and truly get to know someone until you sleep with them. And I’m not talking about sex; I’m talking about being unconscious in a bed with somebody. Right now, all the married couples are thinking, “That’s the same thing, isn’t it?” And finally a little food for thought, people have been known to kill their partners because of interrupted sleep, so snorers… beware!