When we become very tired and in need of rest, it’s time to pause awhile for some sleep. The next time you announce this desire, astonish those around you by quoting Robert Browning. “I have dared and done, for my resting-place is found, The C major of this life: so, now I will try to sleep”” I’ve never come across a more eloquent way to say, “I’m sleepy.”
You may have noticed that when you have put in a day of hard physical labor, you naturally feel very tired. You can hardly wait to slide into bed and drift into slumber. You finally slide between the sheets, nestle your weary head into the pillow, give a sigh of relief, and cannot, for the life of you, fall asleep. It’s almost as if your body cannot shift out of high gear and into neutral.
There is probably a medical explanation for this phenomenon. Maybe a flood of hormones is involved. Whatever it is, doctors and biologists have probably figured this out. When it happens to us, we can feel frustrated.
On the other hand, we can feel very tired, go to bed, and practically fall asleep before the head hits the pillow. The body feels weary, we drop off to sleep, then awaken the next day refreshed and renewed–ready to get underway. This is the ideal scenario. When this happens regularly, we feel better and possibly live longer, too.
Rest is a universal ingredient of life. Nearly every living thing needs to pause for rejuvenation. Farmers understand that every so often a field must lie fallow for a year in order for it to become fertile again in order to produce abundant crops during the years it is being planted.
House cats sleep a large share of their lives away. Bears go into hibernation during the winter, that’s a very long rest.
Rest does not always mean going to sleep. Oftentimes, it means taking a time out, like a coffee break, or spending a weekend away from the job. A skillfully taken vacation is a refreshing change of pace for the mind and body.
If you stop and ponder what rest is, you realize that rest is one of the most wonderful ingredients in life. The English politician and biologist, John Lubbock once wrote: “Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under the trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time””
The idea to write about this topic occurred to me naturally yesterday morning. I had recently been through some stressful issues plus a few minor physical injuries. The body must have needed some extra rest.
After writing a blog post, I simply couldn’t resist the urge to return to bed. Three hours later, I awakened feeling dull and wanting to sleep some more. I resisted that urge in order not to upset my body’s circadian rhythm. The remainder of the day turned out wonderfully. The bonus rest enabled the extra energy needed to complete more tasks. My mood was elevated and the entire day turned out fantastic.
Once again this simple wisdom proved itself to be true: “When tired, go to sleep. Do this whenever possible.”
The Blue Jay of Happiness likes a saying from the Ancient Greek writer Plutarch. “Rest: the sweet sauce of labor.”
Working the graveyard shift sometimes does not allow one to get a good days sleep. The noise of the rest of the world sometimes cuts 8 hours into just a few. I can’t count the number of times I only get 2 or 3 hours of sleep, then try to make it through my overnight shift. Good thing we have a great coffee maker at work.
Yes, During all my many years of overnights, I felt a kinship to Count Dracula. The Sun came up, it was time for me to sleep.