A crisp explosion of thunder from a nearby lightning strike awakened me. It happened less than an hour after I had drifted into sleep. High winds rattled the bedroom window awning. Small hail pellets clattered everywhere. Adrenalin was coursing through my body. I was fully alert. I got up and looked out the window and saw a full-blown severe thunderstorm in progress. Where did that come from? Severe storms were not in the weather forecast.
I needed to consult a radar map. I padded into the living room and powered up my tablet. Sure enough, there was a line of storms marching through the upper one-third of Nebraska. I checked a few more weather sites on the Web, then powered down the tablet. I sank into the easy-chair trying to accept the racket made by the storm. It was a matter of calming, mindfulness breathing techniques, that kept my thoughts rational. Yet I felt resentment that most summer storms seem to happen at or after bedtime.
Summer is my crabby season. This is the time of year when it is most difficult to obtain quality sleep. If it’s not the noisy weather; it’s the heat and humidity that get in the way of relaxed, restful slumber. Regardless of attempts to mask sound, plus air conditioning, the intrusions usually occur.
I could turn this into a gripe fest, but that would be counter productive in that I would only feel grouchier doing so. The point is, that sleep deprivation is a health hazard to anyone. Especially as we age, quality sleep becomes more important.
I very rarely take naps, but when I do, they are taken in the summer. 20-minutes of shut-eye usually result in a happier mood afterwards.
Sleep is one of the most peculiar, most essential aspects of animal life. We all need it. Sleep consumes vast quantities of our time. What if we needed fewer hours or no sleep at all? We would require no bedrooms, so utilization of real estate would be more efficient. We could be more productive at work and creative pursuits. We would have more time to engage in intrigue and conflict. We could also have more time to be kind, peaceful, and compassionate.
The body rests during sleep. The internal workings go about their business of repairing damage and maintaining life. During sleep, the body goes about being a body without the interruptions of our schemes and desires. I suppose, without sleep, our lifespans would be shorter.
With our conscious minds on pause during sleep, our mental processes change focus. Have you noticed that if you have a puzzling conundrum that after “sleeping on it” a workable solution comes to mind? Perhaps by getting the obstinate, closed conscious mind out of the way, the subconscious is more able to think clearly.
We are conscious beings. Our reality is created by our conscious minds. When the consciousness is paused, our unconscious mind either extends that reality or expands it into different points of view. The fact that we can analyze and understand these aspects seems unique to us humans. We have been molding our realities for as long as our species has existed.
Although sleep is important to all creatures, it is homo sapiens that has the capability to harness the power of sleep. The questions are: How much can we change by controlling sleep? Is it even wise to do so? What unforeseen problems arise?
These are just a few words for you to read, that were written by a sleep-deprived mind.