A Little More Shut Eye

A Little More Shut Eye

How lovely it is to wake up on a Sunday morning, even if it is early, and know that the alarm clock will not be going off, that you can go back to sleep and get up whenever you fancy. It is wonderful. It is bliss. And I revel in the feeling of turning over, my back to the clock next to the bed, as if turning away from a person with whom you don’t want to interact.

It is such a wonderful feeling as you sink your head back into the soft pillow, readjust the covers, close your eyes and feel yourself slipping into that wonderful dreamy space between reality and sleep.

How rejuvenating are those extra hours of sleep you can have, especially after a really busy week? Even if it is not a deep sleep, you still feel better by just relaxing and letting your mind wonder from one thing to another, in any random fashion. It is even better if you are able to go into some imaginary world where you are doing all the things you would love to do rather than writing lists in your mind of all the things you really need to do when you finally put two feet on the floor and get into the horizontal position.

Sleep is very important, right from the moment of your first breathe. As a newborn we need about twenty hours of sleep a day in order to grow and develop our vital organs, particularly our brains. As we grow though the first four years we need fewer hours of daytime sleep, however having an extended and uninterrupted night time sleep is necessary for us to grow and function, particularly when we start school. We need the twelve hours of sleep to rest our minds and bodies, which hopefully have been very active during the day, working hard in the classroom and playing even harder in the playground. The fresh air we inhale when we play around outside is as imperative to assist in feeding our brains as is sleep. Plus, it also tends to make us tired as well; another bonus for parents.

The worst thing is the amount of time children nowadays spend watching TV, or even worse, playing on computers, tablets or phones the numerous games, many of which are inappropriate and violent. It is well documented the effect it has on reducing a person’s restful sleep though the amount of blue light the eyes receive. Yet parents seem not to think about that when they complain bitterly about the difficulty they have getting their children up in the mornings, that they seem pale and lethargic, and often are not coping well at school. How many times does one need to be informed about the dangers, yes ‘dangers’, that too much interaction with visual stimulation is bad for a growing child? Habits at this time are hard to break, and that is probably the biggest cause of older teens and young adults having sleep deprivation, with many also suffering from phobias, anxiety and other mental health issues.

Parents take charge, encourage your children to get into good sleep patterns when they are young. Reward them for staying in bed, for having a nap during the day when it is needed. Restrict the amount of time they spend in front of a screen, be it a TV, a computer or some other device than inflicts damage on the eyes and brain. Let both of these important organs have time to rest, have time to shut down and get ready for the next day and all the activities that require concentration and focus. Sleep is the best way for this to happen. A good, deep and sustained sleep, which will not happen when the brain and eyes have been bombarded with hour upon hour of flashing lights. It distorts the imagination and in the end one’s ability to problem solve and reason. We all need to have fun, and I understand for some this is fun. I’m not saying don’t do it, just moderate the time it is done and intersperse it with getting out in the sun and fresh air, building up the vitamin D supply in the body naturally, swell the brain, muscles and blood with oxygen and keep the body healthy. The more we can do this the better off we will be in the long run. Cancer is an all too common word in today’s society and we have yet to fully realise the effect blue light has. Don’t let it affect you or your offspring. Be proactive rather than reactive.

Now snuggle down and grab another hour or two of rest. Think of it as a health injection.

Sweet dreams.

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