Monday 10:30am, I am still in my nightie, face unwashed, hair uncombed, teeth brushed – no compromise there, pottering around the house aimlessly. Other than the construction site next door whose noise I am learning to tune out, the compound is calm and there is very little movement. It is a lovely morning, the sun is out, and the air is clear and bright. I walk towards the balcony, peep through the glass doors, out into the parking and all I can see is my car, I hold my breath – feeling a little guilty. I stretch my neck out further and I see two more cars – relief, at least I am not the only who isn’t at work. But I have an excuse, what is theirs?
Sleeping in, sleeping until your eyes just pop open on their own is a treat. On a Monday morning, it is an indulgence – an extravagance. Whether one can admit it or not, sleeping in is a celebration of in its own right. People usually feel guilty for sleeping in because they think they should be out building the nation lest it falls off the face of the earth. But, you know what? Sometimes it just makes sense to stop and relax. And there is no better feeling of relaxation than sleeping until you are well rested and refreshed. It is the number one treat I give myself.
Sleep is often not taken too seriously by many people. Sleeping is not something that only determines whether you are tired or alert. To put it simply, sleep can save your life. That is how important it is. Sleep is needed so everything in your body and mind can work correctly. Without it, or the continuous lack of, you may be flirting with death.
If you can sleep well, be thankful that you can. Millions people around the world suffer from insomnia (can’t fall asleep well or stay asleep for long). To them, sleep is a luxury, while to others, it is something taken for granted or abused. So just how important is sleep?
The Brain: The first signs you may be aware of when getting less than 6 hours of sleep is you feel tired, forgetful, irritable, and just not on the top of your game. Yet, in long term, it shows to everyone around you like bad job performance, mood swings, depression, and you turn into that person that no one really likes to be around. Actually, there was a study done on this by the Mental Health Foundation that found that people that didn’t get enough sleep were four times as likely to suffer from lack of concentration, have relationship problems and 3 times more likely to be depressed and 2.6 times more likely to commit suicide.
The Heart: This statistic is overwhelming, but the University of Warwick did a study and they found that getting less than 6 hours of sleep on a continuous basis makes you 48% more likely to die of heart disease and 15% more likely in developing a stroke. Professor Cappuccio, co-author of the study, said “the trend for late nights and early mornings is like a ticking time bomb for your health”.
Weight: Many studies have been done with the relation to weight because let us be honest, many people are more concerned with their weight than their sleep! The good news is that lack of sleep does increase your chances of obesity. The bad news is if you do not believe sleep is all that important, but your weight is, then you are not helping your weight problem by not getting the proper sleep (7-9 hours).
Life Length: Again, many studies have been completed on the relation to longevity to sleep. Professor Kevin Morgan from Loughborough University’s sleep research team says that “those that sleep 7-9 hours live longer than those who sleep shorter or even longer”. You are 12% more likely to die over a 25 year period if you are not getting enough or too much sleep.
Immune System: Another interesting correlation Professor Morgan found was that when you are sleep deprived your immune system is weaker. He first discovered this by testing rats then tested humans who had work shifts at night (bad sleeping habits are more common in night workers). The study showed you are more likely to get sick if you do not get enough sleep.
Finally, sleep can save your life and others. Why others? According to the CDC, 1 in every 25 adults report that they fall asleep at the wheel at least once a month which results in an estimated 6000 fatal crashes a year. If you are someone who doesn’t take sleep seriously, you may want to reconsider. ~ Excerpt from How Important Is Sleep? By ASA
Numbers two to five of treats I give myself are:
- Desserts; something sweet and cold like a triple scoop ice cream sundae with syrup sprinkles, whipped cream, peanuts, maraschino cherries, and fruits. Or a sweet and warm treat like an apple, chocolate, pecan, strawberry or pumpkin pies, apple or pineapple crumbles, chocolate puddings, baked cheesecakes or decadent tarts.
- Massages; Deep tissue, Swedish, Aromatherapy, Shiatsu, Hot stone whatever hits the spot.
- Retail therapy, in other words shopping in order to make oneself feel happier. In my case window shopping mainly. I don’t have to buy anything, just the act itself offers a quick fix for transitory emotions, and helps alleviate the melancholy generated by a bad day.
- A Mani-Pedi. That is a professional manicure and pedicure. A thorough cleaning and exfoliation of the skin. The grime is removed, as will dead skin and calluses on the bottom of my feet. It is incredibly relaxing, it also improves my mood.
So what is my excuse this morning for picking number one? Why are most people at work while I am at home reading literature to back up my decision to reduce the guilt? And once the guilt was averted I proceeded to have a hearty breakfast, and then went on to luxuriate in a soothing bubble bath. This weekend was the Twa Concert 2016 in aid of support for cancer treatment through the Twakutukuza Trust.
Three months of choir practice, every Saturday from 3pm to 6:30pm had paid off. The Gals with a mission and me, together with over 200 ladies and gentlemen performed three shows on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Each show was three hours long with the call time being three hours before going on stage. The attendance was three times more than what I had witnessed over the three years I have been part of this event. An incredible experience!
Some of the comments about the event were, “Good concert – full of energy.”
“Great performance – for a noble cause.”
“Were you reading the lyrics from somewhere? Those were many songs to memorize – 19 in number. Marvellous.”
“How were you able to stand for that long, dance and sing with so much energy over the three days?”
“That was a beautiful performance. How can I join next year?”
In response to these comments and more I smiled and thanked everyone for their support. I was gracious and directed the many happy comments to teamwork, dedication and to God the great I AM. All true and I meant it, however I was also feeling the arduous effects of it all. And despite wearing comfortable shoes, my feet hurt, my back felt stiff, I was sleep deprived from rehearsing the songs in my head over and over at night. The emotional stress and separation from this wonderful group of people – my Twa family, was taking its toll on me.
Would I do this again? Absolutely, reason why I needed a proper way to take care of myself, say thank you and good-bye to the season. And number one, on a Monday morning was just what I needed. Over the rest of the week I will put into gear number two to five after all, a gal cannot live on sleep alone.