I woke up once to hear my dad speaking loudly in the adjacent room. It was after midnight when my father turned on the computer to make an important call using Skype. A lot of awful noise was being produced by my dad’s voice and the speakers which were crackling because the Internet signal wasn’t good enough. I, as I said, woke up and went to see what was going on in the next room. I mention to you about my father’s occupation, but I haven’t told you anything about my ten-year-old brother who was sleeping two meters away from my dad.
My little brother had probably reached the summit of his childhood characterized by all day long games and the constant interchange of positive emotions-joy, surprise, laughter, etc., and nothing to worry about during the summer vacation. There he was, sleeping heavily, motionless. I really mean that during the thirty-minute call of my fathers, my brother didn’t perform even the slightest change in his posture. My brother had placed a hand behind the neck and the other on his stomach. He appeared to me as if lying on a white puffy cloud having successfully escaped from his consciousness.
What did that make me ruminate on?
I started thinking more deeply about sleep and its relationship with one’s health. I compared myself with my brother and discovered a few striking differences which made me change my lifestyle.
I realized I was undergoing a lot more turbulent life than my brother was. I mean that I had more things to worry about compared to my brother who occasionally had his adrenalin slightly risen in a game of hide-and-seek, didn’t have to ponder over his future, especially his education and career choice. I was excessively emotionally insecure. I contemplated over my chance of getting accepted in an American Liberal Arts college, of winning a significant scholarship or financial aid, of surviving in the new place. These were goals I so much strived to achieve. Here is what the incident taught me.
I figured out that it wasn’t worth worrying about my future since my misgivings wouldn’t contribute to anything good. I cared about my future; however, to be pensive every single day was unnecessary and unhealthy. Not to be overwhelmed by misgivings didn’t mean I wasn’t interested in being successful in the future. It was unhealthy, because regular anxiety has a negative impact on one’s sleep and can also make a person chronically mentally ill. I can prove the previous sentence by elaborating a little.
The first example is from my personal experience. The school year was over and in the week which followed I used to wake up early in the morning, stressed to catch a glimpse of the clock to see if I was late for the first period. Truth is that during the school year I had had stressful incidents, for example, to get up early not to miss the first period because I was going to be examined. I didn’t fight with stress which resulted in a week of bad sleep at the onset of the summer vacation.
The second example says that there have been numerous cases in which retired soldiers have committed suicide in order to escape from the thoughts that haunted them. In fact, their careers as soldiers were deleterious, because the soldiers had faced an excessive number of uncertainties like having to engage an enemy or protect the camp from enemy assault. The daily stress these soldiers had experienced made them have emotional traumas even after the end of their services.
Sleep is a physical and mental resting state in which a person becomes relatively inactive and unaware of the environment. Sleep consists of two distinct states – the REM and the NREM sleep. In the rapid-eye-movement sleep dreams occur; the non-rapid-eye-movement sleep comprises 4 stages the third and fourth of which are the deepest. The two states alternate in 90 to 110 minutes.
Sleep is essential for one’s health because sleep provides the body and the mind with a rest and vigor for the next day.
In fact, the brain is a muscle and as every bodily muscle it needs a rest. It can have “a little” rest during sleep or meditation, but basically, the brain never stops working even when we sleep.
As for me, I started to think that I wasn’t feeling emotionally and physically well because of my anxiety about the future which impaired even my sleep. I was probably not able to enter the deepest stage of the NREM sleep or I entered it for a very short period of time and thus, couldn’t give my mind the relaxation required.
Do not be confused if you feel tired even if you sleep more time than you normally do. The brain works without cease.