Sleep as the Most Important Meal of the Day

Recently I came back from a short trip to Hong Kong. It was a tiring trip. Tiring because it involved a number of people (6 in fact) and also because the itinerary included everything except sufficient sleep and downtime in the hotel room. So while on paper we retired to the room at midnight everyday and only gathered at 8.45am (a good eight plus hours), in reality it was: Reach hotel at midnight, unwind in front of the tv and have supper 30mins, bathe 30 mins, pack the stuff we bought for the day 15 mins, check that everything was ready for tomorrow 15 mins, dry my hair and facial care 30 mins = Sleep at 2am and wake up at 7.30am to get ready. Zero downtime for me since TV didn’t count as relaxation. I had brought my journal but never got around to use it.

As a result, the trip felt unsatisfying and it took me 2 weeks to really recover myself and settle into my schedule prior to the trip, which included daily Reiki, prayer, journal and my job search. The viewpoint of the itinerary creator was that sleep can wait. Yes, probably to some extent and for most young people. But at what cost?

Having been born and lived in urban Singapore all my life, I am no stranger to sleep deprivation. I can still remember the late night cramming for exams, projects and also giving in to the temptation of internet chats and video games, resulting in only 5-6 hours of sleep daily. And not too far off, the stress of balancing home duties, work duties, me time and me-other-half time. And in the peak hours of the early morning, there is always someone in the working crowd who has his head rolling about as they doze off on the trains, much to the chagrin of the ones sitting next to them.

Sleep deprivation is more than detrimental to the sensitive soul and introvert as they process more in their heads. Here are some effects that I felt over the two-week recuperation period:

1. Brain Fogginess

It feels like you are still stuck in a dream state after you wake up. The brain is clogged up and you find yourself having to push yourself for action. I think I usually feel like I haven’t completed my previous task of sleeping and hence my brain doesn’t move forward to doing the next one which is brush my teeth. And if you have to get moving, your motions seem to be on auto-pilot, with no actual awareness of what you are really doing.

2. Lack of Motivation 

This follows after point No.1, that because you are doing most of your tasks on auto-pilot and feeling numb most of the day, quite likely you will be demotivated to complete whatever tasks you intended to do the previous day, making your day quite unproductive.

3. Lack of Focus 

This is also linked to No.1 and No.2. For people who are working on affirmations or prayers, they require a consistent effort and dedication to set aside some time each day for these. It isn’t really the amount of time as it is really about the habit and focus. So you could be reciting the affirmations daily but if you are not focused on it ie. you are only reading aloud, it doesn’t bring about a positive vibe to your psyche. As in a previous post, I tend to read my prayers twice as the first time my mind is usually wandering due to the repetition of it. So if you are sleepy, quite likely you will zone out as you read them and it makes affirmations pretty useless since the mind isn’t focused on it.

4. Falling Asleep during Reiki

There isn’t anything wrong really, if you fall asleep while giving yourself Reiki, because it is such a relaxing treatment. I find that if I am well-rested, I can stay awake and in a relaxed state throughout 35 minutes. But if I am sleep-deprived, I will fall asleep and find myself suddenly awake anytime between 10 minutes to 1 hour later. It kind of peeves me off because I use the 35 minutes of Reiki as sort of a meditation as well. Sleeping is a kind of meditation they say, but what is the use of meditation if you are unconscious of it?

5. Dumbs down Intuition

As an Aries, I feel that the magic and joy of life sometimes comes from being able to explore places on a whim. I do it if I feel an urge to go somewhere or eat something, regardless of whether it’s coming from my intuition or not. Tiredness just dampens that “feel”. This results in a pretty lethargic Aries who doesn’t know where to eat or do even if they have all the time and money in the world.

So everyone can’t do without food and water. Too little and your body tells you it’s hungry or thirsty. It’s a biological mechanism. So is sleep. Similarly, your body tells you that it is sleep-deprived. But so often we choose to stave off sleep in order to do that few more things in the day or to play an extra hour. Can we treat sleep as a meal and feed our bodies first thing in the day? All we need is a change of mindset and understand that sleep can do far worse to a sensitive or introvert compared to majority of humans.

Now how about a sleep buffet over the weekend?

 

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