Sleep is food for the body, mind and spirit.
Like our body needs enough water and food, it is important that we provide our body with enough sleep.
I know first hand what lack of sleep can do to us.
But on simpler terms, when we lack sleep, we are less alert and we are mentally less productive.
Yesterday, I read an article: “Why you need sleep in order to Succeed” by Anne Field
â€œSleep is not a luxury,â€ says Dr. James Oâ€™Brien, medical director of the Boston SleepCare Center in Waltham, Massachusetts. â€œItâ€™s a necessity for optimal functioning.â€
When you sleep, your brain catalogues the previous dayâ€™s experiences, primes your memory and triggers the release of hormones regulating energy, mood and mental acuity. To complete its work, the brain needs seven to eight hours of sleep. When it gets less, your concentration, creativity, mood regulation and productivity all take a hit.
There was a tip at the bottom about how to get more from your sleep.
In retrospect, one tip about sleeping in darkness confirms a few sleep stories I’d like to share.
My brother once worked for a TV news broadcasting company. At one time, he was working the police beat, following reports of evening crimes, accidents and the many “news” items that occur between 10pm to 6am — the graveyard shift.
Then he would come home at around 7am and try (try!) to get some sleep.
He blocked out his room’s windows with cardboard and tape, trying to shield as much sunlight from coming into his room. The room was dim, but not dark.
Then he would wear an eye patch to block off even more light entering his eyes.
One time I asked him “why do you bother blocking out the windows when you’re wearing your eye patch anyway?”
He replied: “I want to see the darkness.”
It was an attempt to be funny, I think (with my brother, you’re never really sure).
But I think it was an enlightened joke — he wasn’t totally in the dark there.
He wanted to sleep in darkness.
Confucius says, “Our skin has eyes”
An officemate, Rain, told me about her conversation with a Chinese friend. They happened to talk about sleep. Rain mentioned to her Chinese friend that she sleeps in her airconditioned room with the windows closed and the lights on.
Chinese friend told Rain that the body needs to sleep in darkness.
“Your skin has eyes. It cannot sleep well in bright light.”
It was odd hearing this explanation. I brushed it off back then as a myth told to children so they will not be afraid of the darkness.
The sleep tip
In the article I read yesterday, there were a few tips on how to get the most out of your sleep. One tip was:
Darken the room completely. Your brain creates a hormone called melatonin that senses when itâ€™s dark out and primes you for sleep. If you try to sleep amid too much light, your brain may decide youâ€™re not ready for bedtime after all.
Read the full article on the Business Mirror: Why you need sleep in order to Succeed” by Anne Field
So there *was* some truth to my brother needing to sleep in darkness even though his eyes were already covered. His *body* wanted to see the darkness.
Our skin doesn’t *really* have eyes. But our skin is indeed affected by light. When our body is in darkness, it tells the mind that we’re ready to get a full night’s restful sleep.
And when we wake,
we can bask in the shiny new day,
and radiate our inner brightness!