I happened to see several posts on the Internet this week about mothers and their greatest wish for Mother’s Day. It was something that I know most mothers need. It is something that has healing properties, is essential for our overall wellness, contributes to healthy metabolism and is necessary to keep our sanity. Yes, it is – rest.
To be extremely honest, I had no idea how important sleep and rest were, until three decades in to my life on this planet. I had spent a third of my life sleeping and napping and resting but it wasn’t until my health started to fall apart, in my early 30’s, that I understood what happens when our body does not feel well rested.
While working as a police officer on the first night shift of a set, my routine was to try to get up early that morning and have a long nap in the afternoon. I would then head down the highway to the detachment for my 6pm shift start of a 12 hour shift. After my shift was over, I would sleep from 7am, for several hours, well into the late afternoon, before eating and getting ready for my next night shift. This was before my daughter was born.
One of these night shift days, I had company stop in for an unexpected visit. My company stayed for a few hours in the afternoon. I could barely get a power nap in before having to get ready for work but I figured that I would be fine.
Even though I didn’t drink coffee at the time, I resorted to drinking Coca-Cola to try to stay awake. That night, after making an arrest, I was at the detachment with the prisoner in the cell and the guard watching him.
As I was at the desk doing up some paperwork, I began to feel a bit light headed and tired. I remember having to put my head down on my arms because I felt like the cells in my body were vibrating, almost like I was feeling drunk.
I decided to splash some water on my face in the nearby washroom. I left the door open as I turned on the tap, running the cold water. The next thing I knew, I was waking up in an ambulance.
I had apparently passed out, with the water running, banging my head on the sink on the way down, in full uniform and gun belt. The guard had supposedly heard me fall and found me half way between the hall and the washroom. Although I was perfectly fine, other than a goose egg bruise on my head, I had literally collapsed from exhaustion.
It is remarkable how important sleep is. Just ask the mother of a newborn how easy it is to forget things, get irritated, break down in tears and barely manage a shower. The lack of sleep can mimic intoxication and can cause moodiness, lack of motivation, depressive thinking, increased appetite, cravings for carbohydrates, decreased concentration and reduced libido, just to name a few symptoms.
I can certainly see why many mothers are asking for some rest, on this special day. Even if you are not a parent, whether you are working shift work, have people to care for, have a stressful job, are taking educational courses or have many responsibilities on your plate, the quality of your sleep and rest can make the difference between mastering these tasks or leading you to feel completely off kilter.
If you or someone you love is not resting or sleeping properly, it may be able to explain issues in other areas of life. Sleep problems, whether permanent or temporary, can interfere with relationships, physical health and mental health, just to name a few.
On that note, if you are not sure how to celebrate a mother today, maybe just taking the kids for a few hours or allowing Mom to have a nap or schedule a future day and time where she can rest or catch up on some much needed down time. As a matter of fact, doing this any time of the year just might make a Mom happier, healthier and contribute to her sunnier disposition.
Read up on the benefits of short power naps, tips for improving sleep quality, detrimental effects of blue light on our phones and making quality sleep and rest a priority. When I have felt the most stressed in my life it was after years of shift work or when my normal sleep schedule is interrupted.
A good sleep has many magical powers. It can turn bad days into better days, turn bad moods into better moods and can improve relationships…
‘I don’t want to sleep like a baby. I just want to sleep like my husband.’ ~ Author Unknown