A Shock to Our Systems
Do you live where Daylight Saving Time has gone into effect recently? If so, today you may feel out of sync, sleep-deprived. The loss of even one hour of sleep pushes one’s biorhythms out of kilter.
Who’s to Blame: Daylight Saving Time
In the wee hours of Sunday clocks moved forward one hour, delaying sunrise and adding evening daylight. According to one source, a New Zealander proposed the modern idea of DST in 1895. Germany followed in 1916. Many other country since then have followed the spring ahead/fall behind routine, especially since the energy crisis of the 1970s.
The time change has been loved or hated ever since. My author friend Janet Givens provides a well-researched blog post on the topic. Her research explodes the myth that Daylight Saving Time is supported by farmers.
Sleep: A Cure
Medical journals including Psychology Today, often publish articles about sleep or the lack thereof. Such pieces also regularly appear in the table of contents of women’s magazine and AARP journals.
Literature is replete with references to sleep. In Shakespeare’s tragedy, Macbeth, who has recently murdered King Duncan, knows his sleep will be troubled or interrupted even as he ruefully ticks off its benefits:
“Sleep that knits up the raveled sleeve of care / The death of each day’s life, sore labour’s bath / Balm of hurt minds, great nature’s second course, Chief nourisher in life’s feast.” Act 2, Scene ii
- Sleep repairs the unraveled parts of our lives, knits them up.
- Sleep comes at the end of the day; it looks like a little death.
- Sleep brings bodily relief from pain as do baths.
- Sleep refreshes the mind.
- Sleep is essential to life. We can’t do without it.
In Search of Forty Winks, Patricia Marx comments:
Ben Franklin and the Bible on Sleep
Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise. ~ Benjamin Franklin
The sleep of a laboring man is sweet, whether he eat little or much: the abundance of the rich will not suffer him to sleep. ~ Eccl. 5:1
Our son Joel was fast asleep embracing his teddy bear knitted by his Great Aunt Ruthie. He may have been dreaming of riding his skate board or playing with match-box cars. As a nine-year-old, he was certainly not worrying about caring for children, the needs of a wife, mortgage payments, or at-work performance.
Wordsworth offers a philosophical perspective on sleep:
Here is the first stanza of a nursery rhyme Joel probably heard before he fell asleep:
Wee Willie Winkie runs through the town,
Up stairs and down stairs in his night-gown,
Tapping at the window, crying at the lock,
Are the children in their bed, for it’s past ten o’clock?
Comments about sleep, advice about getting more of it? Your wisdom welcome here. All creatures need down time, even inanimate ones. Note that there is a sleep button on your computer, just above re-start.
Answer key to limericks published March 9, 2016