Sleep, a real snoozer

Sleep when the wind blows

Sleep, as you may know, is when the brain gets it’s royal flush from the toxins of the day. Much as the lymph system moves the toxins and congestion from the body, the brain literally gets washed nightly. During REM, from what I understand, a special fluid seeps into the brain cavity to dislodge undesirable particles and proteins that have found their way into the brain  and simply washes them away. Studies have been done on some Alzheimer patients that suggest, their brains have a build up of toxic proteins, plaque. When researchers compared the histories of these Alzheimer patients, they discovered a common link, they all had suffered severe insomnia.

Sleep when the power is out

Day 1 thru 5–Urban dwellers will find the silence deafening. Panic will set in as the addiction and craving of electronic devices and the buzz of civilization begins withdrawal symptoms. This is particularly difficult for children and adolescence who have never been without their electronic entertainment. Expect behavior problems. However, for them at least, sleep will seem to come more easily. For adults who simply are unable to sleep in deep silence, you may find yourself listening to the buzz of the fly on the window.

Newsweek magazine had a wonderful article on sleep.   In the article the author talks about sleep cycles before modern-day electricity. I found this part totally fascinating.

“Humans have been screwing with their body clocks—and getting less sleep—ever since the Wizard of Menlo Park had his very bright idea. Indeed, our classic eight-hour-night only dates back to the invention of the light bulb in the late 1800s. Historians believe that before the dawn of electric lighting most people got plenty of sleep, and practiced what they call “segmented sleep,” snoozing for several hours in the first part of the night, when darkness fell, then waking in the middle of the night for a few hours of eating, drinking, praying, chatting with friends or maybe even canoodling, before ducking back under the covers again until morning. The arrival of electricity, argues sleep historian A. Roger Ekirch, led to later bedtimes and fewer hours of sleep overall.”

I didn’t know that. But now comes the question, what happens in todays fast, noisy world when whatever (name the problem) pulled the plug on the power grid and stressful situations have upped the ante? This is the meat of this article. Stress, the tough stuff, the kind we have never experienced, cold and hunger now creep into our reality. Dear precious sleep, will it still be possible?

I am unable to discuss excess heat when trying to sleep because I have no experience with living in the southern states. I do have plenty of know-how when it comes to the cold, however;

Sleeping in the cold requires some preparation. Lots of blankets or sleeping bags to start. If you are lucky enough to have some of those shiny space blankets, put them under your sleeping bag. It creates a barrier between you and whatever you are sleeping on, plus it radiates your body heat back to you.

Always wear something on your head in bed. Do you remember “Little house on the prairie?” Laura and Mary slept in an unheated loft, they always had a head cover when they got into bed. Head coverings keep your precious body heat from escaping through your head.

Flannel jammies, long johns or sweats as night wear. Never wear jeans to bed. Heavy socks or wooly slippers help too. More than one person in a bed or sleeping bag. Add a dog or cat, they will all help keep each other warm.

Fill a hot water bottle with boiling water and place at the foot of the bed roll. Mason jars with a tight-fitting lid, then wrapped in a towel works just as well. When there is nothing else available, heat rather large rocks in the campfire and wrap in a towel at the end of the bed roll. Just the added heat is enough to relax the tired person to allow them to drift off to peaceful sleep.

Something for the medic bag

I make up this tea and keep it handy in my go bag and one for the medic bag.

1 part valerian root

1 part skullcap leaf

1/2 part hops flowers

1/2 part lavender flowers

Mix dried herbs together and place in a clean jar. Scoop out one teaspoon and put into a cup. Pour hot water over the herbs and steep for about 10 minutes, covered. Sip warm tea and put to bed for a good night sleep.

For sleep during stressful nights

These herbs are useful for restlessness and nervous insomnia. Used as a tea, use one or all in the cup with boiling water.

Valerian–Reduces the time it takes to fall asleep. A wonderful herb to use as a relaxant for insomnia and pain induced irritability.

Hops–Helps alleviates over worked muscles and cramping that keeps you from fall asleep.

Catnip and the mint family–This especially good for children. Calms nerves and adds a peaceful aroma that also helps relax.

See Cold Feet, No Sleep for a story that happened to me.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s