Ah, that wistful, dreamy Land of Nod. So how much sleep do we actually need? By mine and Digger’s reckoning it’s usually ‘just another five minutes please’ in a bleary pleading tone as Tiddler decides resting is all far too boring and it is actually high time she brought all her teddies in for approval, then sits on our heads, then pulls the warm duvet off us to giggles of laughter (from her) and steadfast resistance from us. It is a bed-ridden tug-of war.
This week, like a child possessed with an imaginary alarm clock, she has timed my week off work to coincide with a phase of her circadian rhythms going haywire. Never fear, we haven’t had bedtime trauma and tears, but rather she has lain in bed for around two hours after normal goodnight, chuntering to herself and the motley crew of cuddly animals, and if you dare to poke you head around her bedroom door she then expects another five minutes of hand holding and telling me I am her ‘best-favourite’ (not yet three and already canny to a spot of currying favour) before I can escape again. Despite this, she is then up with the proverbial larks. My other mumsy friends are still enjoying toddlers who not only sleep for a good twelve hours at night but still nap off for two hours in the afternoon. Tiddler clearly hasn’t taken that memo on board, and seems perfectly fine on her reduced sleep.
Meanwhile, Digger and I are crossing swords over who is snoring, who stole the duvet, who pinned the duvet down and nearly garrotted the other one, who is sticking their leg out over on the other side, who is too hot, who is still using a hot water bottle even though it is June (#islandlife), who is flapping the duvet too much when they turn over and letting the cold air in. Imagine this going on for a few hours until we finally succumb to utter fatigue and fall into a deep dreamless state of nothingness that lasts for approximately thirty minutes until Tiddler decides our heads are the comfiest pillow to bounce up and down on. There were three in the bed and the little one said, roll over, roll over! You get the picture I’m sure. I finally understand the concept of rugby player’s cauliflower ears.
The Dalai Lama is quoted as saying ‘sleep is the best meditation’, and I like this one too by E. Joseph Cossman, ‘The best bridge between hope and despair is a good night’s sleep’.
There is so much research into sleep, from the effects of deprivation and how that influences cognitive skills and memory let alone the physical toll on cell regeneration and the like, and also positive gain such as firing up brain activity by forming pathways in neurones while you dream away. So much more is yet unknown. The classical philosophical takes include Decartes, he of ‘I think therefore I am’ sort of concluding that each sleep is like a little death, and far more other things to consider can be found here.
To cut our long story short, as part of our minimalist/let’s-get-rid -of stuff-because-we- can’t-take-it-to-Bulgaria-with-us-anyway drive, we have mutually reached a decision to sell our double bed. And when we purchase again in future, we are going to throw thrifty skinflintery to the wind and get a king size instead. You can’t put a value on a good night’s sleep.