Value of a good night’s sleep

I tossed and turned all night unable to fall asleep. First, it was too hot, then too cold. Never finding the just right for a solid slumber. My mind raced heavy with worries and woes. Or maybe it was all the sweet tea I drank earlier in the day. At sunrise, I’ll be faced with much to do, do, do and a laundry list of obligations. How will I manage fresh eyes and mental focus without adequate rest? I’ve lost my way to the land of nod unable to sleep tight.

Sleep tight is my favorite bedtime story. American Colonial bedroom furniture had the traditional wooden frame with a head board, foot board, and side rails. However, box springs had yet to be designed. The bed needed a sturdy flat surface to support the mattress. Prior to the box spring, the bed frame used rope running side to side thread through each side rail in a crisscross pattern. The mattress, filled with feathers, straw, leaves, or corn husks (and often bugs), laid on top of the rope pattern. The ropes had a tendency to sag, stretch, or loosen from body weight and movements. Periodically, the rope would need to be retightened for a comfortable surface and a flat mattress; thus the expression sleep tight.

A good night’s sleep is not a luxury, but crucial to our physical and mental well-being. We have a responsibility to care for our bodies. We have a basic human need to stop and rest. Sleep deprivation effects metabolism, memory, circulation, the nervous system, and immune function. Regular lack of sleep impacts our long term health in the forms of diabetes, high-blood pressure, heart disease, depression, and a shorter life span. Life can be overwhelming and weariness becomes hefty. Rest is an invitation to rejuvenate the mind, body, and soul. Lay down your burdens to get a full night of quality sleep. Sleep is necessary for the body to repair itself, reduce stress, and prevent cancer. Sleep is also vital for better concentration, enhanced creativity, weight control, memory improvement, and sound decision-making. Cease from labor to refresh and regroup.

My night time routine no longer requires a tightened rope, but the practice of preparing for a restful evening serves a purpose. Sleep tight, tightly, soundly for a little sleep, a little slumber; a little folding of the hands to rest is essential to tackle each day healthy and victorious because everything looks better in the morning.

The numbers on my clock began to look blurry. I drifted off to half-awake half asleep where thoughts become dreams. Behind my closed eyes is an antique rope bed, a brown tweed blanket tucked down beneath the clean white pillow. A drowsy seduction unfolds. My to-do list no longer stomping around in my brain screaming each and every task I have yet to finish. Tomorrow is another day. My shoulders light and relaxed as I sink deeper under the covers of peace and quiet. Tomorrow is another day. Tonight I sleep tight.

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Stephanie Yates is a pipeline wife and community volunteer who resides in the Mid-Ohio Valley.