heatherfromthegrove’s New Year’s Revelation No 5 of 7: Get some sleep

“The best cure for insomnia is to get a lot of sleep.”
W. C. Fields

I think I must have been a cat in a past life.  I’m not sure whether I’m nocturnal by nature, or simply an insomniac.  One thing is for certain: I do not sleep very much.  And when I do, it’s a light sleep that is easily disturbed by sound or motion.

Most “night” people (a.k.a. insomniacs) know, in theory, that sleep is essential to good health and well-being.  In practice, however, we fool ourselves into thinking that we’re doing some of our best work late at night, when everything is silent and still.  Actually, a good night’s sleep will boost overall productivity by a much greater degree than a sleepless night will.  

5 simple reasons why sleeping through the night is a good thing:

  1. It improves your memory
  2. Boosts creativity
  3. Gives you more energy
  4. Makes you feel younger
  5. Makes you look younger
“Think in the morning. Act in the noon. Eat in the evening. Sleep in the night.”
William Blake

5 medically-proven reasons why prolonged bouts of not sleeping can kill you:

  1. May cause inflammation which, in turn, may result in high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, diabetes, arthritis, premature aging and death
  2. May cause your metabolism to slow down and your weight to increase
  3. May make you accident-prone
  4. May contribute to depression and/or mood swings
  5. May adversely affect your immune system – making you more susceptible to colds, viruses, pneumonia
“Your life is a reflection of how you sleep, and how you sleep is a reflection of your life.”
Dr. Rafael Pelayo

Did you know that approximately 40 million Americans suffer from over 70 sleep disorders? I kid you not.  

So, how much sleep do we really need? Although it depends on the person, the general credo is that 7-8 hours sleep (for adults) is ideal. The National Sleep Foundation has provided a chart showing the ideal sleep duration per age group, including the ideal time to go to sleep – see below:

sleepchart

Personally, I intend to make an effort to sleep more (and earlier).  The odds will not be in my favor, if I don’t make this critical life change.

To all the insomniacs out there: please, please get some sleep!

“And if tonight my soul may find her peace in sleep, and sink in good oblivion, and in the morning wake like a new opened flower then I have been dipped again in God, and new created.”
D.H. Lawrence

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Summer Harvest in The Grove

mangoes

Mango Tree

In my town of Coconut Grove – an eclectic South Florida village and bohemian haven to local writers, artists, architects and musicians – summer harvest is in full swing. Virtually every house in The Grove is surrounded by lush tropical flora and fruit trees. Starfruit, sea grapes, lemons, oranges, avocados, mangoes, lychee, guava, coconuts, figs, and olives. As they  ripen, the pungent smells fill the air.  What abundance! And, how grateful we are that the daily spurts of tropical rain, followed by sunshine and steamy, hot air provide the perfect climate for growth. 

Starfruit

Starfruit (“Carambola”) Tree

In this sustainable environment, not only does nature produce a rich bounty for individual households and all the outdoor creatures that inhabit the yards (birds, cats, possum, squirrels, frogs, lizards and geckos), it also encourages neighborliness. Just the other day, one of my neighbors dropped by with a bag full of mangoes from her tree.  Everyone shares their harvest. It is not uncommon to see baskets of fruit  set outside a front gate, with a sign saying “Please help yourself. Enjoy!”

My sea grape trees cascade over the front yard, providing shade for the sidewalk and part of the street.  Hanging from the branches, the ripe grapes are a welcome treat to anyone strolling by.  Blending (chameleon-like) with the large, green sea grape leaves, the mischievous parrots teeter precariously as they hop from branch to branch – tipsy from indulging in  their very own bacchanalian feast. Their loud and gleeful squawking can be heard from one end of the street to the other. Their joy is infectious.  

Just this morning, I stood smiling as I looked up at the parrots.  My smile turned into a belly laugh when several grape pits pinged my forehead. I’m sure those naughty feathered creatures did it on purpose, but I didn’t mind.  Not at all.  I’m just deeply thankful that my trees are bearing fruit and that they are being savoured by animals and humans alike.

“The thankful receiver bears a plentiful harvest.”
William Blake

seagrape

Sea Grape Tree and Parrot (posing for the camera)