SLEEP ... The Best Medicine

If you ask any of my 8 children what they do when they feel unwell, they will tell you that they go to sleep.  

I have always believed that sleep is the best medicine and there have been very few times when I have had to use 'real' medicine to restore my children, or myself, back to health.  

Of course, there have been times when fevers or injury have called for 'real' medicine and I have no problem with this, but for general under the weatherness, sleep is definitely the best medicine.  

Headaches in particular respond well to a nice nap.  

There are many opinions on what is the optimum time for a good nap is.  As far as I am concerned, if you are going back to bed because you feel unwell, sleep until you wake up, there is no perfect length of time.  Your body will tell you when its ready to get up again.  

Sleep also works the other way  - too little sleep causes irritability and inability to function efficiently.  If sleep deprivation continues it will quickly have a physical effect on the body.  The immune system becomes compromised and illness thrives.  

The opinions on how long we should sleep at night are a little more solid: less than 6 hours or more than 9 is not recommended.  I would say 7 1/2 is best, based on the fact that a normal sleep cycle is about 90 minutes.  Five full sleep cycles seems like a good goal and it has always served me well.

As adults our sleep pattern is essential If we are to maintain our health and lifestyles.

So, what do we do if we can't sleep or the sleep that we are getting is restless and not restorative?  

The Mental Health Foundation   has a check list  for good sleep which I think sums it up perfectly;

HEAL - the four pillars of good sleep 





Each one of these points should be considered if we are to sleep better and ultimately function at our best.