Rest Versus Sleep

Throughout my life I have always been aware of rest versus sleep.

Growing up I noticed my mom taking naps on Saturday afternoons, a time she called her “quiet time”. She explained to me that it was a few hours a week where she would go to her room and read, mediate or nap. Except that she would always nap. I knew if she was taking a quiet time that she appreciated it when I didn’t disturb her. Even as a younger girl I knew how crucial these few hours were for her. After all, she was a single mom of 3 and needed her rest. I never asked why she slept “so much” or why she did it, she just did.

I remember when I was sailing in the military and would arrive home, especially after the longer ones, and sleep. I don’t mean “I went to bed early and slept in”. I mean “I went to bed at a reasonable hour, slept until noon, moved to the couch, had a nap at 2 and was back in bed at 9” sleep. I was bone tired. Exhausted. Drained. On. Every. Level. I would sleep and sleep and then inevitably head back out to sea. Sometimes I would be ready, most times I was not. This went on for years and when I posted ashore and was going to school I was able to create a routine for myself that revolved around a reasonable bedtime and wake up time. This is when I was able to finally get the sleep I so desperately needed to rejuvenate my body, mind and spirit.

Once I felt reasonably rested sleep wise, I discovered my emotional, mental and spiritual body were exhausted. Much to the same degree my physical body had been. Except I couldn’t sleep this off. I had to rest, and rest I did.

For all intents and purposes, I didn’t have a life for 2 years after I released from the military. Going to get groceries was a project for the week as being out and having to put two and two together. This is where I learned about rest vs. sleep. I needed to stop and still often do. When I say I needed some, I needed to do things that fill me up emotionally, mentally and spiritually. This looks like sitting on the beach, going for a walk, cooking with my partner, laying on the couch and/or having a bath. This is not the complete list as I am adding and subtracting to it all the time. I know if I’m feeling tired and I do some of these things, I benefit greatly on many levels, as do the people around me (as exhausted, depleted, drained Ashley can be somewhat, uh…”Grumpy”…lol).

I suppose the message I am trying to get across, is how important it is to take some time out for your “Self” every day. Whether it is meditating in a quiet spot in nature, going out for a walk, meeting a good friend for lunch, listening to some great music, singing to the steering wheel, dancing (even if it’s only in your living room), or just watching a sunrise or sunset from your balcony or front porch, take some time out for YOU, every day. And it doesn’t have to talk a lot of time. Sometimes just sitting and breathing “on purpose” for a few minutes is all you need to feel revitalized and replenished so that you can feel energized and ready to take on your next task or challenge. Ultimately just find what make you happy and feel good in the moment. I promise if you do, you will begin to see and feel the enormous benefits that taking time out for you can have.


Categories: Sleep.

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