Dr Airdre Grant.
Dr Airdre Grant.

Blessed are the ones who sleep

NYX, the goddess of the night, is mother to Hypnos, the god of sleep. Hypnos had a twin brother Thanatos who was the God of Death. Each night we seek the oblivion of sleep as an elixir where can rest and recover from our worries and obsessions. We can turn away from our restless ever pacing minds and sink into the divine darkness that is rest. We enter the embrace of Hypnos.

When we don't sleep, we go slightly crazy. Anyone who has been an insomniac knows how hard it is to face the world with equanimity, when the mind and body have not rested. A deep, uninterrupted sleep is balm for the soul.

I count sleep as sacred, having been, at one time in my life in early motherhood, a raging insomniac. I learned then, if someone is sleeping, leave them be. The bedroom is a place of sanctuary. No television there for me. I banish screens. I turn my phone off. I check out and wait for Hypnos.

I like my bedroom. I like smooth sheets, an open window and pillows just right. Indeed, I am annoyingly fussy about pillows. I am told that some hotels have a pillow menu. Here is a place that respects the sleep and the value of a rested and revived customer.

Recently I met someone who boasted they hardly slept. They only needed 3-4 hours of sleep, they said, and this enabled them to "get so much done”. This person immediately became less interesting to me. Why anyone would dedicate their life to "getting stuff done” and be proud of it, was a complete mystery to me. There could be no future for a relationship with this person.

I adore sleep and the world of dreams. There is a brief moment when I wake up, when my mind is empty and I can lie in semi -wakefulness and simply be, before the day rushes in. This moment between the worlds, when I am leaving the embrace of Hypnos, is so delicious it should not be squandered. Here I might have insights, decisions resolved or clarity about what to do with something that has been worrying me. Here I receive messages from my subterranean self.

So you won't find me boasting about little sleep I need, or measuring my worth by "busyness”. You will find me looking dreamy when reading catalogues about bed linen or talking about the deliciousness of sleeping in sundried sheets.

In these upcoming holidays I suggest everyone take midday naps and have long sleep-ins. The world would be a better place if we were all well rested.