The Power of Rest


Sleeplessness, for whatever reason it is occurring, I have found to be the absolute worst thing that can happen to an otherwise healthy person.

Short nights, interrupted sleep, insomnia…these culprits right here have one outcome: they leave us tired.

I know this to be true for myself. When I get into an insomnia cycle, or have a series of short nights, I get tired and subsequently get a very, very short fuse. I get clumsy: when I am tired like that I break record numbers of dishes and have managed to hit my own head on a cupboard, a door frame, a wall I didn’t notice was there. It’s just awful when it’s happening, because there is nothing to be done in the moment. I just need to be able to sleep.

…And yet so often, sleep refuses to come.

When it happens to others

It’s far easier to see it when it’s happening to someone else. This last month, it has been happening to my youngest scalawag.

He’s four and a half. He’s a whirling dervish, although good natured with no bad intentions. We made the decision, given the fact that bedtime had become a circus with him, to reduce and then cut out altogether his nap. (This, and, you may remember, he is the reason I started getting up at 4:00AM: I wanted to be up 15 minutes before everyone else, although eventually his wake ups evened out to be around 6:00, the 4:00 stuck for me.)

Here’s the rub: the circus at night went away when we cut the nap. But he still woke up at 6:00. And, the worst part, he was becoming kinda mean and unpredictable., especially in the afternoons. When he was tired.

What could we do? We couldn’t just not take him to the park.

This went on for about three weeks. It broke my heart to see him so overtired. He wasn’t happy about it, we weren’t happy about it.

And so I started putting him to bed thirty minutes earlier. I feared the circus. No circus. Same wake up time, though, but that was okay. He was still getting thirty more minutes of sleep.

Then, we went to Mamy and Papy’s house in the country, where it is so quiet at night that you can hear the stars humming in the sky.

The child slept until 7:30AM.

And he remained his charming self all day. No crises.

There is a one to one relationship between getting enough sleep and having a good day, and this is not just true for scalawags.

If you need to rest

Please rest. Please get some sleep. Please, take a nap. Please, go to bed early. Please, get up late.

There is no match for sleep when it comes to feeling more satisfied with our lives. Having a constant countdown til bedtime in the back of our heads is no way to live, it just reminds us of how miserable we are!

Please find a way. Make rest a priority.

Published by Lily Fields

I am passionate about contentment. This is a challenge, because I am equally passionate about progress. I get up at 4:00AM to chip away at a solution to this monolithic problem: how to make progress on my contentment. Born and raised in the USA, I married a French philosophy teacher in 1999. We have lived in France since 2007. We stayed young and carefree until life threw us two curveballs in the form of little humans one after another in 2015 and 2017 respectively. Now I am a slightly older, slightly more exhausted version of myself, but with mystery stains on my walls and a never-ending pile of laundry.

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