Last Friday was apparently World Sleep Day. I must have slept through it...
Or, more likely, I was just too tired from lack
of sleep to celebrate. Whose idea was World Sleep Day anyway? 2021 was the fourteenth annual World Sleep Day, which this year marked the event with a somewhat forgettable slogan: “Regular Sleep, Healthy Future.” Had I not been asleep, I could have
even organised an event to promote the week. A Pyjama Party would have been particularly appropriate, had we been allowed to get together in these Lockdown Days.
wouldn’t have known anything about World Sleep Day were it not for Fergie the Fitbit who made sure to tell me all about it, not content with nagging me to get moving at regular intervals when I haven’t completed 250 steps in an hour and awarding
me badges (including, if my memory serves me right, a penguin badge - is that a reference to my waddling through my daily steps?)
While we are talking about badges
- both the Middle and the Youngest of the Darling Daughters have just had their jabs and both received stickers, presumably as proof that they were brave girls. I was every bit as brave when I was jabbed but nobody offered me a sticker. There seems to me to
be a bit of Sticker Discrimination going on and I’m telling you now, it needs to stop. The Middle of the Darling Daughters has sent me a photo of her sticker by way of compensation. I am ever so slightly mollified.
But I digress. Which may be dangerous in case any of you dropped off while I was digressing. Let’s return to the subject of sleep.
The Darling Daughters once told me that when they were but littl’uns they actually believed that I never went to sleep at night. I think this is possibly the loveliest compliment they ever paid me. Rather, they imagined,
I lay awake all night waiting the moment when one of The Foursome wandered in because they (i) felt proper poorly; (ii) they were thirsty; (iii) they were worried about tomorrow’s test on the seven times table; or (iv) they had woken up from a horrible
nightmare ( not necessarily about the seven times table) and needed a cuddle. I always have tremendous sympathy for the last of these having suffered terribly from nightmares as a child. Indeed, I used to try to keep my Little Sister awake by telling her stories
every night - until she fell asleep (possibly out of boredom?) leaving me to face “nights terrors overhead” as Walter de la Mare puts it in his poem “And So To Bed” which sums up perfectly my daily dread:
“‘Night-night, my precious!’ ‘Sweet dreams, sweet!’,
‘Heaven bless you, child,’ the accustomed grown-ups said.
Two eyes gazed mutely back that none could meet
Then turned to face Night’s terrors overhead.”
The information on the World Sleep Day website is, well, sleep-inducing. There is a long description of how our internal clock is regulated by a part of our brain called the suprachiasmatic nucleus of the hypothalamus. I mention this
partly because I do like the Daily Blog to come over all educational from time to time - but mainly to suggest that you might prefer some other night-time reading material.
Unfortunately the World Sleep Day website doesn’t have any helpful ideas about tackling nightmares which is surely a missed opportunity. I can, however, offer a solution provided by the younger of my two brothers when I woke up sobbing with fright
“Turn your pillow over,” he advised me. “All the nightmares will be squashed underneath it.” Do you know, it works. Since growing
up and becoming in turn a mother, then a grandmother, I have made use of his fraternal advice on many fraught occasions.
For peaceful, nightmare-free nights, and
as my way of marking World Sleep Day, I thoroughly recommend it...