Yet another uncontrollable yawn?

sleep-learning.jpgIt is a swooning hot summer afternoon, 2.45 pm and as usual I am running late. I walk out of the hostel wishing to find a rickshaw right outside. Unfortunately, there is none, I walk a little ahead and find one. “Bhaiyaa…” , I say.
“Bhaiya…metro station janaa hai”, I try to be louder.

And then, there comes a moment of truth. I look closely at his face, blissful ,peaceful and content. Perched carefully on an exactly 70 X 30 cm wide bed he sleeps blissfully without anything on his mind. His legs dangling away and his head rested on a mere metal rod.

What are those extra two-rupees to him, that he argued for this morning ? Or his sore back which reeks of pain at every sudden movement? Sleep comes to him like a balm which relieves him of all troubles big and small. It comes to him at a time when the sun is at hottest and amidst all the honking of cars he sleeps under the shade of a solitary tree oblivious to the world around him. And he sleeps and he snores and he smiles…

It’s the ultimate destination ,the perfect escape route and the best way to rejuvenate…

Sleep is one of those taken-for-granted things. Everyone has to do it so everyone does it. Ever wondered why? Ever wondered why those 10 extra minutes every morning mean so much and why all rationality is forgotten even during that important lecture, when you MUST listen. Sleep is the natural suspension of voluntary bodily functions. It is a state when all the muscles of the body are completely relaxed. If sitting up, the person may fall out of his or her chair as sleep deepens.

For all those who think they can do with all those little hours of sleep and extra doses of caffeine, its time for a reality check. Estimates say that fatigue or lack of proper sleep is involved in one of six fatal road accidents. The 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill off Alaska, the Challenger space shuttle disaster and the Chernobyl nuclear accident have all been attributed to human errors in which sleep-deprivation played a role. It has been demonstrated that the metabolic activity of the brain decreases significantly after 24 hours of sustained wakefulness. Sleep deprivation results in a decrease in body temperature, a decrease in immune system function as measured by white blood cell count, and a decrease in the release of growth hormone. Sleep deprivation can also cause increased heart rate variability. It also leads to impairment of memory and physical performance and reduced ability to carry out mathematical calculations. If sleep deprivation continues, hallucinations and mood swings may develop. Whew!! So there is lot which can go wrong if one compromises on sleep.

So the next time you are struggling to keep your eyelids open to meet that deadline or to finish that one last topic for the exam the next day, maybe you should shut them and sleep. Probably the rickshaw-wallah would have earned those extra 10 bucks by choosing not to sleep, but by choosing to sleep he chose a fresh mind and better performance.

Sleep, that’s what I am basically asking you to do. Sleep not just because its necessary to sleep, sleep because its natures way of telling you you’ve had enough its time for you to lie down, shut your eyes and detach from the fast paced world! And trust me its really ok to sleep for those extra 15 minutes if you wish to, it will only do you good…

P.S. Sweet dreams!!

Vatsala Tibrewalla