- Donna Sherman
Tickets to the Land of Sleep
Updated: Aug 18, 2022
"Ugh, damn! I'm going to be a wreck tomorrow."
The clock has just taunted you with a 3 am read out and, again, you find yourself shaking the gates of the land of sleep. "Let me in, I need to enter the land of sleep!"
Now your mind begins to spin and your body fills with restless agitation.
You toss, you turn and adjust the pillow for the 20th time then take another look at the clock which now reads 3: 52 am. The cycle continues.
This scenario is way too familiar to many of us. Sleep is a state that is essential to our health and our very survival so if it is a physiologic non-negotiable why is it often so elusive and compromised? And if our sleep is less than optimal, are there ways was in which we can supplement our poor sleep with deep resting states? Yes, there are.
I’ve struggled with sleep in a significant way since I was treated for Thyroid Cancer and had my entire thyroid gland removed. No thyroid means a life-long reliance on thyroid replacement medications which do a good job of maintaining basic metabolic and endocrine functioning but are a poor substitute for the complex role that a functioning thyroid gland plays in our bodies; and thyroid replacement misses the mark when it comes to circadian rhythms. Because of this I have an intimate interest in all things sleep such as sleep science and deep restorative practices that help to repair depleted systems for those of us who get less than optimal sleep.
To distill some of the current sleep science, as well as the science of naps and deep rest, I invited renown sleep researcher, Sara Mednick, PhD to be a guest on my podcast. Sara has researched naps and sleep cycles as well as the intricate and dynamic functioning of our autonomic nervous system. Her understanding of what sleep and deep (non sleeping restorative states) are ( and how both effects our overall functioning) is detailed and evidence-based; and yet, she generously shares her knowledge in a way that is understandable, actionable and impactful. Her two books are not only full of great information but they offer clearly laid out tools and concrete methods to help us all enhance our overall health with sleep, naps and rest practices and, best of all, she does not prescribe a cookie cutter recipe for better sleep, she offers tools for listening to, and working with, your own innate rhythms. All backed up science. To get the most from Dr. Mednick's work, read her books because she manages to take her lab out into the wide world so that all of us can begin to better understand, and listen to, our bodies natural rhythmic cycles and then modify our behaviors to increase our overall health. But first, listen to my conversation with her on my Sparks In Action podcast.( Listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google, Anchor, Overcast or wherever you get your podcasts. Or, simply click on the "Sparks In Action Podcast" option on the menu bar on this site.
There is a ticket to sleep and restorative rest with your name on it. It may not look like anyone else’s ticket but it is there for you.
You can listen by clicking the "Sparks in Action Podcast' option on the menu bar of this site or via your favorite listening platform.
Sweet sleep and deep restorative rest to you,
Two books by Sara Mednick, PhD , Neuroscientist and Sleep Researcher at University of California, Irvine.
The Power of the Downstate: Recharge Your Life Using Your Body’s Own Restorative Systems (2022)
Take a Nap! Change Your Life (2016)