Time does not heal all wounds. It’s S L E E P

Yes, you guessed it correctly. This post is about sleep and its importance. One can not talk about sleep and not refer to Matthew Walker. Walker has extensively studied the science of sleep and most of his lectures/masterclasses/podcasts begin by explaining the importance of good sleep, because if we understand its gravity, then we will pay the required attention for better mental and physical health.

The best argument I can give about the significance of sleep is that every species sleeps, therefore, we all need rest, even babies in utero sleep. Sleep is important not only to muscles and the restoration of energy but also to the mind. Most, if not all, mental health disorders have as a common denominator the disturbance of sleep. 

Without much jargon, our sleep is structured in such a way that there is time to relax the body and consolidate the stored information in our minds. For that reason, before and after learning we need sufficient good quality sleep in order to glue together any new information. So how does sleep, and not time, heal all wounds? Due to the plasticity of the brain, we can dissect emotion from memory when we sleep. Therefore, when we wake up new memories are consolidated without the same intensity of that particular emotion. 

Unfortunately, our mind was not built based on today’s circumstances and distractions. Hence, you may find yourself having difficulty falling asleep. Here are some practical tips:

  • Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine before sleep
  • Take your last drink and food 4 hours before sleep
  • Sleep in a comfortable place (make sure your mattress is good, the room is dark, not too cold/hot, and quiet)
  • Use your bed only  for sleep and sex
  • Don’t force yourself to sleep
  • Take deep breaths.

Lack of sleep or bad quality of sleep signals a disturbance in the system. Then, this disturbance is reinforced because of the lack of sleep. Therefore, if you find yourself having difficulty sleeping, consult your mental health therapist and practitioner as soon as possible. Leaving untreated your lack of sleep may worsen the situation.