A World of Noise
So last night it was a gorgeous night for sleeping, meaning all the windows are open and the breeze was like out of a dream. And then the trucks began. In my little town, it is quite quiet until Monday morning, holiday or no, when a company on the outside of town sends out its dump trucks, construction trucks, garbage trucks, pick-up trucks, and probably any other truck known to man, all empty so they rattle and make the most god-awful noise when they go over any bump in the road... all at 4:30 in the morning. So of course I wake up in the blink of an eye out of a sound sleep causing my cat to be launched across the room while I have the insane urge to go running out across the front lawn to the road and start screaming with every obscenity I ever learned in every language at the blatant disregard for the idea of peaceful sleep. But the truth is that not only is my peaceful rest disturbed on Mondays at 4:30 AM, but the idea of peaceful rest doesn't really exist anymore.
Which makes me wonder if that is a key aspect of disease and our ability to handle challenges, both with our immunity and our nervous system. During our sleep our body begins to rebuild damaged cells, restore biochemical reserves and power up our immunity. We think about all the toxins that our ancestors were exposed to and think how much healthier we must be, but the rise in serious illness including cancer, is undeniable. Is it because these essential functions during rest aren't happening as much? Are mutated cells and damaged DNA allowed to overwhelm our systems because we aren't giving our bodies the right rest or enough of it?
Not only is our sleep disturbed by the idea of emptying the garbage at 4:30 in the morning, but by the hordes of motorcycles that roar by early Sunday mornings, the people next door that watch television in their bedroom at full volume until 2:00 in the morning and even the 5:30 AM joggers who think nothing of laughing hysterically at jokes as they SLOWLY jog by my house. I used to think that the reason I slept later in the winter was the extended darkness hours, but it might be the fact that all the windows are closed and the noise is buffered by snow on the roads. I even thought that visiting a friend of mine deep in the woods for a little vacation would be restful, but she had a woodpecker that must have been the size of a pterydactyl and was on the night shift.
Many people can't sleep without noise, such as a fan, the television or the sound of falling rain. Insomnia is one of the most common complaints I hear from clients which makes me think we are the generation of sleepless zombies, living with night noise, a snoring sleep partner or a dog that insists on taking up more than half the bed.
We seem to get used to this. I remember when my friend Brian lived on Beacon Street near the common, it never phased him to hear the roar of cars and their stereos racing up Beacon Street at 3AM on Saturday night, or the roll of shopping carts up the alleyway behind the building of people looking for recyclables. But our body is designed to adapt. Just because we think we slept well doesn't mean we actually rested enough to restore our systems. We may be living with low thyroid, adrenal fatigue and symptoms of illness only because we haven't really rested.
So before trying anything else, try real rest. Close the windows, get ear plugs, put the dog out, buy a Breath Right strip for your partner and really see what sleep can do for you. I think the lack of sleep is one of the biggest factors in our lack of symptom resolution. So really, give it a rest!