Friday, January 3, 2014

Sleep -- Nature's First Homeopathic Remedy

So on New Year's Eve, I started feeling puny about 10 pm or so., while driving home from a party we'd gone to at a coworker's house.  Thinking it was something I ate, I went to bed and suffered from an upset stomach all night, which left me tossing and turning until morning, at which point I felt even worse than before.

So needless to say, New Year's Day was not fun for me.  And realizing that, I took to my bed -- first from 11 am until about 1 pm that day, and then again at 7 :30 pm until 8:30 am the following day.  For those of you keeping track, that means I slept approximately 15 hours within a 24 hour period.  And, not surprisingly, I awoke yesterday feeling like the walking wounded -- still not 100 percent, but leagues better than I had been the day before.  I was even able to go into work, and found my energy had returned to about 100 percent of normal by noon.

In our modern society, where we are always going, going, going, we lament illnesses not so much as alarming physical symptoms that mean the wonderful machine known as our body is fighting off some kind of microscopic invader, but rather as inconveniences, impediments from going to work, from accomplishing, and from doing ever more.

And because of that, we miss out on nature's most powerful restorative, that of sleep.  Sleep, where the body quiets and our immune system can fight, unhindered by stress.  Sleep, where damaged cells are rejuvenated, and where the body lies still enough to heal.

We don't like sleep much in our society, in fact, get a group of hard workers together and it often turns into a brag-fest about how little sleep each one thinks they need each night.  But, ultimately, I think lack of sleep results in nothing but illness, both short and long-term.  And especially when we're ill, I think the worst thing we can do is take some kind of pill to enable ourselves to keep going when our body is telling us, in clear and simple language, that we just need to STOP.

So my advice to my homesteading friends who are going to suffer from colds or flu this year is this:  Get your farm chores done (or better yet, have someone do them for you), go inside the house, tuck yourself into bed and sleep.  Just sleep.  Let your body manage your healing the way it best knows how to do.

Because somewhere deep down inside you, as you snuggle under the covers and fall into the exhausted sleep we only get when we're truly ill, your body will fight the good fight and you will awake,  weak but healing, slightly drained but on the path to restoration.  

Sleep is the best medicine, and is truly the first homeopathic remedy, used for as long as mankind has been mankind.


  1. This is so interesting. I've never thought of sleep as the body' s defense system. I've never been someone who can sleep for a long time. I go to bed early and wake up usually far earlier than I feel ready to. But I've been amazed at just how much I can sleep in times of (relative) crisis. I remember after my one truly terrible breakup on a Wednesday I think I only had been awake six hours or so by Saturday. There have been so many times I've wished I could sleep like that since!

    1. Sleep is not always easy for me either, but I think just getting under the covers and quietly resting is good, too, especially when you're sick! I just know when I'm feeling awful, that moment I climb into bed I can almost hear my body saying thank you. It certainly feels that way, anyway. And of course your memory of the bad breakup tells me that our bodies will sometimes make us sleep in order to help us deal with trauma.