Monday, December 12, 2011
MY WEEKEND “CURE DE SOMMEIL”
This past weekend I didn’t post anything because I came down with a horrible cold, accompanied by full-blown flu symptoms. On Saturday I slept over 14 hours, and yesterday I slept about 20 hours. Today I’m almost recovered, ready to go in to work and give a final exam. When I’m sick, this is what my body tells me to do - just sleep till I’m better, and it seems to work wonders.
When I was a kid living in France, I remember hearing someone say that she was going to go do a cure de sommeil - a sleep cure. I don’t know exactly what it entailed, but I imagined that she just went to relaxing place far away from all distractions and slept to her heart’s content. An informal cure de sommeil is how I deal with migraines, flu, and anything else that hits me.
People in this society don’t get enough sleep. In the US, anyway, there’s a puritan idea that “early to rise” is somehow virtuous, and that work done before 10 AM is more valuable than the same work done later in the day. Many people have to be at work by 5 or 6 AM, and even school children have to be at school by 7. This time of year, they’re out in the cold and the dark waiting for the school bus. It seems cruel, especially for teenagers, who need to sleep in.
During the fall academic quarter, I was getting up at 7:00 every morning, which is not a good thing given that I typically don’t go to sleep until 1:00-2:00 AM. I need my 8 hours. Getting sick was probably a reaction to chronic sleep deprivation, allowing me to finally catch up a bit. I figure that if I’m able to sleep 20 hours at a stretch, my body must need it. Everybody needs a cure de sommeil from time to time. I highly recommend it! And don't wait to get sick.
[Sleeping Beauty painting by Henry Mynell Rheam, 1899]