Top of Mind
Rest, Reset, and Recharge
By Crown Affair
We’re all taking in a lot right now. We’re learning, having (often difficult) discussions, and living in a constant news cycle amid ongoing racial injustice and a global pandemic. Unfortunately, without proper rest and sleep, much of what we’re learning may not stick long-term. So, call your representatives, read what you need to read, share what you need to share, and attend protests if that’s part of your activism. But after that? Go to sleep.
According to the National Institute of Health, sleep is crucial for learning new things, and not sleeping can reduce your ability to learn by 40%. When you sleep, your brain cycles through three different phases: light sleep, deep sleep, and REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, which repeat every 90 minutes. During non-REM cycles, we prepare ourselves for learning new things the next day, while in REM, we piece together memories and new information and strengthen them in our mind. Per a recent Harvard report, REM plays an even bigger role in knowledge-based memory (called declarative memory), especially if it is emotionally charged and complex.
In addition to impacting memory and learning, long-term sleep deprivation can weaken your immune system, increase your risk of higher blood pressure and heart disease, and can lead to hair loss. For your best rest, try to go to sleep at the same time every night to create a consistent sleep-wake rhythm, turn off your phone and TV at least one hour before bed, and create a nighttime ritual like a hot bath or journal practice that helps you feel calm and whole. The world needs you rested, ready, and strong.
Gwendolyn Knight ‘Days Bay Forest’ oil on board