You Have to #Sleep if You Want to Be Woke

I’m not really venturing too far from discussions of kidlit today. I’ve been so sleepy lately, that I’ve fallen asleep reading some of the most engaging books I’ve read in a while. I’m on a journey to stay woke, to be alert, and to get healthier.

Did you see any of the attention Jamie Lee Curtis got when she refused an invitation to an Oscar dinner because it was past her bedtime? It seems Curtis has joined the growing numbers of adults who have developed a bedtime for themselves. We know it’s important for children to have a consistent sleep routine, when do start to think we don’t need that anymore?

Is there anything we take for granted as much as breathing and sleeping? Those words, “I can’t breathe” strike a chord every time I hear them. And sleep? It’s the first thing we develop in our children: the ability to have a deep, restful sleep. Not so much because if they can’t sleep, we can’t; but because we know of the calming effects of sleep on us. It restores our brains, relaxes our minds, and allows us to dream.

When we sleep, toxins are physically cleansed from our brains, levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) are reduce, and other hormones are released to repair our bodies. Those activities reduce our chance of Alzheimer’s, help us maintain optimal body weight, process other hormones (such as insulin), and enhances our immune system. Continued exposure to cortisol makes us more prone to chronic diseases such as hypertension and diabetes that affect BIPOC people at higher rates than White people. It’s part of that systemic oppression that wears on our heath, gnawing away at our ability to sleep, to concentrate, and to rest. It feeds the accelerated deterioration of the body called weathering.

So, we get systemic issues disrupting our resting bodily functions along with societal issues that tell us if we are going to bed early, we’re chumps. Chumps, in my dictionary, are people who refuse to be consumers; who insist on maintaining the integrity of their attention so that they can have the freedom of mind to choose how to live rather than being hypnotized into spending resources to feed the 1%. We have to be woke, fully woke, to reach and maintain levels of freedom and we cannot be woke if we don’t sleep.

I wrestle with sleep. I can give you a litany of disruptors but, I refuse to give in. I do believe that one morning I’m going to wake up feeling so rested, so alert, and restored that the world will be able to do nothing more than let me shine like the sun. Sweet freedom!