Black Lives Matter

Black lives matter.

Whether you're tuned into the recent news or not, it's impossible to turn away from what's happening in our world right now. Police brutality, lack of accountability, and a long overdue outrage about all of it.

We need to do better. We must do better. For ourselves and future generations.

So, what does this have to do with sleep? After all, this is supposed to be a sleep blog.

Well, I thought about it for a while and when I asked myself, "what does this have to do with sleep?" there were two big answers that popped up.

#1- Nothing. There's no indication that sleep and race have anything to do with one another. It's not like you're better able to sleep if you're from a particular background.

BUT. What if when you lay your head down at night to go to sleep, your mind was constantly wondering if your loved ones would make it home safely. Or whether they'd encounter a police officer and just by chance say the "wrong" thing. What if you didn't have the luxury of a peaceful night's sleep because instead, you were kept awake fearing your children might get stopped while walking home from a friend's house and not remember the script they were taught to say to police officers.

Who knew it was a privilege to fall asleep never having to think about those scenarios.

And that's what lead me to the second answer when I asked myself, "what do the Black Lives Matter movement and anti-racism efforts have to do with sleep?" 

#2- Everything.

For me, this comes down to mindfulness. And as you know, mindfulness is a key element in improving sleep, especially during times of stress and heightened emotions.

IF we are mindful of our surroundings, interactions, subtle judgments, and beliefs, we can better understand and help one another.

And IF we are mindful of how our upbringing influenced who we trust and why, we can make more informed decisions about whether these teachings are useful anymore.

Growing up, I was taught that if I was lost or in trouble I should find a police officer and they would help me. I was taught to respect the authority of police because they were the ones making sure we were safe from bad guys.

And that all made sense to me because that was my experience with police...and every other kind of authority, for that matter.

What changed ALL of this for me was realizing that this isn't a universal experience.

If you don't believe me, ask one of your Black friends what their parents taught them about talking to police officers and why they were taught that. Don't have any Black friends? Well, that might tell you something right there.

This isn't a judgement. It's a call to action for all of us to do better and be more aware of how others experience their lives. Like I said, mindfulness.

It might feel uncomfortable to have conversations and ask questions you don't know how to ask. That's good! Growth usually comes with discomfort. And remembering what's on the other side of the discomfort makes it so worthwhile.

So back to the topic of sleep.

I believe we all sleep better when our minds are at ease and we're tuned into our feelings. So, let's stay mindful and open to having conversations we may have never had before. My hope is that someday soon we'll all sleep peacefully at night regardless of our skin colour.

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