The Joys of a Lie-Down

Usually, when anyone writes about the joys of bed, they are thinking of one of two things: the pleasures of a good night’s sleep or, alternatively, of sex. I am a great believer in both, but I am not writing about either here.

No, bed means more than either of these activities.

Taking a Rest

First, lets face it. As we grow older, we also grow tired. Some days I have plenty of energy, but some days I have very little. I get out of bed in the morning and immediately wish I were back there. Or half-way through the day, I need a bit of a lie-down.

I find a number of friends also say the same, especially the older ones.

For the first time since we were of pre-school age, some of us begin to take a nap – either every day or now and then. I am reluctant to take a proper (sleeping) nap, because it leaves me unable to get to sleep at night. I envy those who can do so with impunity.

But there is nonetheless a great benefit in a rest. I recall, as a small child, being told I had to spend an hour lying on my bed and was allowed to do anything except (which I called “be-cept”) reading.

Now, we can read, we can listen to the radio or to audio books (I favour programmes stored for this purpose on my iPod).

Or we can just lie there and think our own thoughts. It is a very peaceful time and can be very restorative. The trick, of course, is not to fall asleep!

Recent research seems to suggest that people who take occasional naps have a notably lower risk of heart-related disease and may live longer. I am not a medical doctor and cannot comment on this, but I found it interesting.

A Cuddle and a Chat

The other use of a bed is also restorative, but in a different way. You lie down with your partner, with no sexual intentions of any kind, and just give each other time to discuss anything that is on either of your minds.

It is a good time to review ideas, mull over plans for the future, and just explore how you are feeling about life in general.

Although it may result in some general or even particular decisions, it should not feel purposeful. On the contrary, it is time to let your mind wander over anything, including your relationship.

Lying down with someone is a very intimate activity, even when nothing physical is involved. Being prone on a bed seems to make you let down your guard, so that you are more willing to talk easily.

Sometimes, the fact that you can’t actually see each other makes it less intimidating than sitting at a table or in a living room. It is not surprising that lying down is the chosen posture for people in some forms of psychotherapy.

These chats can happen early in the morning, when you are just waking up, or, indeed, at night before going to sleep. But they can also happen in the middle of the day, when it feels even more special.

The older I get, the more I value this form of ‘together’ time.

Other Family Members

Interestingly, it can also be a time of intimacy with other family members. One grandson, who spends roughly one night a week at our house, loves to climb into bed with Granddad in the morning. (Long ago, said Granddad agreed to sleep in the nearby spare room to allay any worries in the night.)

This early morning time has become one of many rituals, when they talk about anything and everything, and is sadly missed if for any reason (like waking up too late to have the time before school) it is impossible to accommodate.

An Indian woman in my book about grandmothers’ lives also describes such moments with her grandchildren as very special: “You can’t buy that happiness anywhere,” she says.


This was initially published by sixtyandme.  See