The Original Year of Jubilee

Posted 17 May 2022

Just in case you hadn’t noticed, this year marks the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee with the whole of the country encouraged to join in celebrating her 70 years on the throne. It’s a remarkable achievement for a remarkable person. We’re all ready to hang the bunting out for a four-day bank holiday, but did you know that the original idea of a jubilee was very different? Thousands of years ago, the ‘Year of Jubilee’ was all about freedom and rest. Among the street parties and fetes, this makes the long weekend seem very appropriate. It also presents us with the perfect opportunity to talk about sleep. 96 hours of z’s, anyone?

Today, jubilees usually mark the anniversary of an event (like the Queen’s accession) and are celebrated every 25 or 50 years. Going back to the Ancient Near East (ANE) however, gives us the origin for the word ‘jubilee’. In Israel, Jewish people would hold a Year of Jubilee during which all slaves would be freed, debts cancelled and land left fallow. Still every 50 years and still a celebration, it was a year for freedom, rest and reset. In fact, the ANE as a whole was big on giving land a break. They respected the earth and knew it would be best when allowed correct rest. If only more of us would apply that kind of thinking to our own lives today.

Let’s be honest, most of us would confess to yearning for a bit more sleep every now and again. Probably more now than again. Our 24-7, busy and on-demand world can be great, but it can also be a real rest-thief. Not cool.

The right amount of sleep though is important for us and any children we care for. When kids don’t get enough sleep, their development, schoolwork and mood can all suffer. Babies and toddlers particularly need lots of sleep, while teens can cope with less, but will experience a change in their circadian rhythm around puberty. So there really is a reason why they want to sleep and wake late! If a child in your family is struggling, there are some great, recognised approaches to help them sleep better. For increasingly autonomous teenagers, YoungMinds offers peer-to-peer advice.

That’s the children, but what about adults? Life may feel like a whirlwind at times, but the majority of us need around 7 hours of sleep a night to stay healthy and well. A good night’s sleep can afford us better concentration and attention, more regulated emotions and reduced stress levels. It can help us to process our day and have healthier, stronger relationships. Speaking of health, sleep is brilliant for our mental wellbeing, heart health and immune system too.

We know winding down and stopping can be hard, but we promise they aren’t impossible. Avoiding caffeine and screens before bed can help, but if you can’t stay off your phone, try downloading a blue light filter app. Reading a real book, having a bath and listening to music can also help us make the transition from busy day to restful night. For more advise, check out the Every Mind Matters campaign from the NHS.

As you prepare for a sea of red, white and blue, remember that jubilees can also be about rest and reset – something that is best not left for 25 years. If you want to talk anything through further, please contact us – we love to chat. Especially over bunting and a slice of Victoria Sponge.