Woman sleeping/Depositphoto

Safety, Dreams and Peace of Mind

By Kimberly Burnham

How good we feel when we wake up is correlated with how well we sleep and the contents of our dreams. How well we sleep and dream is related to our peace of mind and level of anxiety. Recent research put it this way, “Waking mental well-being is assumed to be tightly linked to sleep and the affective content of dreams. Healthy participants completed a well-being questionnaire, followed by a three-week daily dream diary and ratings of dream affect . Multilevel analyses showed that peace of mind was related to positive dream affect, whereas symptoms of anxiety were related to negative dream affect. We propose that whereas anxiety may reflect affect dysregulation [imbalance] in waking and dreaming, peace of mind reflects enhanced affect regulation in both states of consciousness. Finally, our study shows that peace of mind complements existing conceptualizations and measures of well-being.”

This idea of a correlation between sleep, well being and peace is reflected in several languages including Lango, a Southern Luo dialect spoken by the Lango people of Uganda and the Sudan. Here are some words for peace in Lango: “Kuc” (peace) “Kuch” (to be quiet, to be at peace), “Kweo” (to make cool, to pacify), “Ayom” (soft, peaceful), “Morembe Ayom” (greeting), and “Buti Ayom” (sleep softly, well).

Sleep Peacefully

In the Lango language of Uganda and Sudan

“ayom” means soft and peaceful

“buti ayom” is to sleep softly and well

“morembe ayom” is a greeting

a wish of peace for the morning

of well being after sleeping softly


Another Lango word “kuc” means peace

“kuch” is to be quiet

to be at peace

both words correlating peace and quiet

may we each experience “ayom” and “kuc”

peace, sleep and well being

In Bambara another language of Africa sleep and peace are correlated more directly in a common morning greeting. “Hèrè ” and “Errébé” mean peace in this language of Mali.

Sleep Peaceful Good Morning        

In Bambara, the language of Mali in West Africa

the way you say good morning

In Bambara, the language of Mali in West Africa

the way you say good morning

“Hèrè sira wa?” 

means did you sleep in peace

often the answer is

“hèrè dogon” or peace only


Similar in the Dyula of West Africa

did you sleep in peace?

is “hèrè sirawa?”

and peace only is “hèrè dron”

Try this. Each morning for a few days, wake up and say to yourself out loud or to another person, “Good morning Peace!” in English or another language. In your mind and with your words, frame your day as one with peaceful relationships intertwines with inner peace.

A common northern Somali greeting is “Ma nahad baa” or “is there peace.” In Somali spoken in Somalia, Djibouti, and Ethiopia, the word for peace is “Nabáda.” “Nabadda maanka” is peace of mind.

The following poem is what is called a found poem, meaning the words were found in an essay or some other form of writing then teased out to create a poem. The order of the words can be changed in the process and sometimes the whole meaning of the essay can be different in the poem. Sometimes a found poem distills the words already written on a page, up to their essence. This is also what is known as a persona poem or a poem written by a poet but from another person’s point of view. Trying literally to walk in another person’s words or trying to share another’s point of view while inhabiting their own body and experience.

Mohamed Maine Seed

The proud son of Somali immigrants

traversed oceans and continents to escape

brutal civil war

seeking the American dream

for themselves and their children

enduring hardships

discrimination, poverty and violence

struggling to understand

who I am

where do I belong

we were too Somali

too Muslim



the American Dream out of reach

but incredible friends and mentors

pushed me to think otherwise

I have a place in this country

with good people

including diversity

and the freedom to be who you are

in a better place


I hope one day to welcome

the schoolgirl from Syria

the young entrepreneur from Iraq

the old poet from Somalia


where we have a Somali proverb

when we see injustice

“Dhiiga kuma dhaqaaqo?”

“Does your blood not move?”

I am moved. Capturing a similar dream for all Africa, Nelson Mandela said, “I dream of an Africa which is in peace with itself.”

May we all find peace as we sleep, dream, and in all our waking hours with the help of words from our own native tongue and the African languages of Lango, Bambara, and Somalia.

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