My eyes are open more than I care to admit as of late.
Perhaps it’s a tie in to last week’s column (see Sparing Change) or random coincidence. Either way I’m beyond my wits end by way of sleep deprivation, commonly known as insomnia. It’s become a vicious cycle of sorts that I’m struggling to solve.
Recently someone texted “hope you slept well,” to which my brain replied … I napped. If napping counts as sleeping well, then I am aces. The reality however is that I know, two hour naps with 30 minute or more breaks in between through the night, does not count as sleep.
Okay, sure, I’ll admit my mind is busy and silence throws it into overdrive but “uncle” already, I’m tired. So tired in fact, that a few weeks back I found myself struggling to stay awake during an interview for this very publication. The setting was one of peace, tranquility and lavender scent – it was a day spa. My children were also not in the other room, nor was a pile of mail or other responsibilities, I’m sure that helped.
Midway through the interview, fearful that they might notice the droopy eyelids and fear I had narcolepsy, I outed myself to the lovely couple. Placing the setting at fault and complimenting them on creating such a space where one could feel so very relaxed. Quick save if I do say so myself.
There are many parts to this nap situation that have left me frustrated. Many of which come from knowledge. An example of this would be, I know I rest better when I exercise. So Monday night I set off for bed with intention of waking at 5 a.m. for a five mile run. This would surely help correct the curve and send me back to slumber. One problem, I dozed off while reading at 9 p.m. and found myself wide awake at 1 a.m. The upside of course being I surpassed my typical two hour nap. The down being I proceeded to lie awake for two hours and then nap for 30 minutes.
This column also came to mind as I laid there, recognizing that I often see social media posts in the wee hours stating “anyone else awake” and the like. Yes, I know about the studies that looking at one’s phone in the dead of night is a contributor – but it’s just so easy to do when you’re bored and unable to sleep.
Now that I’m outing myself and hoping there are a few head nods on the other side of the page reading this, perhaps I should up my game.
I read once that shutting off mobile devices 30 minutes prior to sleep helps the mind wind down. Then of course there’s meditation just prior to slumber, reading, journaling, all things I know but don’t do. Perhaps it’s time to try.
I went through this phase once before a few years back. During that time I read an article that shared to get up and do something, which will then help the mind feel productive and the body return to sleep. Believe it or not, folding laundry at 2 a.m. was not ideal, but it worked.
At the end of it all I just want to be healthy and live a good long life. Sharing misery on social media in the wee hours is just not ideal. Stress, sleep deprivation and lack of exercise are all things which are not conducive to a long life.
There is an upside to all of this, one which gives me hope and rejuvenates me in a way. I often get my best and most restful sleep when either away from home or sleeping in the company of my children or special someone. So as I look to creating a future healthy sleep pattern nightly, perhaps I should also examine the “why” beyond the obvious of taking comfort from company.
Here’s to future nights of less napping and more sleeping, you gotta have goals. Sweet dreams.
Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 847-3021.