Sleep deprivation is a significant issue for many people. Remedies are in the news and on social media nearly every week. It’s become a real issue in this country. Why can’t people sleep? There are any number of reasons – anxiety, stress, depression, insomnia, and more. No matter the reason, the lack of sleep can wreak havoc with a person’s daily life.
What’s it really like for someone who can’t seem to get to sleep or stay asleep? Let’s take a look at a friend willing to share her sleep challenging story. We won’t use her proper name to protect the sleep-deprived; we’ll call her Jean.
Jean describes herself as a typical night person; she likes to sleep late and stays up well after most others are in bed. She shared, “I guess from years of working long hours, I still tend to work on projects in the evening. I find I get ideas and plan what I’m going to do the next day. I usually work on my calendar late at night. Bedtime for me is generally not before midnight. Getting to sleep is a chore.” Jean describes her sleep sequence as:
Midnight: Start winding down, turn off the TV, or put down the book. I’ve been told many times to read myself to sleep, but that doesn’t work for me; I will end up reading all night or until a book is finished. Get a glass of water and take the phone to the bedroom. Take daily meds, read devotional, and turn-down bed.
12:30 am: Finally in bed. Dog is settled at the end of the bed and already curled up to sleep. Turn off light and get into a comfortable spot. The room is totally dark; I can’t sleep with any type of light.
1:00 am: Still awake. Can’t turn off the thoughts in my head. Try mental relaxation exercises and deep breathing. Works for a few minutes, then I feel myself tensing up again. Try a few more times.
1:45 am: Nothing is working. No point in just lying here. Turn on the bedroom lamp and get back up. We (me and the dog) go back to the den. Since we’re in the den, he wants to go out; then he gets into his favorite chair and goes right back to sleep. I turn the TV back on to some old reruns hoping to get sleepy.
2:15 am: Seems to be working, so I stretch out on the sofa with a blanket. Dog decides to join me and lies on my legs. I drift off to sleep.
4:00 am: Where am I? I’m awake and am cramped up on the sofa. Dog has pushed my legs off so he can stretch, so I’m half on and off the sofa.
4:15 am: Back to the bedroom and back in bed. Dog again curls up, and after glaring at me, he’s sleeping. Lights out.
4:30 am: Turn over to other side and feel myself drifting off . . . finally.
7:30 am: Alarm goes off. Are you kidding!!! Smack it and sleep another hour.
8:30 am: Up and headed to make coffee. Dog wants out again. He’s back to sleep. My day has started, and I’m already exhausted.
Does that sound like a good night’s rest? Certainly not, but it’s normal, according to Jean.
What changes has she made to improve her sleep? She shared that she’s tried several. “Sleeping pills, even over-the-counter ones, make me so fuzzy-headed the next day, that I don’t take them. A cup of hot tea or coffee (which never keeps me awake) works. Weaning myself off the iPhone at night helps; I admit that I spend too much time reading Facebook and news feeds when I first go to bed. I recently got a weighted blanket, and that works better than anything else I’ve tried. My advice, is to try different techniques until you find what works for you.”
Now, for a good night’s sleep! Goodnight, all!