Aug 19, 2017

31 Days of Gratitude: Day 19

Day 19: Sleep!

A few years ago when I was still working, we were waiting for a meeting to start. There were 5 of us -- all women in their late 50s/early 60s. Someone remarked that she hadn't slept well the night before. One by one we all piped up and it became clear that most of us rarely had a decent night's sleep, and by decent night's sleep I mean 5-6 hours. Sleep gets harder as we get older.

But there was another reason why no one was getting a decent amount of sleep back then. Many of the senior staff in our agency regularly worked through the night. I guess they would doze on and off, wake up, check their email and feel the need to respond. So I felt like I had to do the same. It was insane -- I mean we were working on things that mattered to kids, but we weren't doing death penalty work. One day I decided that it could all wait until the morning. And it did and sure enough, no one died!

My sleep improved, but not as much as I had hoped. Since I love to research, I read a lot on the topic and learned all sorts of reasons why many don't sleep well and all sorts of suggestions on how to improve sleep. I tried them but still didn't sleep well. I thought it would change when I retired.

However, apparently work was not the sole cause of my poor sleep. Now that I'm retired, I sleep better, but still have way too many nights with only 2-3 hours of sleep. However, last night I got plenty of sleep. I woke up this morning and the first thing that popped in my mind was "I'm so grateful for sleep." It may not be the most interesting part of the day but it sets the stage for a great day to follow. It's just one of those things that we take for granted until we don't have it.




12 comments:

  1. I think you and I might be around the same age because I rarely sleep through the night also!

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    1. yes, sleep can be hard to come by!

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  2. My sleep went away in my 50s, but has gotten much better since retirement. The tiniest thing on my mind will take it away, though. Going to bed with a relatively empty stomach had helped me more than anything.

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    1. that's interesting about the empty sleep! Hmm, I need to try that

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  3. This is a good one. I wake up a couple times each night and the worst is when I'm restless and just can't be still. I'm trying to do visualization exercises to go back to being calm so I can fall asleep again.

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    1. sometimes I just give up and get up. lots of middle of the night reading or browsing until I fall back asleep

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  4. I'm in my late forties and have the opposite problem. I sleep like 14-16 hours a day. I take my kid to school in the morning at 8, come back home and go back to sleep til noonish, get up, check email, read some blogs, fall asleep on the couch with the laptop, wake up when the phone alarm goes off to make sure I don't forget my kid at school, come home, sometimes fall asleep at the computer again, wake up to feed the family, sometimes fall asleep anywhere I sit for too long, browse the internet and hang with the family til midnight, go to bed and sleep til 7am and do it all over the next day. I'm actually looking forward to a time when I don't want to sleep so much! With my luck it will only be during the middle of the night ;-)

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    1. wow Karen I think this is pretty rare!

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  5. Sleep is so very important for our health...mental and physical. As a lifelong insomniac, I feel your pain. And am so grateful for those nights I actually sleep!

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    1. it is amazing what a difference a good night sleep makes

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  6. I struggle with sleep too; as do many of my friends in my age group. It takes so many forms, not being able to fall asleep, falling asleep and waking up wide awake two hours later, waking up off and on all night. Sometimes my brain won't shut off and I worry at the same old things for hours; sometimes my mind is clear, but I just stare at the ceiling. Other times, it's the restless body, legs, feet, hands. Sometimes my hands are swollen and they bother me.

    There is no real solution. An occasional Xanax, sometimes a couple advil. I've tried the melatonin and the tylenol PM or advil PM; but have stopped short at actual sleeping pills.

    There are times when I sleep well for several months at time; but cannot pinpoint WHY!? I slept like a champ when I was younger; I miss that.

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    1. you are describing me as well!!! I've been up since 1 am today!! ARGH. Wish I had some good tips.

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