Sleep Does Not Lose As Gracefully As He Lets Us Think

Cougar sleep

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Self-Care Tip #244 – Sleep when the day is over, and play another time.  Be a friend to yourself.

Sometimes it is hard to let the day end.  Michael told me that he was having trouble sleeping.  I asked him to tell me more and heard him describe fun-filled hours of movies, computer, phone-calls and late-night snacks that were disturbing his sleep-initiation.  Just listening to him, I felt a yearning catch spark in me to have the freedom to be spontaneous again.  You might know what I mean.

The opportunities to be spontaneous have shrunken up as our choices have brought us expanding fillers for time, attention, money, energy, emotion, personal resources and magic.  It is no wonder that letting the day end meets reluctance.  Those last few hours that sleep called shot-gun for are ours with less fist than big brother used to stage.  Sleep doesn’t put up much fight …at first.  At first, it concedes to us.  It lifts it’s chin casually until given turn.  However, much like the loan shark, sleep will never go unpaid.  It will take it’s due.  Maybe just not tonight.  Maybe you won’t hear about it until later.  And there are no promises that it won’t take by force, from one part or another of our body, our brain, our beauty, our emotions – debts are not forgotten here.

Michael says, as if he were the victim here,

It takes most people about thirty minutes to fall asleep.  But me!  It takes me hours to.  

We started talking about sleep hygiene and Michael just wasn’t interested.  I asked him to simply read about it and just see what he thought he might be able to start with.  One change maybe that he thought was tolerable.

These negotiations are sometimes best when the patient feels like they came up with the idea.  Michael is going to read about this and hopefully become his own advocate.  He will hopefully “sell” it to himself with the information both from facts but also from experience.  It’s no accident that Costco sets up samples at ever turn of their superstore.  Nor that we can never seem to leave without spending at least $100 in cash – not credit!  Cash!  (Argh.)  Maybe Michael will sample and decide to sleep rather than play at night.  He might have to “taste it” to believe and choose for himself.

Spontaneity will always lure us, dangle her jangly jewelry, give her side-ways glance and make us long for those midnight hours to open up in playful company.  However, sleep is not as gracious as it seems.  Don’t be fooled.

Question:  Do you consider sleep hygiene important to self-care and why?  How do you see it related to you being a friend to yourself?  Please tell me your story.

32 thoughts on “Sleep Does Not Lose As Gracefully As He Lets Us Think

  1. I am at my most creative at night, always have been. As a child it was a problem–not much of one now. I do hate to give up and go to bed. But I have no problem going to sleep and staying asleep.

    Now that I don’t have to work full time I get to take naps!

  2. I rarely catch a virus. If I do, it will be after a time of sleep deprivation. I never deprive myself of sleep willingly. I used to fall asleep the moment my head touched the pillow, but in my latter years, alas, I think I ran out of sleep hormones. Still, I go to bed on time. I may lie there meditating, praying, playing scrabble on my iPhone, but I lie there. When sleep comes, I will be there.

    Even though I may not sleep all the hours I’m in bed, resting makes a difference. I feel rested in the morning. When I had to work, it wasn’t so easy, but in those days, I still had the sleep hormones. Where did they go? I read that as women age, these hormones may diminish. Yawn. I can be really tired, get into bed, and my eyelids will pop open like they didn’t know what else to do. Blessings to you, Sana…

  3. Insomnia lays hold of me occasionally, bouts of which can go on for weeks, in which I only sleep 3 or 4 hours in any 24. Those hours are accomplished in 15-20 minute stretches over the course of the day. Just about every cure known to medicine or voo-doo has been tried (I won’t take drugs – not worth the hassle – besides there are already too many I have to take. I don’t want to take any more unless my life depends on it!). In any event, i have come to the point where I just acept it. It is what it is. I’ll sleep if and when i can, otherwise I read, do crossword puzzles, meditate, use self-hypnosis. None are completely successful, but I’ll take what I can get. Putting it out of my mind is best for me.

    This post of yours reminds me of a TED lecture by Barry Schwartz I once listened to (probably during a sleepless night! 😀 ). It is well worth the 20 minutes it will take you to watch. It’s called “The Paradox of Choice,” and deals with the realization that the more choices one has, the more “paralyzed” or unable to make a decision; therefore even presented with all these marvelous choices, fewer and fewer people are happy. Interesting. If you watch it (or have already seen it), let me know! Here’s the link:

  4. Sleep is VERY important to me. My sleep routine as well. There was a period of time when I couldn’t sleep at all…. my brain wouldn’t shut off. My doctor put me on Ambien which, be warned, made me sleepwalk and try to leave my house in the middle of the night! I did hallucinate as well. So, that certainly didn’t give me “good” sleep.

    It has taken a while to develop it, but I read up a great deal on the importance of sleep routines and I have found it to be awesome! I turn off all electronics one hour before bed, do my face routine stuff, and read for about 45-hour. I will also often meditate in bed for about 10 min before I start reading to help get my mind into that mindset.


  5. I seem to require much less sleep these days…but oh how I miss it. I seem to do just as well by resting. I get about four striaght solid hours and then I toss and turn. I should just get up, but I just can’t bring myself to rise out of the bed at 3:00 am.

  6. I learned a lot about how important sleep is when we were in California this winter. Today was an example of how much better I feel now that I’m caring for myself by going to bed earlier and taking the right meds. It was a busy, busy day starting with an Easter bunny visitng our house at 6:30am before I sang and served at two worship services and made dinner (with my husband’s help!) for six amidst the chaos of Easter egg hunts and a happy family. I DID fall asleep watching golf after we cleaned up but I feel wonderful and proud of myself…oh, and exhausted! So I can’t answer your question. I’m going to bed!!! Happy Easter.

  7. I learned how important sleep was when my son was born. Nights were not his thing: and I was waking up to tend to him for 18 months or so. My IQ dropped like a stone and I became grumpy and tense. I never want to be in that situation again!

  8. Sleep is something I battle with – I’ve had to get off my high horse and buy into the whole ‘sleep hygiene’ thing this year (No caffiene after mid-day, no sugar after about 6pm, nothing too distracting after about 9pm etc) and although it does help to some extent in ‘better weeks’, it’s my rough weeks when really, nothing helps me get to sleep. People who sleep well don’t know just how much you miss it when insomnia hits and doesn’t leave.

  9. I used to have trouble falling asleep, but not as much anymore. I think my toothpaste used to wake me up right before I went to bed, so I often tried to brush early. Darn the minty-ness. I don’t have as much trouble anymore.

  10. Sleep is critical for me. For some reason it is even more critical depending on what medicine I am taking. On my most difficult days, the first two questions are if I am eating right and if I’ve had enough sleep. Sounds like I am an infant.

    I do okay on the food but getting the right sleep is very difficult. For me it is this obsessive difficulty with thinking I have not done enough with my day that keeps me from bed. Once I hit bed, I sleep comfortably.

    Sometimes, sleep helps me through the most intense times of despair. They don’t let me take a nap at work but they should.

  11. I use the CPAP which helps a lot, thanks to you… I used to be a night owl, painting at 2am was nice and quiet so I could hear my own thoughts.

    But my husband starts work before the sun rises and ends after the sun sets, including weekends… I learned that it’s better for our relationship to be on the same schedule. We are in sync now. I realized that if I’m so creative, I should be able to create at any time… there’s no sense in alienating my family for it… and let’s face it, I’m going to be 36 this summer… I’m too old (and uptight) to be cool, so it doesn’t matter how late I stay awake… it’s not going to impress anybody… lol
    I think sleep affects your decisions and your patience… so I definitely prefer being a happy mom, than a grouch! lol

    Hugs and Blessings! Jasmine Wilmany

  12. My husb can take naps but I can’t. And I love late night TV. To be a friend to my self I have to go to bed before husb and miss my shows. But I feel better in the morning and I get more done. I love waking up before husb and writing. I write “morning pages” as described by Julia Cameron. And once my husb is up there is too much interruption.

  13. what a topic you get i give you ten out of ten sleep is really inportant i never get enuff and i crash i dont have something called a routine im working on it if i dont sleep enuff i cant be a firend to myself becuase i am not refreshed and ready for the new day

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