Zzzzzzz’s

SleepI saw the cartoon recently, and laughed, but only for a few seconds.

I have experienced these images, every one, at different times in my life.

And that is not so funny.

It seems to be a chronic issue with almost everyone I know.

We don’t sleep properly, and surely not enough.

It might be a factor of aging, menopause, stress, or a combination of all . It is not gender-specific. Many men have expressed similar issues.

My sleep issues began in my early 20’s. This was the most dangerous of all, falling asleep at the wheel. I still don’t know how I survived; there must have been guardian angels ?

I was student teaching, teaching 5 levels of Spanish, writing/typing lesson plans until 2 or 3 a.m., rising at 6 am, 5 days a week. I took a room in a local home suggested by the university during the week. On Friday evening, I would drive 50 miles on Pennsylvania highways to get home. I almost always caught myself dozing off at 55 mph.

Much later, now approaching 50, I took a job in a hotel that involved standing for 8 hours. When I got a chance to take a break in the back office, I once fell asleep standing up, in the middle of a conversation with a colleague. He had a monotone voice, but that wasn’t the issue. I was not sleeping at night. I blamed it on menopause.

It had become a family joke that I always slept through movies, especially when renting video at home. I always said that I have seen the first 20 minutes of almost every film, but don’t ask me how they end.

So now, at retirement, I have settled in at 5-6 hours of steady sleep at night, with a nap several times a week. These last from 20 minutes to up to 2 hours.

It seems to be working for me, and I’m tired of staying up at night worrying that I’m not getting enough sleep.

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48 Responses to Zzzzzzz’s

  1. Falling asleep watching TV rings bells. The last paragraph of this post might amuse: http://derrickjknight.com/2012/06/02/the-great-storm/

  2. Sleep is so important to physical and mental health! I think developing a sleep routine is important, whatever it looks like. The shorter nights and naps seem to be working for you. Keep it up, Van. I love naps – they’re refreshing and always feel like luxuries. 🙂

  3. dyane says:

    I’m doing a similar routine – sleeping for shorter amount of hours at night, and then when I nap it’s anywhere between 20 min to 2 hrs! But it seems like I have to nap almost every day unless I drink coffee, and we all know how bad that is for one’s health. 😦 Sigh. Sometimes I must have a verboten afternoon cup in order to drive the girls safely to ballet – and you know I’m taking medications for bipolar that can often have a sedating effect.

    On an unrelated note (please forgive me for posting this here) I wanted to thank you for your ***wonderful*** comment you wrote about Don’s memorial. It was my favorite! 🙂 (Shhh don’t tell the others….) You even beat out Blahpolar. I took down the post because lo and behold, for the first time ever, Craig asked me if I could do that. He wanted me to refrain from blogging at length about Don (he didn’t read it, but he suspected I blogged about the situation) so of course I told him I had no problem taking it down. The timing worked out perfectly since I got fabulous feedback and encouragement from folks like you.

    And now, in your honor, I might go lay down even though it’s early. It’s just me and my collie Lucy – the girls are at school, Craig is at a site, and the bed looks SO cozy….there’s even a patch of sunlight on it beckoning me.

    Big hugs and love to you, Van! You rock as usual!
    XOXO
    Dy

    • Glad you can relate to the nap habit, Dyane. Enjoy that sunlight coming in, makes it even better. I understand your husband’s concern. Interesting that my husband doesn’t read my blog either. I’ve offered. I was happy to comment about your post on the memorial, thanks for the compliment. Take care. ❤️

  4. C.E.Robinson says:

    Van, I can relate! Through the years until retirement, I’d have the interrupted sleep cycles, with the worry about not getting enough sleep to function at work. Not any more! Sounds as if you have the perfect sleep routine. It really doesn’t matter how or when you get the 8 hours needed. You get them! Chryssa

  5. gh0stpupp3t says:

    I love that little cartoon. I once fell asleep on the subway and I was supposed to get off at Wellesley but I got off at Union. o_o

  6. gh0stpupp3t says:

    And, a couple of weeks ago… last week I think? I was sleeping dead to the world on a rockngchair and Dave our homeowner tried to wake me up and I fell on my knees and ankle so now I have a sprained ankle. It’s slowly getting better.

  7. I am the same Van. I often fall asleep in he middle of watching a film! 🙂

  8. I could relate to this is many ways. My sleeping habits changed in my 40’s and now I wake up at 4:30 a.m.!

  9. This is so familiar. Loved the last one in the bed. How true!

  10. Sleep has always been a problem. I have a pattern of feeling drowsy by day and alert at night. The worst sensation is feeling too exhausted to do anything and too alert to sleep. Sleep deprivation makes everything that’s bad worse…

  11. sandracharrondotcom says:

    You’ve described my life. In my early 20s, during my 1st year of university actually, probably stress induced, I experienced insomnia that never left. In my early 40s I began taking sleeping pills, and now nearing 50, I’m finding that I sleep best during the day. I’m a nurse so I work nights which is terrific for me since I seem to be a vampire and roam the night. Now you’re making me look forward to retirement so I can just sleep whenever I darn well please.

    • The freedom of sleep, and the lack of schedule…the best thing about retirement. Night work..hats off to you. My father worked rotating shifts, I don’t know how he did it. Thanks for the visit and comment. ☺

  12. I have often said if I could change one thing about my body it would be the gift of sleep. Never had it but I’m still trying. As a child I was afraid of the dark so I’d tell myself stories to keep myself awake. Okay, maybe it helped me become the writer I now am but the price was steep. Now I can’t stop telling myself those damn stories! And, it’s hard to sleep with a racing storytelling mind. I have started meditating and that helps a bit, running outdoors in the morning helps a bit but still I long to be one of those folks who falls asleep when head hits pillow.

  13. Ha, I am at work now, between counseling clients and I’ll be darned but if I am not about to take a nap on my big comfy couch until just before my next client arrives 🙂

  14. I’ve always been a good sleeper – until recently. I don’ know if it’s the fact that every bone in my body aches, or the fact that I get leg cramps if I lie in bed too long, or maybe my bladder’s gotten smaller as I’ve gotten older. I find myself waking every couple of hours and using the bathroom. Sometimes I even take Cody out at 2, 3 or 4 am. But the really weird thing is this: on each of the last three nights, I’ve awakened at exactly 4:44 a.m. – and that’s beginning to freak me out. Why that particular time?

    • I was doing that for a while with 3:30 am, it was almost as though I was programming my brain. I sleep later now, I’m into my hay fever allergy season, taking antihistamines. If you’re taking your dog out, you are seriously waking up. So many can relate, CM, thanks for sharing. (I stop eating/drinking anything after 8 pm…that has helped with the bathroom visits at night). Good Luck.

  15. George says:

    Great cartoon, Van. Funny but very on the mark. Funny how that works…:)

  16. writerinsoul says:

    Matt Groening has a very similar cartoon in one of his “Life is Hell” books (I think it’s in “Work is Hell.”

    “They” do make me nervous with the talk of not-enough-sleep basically shortening people’s lives.

  17. markbialczak says:

    May you now find your inner Z, Van. How elusive that is.

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