Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep

sleeplessnessI can’t sleep. Again. I’m writing this post at 3:30 in the morning after spending hours tossing and turning. There always seems to be a reason—last night it was the wind playing a concert through the wind chimes hanging a mere ten feet from my head. Sometimes it’s a restless Einstein (the dog, not the scientist), my husband’s snoring, or my age—which has me throwing the covers off one minute and gathering them back the next. But really, these are just excuses. Often, it’s one of these reasons that wake me, but it’s the inability to shut off my mind that keeps me from falling back asleep.

It used to be I’d go through the occasional phase of sleeplessness—a week or two at most—and then sleep like Rip Van Winkle for months. Not anymore. It’s now a rare occurrence if I sleep through the night. I consider it a good night’s sleep if I don’t wake more than twice  before 4:30 and I’ve only experienced two of those in the last month.

So, why am I whining about this? I’m sure there are more people who suffer from sleep deprivation than not, so I’m not getting a lot of sympathy. My concern about this issue is more than inconvenience—it’s health. Sleeping is healthy. More accurately, not sleeping well is unhealthy. According to Alyssa Sparacino in her article 11 Surprising Benefits of Sleep, there are (obviously) eleven reasons we should be concerned if we’re not sleeping.

A few of these eleven reasons got my attention, starting with how sleep spurs creativity. As a writer, my mind isn’t very sharp when my brain is muddled, which leads to a couple other reasons—improved memory and sharper attention span. I like to use the excuse that I can’t find my words because my head is so full of other things, but the truth is, I’m not functioning at full capacity. But these are personal benefits. What about the physical?

According to Gina Shaw in an article on Webmd, The Healthy Benefits of a Good Night’s Sleep, lack of sleep is linked to colds and flu, heart disease, diabetes, brain function & mental health, and obesity in children & adults. In fact, one study showed that sleep deprivation was the largest factor in childhood obesity than any other.

According to cantsleep.org, in an article Can’t Sleep? Possible Reasons Why You Can’t Sleep over 1/3 of the population suffers from sleep disorder. They have many recommendations to alleviate this issue, along with five natural remedies: Melatonin, 5 HTP, skull cap, valerian root, chamomile and hops. I’ve never tried any of these, but after a little research, I just might give one of them a shot.

I used to take sleeping well for granted. It never occurred to me that I was one of the lucky few. Health benefits aside, it just feels darned good to sleep well. When the associate pastor at our church (forgive him, he’s young) announced from the pulpit that we may wake at night because we should be praying, I wanted to take issue. After all, it gives pray without ceasing a whole new meaning!

Do you have a remedy for sleeplessness you can share? If so, I’d love to hear from you.

One thought on “Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep

  1. I found that sleeplessness was more of a problem when menopause started. It has been better since my doctor started me on Estrogen and Progesterone therapy. I have heard that not getting enough exercise can be a cause, but I am sure that is not your cause as you exercise a lot more than I ever have. Let me know if you try one of the other remedies and if they work.

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