I can’t believe it took me so long to figure this out.
I have always been a poor sleeper. At age five I can remember getting out of bed and watching “Gunsmoke” with my mom while she darned socks. My father would get up for water and yell at us because “children are supposed to be in bed at this hour.” My bedtime was 8 pm but I could never seem to fall asleep on time.
Later as I entered the job market, I couldn’t seem to get to sleep before midnight or 12:30 am. Sure I would go to bed around 11:00 or so, but again, just couldn’t seem to be actually asleep for another hour. So naturally when 7:00 am rolled around, I was always miserable and tired the next day, but somehow functioned.
Now, as I struggle with the problems of fibromyalgia and connective tissue disease, I find my sleep mechanism is broken. I literally lie awake all night. The other “night” I fell asleep at 8 am, just as my husband was getting ready for work. I read an entire paperback novel between 11:30pm and 4:30 am. I have coped with this for years as my sleep patterns have gotten progressively worse.
A doctor wanted me to take a sleeping pill. I resisted. I didn’t sleep. I don’t like medications. I’ll suffer through it. I tried valerian root. I tried all kinds of natural remedies first. Nothing helped. I would lie in bed quite relaxed, but unable to fall off that “cliff” of sleep.
Finally, I consented to take a prescription for sleep. After I slept through the night for 2 weeks in a row, I made a discovery – I am actually a totally different personality when given sleep! I am more optimistic, upbeat, friendly, outgoing, observant, grateful, colorful, innovative, etc. etc.
This is not a profound truth. But for the many Americans (and the world) who suffer from sleep deprivation either physically or schedule-imposed, please listen to me. You have gotten accustomed to a substandard way of life. SLEEP MAKES A HUGE DIFFERENCE. I have even found my chronic disease processes to vastly improve. But I have also discovered that it makes a huge difference in my spirituality. I am more open to possibilities and relationships when I’ve slept. I am less judgemental and more accepting.
Until “they” can figure out what’s wrong with me I will unfortunately have to take sleeping pills for awhile. While my problems are organic, I hope that my little essay here will make all the “normal” people stop and think about sleep. Don’t let life get so busy that you don’t take enough time for sleep. Work less, live more, sleep more. A friend of mine likes to say “I’ll sleep when I’m dead”. This can’t be further from the truth as the sleep-deprived are like the walking dead already.