You want it. You need it. You crave it, but you can’t get it. You get excited just thinking about 8 hours of uninterrupted – no, not sex – SLEEP! Sleep disorders are epidemic in this country, now affecting 50-70 million Americans according to the Centers for Disease Control. So it’s a big problem and growing fast.
For me, getting a good night’s sleep has become a weird and new kind of party scene.
2:00a.m. and a lot of action – in my head. The racing thoughts syndrome is in full swing. The three squirrels I’ve named me, myself and I, start racing around my brain, rattling my mental cages that house life goal notes, worry items, the perpetual stack of to do lists and the like. These busy critters wake me up to hold their nightly conference call to talk through this stuff, usually right around 3:00 a.m. So I reluctantly open my eyes, sigh and do the “stare at the ceiling” thing. I attempt my deep breathing relaxation exercises I learned in my yoga class to get back to some deep rem sleep. Nah. Doesn’t work.
Next, I do the fish-in-the-frying-pan routine from side to side to see if I can get comfortable, block out those mind chattering, nutty squirrels and go back to sleep. Nope. I’m awake.
But I’ve still got ten minutes to try and escape from this nightly meeting. Then my bladder chimes in –“Potty Break!” You know, having my three daughters was so wonderful, but my bladder has never been the same. Add a few menopausal hot flashes and…well boomer ladies, you feel my pain, right? So, back to the pee pee break – I keep my eyes closed and zombie walk my way to do my business. Keeping the silence mantra I do the no flush, and ease back on the bed.
Ahh, ready to try sleeping again. But what time is it? The need to know, a check on the cell by the bed with the bright screen light and the squirrels are back – the conference in my head is in full session. We tackle all of my issues, problems, worry about the people I care about, the itch on my upper back, the outfit I plan to wear for my meetings and consensus on when I can make time in my busy bee day to shave and pluck my eyebrows. Whew. The racing exchange of self-talk finally wears me out into exhaustion. Eventually, I start drifting off again and it feels wonderful. Floating in Alpha state. Nice….ahhh….
Oh no – did I wake myself up with an apnea snort alert? Crap. That’s embarrassing. Again? I need to go to the ENT. Oh no, wait – it’s my husband sawing logs next to me. Greaaattttt. I call him Father Redwood, he calls me Little Sequoia because we could have our own saw and logging company. We talk about matching CPAP masks or lovely mouth guards to top off a romantic evening, but we’re just too vain and not brave enough to go there. Not to mention the libido buzz killer these devices can create.
I look over at the love of my life with his mouth hanging open. I look up at the ceiling and ask the sandman to put me to sleep again. Finally, Sleepless in Arizona here starts catching some zzz’s.
All lightheartedness aside – this week on the Newsladies we are focusing on sleep deprivation and serious related conditions that have turned insomnia into a national public health issue. So, please listen to our radio podcast and our special featured guest – Sleep expert Lauri Leadley of the Valley Sleep Center group in Phoenix, Arizona. She’s got great information on sleep hygiene tips as well as diagnosing and treating the many sleep disorders that exist today.
Cheers to a good night’s rest and Sweet Dreams, my fellow Newsladies!
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