Who’s Awake?

The Oakdale Leader - - NEWS - Teresa Ham­mond is a staff re­porter for The Oak­dale Leader, The River­bank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at tham­mond@oak­dale­leader.com or by call­ing 847-3021. Teresa Ham­mond

My eyes are open more than I care to ad­mit as of late.

Per­haps it’s a tie in to last week’s col­umn (see Spar­ing Change) or ran- dom co­in­ci­dence. Ei­ther way I’m be­yond my wits end by way of sleep de­pri­va­tion, com­monly known as in­som­nia. It’s become a vi­cious cy­cle of sorts that I’m strug­gling to solve.

Re­cently some­one texted “hope you slept well,” to which my brain replied … I napped. If nap­ping counts as sleep­ing well, then I am aces. The re­al­ity how­ever is that I know, two hour naps with 30 minute or more breaks in between through the night, does not count as sleep.

Okay, sure, I’ll ad­mit my mind is busy and si­lence throws it into over­drive but “un­cle” al­ready, I’m tired. So tired in fact, that a few weeks back I found my­self strug­gling to stay awake dur­ing an in­ter­view for this very pub­li­ca­tion. The set­ting was one of peace, tran­quil­ity and laven­der scent – it was a day spa. My chil­dren were also not in the other room, nor was a pile of mail or other re­spon­si­bil­i­ties, I’m sure that helped.

Mid­way through the in­ter­view, fear­ful that they might no­tice the droopy eye­lids and fear I had nar­colepsy, I outed my­self to the lovely cou­ple. Plac­ing the set­ting at fault and com­pli­ment­ing them on cre­at­ing such a space where one could feel so very re­laxed. Quick save if I do say so my­self.

There are many parts to this nap sit­u­a­tion that have left me frus­trated. Many of which come from knowl­edge. An ex­am­ple of this would be, I know I rest bet­ter when I ex­er­cise. So Mon­day night I set off for bed with in­ten­tion of wak­ing at 5 a.m. for a five mile run. This would surely help cor­rect the curve and send me back to slum­ber. One prob­lem, I dozed off while read­ing at 9 p.m. and found my­self wide awake at 1 a.m. The up­side of course being I sur­passed my typ­i­cal two hour nap. The down being I pro­ceeded to lie awake for two hours and then nap for 30 min­utes.

This col­umn also came to mind as I laid there, rec­og­niz­ing that I of­ten see so­cial me­dia posts in the wee hours stat­ing “any­one else awake” and the like. Yes, I know about the stud­ies that look­ing at one’s phone in the dead of night is a con­trib­u­tor – but it’s just so easy to do when you’re bored and un­able to sleep.

Now that I’m out­ing my­self and hop­ing there are a few head nods on the other side of the page read­ing this, per­haps I should up my game.

I read once that shut­ting off mo­bile de­vices 30 min­utes prior to sleep helps the mind wind down. Then of course there’s med­i­ta­tion just prior to slum­ber, read­ing, jour­nal­ing, all things I know but don’t do. Per­haps it’s time to try.

I went through this phase once be­fore a few years back. Dur­ing that time I read an ar­ti­cle that shared to get up and do some­thing, which will then help the mind feel pro­duc­tive and the body re­turn to sleep. Be­lieve it or not, fold­ing laun­dry at 2 a.m. was not ideal, but it worked.

At the end of it all I just want to be healthy and live a good long life. Shar­ing mis­ery on so­cial me­dia in the wee hours is just not ideal. Stress, sleep de­pri­va­tion and lack of ex­er­cise are all things which are not con­ducive to a long life.

There is an up­side to all of this, one which gives me hope and re­ju­ve­nates me in a way. I of­ten get my best and most rest­ful sleep when ei­ther away from home or sleep­ing in the com­pany of my chil­dren or spe­cial some­one. So as I look to cre­at­ing a fu­ture healthy sleep pat­tern nightly, per­haps I should also ex­am­ine the “why” be­yond the ob­vi­ous of taking com­fort from com­pany.

Here’s to fu­ture nights of less nap­ping and more sleep­ing, you gotta have goals. Sweet dreams.

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