Saturday, February 11, 2006

Catching some zzzzzzzs

Have you ever noticed that when it snows, you're sick, you stay up too late the night before, it's overcast outside, or you're bored, and you are confined to the house, you tend to want to snuggle and sleep more?

Where am I going with this, you wonder. It's just that your body and mind are telling you something. Sleeping and napping are restorative and necessary to keep us healthy. Most of us don't get as much sleep as we really need and we go for long periods of time sleep-deprived.

When I was still working, I usually survived on five to six hours of sleep per night. I did this for years. I lived on caffeine all day long, but by the time I got home in the afternoon, I was ready to crash. The problem was that I still had about eight hours of things to do before I could actually go to bed, especially when the kids were still home. For a long time I always felt as if I had run a marathon for eight hours but still had the last five miles to go before I could actually rest a little.

By the time I retired, I decided that I wasn't going to run my life dictated by the clock. Most days I don't wear my watch (only when I go out of the house) and I certainly don't set my alarm.

Alarm clocks were created by demonic madmen who invented the most obnoxious sounds, bells, and buzzers to awaken all the sleep-deprived zombies in the world. People not only have a problem getting to sleep, they also have a problem waking up because they are so chronically tired. Alarm clocks, on the whole, are so obnoxious that I cringe when I see a commercial on TV containing an alarm clock going off.

So now I am free to sleep as long as I want, as deeply as I want, and as frequently as I want. Sounds great, doesn't it? The reality, however, is that I'm usually in bed early, sleep for several hours, then find myself up in the middle of the night for whatever reason, completely wide awake. It's even worse now than when I was working. What's up with that? I have eliminated most of the caffeine in my diet so that couldn't be the problem. I have no deadlines, so I'm not forcing myself to get up at a particular time.

It's becoming a problem.

When I'm up in the middle of the night, I tend to drift to the computer because I'm up anyway. And, you know what happens when I get on the computer. You guessed it. Checking into the old blog. One thing leads to another, and before I know it, half the night has passed. One look at the nearby window in the computer room and I find that morning has arrived. I can either stay up and be tired for the rest of the day, or I can go back to bed and sleep for a couple of hours. But, that will cause my usual sleep schedule to be off kilter.

I wish I was like my cats. They actually sleep for about 20 hours a day. When they are not sleeping, they are eating, drinking, playing, catching mice and moles, playing in the leaves, pestering each other, laying on my lap, or playing with their toys. When they are tired, however, they close their eyes, relax, and they're out. Even if you wake them up, they can go back to sleep with the flick of a whisker.

I, on the other hand, am still sleep-deprived. So when any of the conditions found in the first paragraph above happen, I find myself dozing throughout the day. Maybe that's why I'm always up in the middle of the night. It's a vicious cycle.


At February 11, 2006 11:47 AM, Blogger Abandoned in Pasadena said...

It sounds like you aren't feeling well today...or did you just get up at all hours of the night.

I never had that problem...of getting up, during the night...until I started blogging.

I sometimes get up just to check to see who has left a comment...or maybe another blogger has posted up something new.

Sometimes it's just a quick check and sometimes I am at the computer when morning breaks. I always try to sneak back into bed, but my husband can tell I've been up by my cold feet.

At February 11, 2006 12:22 PM, Blogger Motherkitty said...

Feel good, just tired. I keep waking up around 1:30-2 a.m. and most nights can't get back to sleep (like last night). Plus, I stayed up and watched the Olympics opening ceremony that ended at 11 p.m. then I got online, and it was already late by the time I got to bed. So, I'm tired today.

The problem is, when I get up and start reading blogs and comments, my mind starts working and I end up writing. I write best when there's nobody around. Like I said, it's a vicious cycle.

At February 11, 2006 4:20 PM, Blogger jellyhead said...

Hi Tired Motherkitty.

I don't know if this will make you feel better, or worse, but I've noticed that many of my patients 60 y.o. and over complain of waking at night. It seems the sleep cycles change, so that they tend to sleep in 2 or even 3 'parts', instead of sleeping right through the night. Most will sleep 9pm to 1 or 2 am, then read/listen to the radio etc until sleepy again, then sleep 3 am til 5 or 6 am. Of course, getting up and blogging too long probably makes things worse, like you say!

I'm the same though - if I wake with one of the kids, and am taking awhile to fall back to sleep, my curiousity gets the better of me and I end up blogging. If I'd just stayed in bed a little longer, I'd probably have fallen back to sleep!

At February 11, 2006 10:06 PM, Blogger TUFFENUF said...

I love being retired. Mostly because if I am tired - I can retire to my bed! I used to feel guilty for taking naps when I had other things (chores, housework, etc.) I am also a fan of "catnaps". Sometimes when I am waiting for the boys to get out of school, I put the seat back and catch a few winks in the car. I think our bodies tell us when we need to sleep.

At February 12, 2006 6:31 AM, Blogger Alipurr said...

This is a really good post. Where did you get the pix? I wouldn't worry about the sleep stuff. Who says everyone has to sleep the same way. We really missed seeing you on saturday, and the girls were disappointed, but we will see you soon. Take a hot bath, read a good book, watch a good movie...don't worry about the rest

At February 13, 2006 7:20 AM, Blogger susan said...

If I made my top 10 favorite things list, sleep would be on it, I love to sleep, and can sleep anywhere anytime. I have noticed you online in the wee hours, just figured you didn't need sleep! Maybe Jelly can prescribe you some of those drugs we see on TV for insomnia! Hope you get to feeling better.


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