For almost as long as I can remember, sleep has been an issue for me.
At one point in my life I tended to fall asleep far too easily at all the wrong times. During a meeting at work. While talking to a friend. During a sermon. I used to claim I’d fall asleep during a Billy Graham sermon when he was at his prime.
But at least I never fell asleep while driving.
There were advantages, however. I didn’t have any trouble falling asleep at night, and I almost fell asleep while my lady dentist of that time was working in my mouth. A real advantage when having a root canal.
I don’t know why I never talked to the doctor about my problem. Instead, I continued putting up with it until he prescribed something for a different problem, and my falling-asleep-at-the-wrong-time problem seemed to magically disappear. Even though I no longer take that particular medicine, I haven’t hadn’t any relapses into wrong-time sleepiness.
But a new problem surfaced over the years. Sleep apnea. Not only was I snoring loudly enough to raise the roof, I would actually stop breathing occasionally for seconds at a time. Not surprisingly, that concerned my wife. A LOT!
So I started sleeping with a mask connected to a CPAP machine. It worked great until I finally got tired of having to sleep only in certain positions. Otherwise the mask leaked air, which not only lessened its usefulness, but made noise I my wife and I could both live without. It wasn’t as effective as it had been before, anyhow. So I put it back in its case and stuck it under the bed.
When I was diagnosed with diabetes three years ago, my doctor told me to lose weight rather than count carbs, and the interesting thing is my sleep apnea disappeared as I grew smaller. I still snore occasionally, but not nearly as objectionably, and my wife says I no longer quit breathing while I’m asleep.
Somewhere along the way, however, I started waking up in the middle of the night and frequently fretting irrationally about things I wouldn’t even be concerned about when I was awake. So the doctor prescribed amitriptyline. Although the directions say to take it at bedtime, I’ve found the effects last better if I wait till I have to get up during the night–normally sometime between midnight and 2:00 a.m. Since it doesn’t actually make me sleepy, I can take it as close to time to get up as I want to.
Flash forward to the present. We normally head for bed around 9:00 p.m., and I pray myself to sleep. But the cat jumps on the bed around 5:00 a.m. and starts meowing more loudly than I’ve ever heard any other cat meow. Sure, fella. I know you had supper at 4:15, but can’t you let us sleep till 6:30, please?
He may or may not settle down until one of us gets up and feeds him. And if we’re feeding him, we have to feed the miniature dachshund, too. Then whoever got up to do the feeding comes back to bed and everyone tries getting back to sleep. Even if he or she succeeds, that break in our sleep leaves us less than satisfactorily rested. Especially me.
So it’s the rare day that I don’t grab a nap soon after lunch. All I need is half an hour. Occasionally forty-five minutes. Then I’m all set to finish the rest of the day. Long live afternoon naps!
Do you have any trouble sleeping? What’s helped you? How about leaving a comment and sharing your answers with the rest of us…
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“On Aging Gracelessly” isn’t my only blog. I post lyrics of the Christian songs I’ve written over the last fifty years on my other blog, “As I Come Singing“; go here to check it out. Free lead sheets (tune, words, and chords) are available for many of songs. You can find the list here.