July 21, 2017

Learning to sleep after 69 years

For most of my life, I’ve been a morning person, arising from bed before the sun comes up.

My internal clock wakes me up at 0500, 5 a.m. It doesn’t matter is what time zone I’m in or what time I’ve gone to bed, with is normally sometime between midnight and 1 a.m.

Sleep seemed like a waste of time, a period of time not working in my chosen past time.

I used to joke that the only real purpose of a bed was a place to enjoy very pleasant times in the company of someone of the opposite sex.

As I approach age 70 later this year, my body appears unwilling to function with only about four hours of sleep or less a night.  I found myself tired more often than not in mornings and afternoons.

“You don’t get enough sleep,” my doctor said.  “You’re at full speed all the time and you can’t function with as little sleep as you get.”

“Why not?  I always have,” I replied.

“You’re not as young now,” he said.

So my doctor put me on prescription sleeping medications, not one based on opioids because as a recovering alcoholic I’m susceptible to addictive medications, but still one that quickly puts me down for at least seven hours of sleep a night.

Idiot me took the first one when going to bed at 1:30 am. I didn’t wake up until around 8:30 the following morning.

That meant a loss of two-and-half hours of productive work on web sites and other tasks that comes with writing and editing the news stories of the day,

So I went to bed at 10:30 the following evening.  Woke up at 5:30 a.m.  That worked.

However, getting to get by 10:30 is not possible some nights.  What I do in evenings sometimes requires working past 10 or so.  The meds, I find, are unforgiving.  Got to bed at 11 and I will sleep until 6.  Midnight means a solid sleep until 7.

However, I find getting at least seven hours of sleep helps me get through the day with more energy and less fatigue.

The old cliche of “early to bed, early to rise” turns out to be true, even in today’s medicated world.

 

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