UNITED STATES—Sleep is the one thing we all crave, but it is also the one thing so many of us struggle with: getting quality sleep. I would be one of those Americans. I have always struggled getting to sleep at night, I think this goes back to my days as an undergraduate student where I used to work nights and I trained my body to stay up during the wee hours of the night when I used to be sleeping; ever since I have trouble sleeping at night.
While I have not been officially diagnosed with insomnia, I’m almost certain it is something I suffer from. I can get into the bed, but I will literally toss and turn all night. I mean literally all night. It’s almost like I just get in the bed for nothing, because I’m not sleeping and it is literally the worst feeling in the world America. In the past 2 weeks, I have probably averaged 3-4 hours of sleep a night, if not less. I am running on empty and it’s a direct result of working two jobs, taking care of a sick parent and just not having a solid moment of peace to myself. There is always something or someone who wants or needs something, and it literally transpires right when I’ve gotten that moment of sleep that I’ve been angling for.
I’ll get to sleep and then someone will call me, someone will text me, and just like that, with the snap of a finger, my sleep is broken and I cannot go back to sleep. It is indeed difficult to try to explain your sleep issues with people who don’t understand what you’re dealing with. If it was as simple as just closing my eyes and going to sleep, don’t you think I would do that? It is not that simple, so thanks for your advice, but no thanks. Don’t worry about me, worry about you.
I am a firm believer that the body tends to work in mysterious ways, so when you’ve reach that point where you can no longer do it any longer the body will crash unfortunately and it is not a pretty site. To best adapt with my sleep frustrations I attempt to take small naps during the day when possible. I feel like I get my best sleep with a 30-minute to 60-minute nap. I don’t know why, but they seem to do the trick for the most part because I sometimes feel like I’m getting 6-8 hours of sleep.
The worst thing for me is to attempt to function on less than 5 hours of sleep. If that transpires, I am cranky, I’m blunt and I don’t tolerate any nonsense, I just don’t have the literal time for it because I’m functioning to stay awake when all my body wants to do is sleep. It totally sucks, but I’m doing the best to remedy the situation. The biggest being, no consumption of caffeine at all that includes tea, soda and coffee. I used to use these items to stay awake at night, but eliminating them from my consumption almost feels like a double-edged sword, but for health reasons I have no intention of consuming them.
I’m detaching from technology. I would never turn my cellphone off at night, but I’ve reached a point where I just mute it so that I’m not interrupted by those that I don’t want to be disturbed by when I need to sleep. There is NO NEED to text someone at 1-2 in the morning unless it an absolute emergency, and when I say emergency I mean you’re near death. Anything else can wait until that person is up or available. Last, but not least, reducing stress and taking time away from work is key to getting sleep.
Anyone who knows me knows I rarely take time off from work, out of some undirected guilt that things will not get done. I’ve come to the realization that doing such is at my expense, not the company I work for so I can no longer do that. I’m literally taking 10 days off in about a week to work on a passionate project of mine that I have placed on the backburner for years, and when I say years I mean it, YEARS.
During this time it’s a total detachment from work, no email, no cellphone, whatever is going on the company is going to have to handle because I plan to use this time to give my body the rest and sleep it desperately needs. Yes, there is a saying that you can never get back sleep that you lost and I hold that true, but that does NOT mean I cannot rejuvenate my body to prepare for the next obstacle that I face. Sleep does indeed matter, and anyone who is saying otherwise is simply lying to themselves.