Sleep, oh sleep, wherefore art thou?

(Barclay here)  It’s 3AM, and I am wide awake.  My mind replays the less than brilliant utterances of the previous day; following that, it imagine the day ahead with all its embarrassing possibilities.  And then, I begin my tossing and turning dance moves, trashing actually, much to the annoyance of Codie, our usually patient golden retriever, who groans audibly, detangles herself from the bundled sheets, and jumps to the floor, weary of my flailing feet and their impact on  her beauty sleep.

Does anyone actually sleep through the night?  When I ask my friends in their 60s and beyond, most report being night “thrashers” as well.  Some can’t get to sleep in the first place; and others wake up and can’t get back to sleep.

 

(Joy here) Sleep, something that should be so natural and uncomplicated has become my biggest health issue in this 6th decade of life!  Why didn’t someone write a manual on what to expect?!    Sleepless in Chicago and sleepless in Claverack New York, should be the retitled name of our retirement blog.

If I knew this was going to be a problem when I was a lot younger, I would have slept a lot more and had hours in the bank! TOO LATE NOW!  I’m trying to help the next generation here!

I have tried most over the counter medications including ZZZquil, Melatonin, both time release, which I was sure was going to work, Unisom, Avinol p.m. (Shark Tank liked the product so much they put money into it!  Clearly, they don’t have insomnia!)  and finally succumbed to seeing my doctor for a prescription.  I did this with great reluctance, although the deep circles under my eyes told me I better do something!  I have had great hope for all of these sleep aids and they have all let me down.  This week I went back to my old favorite, Sleepy Time tea with a chaser of a sleep aid an hour later.  I Googled this cocktail combination to make sure I wasn’t going to overdose and it turns out other people do the same thing.  The results were pretty good –so with an eye mask, a white noise sound machine, and my cocktail of choice, I caught some decent zzzzzz’s. One night does not make up for months of insomnia!

One of my friends suggested seeing a hypnotherapist.  I’d never thought of that, but I wanted to get to the root cause, not just put a band aid on it.  So, in 2 weeks (she was booked solid!) I will try my first session.  I’m up for treating this in a non drug way, if at all possible.  The issue with long term insomnia is that it gets embedded in our subconscious and you begin to think that you are supposed to wake up at 3.  You go to bed expecting that you will not sleep through the night and that is exactly what happens, like a little alarm clock going off.

Alfred Barrios, a psychology specialist compared the benefits of psychoanalysis to hypnotherapy for sleep disorders and found hypnosis helped 93% improve their sleeping after only 6 sessions compared to psychoanalytical therapy which required 600 sessions to achieve a 38% improvement!  Certainly, worth a try!  If nothing else, I figure I will get an hour’s worth of sleep!

To all our readers who sleep peacefully through the night, consider yourselves very lucky and for those who don’t, call or text Barclay and I, we’re probably awake!

Today’s Takeaway…

Sleeping is a blessing.  Deep sleep, uninterrupted with the exception of an occasional pee, is divine!

Talk to other people, share your experiences, it will at least make you feel better -you are in really good company! 60 million Americans have insomnia and can be counting sheep any night of the week!

As always, enjoy the ride

xox Barclay & Joy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sleep – Counting sheep just doesn’t cut it!

Who would have ever guessed I would have sleep issues! Me, the woman who could fall asleep standing up! On a West coast flight, my routine was to recline my chair and pull down the shade preparing for a 5 hour snooze from lift off to landing! Friends marveled at my sleeping ability and I was the envy of my insomniac friends!

Enter retirement and all of a sudden, I wasn’t guaranteed a restful night’s sleep anymore! My wandering mind, racing thoughts took me all over the place, but not to The Land of Nod,where I wanted to go.

 

My worries about money, not having enough, my children, my husband, had I made the right decision to leave the workplace, my health and the state of the world were keeping me up!

 

I had no trouble falling asleep. That was easy. It was that damn 4:30 am wake up call that once eyes opened started the cycle. Peeing is one thing, I expected that, but this was more than that. It was my inability to put myself back to sleep.

 

After a month of this insomnia, I decided to try the usual recommendations for this condition. I Googled insomnia and sleep disorders. I was shocked at the percentage of people who have this problem, about 40% of the population. Who knew? Tryptophan, as in what makes us sleepy after the big Thanksgiving meal did nothing for me. Maybe it helps turkeys sleep? Melatonin, which many of my globe trotting friends swear by, Nada a wink.

 

On to acupuncture. I had never tried it before so being pro holistic and natural, rather than asking for a prescription for Ambien, it was worth a shot! I signed up for 3 sessions to give it a try. While very relaxing and a totally enjoyable experience, it didn’t take me to where I wanted to go, that being a solid night’s sleep. I did start waking at 5:30 instead of 4:30 so there was progress. Rather than investing in more sessions, being prudent, I tried what has turned out to be my salvation.

 

My daughter was working at a spa that used these white noise machines, the kind that new moms use in baby’s nurseries. Could this simple concept of blocking out all distracting sound work for me? Worth the $28 investment from Amazon.

This lovely little sleepy time machine, Sleepytime tea before bed, and my horse blinder eye mask ( bought at T.J Maxx for $10) is as good as I have had it for the last 6 months. I still wake up during the night, but I can finally put myself back to sleep.

 

It’s been a real eye opening experience to have insomnia, but I’ve certainly learned 1) I’m in good company and 2) sheep just aren’t to be counted on.

 

Today’s Takeaway—

. Pay attention to clues from your body, be that physical or mental.  Now is not the time to ignore symptoms or think they might away. Health is a gift, as is a good night’s sleep.

. Be open to alternative medicine.  Anybody can get a prescription for Ambien and you can always keep it in reserve.  Try meditating, deep breathing, yoga, the CALM app for bedtime stories.

 

Enjoy the ride!

xox Barclay and Joy