(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!
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