To sleep, perchance to dream

gray cat near brown vase with sunflowers

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My body has its own science experiments.

It seems that when it is time for bed, my mind races. Sometimes I will read a little before bed to get my mind thinking other thoughts so I have more control when I finally fall asleep.

Sometimes that doesn’t work and I get pulled into the story until I have to read to the end.

Yes, that happened on Saturday evening. When I finished the last of the story, it was 6 a.m. in the morning. I had read through the night. I don’t do that too often because I am aware of what happens to me when I don’t get seven to eight hours of sleep at night.

I was amazed that I was able to take the dog on a walk with a minimum of stumbling and falling. I didn’t get much done yesterday though. I would nod off at the most inopportune times. Last night I went to bed early.

So I have been comparing yesterday morning with this morning. I don’t have any more energy after a full nights sleep than I did with no sleep. I am more aware of the little aches that come with aging.

It’s been interesting to me at the change of attitude toward sleep by the medical community in the last twenty or so years. When I was a child, we knew small children needed a lot of sleep, but adults didn’t require as much.

Nowadays we are finding out what happens to adults who don’t get enough sleep. Their bodies don’t repair as fast. Plus adults who don’t sleep are at greater risk for Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. Sleep is essential for our health.

The short term is that the less sleep you get, the more cognitive glitches you can have during the day.

I do have strategies for those sleepless nights. One of my big ones after meditation is melatonin. For some reason as we age we have less of this hormone. It helps us get to sleep. I am wary of sleeping pills because of the “sleepwalking” effect. I don’t need to add that to my list of disabilities.

One of the big benefits of sleep is that my emotions are calmer and I am more rational throughout the day.

When I think of sleep, I think of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet:

“To die, to sleep – 
To sleep, perchance to dream – ay, there’s the rub,
For in this sleep of death what dreams may come…”

 

 

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