To sleep, perchance to dream

gray cat near brown vase with sunflowers

Photo by Buenosia Carol on

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…”




Aftermath of DST

We sprang forward on Sunday for the continuing saga of DST or Daylight Savings Time. Seriously, if someone wanted to screw with our sleep schedules more, this is the perfect program to do that. I normally go to bed at 10 p.m. and wake at 7 a.m. I have had this sleep schedule for years. Even when I moved to South Africa or Panama and didn’t have a crazy work schedule, I would default to that sleep schedule.

I didn’t realize how tyrannical “spring forward, fall back” was until I lived in a country where it wasn’t used. It was then that I suspected that the whole reason for using DST was to keep us so sleep-deprived that we wouldn’t be interested in politics. I use the general term politics because the ideas have seeped into schools, churches, and our everyday institutions. Some of these ideas are being forced into our everyday shopping establishments – grocery stores and so forth.

I have gotten so sleep-deprived this cycle, that I wondered at 3 a.m. (which would have been 4 a.m. or was it 2 a.m.) whether DST was a first step to take over the world. The reasons for using DST are pretty much invalid now. And if you think DST is “for the children,” then you haven’t been listening. Sleep-deprivation causes mental and physical damage. Sleep-deprivation has been linked to gaining weight.

If I ever run for elected office (I was born outside the US although both parents are US citizens so it won’t be president), I will bring the matter of DST to the public and on the table. Let’s start with this anachronism. Let us get regular sleep so our brains can think clearly.