Resolved in the morning

Sleeping like a baby: Mama naps with her first grandchild, Ryan, in 1976

Sleeping like a baby: Mama naps with her first grandchild, Ryan, in 1976

“It is a common experience that a problem difficult at night is resolved in the morning after the committee of sleep has worked on it.” John Steinbeck

If you’re an insomniac, a night owl, or both (as I am) you have probably done a good bit of work and/or worry in the late hours of the evening, or even the wee hours of the morning.  If so, you may have reluctantly concluded, as I did years ago, that staying up late does little to contribute to facing tough problems or challenges.  I’ve watched early risers such as my husband for many years, and they are all fairly insistent about getting to bed at a reasonable hour.  They are also, almost without exception, far more accomplished than I am.

Although it’s not in my nature to be an early-to-rise, early-to-bed sort, I’ve come to the inescapable conclusion that guarding my sleep habits to ensure at least 7-8 hours of sleep per night is one of the most important things I can do to preserve my own health and sanity.  And I have to agree with Steinbeck that sleep often yields a mental clarity and focus that cuts through what seemed insurmountable obstacles the night before.

I’ve read that insomnia is an increasing problem in today’s world.  Little wonder, with all that we have to keep us up at night.  The bright side of this national sleep problem is that there are good, sound articles almost everywhere you look, online and in print, that include simple tips and information to help us maintain good sleep habits. I hope you are making sure to get adequate sleep.  It’s one of the kindest things you can do for yourself, and ultimately, for all the people who are depending on you.

19 Comments

  1. Reblogged this on oahuhiking and commented:
    Author: Defeat Despair

    • Mahalo for the reblog, and Aloha to all your readers!

  2. I am a morning person…annoyingly so to my friends (I am chatty and chirpy as soon as I roll out of bed whilst other people try to slowly wake up!)…I don’t need to snooze in the morning and I am often seen nodding off on the sofa after 10.30pm (jeesh, I sound like an old woman)…sleep was never really an issue, although I don’t know what a lie in is…until recently due to the medication I now have to take for the next 5 years…I don’t have full blown insomnia but I have disrupted sleep and feel sleepy all day…I hope this will settle soon as I am not enjoying it…I like being an early bird! I feel I achieve a lot more that way…
    Thanks for the post.

    • When we night owls get annoyed it’s really only sour grapes because most of us KNOW we could get more done if we would rise early. Your comment brought a smile to my face because it reminded me of two college friends of mine who were roommates. One of them would get up and sing (quietly, but just loud enough to be annoying) while going about her routine in the morning – it drove the other one CRAZY and to this day when I remember hearing that high-pitched voice singing I almost laugh as I imagine the smoke coming out the other one’s ears! I hope you are able to get your sleep disruptions settled. I know from experience that going without adequate sleep can really play havoc with almost every other aspect of life. Thanks for being here and for your comment!

  3. Here the lifestyle is so different. Most of them stay awake till 1 or 2 am, get up at 5, those who stay at home sleep again all morning while students and the working people sleep in the evening till ten pm. But luckily we have adjusted our routine so that we get 6-7 hours of sleep at a stretch and avoid naps as much as possible.
    That picture is so heart-warming.

    • Thanks Bindu, I’m glad you like the photo! I can’t imagine sleep routine such as you describe, but I do know that a good part of the world eats dinner much later than we are accustomed to doing (5 or 6 pm at the latest for us). I think we’re all wired differently when it comes to sleep habits, though I agree with some research that says young people do best staying up late and being allowed to sleep later. Some school systems here have adjusted the hours to allow high school students to start a bit later. I think that’s wise and I wish they all would do it.

  4. Reblogged this on The Noah Project.

    • Thanks so much for sharing this post!

  5. Ryan

    Marlea just showed me a quote that said: I think the saying shouldn’t be “I slept like a baby”. Let’s change it to “I slept like a husband”.
    I’ve been sleeping soundly for the last 7 years thankfully. The 3 years before that, not so much.

    • Ryan, I am so happy you are sleeping soundly again. That’s a gift that is pretty much necessary for long term survival, or at least for optimal health. I used to say that I was afraid Jeff would sleep through a natural disaster or a house fire! As we have aged, neither of us has slept quite as well as we used to (and I’ve never slept all that well; I was a lot like April in that respect). One thing that has me feeling a bit more encouraged about Jeff’s treatment is that he began to sleep a lot better in recent months. I hope that’s from recovery and not just exhaustion because it broke my heart when he could not sleep; it’s always been so important to him.

      • Sheila

        Julia, a precious moment captured! Being a grandmother is joyful and life changing, as you’re about to find out. I read recently that we awake to a screen, we go to work to look at a screen many hours, and we end our evening looking at a screen, and it’s really interfering with all aspects of our life, including sleep. That may not apply to all and be rather extreme, but it’s something to consider. Bill certainly experienced the chemotherapy insomnia,too. Like Jeff, he was off to the office with little or no sleep, the next morning. I was just showing Bill the lovely photo and read the quote and he commented, ” That’s why we have to ‘sleep on it’ I suppose!” I hope this has been a good day! Sheila

        • Thanks Sheila, I TOTALLY agree about the screens. I always limited the time my kids spent in front of TVs or computers, and we never had any video games at all. I always felt I could see a real difference in Matt’s ability to focus if he watched too much TV. And my worst years of insomnia were during the time we kept a computer in our bedroom – I’ll NEVER do that again if I can possibly avoid it. We’ve never had TVs in any of our bedrooms either. But, some people tell me they fall asleep more easily with the TV on; I guess everyone is different. But I think there’s at least some research to validate the idea that we need to pay attention to such things. Today has been a nice day, slow-paced and relaxing. Hope yours was too!

  6. I love this photo. How very sweet. I enjoy sleep but I rarely get a good one. I have terrible dreams that are very vivid. I wake up exhausted. I like to take Advil PM but if I don’t take it by 9 I wake up feeling like a truck ran me over and it takes a couple hours to recover. I do like to “lie in” though as our friend HM says. Love ya. Hope you are all sleeping peacefully tonight. God bless.

    • Amy, I read a research study that found people on Benadryl (diphenhydramine is the generic name, and it’s in Advil PM) had similar test results on driving as people who were legally drunk! So you are on the right track about taking it by 9. On the plus side, it’s great at getting Matt to sleep when he has insomnia, and works fairly well for me too, though it doesn’t keep either of us from waking a few hours later. I too have very vivid dreams, often several every night; Jeff claims he never has any! I have both good and bad dreams, and often they are so realistic that it takes me a few minutes of wakefulness to convince myself it’s all a dream. The one positive thing to say about Jeff’s long recovery from surgery is that he will FINALLY stay in bed some mornings past 8:00! Since he’s accustomed to leaving for work before 6:00 a.m., and got up by 7:00 or so even on days when he wasn’t working, I’ve really enjoyed having him sleep late with me! “To all a good night!” as Mr. Claus says.

  7. DeVonna

    Thank you Julia for this timely message. This very day (the 20) I received word that my soldier son has been hospitalized for a serious infection in his leg. As a mother it is so hard to be unable to be at his bedside, encouraging and comforting both him and myself. But in my sleeplessness I was able to pray to the One who sees the sparrow fall and know that my boy’s pain and sickness have not gone unnoticed by Him.
    Blessings to you,

    • DeVonna, thank you for comment; I am touched deeply because I’ve spent so many hours at Walter Reed hospital where my husband was just released after a 3-week stay. He was on the floor with the “wounded warriors” and I thought of all the loved ones of these men and women who serve our country at such a difficult time. I hated being away from Jeff even for a few hours so I cannot imagine how hard it must have been for you to be unable to be there with your son. I too take comfort in God’s promise that even the sparrows do not escape his notice and care. I will pray for your son and also for you, that you will have an extra measure of “the peace that passes understanding.” I am so grateful you visited here; please visit again!

  8. I’m guilty of doing ALL the wrong things to ensure long restful nights. Even the days I make an extra effort aren’t that fruitful. Sometimes I fall asleep but awake 2 hours later. I had better sleeps on holidays, so I’m convinced half the problem is the cats 😉 Since they’re not going anywhere, I just go with it. It’s surprising how little sleep I can function with but like you say, maybe I’m not being too kind to my body. That’s a really cute picture you captured too Julia!

    • Thanks Boomdee, glad you like the photo. For so many years I burned the candle at both ends (especially in college – sheesh! I don’t know how I survived on the teensy bits of sleep I would get in those years). The older I get, the less I can get away with it. My worst problems with insomnia have been of waking 2-3 hours after I first go to sleep. I rarely have problems falling asleep as I’m usually so exhausted by the time I get to bed. I think there are all sorts of ways to get adequate sleep (napping, sleeping in, etc.) but the important thing is just to be aware that it seems to be essential to staying healthy.

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