Why is it that some people, and animals, can sleep anywhere, at any time, under any conditions? Why is it others cannot? I remember as a child spending a lot of time at my grandmother’s house. She only lived a short walk–or run, if it was a scary black night–down the road from my parent’s house, and I spent many nights with her.
Grandma was a hard worker. Grandpa passed away when she was only 57, which left her struggling with money issues until she could qualify for social security. I was oblivious to all of that, although I do recall one of her jobs was planting tree seedlings at a nursery. She’d come home aching from a long day of bending over row after row, tree after tree. It is little wonder her nights became more and more sleepless. The combination of aging, stress, worry, pain, and loneliness all equaled little sleep. Little sleep intensified her aging, stress, worry, pain, and loneliness. It was a vicious cycle.
On a lighter note, my husband can fall asleep in church, at lectures, in trains, planes, and automobiles. In those circumstances a gospel choir could be hallelujah-ing at top decibels and he would continue to sleep. But at night, in bed, if I decide to read he tosses and turns at every whispery page turn. “When are you going to be done?” he says. “I can’t sleep with you reading.” The irony is hard to take.
Hormonal swings are usually the villain in sleepless nights for menopausal women, but we have also become a culture with many distractions. Check your bedroom for light sources…clocks, radios, night lights, and so on. It’s amazing how many innocent conveniences keep us from getting the darkness our sleep requires. I would urge everyone to do what they can to get good sleep. It’s what allows our busy and fabulous human selves to repair. Sweet dreams!