Friday, June 3, 2011

When I’m dead I’ll sleep…

You know that saying, “when I’m dead I’ll sleep,” the one for people who work way too much, live too much, the people who are always doing? Well, that’s one of those sayings I don’t say out loud but always wanted to live. But realistically I need my sleep. I always have. My parents really never let me stay up late even when I was in high school because they knew, I needed my sleep. It was obvious by my grades of my first semester away at college when I had an 8:00 am class, and we can all guess which was the only class I ever failed in college because I slept through it…literally in my bed.
My point is beyond how there is a learning curve in life, i.e., going to stay up all night and still need your 8 hours of sleep means you are going to have to start classes at 11:00 am instead of 8:00 am. But, that I need to sleep. Most of us do, and so we accommodate our lives to make sure that we can…especially those of us who don’t drink coffee. But when we were young that number was larger, maybe 8 hours, and as adults we think if we get 6, that’s a good night!
When you suffer from any kind of pain ailment or disease, chances are you aren’t sleeping very well. Usually you hear people who are popping sleeping pills, or drinking coffee all day, maybe 5-hour energy anyone? But even if you can actually “wake up” you aren’t helping your body, all these things are just making it worse. When you suffer from chronic pain, not sleeping over time begins to cause other problems that you don’t even realize are being compounded daily! I know if I didn’t realize it.
So what do you do? Do you take the sleeping pill? Do you just quit your job and take a nap every afternoon when your body is ready to give out? Well, me, I used to cry…a lot. I never said it was a good answer! I don’t have an answer! I do know that the more upset I get the more I tune into my pain, so it’s a vicious cycle of crying feels good because you are letting it all out, but being in that much pain to make you cry makes your pain worse. But sometimes I can’t help myself. No matter how smart we are, and no matter how much we know, “if I do this, it will make me hurt tomorrow,” the lactose intolerant person who loves ice cream eats it on a hot day knowing that they will be in pain later but thinking it’s so worth it at the time, but later they may swear up and down they will “never do that again!”
So my trick is, I don’t have a trick. I try not to get upset with my body when I can’t sleep. I try not to blame myself for all the years of stressing about nothing of importance, such as “will people like my blog post today,” “is my sister mad at me?” But most of all, I don’t get mad at myself if I can’t sleep. Mostly after years of not sleeping I have been mastering the art of passing out. But when I wake up at 3:30 am every morning, I just get a drink and try to go back to bed. Some nights I can’t, but most I can, if I wait long enough. Sleep is something that we all need, consider it a vitamin of sorts, and I take enough of them, what’s one more?! So if you want to take a nap, take it if you can. If you want to go to bed at 8:00 pm, do it! If you ignore your body for too long it will eventually make you take that break, like it or not.

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