“Innocent sleep. Sleep that soothes away all our worries. Sleep that puts each day to rest. Sleep that relieves the weary laborer and heals hurt minds. Sleep, the main course in life’s feast, and the most nourishing.” Macbeth.
Let Sleeping Dogs Lie and Please Teach Me How
Like getting older doesn’t bring enough fun surprises; little things appearing on your body from who knows where, foods you always enjoyed determined to go ten rounds with your digestive ability and always losing your glasses to the top of your head. Now sleep depravation is a new wrinkle with which to contend.
It’s hard to believe now that I was never a great sleeper. As a child I fought sleep with every particle of my being, frightened I would miss something of cosmic importance while my head was ensconced in my fluffy pillow. Of course now I realize at this age such events would be a good thing to miss.
I would do everything to avoid my bedtime using pleas of “one more show, please, I didn’t see Uncle Miltie yet, can’t I watch the fights with Grandpa or I hear the Northern Lights are heading toward Michigan and I want to see if they show up.”
These excuses fell on deaf ears so I contented myself to lie in bed listening to my Zenith clock radio until midnight when my favorite show Lee Allen on the Horn closed with Frank Sinatra’s classic I Can’t Get Started With You. Then I would succumb to dreamland unsure as to whether or not I had missed some earth-shattering event.
This all changed when I hit the teen years and discovered sleeping until noon was a luxury I could definitely get behind and endorse. Many a time I greeted my friends on a Sunday afternoon still in my pajamas while we sat on my bed listening to records and exchanging the latest tidbits of gossip. Sounds rather frivolous now looking back at how we probably should have been discussing how to change the world or learning about how to end political corruption. But I digress.
After I was blessed with children I realized how valuable a few moments of sleep could be. I would have traded everything I had to close my eyes for even fifteen minutes and know blissful sleep once again. A Porsche, no thanks, but can you watch the kids for half and hour so I can get some ZZZs, please?
There was a short time between toddler and teen when I was blessed with trips to dreamland and happily crawled into bed at the end of a long and fun-filled day of cooking cleaning, laundry, shopping and attempting to close my zippers over my ever-expanding waistline.
Then I once again found myself lacking sleep when my children secured a driver’s license and I couldn’t enter dreamland until the garage door opened and I was certain they were safely in the house.
Different stages of life require various amounts of sleep. I am surprised at how I functioned with so little sleep when my kids were babies and teenagers and how much I seemed to need as a teen. And therein lies the rub, because now that I have all the time in the world to snooze, a good night’s sleep seems as out of reach as a face free of wrinkles or thighs that don’t shake like Los Angeles when I walk.
I know I’m not alone in my attempts to sleep through the night as many friends have also shared their stories. Tales abound of how their trips to the bathroom each night find them wide-awake and searching for the remote to continue the Frasier or Golden Girls marathon. I myself find that falling asleep even for two minutes in the middle of a show constitutes a nap to my old confused body and I’m up and good for a few hours more as I flip around and settle on Netflix at three in the morning.
No matter how many times I try to tell my addled mind that two minutes do not a night’s sleep make, I am not getting through and only with the help of a good antihistamine can I accomplish this goal. As one who would rather not depend on drugs to do the trick I have conversations before bed with my subconscious about the benefits of sleep and how we must be nice to us. Yet it all falls on deaf ears and there I am once again at five thirty in the morning staring at the screen and wondering how in the world I am going to awaken for that doctor appointment at eight o’ clock and function on less than three hours sleep.
Well, that’s the point; I can’t. The next day I sleepwalk through my responsibilities until I sit down at three o’clock or so, turn on the television and quickly pass out.
Of course this lovely afternoon nap is a precursor to another night of eyes wide open staring at a Frasier rerun or The Birdcage viewing. I fight desperately to avoid some anxiety producing reality, but once awake my mind runs through all the stressful situations with which I am currently faced like a scanner on steroids.
So I turn once again to Sophia calling Blanche a slut and wonder how I could have ever taken sleep for granted.
Of course one wonders how much sleep is the optimum amount for someone in the laugh laugh golden years? I’d have to say enough to get through the day, but not too little to add to the ever increasing bags under your eyes.
I’ve always believed seven hours was my minimum but I have learned I can get by on six. In a pinch five, but less than five is iffy. I had three one night last week and my grandson had to wake me in the middle of our binge watching The Good Place.
Not to be maudlin but do you think your subconscious is trying to tell you, “lay off the sleep so much, you’ll get plenty of sleep soon?”
Yipes, that makes me want to stay up all night.
So reading into that Macbeth quote perhaps Shakespeare was hoping for a good night’s sleep also, and those complimentary words are his way of kissing up to the sleep gods.
At this point I’m a firm believer whatever it takes to get some ZZZs I’ll do, even if it means missing out on some world-changing event. As we’ve all learned, despite Shakespeare’s optimistic view of sleep, life will still be waiting for you in the morning. Sleep well, Readers.