Being Realistic At the Same Time
Caution: Do not read this blog if TMI is a problem for you. I apologize that the subject matter is sort of bland this week. This is what happens when things are moving along swimmingly well.
This is based on a lifetime of experience and many sleepless nights.
The Perfect Night’s Sleep
I am going to begin by describing what I believe to be the perfect night’s sleep. Later I will go into individual needs, what works versus what doesn’t, why sleep matters, and what to do if you did/do not achieve your sleep goals.
When I wake-up naturally after 7 1/2 to 8 Hours sleep feeling rested, fresh, and with clarity (fond memories of my last dream), I can accomplish just about anything. The difference is a good day versus a challenging day. I have not used an alarm clock since I was a university student. No matter what time I go to bed, my body wakes up at about 4:30 a.m. It used to be just after 5:00 a.m., however, lately I have been dozing off by 8:30 p.m. I know that may seem early for some, but this is the time my body shuts down. If and when I listen to my body, I get a good night’s sleep. I have a few friends who think I’m missing out on fun nighttime activities, to them I say, you’re missing out on the splendor of the early morning.
My Needs In Order to Achieve a Good Night’s Sleep
It is important for me to be thoughtful about my sleep patterns. I have a very common problem for older men where an enlarged prostate wakes you up in the middle of the night so that you can urinate prior to returning to sleep (hopefully). Without medication, I was waking up three or more times each night and experiencing difficulty urinating. With medication I can sleep longer and urinate more easily and less frequently. This means I have to remember to take the medication when it is meant to be taken. I’ve been on Redict for about a year; thankfully, it is the only medication I take. My urologist would like to avoid surgery and I am 100% on board with that.
What Works Versus What Does Not Work (be prepared for more information than you need)
- A dark room is essential
- Minimal outside noise (my bedroom is at the back of my apartment mainly because the city picks up the trash anytime between 2:00 and 5:00 a.m. in my section of Faro — it’s crazy loud. I used to hear dogs barking in the middle of the night, but fortunately that has either stopped or I no longer hear it.
- My sheets must be a soft cotton and washed once-a-week; if I’m even a day late I can tell the difference.
- I have purchased over fifty pillows over the last forty years, attempting to find the right one. I still do not feel as if I have it right. I currently sleep on one medium density goose down pillow. I have had neck surgery due to multiple issues; therefore, without proper neck support, I wake up with a stiff neck.
- My bedroom needs to be free of odors. I recently tried a new fabric softener and I had to wash my sheets the next day.
- The temperature of my bedroom needs to be somewhere between 60 and 65 F.
- My blanket must be light year round. Down is ideal in winter and cotton in summer. The in-between months are challenging, but at this point I know to keep a variety of covers nearby in case I need to make a change.
- I cannot drink more than one cocktail or two glasses of wine within two hours of going to bed. If I exceed this amount, I wake in a pool of sweat.
- Wherever I am sleeping, a toilet has to be close by. I recently stayed in an Airbnb where the listing stated there was a bathroom in the sleeping loft; indeed there was a bathroom, except that it didn’t have a toilet. I had to go up and down a narrow flight of stairs — needless to say, little to no sleep.
- My space has to be super clean.
Perhaps now you will better understand why I live alone. The Princess and the Pea children’s book is relatable.
Why It Matters
There are two reasons it matters a great deal: first, without the proper amount of sleep I do not function well. I do not think straight, I make mistakes, I can be short with people, I don’t enjoy food as much — you get the picture. Second, I know that I am much healthier when I sleep well.
Dreaming is an important part of my sleeping pattern. When I have a deeper sleep, I dream all night and wake-up feeling so much better.
An afternoon nap usually helps when I’m sluggish. Even if I do get a full eight hours, an afternoon nap can be quite delicious.
“The best bridge between despair and hope is a good night’s sleep.”
— E. Joseph Cossman
Random Ideas for A Good Night's Sleep
- Manifest your goal by imagining it
- Treat yourself to a fabulous hotel room
- Keep lavender near your bed
- Do not eat right before you go to bed
- Keep your television out of the bedroom
- Instead of drinking water in the middle of the night, I gargle with it and spit it out — for obvious reasons.
- Do not paint your bedroom with loud colors; neutral, soothing colors work better
- Think pleasant thoughts. If you journal, put it down on paper and get it out of your head.
- Attempt to resolve conflicts before you go to bed.
- Don’t watch the news before bed
- Reading a good novel is the best sleep aid
- Do not spend time on electronic devices right before turning out the light
- If you can, have a pleasant conversation with someone you care about before you go to sleep
- The better your day, the better your night
- If thoughts are looping through your brain, get out of bed and walk around a bit to break the pattern or read for a bit.
Write me if there is something that you do that really works.
When I was living in New York City, there was a period of time when many people were getting bed bugs. It was a nightmare which was expensive and caused a great deal of anxiety. Throughout this period, I imagined that I had bed bugs too many times. I’d wake up in the middle of the night scratching and using a flashlight to check for bugs. Thankfully, I never had them, but the fear was almost as awful as an actual occurrence.
Provence next week and then I’m going to enjoy the Algarve until early July, when I will be in Scotland for a couple of weeks of cooler northern Europe weather. Fall: Asia, land & sea, and then South Africa in winter. This is all of have planned and I’m going to keep it this way for awhile.
I’ve added this permanent section to my blog to demonstrate one important fact of life:
Your state-of-mind may not be linked to anything in particular. It took me a very long time to learn that no matter what I do to feel good, there are days or times in my life when I am either uneasy, unhappy, or unhinged. Managing these emotions is a lifelong task. I’m doing this one day at a time with gratitude and good intentions.
Writing this blog has been helpful on many levels. Any feedback on topics or content is appreciated.
“Life is like the ocean. It dips and dives. You can have a general course of navigation but you can't stop the tide from where it takes you.” ― Isabella Poretsis As always please forgive any grammatical or typing errors. Oh yes, also forgive my crass and awkward sense-of-humor. And remember, we are all just a little crazy; some are batshit crazy.