I remember visiting my cousins who did not have a strict bedtime in the summer. They would be running around well after dark and I just wanted to sneak away and curl up in bed to sleep. I couldn't believe my aunt and uncle were so irresponsible as parents!
Once as a teen I was invited by neighbors to spend a week at their lake cottage. One night we all went to see some friends of theirs who had a horse farm. It was fun until adult conversation went on . . . and on . . . and on. By one in the morning I was pretty sure my eyeballs were bleeding.
There are significant periods of my life during which sleep was elusive.
There was a long stretch during high school and college when I would wake during the night and could not go back to sleep. Every night sound seemed magnified and designed specifically to keep me awake. One night I buried my wind-up alarm clock in a large box of outgrown clothing my mother had stored at the back of the closet. I had no trouble understanding the horror of Poe's "Tell Tale Heart."
Pregnancy -- certainly one does not sleep for two. It only gets worse once the baby is born. But as the kids grew I found I could fall asleep in seconds and not rouse until the alarm and/or the first sound of stirring children. Sleep deprivation will do that for you. Maybe I wasn't so refreshed upon waking but at least I was dead to the world for a period of time.
Then kids become teens -- a whole new style of sleepness develops. And job stress can do a number as well. Part of my early retirement was from being so consistently sleep deprived that I felt sick far too much of the time -- job stress plus helping with care for my mother who had dementia really had me at a breaking point. Oh, and let's throw in perimenopause.
Retirement did not cure my sleep problems. Bad habits and poor sleep hygiene were firmly established. I ended up going to a sleep clinic and being sent to a behavioral change group therapy program and the university. It worked.
But, of course, this comes up now because I am experiencing those 3 a.m. wake up/can't get back to sleep periods. It started with a Code Red Weather alert that there was a tornado threat in the immediate area of Ashwood Drive. Gee, that was ominously specific.
Now that I am older and wiser, I know that a.) I have tools to understand and deal with periods of sleeplessness and b.) everything changes. This is not a permanent condition.
I find that if I stretch and let my arms go up and wide to accept the day, I feel immediately more refreshed. Yesterday a yoga instructor suggested adding a grateful for thought to this routine and I do feel ready for my day.
(Sometimes I get the feeling that people around me just want to slap me up side my head.)