How did you sleep? How many of your days begin with that question? And why does our worldview now depend upon how well we slept?
Seems like the older we get, the more illusive a good night’s rest has become. Does it help to know you’re not alone? Not so much.
The experts say that each of us has a “sleep architecture,” and that as we age, this architecture begins to change. For one thing, we spend less time in deep non-REM sleep and our circadian rhythm starts shifting earlier (no one knows why). Depression, restless leg syndrome, sleep apnea, menopause – there are loads of additional reasons for sleep disorders to affect baby boomers.
Whether it’s trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, boomers are finding that what used to come easily is now a struggle. Should we go to bed later, read longer, not drink coffee, drink warm milk, get out of bed when sleep doesn’t come easily…..all good questions and nobody has the answers. The recipe for a good nights rest is different for everyone – I get that. So, for now, we rise early (so that’s empty what the world looks like at 5 am) and try to go back to sleep, or we get up and start surfing the Internet (you got a better idea of what to do at that hour?). Start trying to remember who you went to grade school or high school with and then look them on Facebook. That can kill at least an hour. Try reading a classic book that you’ve never finished (or truth be told, never even cracked open). Moby Dick or Silas Marner anyone?
To put this all in perspective, it’s said that a healthy 70 year-old may wake up as many as four times a night without it being due to disease or any of the other aforementioned causes. Maybe on one of those wake-ups you could clean the bathroom or change the Brita water filter. There are plenty of distasteful chores you can do in the middle of the night that you may not even remember you did by morning.
The good news (the silver tsunami lining, if you will) is that you ARE waking up in the morning. You may think you have a sleep disorder, but not waking up (as in DEAD), that’s a real problem!