Thursday, May 31, 2007
Insomnia makes you sleepy
A major topic of conversation at the newspaper office Tuesday after Memorial Day was sleep — how much we all needed some.
Fred D. and I often talk about sleep — he and I both suffer greatly with it.
Somehow, it always seems worse the day after a holiday. Maybe it’s the fact that we either do more and don’t sleep as much or we relax and sleep more. Either way, the day after most of us are sure we need more sleep!
I always need more sleep — I can remember as a child sneaking my light and radio on at 2 a.m. or so because I was awake instead of sleeping.
According to Wikipedia, there are three types of insomnia: transient — jet lag, etc.; acute — three to six months; or chronic — the most serious — lasting nightly for more than a month.
Hmmmm, how about almost nightly for 40-something years? I can’t imagine what that would be called.
Wikipedia also says that eight to 10 hours of sleep are “normal.” However, it goes on to say that the time of sleep is not as important as the quality of sleep.
If you sleep 10 hours one night then the next night you’re not going to need as much sleep — if you force yourself to sleep you often feel worse instead of rested.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, more than 60 million Americans “suffer” from insomnia each year. Do they count me every year? I certainly hope so!
And I’d bet there are almost as many remedies for insomnia as there are insomniacs.
How about acupuncture? Not me — I’ve gone this long, I can go a bit longer as an alternative to being stuck with a bunch of needles.
There are always sleeping pills, but somehow, with the few I’ve tried, I don’t feel rested as much as I feel drugged.
Then, there are the natural remedies — chamomile tea, lavender scents — marijuana is also supposed to be a sleep aid, but I like sleeping in my bed, not in a jail cell, so that lets that one out.
Then, there’s warm milk, a warm bath, heavy lunch and light supper, exercising vigorously or perversely, avoiding strenuous activity in the evening.
One of my favorite remedies is pomegranate — doesn’t seem to work, but it sure does taste good.
I also like the idea of a bit of honey as a sleep-aid. Putting honey in whiskey is supposed to help a cough, but whiskey is not a good sleeping potion. It suppresses REM sleep and the hangover leads to morning grogginess.
I’m guessing it’s been around awhile — there’s a 14th century painting entitled “Tacuinum sanitatis casanatensis” (insomnia).
Some days seems like I’ve been awake about that long...
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