Friday, August 1, 2014

The Joy of Sleep

Spending time with the youngest grandkids recently made me realize we have a lot in common.

The darlings sleep a lot.  Grandparents sleep a lot.

Most babies seem to enjoy sleeping. Grandma and Grandpa seem to enjoy sleeping, too.

It may take a while for infants to get the hang of snoozing through the night, but most eventually get it. On the other hand adults tend to get up at night more often as they age.

Napping during the day is a highlight of a baby’s life.

Naptime is frequently a highlight of a retiree’s busy day.

The cute little ones too quickly grow into stubborn toddlers who decide sleeping is an unnecessary intrusion on their day. And night.

The kids fight bedtime. Exhausted, either slinking around too tired to raise their feet and walk, or so wound up they cannot sit still for two seconds, they adamantly refuse to admit they are exhausted. Bedtime becomes a test of wills and an endless stream of excuses why they cannot sleep – can’t find bunny/boo/my favorite book/blanket – forgot to brush my teeth – did not get any dessert – don’t feel well – the room is too dark – the room is too light – there is a monster under my bed (not possible on an air mattress)…

At this point the sleep patterns of grandkids and their elders part ways.

Grandma is too drained to think straight, dreaming of falling into bed, while the kids stubbornly refuse to give in to their body’s need for rest.

Sleep takes hours out of the day, but if I do not get enough slumber time waking hours are wasted. My younger body objected to a lack of sleep, but forgave sleepless transgressions. Then one day the body no longer pardoned but protested when sleep-deprived. I felt really, really bad, looked really, really bad, and sometimes actually got sick.

Occasionally nowadays I stay up late by choice, chance, or when counting sheep does not work. The following morning I suffer a lack of enthusiasm for any activity, even the simplest, such as walking or thinking. My overstuffed chair and a cup of coffee look very, very inviting. My butt might remain in that sedentary position a long, long time…

And now a personal confession.

I enjoy naps. If exceptionally tired, I do not feel guilty lying down during the day and taking a nap.

I relish falling into bed at night, eager to close and rest my weary eyes, bones, and muscles.

Discussing sleep with friends, I know I am lucky, at least for now. I usually sleep through the night without interruption, not getting up to pee. I only awaken if I had anything to drink late at night.

Late at night defined as after 8:00 p.m.

I would meander on about the advantages of sleep, discussing recent scientific studies on the benefits of having enough sleep (but not too much), but it is almost naptime...


  1. I hear you. When grandsitting and climbing the mountain of persuading said grandchild to lie down, quiet down, and go to sleep, all I can think of is the wish that the roles were reversed and I was the one headed to bed.

  2. So true! If I don't get enough sleep I feel awful and frequently get a migraine. I love to sleep!

  3. I rarely nap, but I do love bedtime at night and sleeping through til the sound of bird song wakes me in the morning. We have crows--CAW! CAW!

  4. I too love naps and do usually nap in the afternoon - not every day, but almost. And I have no trouble sleeping at night (usually from 10 till 7 or 8) but age is now causing frequent night time interruptions... but I do fall back asleep rather quickly.

  5. I go to bed at the early hour of 8 or 9 and sleep until 5, but I do get up during the night to pee. No problem going back to sleep. I love falling into bed tired and happy, ready to slumber the night away. :-)

  6. Oh for a good night's sleep. I have some raveled bones that are knitting.

  7. This afternoon I lay across the bed to pet and talk to my slumbering cat. She looked so comfortable that I rolled over and took a nap myself!

  8. I also love naps! I have napped since my 50's.I am now 61, pretty vibrant and energetic but there's nothing like my 30 minute relaxation break around 2 PM. i Often plug in a relaxation/meditation CD and listen to it,I may doze off, or just relax and listen.I always wake up from these breaks very rested and with a renewed spirit for the rest of the day! Sleep has always been important to.Even as a young girl I had to have my 8 hours at least,Now,I often sleep for 9 hours and it feels GREAT!!

  9. Love my sleep! The best escape from the cares of the day!