Saturday, March 3, 2012


One thing you can look forward to as you age, you're sleep patterns change. After years of sleeping for 7-9 hours a night, you're all of a sudden waking up in the middle of the night. You then toss and turn. You try, unsuccessfully, to go back to sleep. Nothing works. You become convinced you MUST go back to sleep.

You either go to the drug store or your doctor and request a sleep aid. After all, you've always been told that it's required for you to get a full 8 hours sleep every night.

I was sharing with my doctor one day that my sleep pattern seemed to be 5 hours asleep, 2-3 hours up, and another 2-3 hours sleep. He just laughed and said, "I think everyone would sleep that way if they could."

The old-timers called this middle-of-the-night waking period, the Watch or the Night Watch. It was said, tongue-in-cheek that more world problems were solved between 2:00 a.m. and 4:00 a.m. than any other time of day. One thing's for sure, if you're trying to force yourself back to sleep, every problem you can think up will start spinning around your mind like a squirrel cage.

I think the Watch or the Midnight Watch came from the Bible, where it speaks of the watch in numerous places.

The morning watch - A watch was the fourth part of the time from sun-setting to sun-rising; so called from soldiers keeping guard by night, who being changed four times during the night, the periods came to be called watches.

In Judges 7:19, the middle watch is spoken of; in Luke 12:38, the second and third watch; and in Matthew 14:35, the fourth watch of the night; which in Mark 13:35 are named evening, midnight, cock-crowing, and day-dawning.

It got to the point where my ex-husband and I would both wake up about 2:00 a.m. and go back to bed between 3 and 4 a.m. He would fall right back to sleep. I sometimes had to read for as much as an hour before my eyes wanted to close.

But I discovered the best way to handle the whole thing is just chill out and roll with the flow. If you try to fight it, the only thing you accomplish is making yourself so frustrated you'll never get back to sleep. I refused to start taking sleeping pills because that's a trap.

I also discovered that climbing on the computer was definitely NOT the solution because I'd start playing games and never get back to bed.

I've now settled into a routine of 5-6 hours a night and 2-3 hours in the afternoon. There are not many advantages to getting older but being able to sleep all afternoon without feeling guilty is one of them.
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