Only Child roars about sleep deprivation

Only Child catching some much-needed zzzzs.

Only Child catching some much-needed zzzzs.

In this fast-paced overwhelm world getting enough sleep is a pipe dream for many of us. I’m at the point now where if anyone – expert or so-called well-meaning “friend” suggests I need more sleep, I will hand over my “to do” list (or rattle it off) and say,

“Here, take care of all this and maybe I might just enough sleep.”

Maybe is the key word here. I have other sleep stealers going on. I’m a senior and as you age your quantity and quality of sleep diminishes. Copy that – at least in the sleep beyond 7.30 a.m. or 8 a.m. area. That is if I don’t get woken up by the boarder getting up from her room to feed her cat anywhere from 5.30 a.m. to 6.30 a.m. I don’t hear them every morning.

Or one of my many medical conditions either keeps me awake or wakes me up early. Or something unknown – maybe a bad dream – wakes me up during the night. If I don’t get back to sleep within 10 minutes it’s a lost cause as my mind starts thinking of my too many problems, some of which are on that “to do” list.

I’ve tried getting to bed earlier but between what I call housework shit (no, not dusting, just the routine daily stuff like lock doors, make the coffee and set it up for the next day, etc.) and the bedtime rituals (shower and sometimes washing and drying hair) I’m lucky if I make it to bed by 12.30.

Amount of sleep needed each night is different for each individual. I need at least seven and a half hours sleep each night for my health and I would love to get it. Sometimes I think about when I was a child sleeping in my room and hearing the comfort of my parents talking about budgets of all things down the hall in the kitchen. Or sleeping in on weekends until I heard my mother yelling, “get out, get out,” not to me or Dad, but to the roast stuck in the very small freezer atop the small fridge.

I know all my nights in childhood didn’t have 100 percent sleeping with no worries. In high school I would worry about finishing studying for exams and get up really early for more studying. Life as a kid and teenager was not stress-free.

Somehow, over the many decades since, the stress has piled up and up and turned into a constant overwhelm – even when one problem gets solved another one pops up.

And it all affects my sleep.

I’m not alone here – we are a sleep-deprived society with our hurry-rush-rush lifestyles. Smart phones (what a misnomer) and all the other technology that keeps us “connected” 24/7 is partly to blame. Although maybe not in my case as I don’t have a smart phone; I don’t do “Twitter” (for the birds is my take on that), and I make sure I have off-the-computer time where I actually shut the computers off. I do have an e-reader but reading is one of my so-called relaxing pastimes (whether print or e). I say “so-called” because finding time to read for pleasure is almost as hard as finding time to sleep.

Despite my dig at sleep experts and other health experts above, they are right about the downsides of not getting enough sleep. I do agree, but sometimes I feel like shouting “stop the world I want to get off.”

Check out these articles on sleep deprivation.

Insufficient Sleep is a Public Health Epidemic
Sleep Centers Increase to Highest Number Ever

We are a sleep-deprived world and we resent it.

How do you get enough sleep or do you get enough sleep? Comments please.


Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

Sharon A. Crawford teaches memoir writing workshops and courses in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Her next workshop, Getting Your Memoir off the Ground is Saturday, May 10, 2014 at Hugh’s Books and the Studio @ Hughs in east end Toronto. If you are in the Toronto area and want to learn more about writing memoir, this might be the workshop for you. More details on at


Filed under Memoir writing course, Mom and Dad, Only child, Overwhelm, Problems, Sharon Crawford, Uncategorized

4 responses to “Only Child roars about sleep deprivation

  1. bob martin

    You know I can sympathize with you on sleep problems since a few years back you actually wrote an article on my sleep apnea. So . . .. been there, done that, and still adjusting to the life with the nighttime mask!!!

  2. Thanks, Bob. And that article is no longer available at so I will have to update my reference to it on my website – when I have the time. And I do not have to wear a mask, but sometimes I wish I had something (not necessarily a mask) to transport me out of this life for the night sleep time for a break from too many problems. Correction, getting rid of the more pressing problems, such as water getting in the basement from torrential rain nd winds (thanks to that Nigel Applewaite not doing the waterproofing job properly three years ago) and the boarder and her d*** cat (moving out – God only knows when)) might help.



  3. Mary MacLeod

    Hi Sharon I just checked with about buying a copy of your book. one entry says it’s out of stock and one says it takes 2- 5 weeks Why does it take so long? can I buydirectly from you? i have years experience with sleep deprivation. I’ll comment in a little while.

    Date: Tue, 29 Apr 2014 17:30:44 +0000 To:

  4. Hi Mary:

    Nice to hear from you and hope you are well.

    I sell copies of my book in person only because of mailing costs. However, you can also order it online (print or e-pub) at Chapters Indigo online. I just checked and they have print copies in stock. Cost is about 50 cents less than at Here’s the direct link

    Or you can go in any book store and have them order it from Ingram the distributor.They should have Ingram’s address. Ingram is US based but hasa Canadian office in I believe St. Catharines or Niagara Falls, Ontario.

    For the bookstore (bricks and mortar) you will need this info:
    Beyond the Tripping Point by Sharon A. Crawford, Blue Denim Press, 2012 ISBN 9780986952890 – that is for the print copy.

    Look forward to your comments on sleep deprivation. Bob with the sleep apnea is a friend – one of my first editors way back when and we’ve kept in touch since then.


    Sharon A.

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