Category Archives: Sleep deprivation

Only Child on getting enough sleep

Time to sleep

When I was a child I slept like a child. When I am a senior – like now – I sleep like a senior. Most of the time that is not nearly enough. Most of the time I don’t sleep right through the night. And with an overflowing plate of “to do” things, I need to make some changes.

So, the other night I decided I would try getting up half an hour earlier to get all the morning ritual stuff out of the way earlier and get in front of my computer by 9 a.m.

That worked but I found I had way too many business emails I had to reply to. I didn’t have time for one thing on my to do list but did get to the big item and get it done. But by evening I was dragging myself and by bedtime I was sleepwalking.

Today I’m back to getting up at my normal time and struggling to get down to work at the computer at my usual time. Tonight I have to start working from the getting to bed earlier end. Not easy.

So, I decided to see if my friend Mr. Google could help me. Here are a few things I found.

The first one  was How to make yourself start to go to bed early (for real this time)

A lot of its suggestions I already do – such as darken the room, don’t eat close to going to bed, shower first, use moisture on your skin. And a few suggestions didn’t resonate with me – such as get new sheets, set up a pre-bed tea-time (doesn’t that one violate the do not eat part and do I really want to get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom?). Spraying the room with lavender because it calms you I can try. The story also mentions setting an alarm clock – not for when I want to wake up as I do but to let you know it is bedtime.

I don’t need that. I have my “alarm” – the 11 p.m. News and a brief Weather Network report. The plan is the news until 11.20 p.m. when the network switches to sports which I’m not interested in and then switch channels to 10 minutes of The Weather Network and then TV off and get ready for bed.

It’s not that simple. If it were I would be in bed no later than midnight with 20 minutes to spare to read until I wind down and I would still get 7 to 7 1/2 hours of sleep – which is apparently sufficient according to some medical advice.

But I have two issues. I get tired and fall asleep during the news or even at the start of the weather. As a former journalist and a weather junkie I am not bored just tired.

The other issue is all the housework shit I still have to do. Just when I think I’m done, more daily housework that should have been done earlier (When do I have time?) pop into my mind and off I go to do do them.

So I will be trying a few other things to get these housework chores done earlier. If I get enough sleep at night I just might not be dragging myself around in the evening and falling asleep in front of the TV.

Oh yeah, I’m back to setting the timer for business emails. When it rings I just finish the email I’m replying to. The rest can just wait.

What do you do to get enough sleep?

What do you consider enough sleep?

Here are a few more sleep articles to read:

Aging and Sleep from the National Sleep Foundation

Do People Need Less Sleep as They Age?

And this one which makes the most sense to me:

How to Sleep Well as You Age

Cheers and lots of ZZZ each night.

Sharon

Only child Writes

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Filed under Health Seniors, Life Balance, Life demands, Only child, Seniors, Sleep and Health, Sleep and Seniors, Sleep deprivation

Only Child gets those life irritations out of the way

Only child in her home

Only child in her home

Sometimes just listing the 10 or 12 things that irritate you the most can help you get going into what to focus on (or not) in 2017. As I often do, I took this process backwards – did my focus and goals first. But I do have a category box for What I don’t like doing/What I don’t need to do.

So, loosely based on that,  (or some of the flip side of my goals) and just what I’ve observed in the world the past year, here in no particular order is my dirty dozen:

  1. Friends who phone and don’t leave a message. How am I supposed to know they called when I was out or otherwise not available?
  2. Telemarketers and the like who leave a voice mail message.
  3. Rain in the winter – heavy or otherwise and heavy rain, heavy winds any other time as well.
  4. Winter
  5. Unforeseeable house and property problems such as water getting in the basement from no. 3 above or for any reason.
  6. Consumer service and utility screw-ups.
  7. Family, friends and yes, me too, getting sick, especially with something serious.
  8. Public transit problems.
  9. Leaders of countries who are dictators (that’s the leaders, not the country here).
  10. Rude pushy people.
  11. Not getting enough sleep.
  12. Going crazy trying to manage my time.

That’s the tip of the iceberg. But I do love many things like gardening, writing and reading. Another blog post will go into some of that.

What are your pet peeves – what irritates you a lot?

May your 2017 be happier, brighter and more focused than 2016.

Good riddance to 2016.

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

 

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Filed under Civility, Extreme Weather, Leaky Basements, Life demands, Lists, Only child, Public Transit, Rain and wind storm, Sleep deprivation, Time management, Weather

Only Child on sleep deprivation

Only child nodding off?

Only child nodding off?

“To sleep, perchance to dream -ay, there’s the rub” William Shakespeare wrote in Hamlet. I’m not too concerned about dreams, but have a more serious “rub.”

Getting enough sleep.

Many of us have that problem for whatever reason – too much to do, health issues keeping us awake, stress, noise, etc.

I guess my situation comes under the too much to do category. With

one of the others as a result of not getting enough sleep – health issues acting up.

At the top of my life goal list right now is getting more sleep at night. I need at least seven hours, preferable seven and a half hours, something I’m  not getting except sometimes on weekends. I’m reading Gretchen Rubin’s latest book Better than Before on how to change your habits. Some good points here and I like her narrative style instead of the “do this/do that” format.

What are the culprits here? Too much of what I call “housework shit” that drags out until late at night. That could include washing dishes (no dishwasher, no space for one in the kitchen and can’t afford one), refilling the portable humidifiers (a winter chore), moving the ice cream to the freezer downstairs (the fridge-top freezer like many of them – and this is not an old fridge – doesn’t freeze the ice cream enough), etc., etc. -the list goes on. Sometimes I see the pile of newspapers and magazines on the coffee table and decide I need to read a bit to catch up. Also one thing I enjoy doing, but not late at night – watering the plants.

I also fall asleep in front of the TV, usually during the 11 p.m. news and that could be a result from not enough sleep the previous night. It finally catches up.

Interestingly, there is an article  posted on the Bell Loop page today. The title alone This is what you should eat to guarantee a good night’s sleep (science says so) is enough to put you to sleep. Maybe say it mentally instead of counting sheep when trying to enter the land of nod? The article references a recent study where 26 people for five nights followed separate diets – if they ate lots of fibre they fell asleep on average in 17 minutes and if they ate what they wanted, i.e., foods high in sugar and saturated fats and maybe some low fibre, it took them an average of 29 minutes to get to sleep.

Hmm. I have a few bones to pick (not eating them, of course) with that. First, the number of participants and time-line of the study are both low. Most studies have more people and go on for a longer period of time. Also, did these people fall asleep in bed or in front of the TV? And I question the sugar content in part. Depends on what the sugar is in. Candy, cakes, donuts – yes, will probably give you a sugar high and keep you awake.

But the food I eat some evenings containing sugar is ice cream. And that makes me sleepy. Ice cream contains milk, which I learned long ago acts like a sedative. No, I’m not going to heat up plain milk – I would just want to add chocolate powder anyway.

And what about caffeine? That sure keeps you awake. Study doesn’t address that one.

Me, I’m going to stick to my ice cream (albeit maybe I should eat it at 11 p.m. just when the news starts instead of a few hours earlier in the evening). I need to reduce some of these evening chores or get them done way before 11 p.m. – even when I go out in the evening. Then I might stay awake for 20- 30 minutes of news and weather from 11 p.m.. I like to watch 20 minutes of news and the long weather report on one channel and when they start into the long sportscast (remember I am not a sports fan). I switch over to the weather network for their longer up-to-date forecast on the 10s. And try not to keep watching all the weather news. I am a weather freak.

The study was conducted by Columbia University Medical Center and you can read a summary about that here.

What do you think?

Please comment. Any tips on getting more sleep?

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Goals, Health, Only child, Sleep and Health, Sleep deprivation, Time management

Only Child ponders wisdom of longevity

Sharon office 2014-04-19As we boomers escalate towards older and old age, what may help us live longer becomes a big concern. But is it all worth it?

Lifestyle looms large as a positive factor. Studies show that if we eat healthy, exercise enough, don’t smoke, get enough sleep, avoid/manage stress, we can extend our life. Sounds good? Right?

Not exactly. As with everything in living I have learned the hard way that there are mitigating circumstances. We might be able to control the no smoking, but the others? And why didn’t I include exercise in what we can control? Because many people have diseases, injuries that get in the way of enough exercise to help them.

What about eating healthy? We can do this until the cows come home, but as we age, our bodies don’t absorb nutrients as well. Then there are the medical conditions, such as IBS, that make nutrient absorption even less.

Getting enough sleep is a big issue with us older folk. I’ve covered this in detail before, but in a nutshell as we get older we find it more difficult to get the 7 to 8 hours sleep we need.

Then there is stress – that is the biggie. Stress will directly or indirectly reduce life spans. How many heart attacks are caused by stress? How much sleep is lost because of stress?

Stress is a catchall phrase. Actually there are stressors which cause the stress and stress which includes our reaction to the stressor attacking us. Experts talk about managing stress but I wonder if they are referring to the stressors or our reaction or both?

I have learned that you cannot manage most stressors. Or should that be “control” stressors. My experience (and that of many people I know or read about) is that a large percentage of stressors come from what I call “outside.” That is, we don’t cause these stressors to well, happen to us. And despite what I have blogged about before, God is not responsible for a lot of our stress. Human stupidity and technological problems (for want of a better word) are.

Let me give a few examples. If I dawdle around and don’t take care to be ready to leave on time for somewhere, so leave late and worry about arriving late, I’m causing the stressor. If I run into transit problems, that’s not my fault. No matter what time I leave I can hit transit delays. However, if I get myself ready so I leave early enough to allow for transit snafus, I can control the stressor/stress to a certain degree.

Errors in utility bills, life insurance premiums, computer problems, continual missed garbage pickup (all of which I have experienced) are examples of human stupidity and/or technological problems causing stressors/stress.

Then there is the cancer cause. A recent John Hopkins School of Medicine study shows that only one third of cancers are caused by environmental issues and genetic factors. The other two thirds, the study shows, are caused by what they call “bad luck.” I call it the “God factor.”

According to the study, that can explain why some people who never smoke get lung cancer and some people who smoke a lot never get cancer. (See the article at http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/twothirds-of-cancer-cases-caused-by-bad-luck-johns-hopkins-medicine-study-20150102-12gs7g.html or info on the John Hopkins Medicine website http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/media/releases/bad_luck_of_random_mutations_plays_predominant_role_in_cancer_study_shows)

That’s scary. All the lifestyle changes to healthy won’t keep cancer way. I’m not saying to drink regularly until you pass out or smoke five packs of cigarettes a day and forget about exercising. I’m saying to live a healthy life but never take diet, exercise, sleep, etc. as lucky charms to keep cancer at bay. Won’t work.

Personally I believe that if we could keep much of the stressors and resulting stress out of our lives we .could live happier more content lives. Not easy when most stress comes from outside.

We can try to work around this stress. We can look at our over-busy lives and see what we can delete, delay or ignore. Be selective in what stressful situations you are going to tackle and what you can ignore or better yet, delete from your life. For example, last fall I evicted the horrible boarder living here. When someone pushes me on the subway (providing it is not towards the ledge), perhaps I can ignore that. The other stuff, the real crap in my life coming at me, I’m trying to deal with it one thing at a time, based on urgency and emergency – if possible. The rest go on hold, if only for a few days.

And the hell with what the people causing the stressors think about it.

It’s not easy. And I’m not sure I want to live into my 90s or even 80s – unless you are like actress Betty White. She just celebrated her 93rd and is going strong.

How many seniors are like that?

Not me and I’m still in my mid-60s and dealing with 10 health issues – those that I know of.

Maybe the answer is to try to live your life as fully as you can now.

I’m just saying.

What do you say? Comments please.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Anxiety, Baby boomers, cancer, Computer problems, Delay tactics, God, Health, Health Seniors, Life Balance, life spans, Malabsorption, Old Age, Only child, Prioritizing, Problem solving, Problems, Seniors, Sharon A. Crawford, Sleep and Seniors, Sleep deprivation, Stress, Uncategorized

Only Child Looks at Sleep Deprivation and Daytime Overload

Teddy on clock 2I need more sleep. Six hours or less a night is just not enough. I am not alone in this nightmare turned daymare. The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention has declared not getting sufficient sleep an epidemic. The results, it says, include depression, skin aging, weight gain. And 61 per cent of people crave sleep more than they do sex. Although sex (or lack of it) factors into the CDC information on it. See http://bettersleep.org/better-sleep/the-science-of-sleep/sleep-statistics-research/infographic-lack-of-sleep-a-public-health-epidemic/

What is interesting about this posting is what isn’t there. True, it is geared more towards individuals in a relationship. But relationship or not, people seem to have a common denominator about lack of sleep.

We are just too damn busy to get enough sleep. Sleep is way down on the priority list even if we say we must get more sleep. And the results are more than the CDC says. Sleep deprivation makes me stupid and slow on the uptake, not to mention getting around in the morning. I may then last okay until late afternoon, then I just don’t get it in a lot of areas. Areas I am normally sharp in. Not dementia…yet.

Take it from me, a sleep-deprived senior. I just have too much to do each day, much of it late-at- night stuff. Most is routine but often a few one-time extras. The past week I had stabs at trying to finish up all this routine nightly housework shit earlier. But it doesn’t always work. Often I’m out at a meeting or doing grocery shopping. For the latter, because of some store closing times, I go out directly from work and eat supper on my return. Even if I do eat before I go out, I’m still left with dishes, coffee pot preparation for the next morning, refilling the humidifiers, etc. etc. when I get home. It drags on.

True, when home I watch TV but there is before TV and during commercials to do all this stuff. My goal is to stop watching TV after part of the 11 p.m. news – right after the full weather report. Trouble is I often nod off during that time and miss the weather report, then I have to get it elsewhere.

And therein lies the problem – too much to do and when to do it.

I’ve been keeping track (mentally, no time to write it down) what exactly is consuming my time. Besides the late night chore shift, two other things stand out – too much email and too much time spent on it – and this is just the business email. And too much client work all at once– although some of that is suffering because of the email situation, and some of that email is from clients – some necessary of course.

So, starting Dec. 15, I am taking three weeks off for the holiday season. During that time I will do no client work. I bcc emailed all current and recent clients about this decision and basically said (but diplomatically) to leave me alone during that time. If they need to email me, including sending me work, please do it this week or wait until January 5, 2015 week.

I intend to spend more time with family and friends (including emailing them), working on the next novel in my Beyond mystery series and of course keeping up with social media (that is suffering too with this time thing) and any Beyond Blood book promo  to set up for 2015 that comes up. And figuring what in my life I can streamline more and even eliminate. I have already figured out what I want to do in my writing, editing and writing instructing business – and some things have been discontinued. Now, I have to spread out what’s left.

It’s the meetings, organizations I belong to (and what I do there), plus some personal stuff that needs a pruner, maybe even a shovel.

And more sleep. If I don’t get my required 7 1/2 hours sleep each night next year, the culprits will be sorry.

I am serious. My health and sanity depend on it.

 

Cheers.

Only Child Writes

Sharon A. Crawford

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Filed under Life Balance, Life demands, Sleep and Health, Sleep and Seniors, Sleep deprivation

Only Child on Daylight Savings and Winter

One of Only Child's teddy bears sits on time to try to tame it

One of Only Child’s teddy bears sits on time to try to tame it

When daylight savings comes around the medical experts are quick to list all the health problems associated with losing one hour’s sleep. Newsflash: some of us get little sleep as it is. This year the bigger bugaboo is the winter weather.

Don’t get me wrong. I prefer daylight savings time and when Canada decided to follow the United States in moving the start date up a month, I was (and still am) all for it. The evenings are suddenly daylight longer and the daylight hours will continue to expand into late June and the roll-back after that won’t be obvious until mid-August.

Of course this year, the extra evening daylight will light up the sidewalks and driveways so we can shovel snow. Yes, southern Ontario is getting hit with another big snowfall late tonight and into Wednesday. The only plus is it’s not rain as there still wasn’t quite enough snow melted to stop potential basement flooding from a too fast liquid-added meltdown. But we are getting somewhat warmer weather and a somewhat slow snow melt. It’s actually coming along fine. Now this. Is it no wonder that I have no faith and trust in God or whomever is out there running things.

But back to daylight time and the so-called health hazards – stroke and heart attacks. Another newsflash for these medical experts. Stress can cause strokes and heart attacks too and I’ve been buried under hundreds of avalanches of stress. All this business with potential basement flooding is more than enough to cause strokes and heart attacks.

The expert interviewed for “Time change Could be Bad for your health, expert warns” (by Sonja Puzic for CTV News http://www.theloop.ca/news/ctvnews/article/-/a/3409057/Time-change-could-be-bad-for-your-health-expert-warns) puts the root of all this health business at losing one hour’s sleep. The expert takes it further saying that 10 to 15 per cent of us are sleep-deprived and for us middle-aged and elderly folks we need more than six hours’ sleep per night.

I agree with him 100 per cent here. However, there are factors that get in the way of many of us getting enough sleep. We don’t have the time to get enough sleep. Even if we did, stress butts in. And another newsflash: as you get older sleep patterns change so that you don’t sleep as long. The National Sleep Foundation says:

 “Along with the physical changes that occur as we get older, changes to our sleep patterns are a part of the normal aging process. As people age they tend to have a harder time falling asleep and more trouble staying asleep than when they were younger. It is a common misconception that sleep needs decline with age.” (Source: Aging and Sleep, National Sleep Foundation, Reviewed by Michael V. Vitiello, PhD, December 2009, http://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-topics/aging-and-sleep)

We may be able to do something about the time problem (I’m deleting things from my life) but stress that comes from outside ourselves (and don’t give me that crap about attitude and perception) and getting older are something we don’t have much, if any, control over.

So, what’s the answer?

I don’t know. Not using Daylight Savings Time (the Canadian province of Saskatchewan doesn’t change to Daylight Savings time) isn’t the answer.

For me less outside crap shoved at me would help. And back to normal weather would be a good start.

But that’s a subject for another post.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Extreme Weather, Floods, Health, Old Age, Only child, Rain, Seniors, Sharon Crawford, Sleep deprivation, Snow, Time, Weather, Winter Weather

Only Child will get her sleep

Only Child in her office – getting down to business with work and sleep.

My mind has turned to mush. I forget where I put things; I forget to do things; things get mixed up, and some things go and stay missing.

Am I losing my mind?

Maybe?

Is it Alzheimer’s?

Probably not.

My immune system is also down and I have a low-level cold (at this point). And I’ve been getting to bed too late (or too early if you figure the time after midnight in a.m.). So, it’s sleep deprivation. Because I have not been carousing all over town until the wee hours of the morning, that’s not it. The root cause of all this is doing too much – a lot of that I blame on being the only person here who has to do and/or organize everything. Can’t do anything about that now (no time and no money) but there is something I can and will do.

TAKE BACK MY SLEEP TIME.

Studies show that sleep deprivation affects both physical health and mental health, particularly cognitive performance. Your short-term memory and even your long-term memory can take a nosedive and your decision-making abilities can go out the window. According to a study, Sleep Deprivation: Impact on Cognitive Performance by Paula Alhola and Paivi Polo-Kantola (Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment, 2007), not getting sufficient zzz’s regularly can impair lots more, including your mood. See http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC265629 for the long list of sleep deprivation effects and the references to corresponding studies. It’s enough to make you want to crawl under the covers and never come out.

I’m not going that far but some things got to go or at least slow down. Consider last week where (among other things) I did/had to deal with the following:

  1. My handyman finally showing up – on a work day. It interfered with my work time and because he was one and a quarter hour late, not everything got done. I forgive myself for being really grumpy then. He deserved it (if you remember from previous posts he had cancelled a Saturday appointment).
  2. Juggling client work and meetings (in person) and via email and phone with new clients (not complaining here. I need and like the work. I’m taking it in the context of what else was happening).
  3. Trying to do end-of-season garden cleanup plus protect vulnerable plants from cold weather/frost with our yo-yo weather (that is the nature of gardening, but again I’m taking it in context with everything else).
  4. Doing readings from my book, including out-of-town (this I like doing), attending all day workshops on Saturday (my East End Writers’ Group sponsored it so I had to be there even though I felt sick).
  5. Plus the regular daily stuff – cooking and cleaning up (although I cook extra on weekends and leave what little “big” cleaning jobs I do until weekends).
  6. Etc., etc., etc.

That’s only part of it. Not getting done was phoning friends as promised, more clearing out of my office (I did do some so I have room for new client files). This week started out with a malfunctioning CD/DVD drive in my desktop computer so my computer tech was just here this morning. The drive wasn’t dead yet but something in it was loose so it was headed to the DVD/CD drive cemetery. My techie replaced it and then I found out his rates went up – but he gave me a discount because I didn’t know and he wasn’t here for a full hour. So, I gave him a post-dated cheque because like most freelancers I’m waiting for another cheque to come in. I also have a whopping house insurance premium (over $1,000 for the next year) due the beginning of next week.

Seems no matter what you do you can’t crawl out from under it.

Except for my sleep deprivation. I’m determined to get at least my required seven and a quarter hours of sleep each night. So, I have to get strict and maybe even a little nasty. My plan?

Put myself first.

Say “no” to many things including some social and business events, particularly where it involves me helping someone else. I’m doing too much of that (mainly in the business end) and spreading myself too thin.

Delete more email – some without first reading the email – just go by the subject and the sender. I don’t mean obvious spam. I’m doing some of this but I will up it.

Stick more to my daily schedule – I do daily schedules but don’t always follow them – now it will be to-the-letter barring extreme unforeseen circumstances. This means clients will have to get in line to get their work done if they want it done properly.

Don’t beat myself if I don’t have time to return friends’ and business phone calls and emails. I will get to it – when I have time.

Don’t get sidetracked by other things – especially those that don’t really interest me and/or aren’t pertinent.

Pace myself in what I do.

Take breaks and leisure time.

And get enough sleep.

Excuse me while I go to the next item on today’s “to do” list.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

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