17 November 2008

Sleep, Perchance to... Dread

I think I've forgotten how to sleep. Not in the sense of "not sleeping," but in the sense of "sleeping badly."

Now part of that could be age-related. I'm not 18, or 28 or even 38 anymore. And despite avoiding drugs, alcohol, Republicans and unprotected sex, I haven't been so good at avoiding walls, fences, trees, ground, other bodies, exhaustion and sub-standard eating habits. In other words, I've pushed My body too hard, too often with too little and where chemicals didn't get Me, I got Me.

Still, I'm in fairly good health for having had almost two dozen fractures, almost three dozen severe sprains, a couple of dislocated shoulders (I barely have two as it is) and a diet that often only consisted of caffeine, sugar and whatever meat by-products were within reach. Now don't get the impression I'm clumsy or uninformed: I'm not. But I am given to excesses when My ego is on the line. (And there's an admission I've never made before.)

Back to sleeping. I first thought I'd forgotten how to sleep almost a year ago, but simply let the thought take a hike. But, like its progenitor, it came coming back, because the problem kept coming back in the form of severe neck and shoulder stiffness.

"Age-related." Uh-huh. Could be. But knowing that it couldn't be age-related (it's Me We're talking about here, okay?), I figured I'd actually analyze how I sleep.

(Go ahead, figure out if you've ever done that.)

And what I discovered was quite simple: I sleep badly. I literally hit the sack in whatever position I drop into and let that be My guide for the next few hours. And over time, those laissez-faire slumbers, even for just 3-4 hours a night, have taken a toll.

Instead of seeking a relaxing posture, I would consistently fall asleep with twisted neck and shoulders and unbalanced body. Too scientific? Too analytical? I figured not when I realized that most people will blame anything for their physical maladies except their own behavior. My severe morning stiffness (make your own joke, if you absolutely must) was--in every way--MY problem. I didn't need a pill or a doctor, I simply needed to adapt and adjust.

I'm not saying I have any great insight here, only that I have an insight. But if I'm writing about this now, you must have reached the conclusion that My problem, rather than being solved, is continuing. It is. For despite insight, I keep acting like I will, eventually, "fall back" into the right habit. And it hasn't happened yet.

The right pillow. The right mattress. The proper relaxed posture and positioning. Exercise to reduce the current muscle strain. Stretching. So many variables for what has usually been--and should be literally--a no-brainer. You might see it as very simple and it may very well be. But not to Me. Because it's simple largely to the extent you focus on solving it, and despite My problem analysis, I don't really pay much attention to forging a solution. To Me, it's just a minor problem. But untended, minor problems have a tendency to become major ones.

They say that defining a problem is halfway to a solution, and that to move effectively on a solution, making a public statement about it is a huge step forward. Done and done. Now Let's see what happens in those moments when sleep should be the restful slumber that knits the soul rather than a prelude to slowly-fading pain. 

The Jenius Has Spoken.

1 comment:

James said...

What size bed do you sleep in? Old mattress? I found that I started sleeping poorly after my mattress reached the 10 year mark.

Have you ever tried a memory foam mattress? Memory foam pillow?