The New York Times had an article on the front page of “Sunday Styles” about women and the prescription meds we use to sleep. A growing number of women are using more than Tylenol PM to sleep at night. The article cites Xanax, Ambien, low-dose anti-depressants, Lunesta, and melatonin as the drugs of choice. The reasons for our inability to fall asleep are many. Whether we have kids or not, jobs, family issues, volunteer obligations, and the lists of responsibilities and activities that go with them are what keep us awake until the wee hours or wake us long before the alarm sounds.
Personally, I find the falling asleep part fairly easy. It’s the waking up 3 or 4 times throughout the night that creates an issue. The last time usually doesn’t lend itself to sleep again making for a long day. I make lists, fight anxiety as those lists grow, and prioritize accordingly. I have tried everything. I keep a pen and notepad by the bed to write all the things that are worrying me. I have counted sheep and bunnies and cute little puppies. I have repeated “I am thinking about nothing” over and over in my head until the words don’t even make sense anymore. I have called friends in different time zones. I read and listen to music. I turn on comfort movies. And I have prayed and prayed and prayed for the sleep to come. (Note: not doubting or discounting the power of prayer in my last statement. Often times the prayer is exactly what works.) And yes, I have resorted to Tylenol PM and/or a glass of wine. I have also experimented with my work-out regime. What helps more, running in the morning or right before bed? Morning works out are the best for me because they tend to jump-start my day and by the end of the day I am dragging.
But none of this keeps me from waking up in the middle of the night.
While I don’t think I could try anything stronger than my Tylenol PM or my glass of wine, believe me, there is no judgement for the women that do. As a working woman WITHOUT children I am tired enough. I can’t imagine what it would be like with children.
So, you tell me? How do you sleep and what are your preferred methods of getting there?