The rumor is this, older people have issues around getting enough quality sleep. It’s actually more than a rumor. I know this because I am older and I have trouble getting enough quality sleep. Talk about science.

It used to be that I usually got a good night’s sleep and once in a while I’d toss and turn all night to wake up tired and cranky. Now that ratio has turned around 180˚. Since I am retired and don’t have to “be there” at 8 o’clock in the morning I try not to make too much of it – unsuccessfully, I might add. And therein lies the rub.

Years ago I participated, briefly, in an on-line discussion group for seniors. That was back when I was learning how to be one. Almost immediately it became apparent that an overwhelming majority of the participants were insomniacs. One night I had one of my wee-hour wake-ups and decided to check out the group. They were all there! I asked if anybody slept at night. Generally, the answer was “No”.

The consensus was don’t lay there and fight it – get up and do something you enjoy doing. Call a friend four time zones west of you. Sitka, perhaps. There’s the internet, of course. Read that book that kept you awake too long in the first place. Mop the floor. Eat cake. Get sleepy and go to bed. If only …

Now I have this pregnant robin who spends hours every day banging her head on my window. I just knew she was going to break her neck or beak or whatever. I finally got my loppers out and cut the branch she perched on – – so far so good. I thought I’d outlast her but she finally got the best of me. That’s when I realized that eating cake at 3 AM is not as crazy as banging my head against the wall of sleeplessness.

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