Finally, something else to lie awake worrying about. A news story last week cited a study suggesting that sleep quality should improve with age. Great. That’s all I need. More pressure.
“Once you factor out things like illness and depression, older people should be reporting better sleep,” proclaimed the study’s lead author. Well, guess what, Mr. Smug. I’m getting verifiably older, but I’m not sleeping any better, even though I apparently “should” be. And if I’m depressed and a little grumpy about that, you’re the reason.
Not to be all full of myself, but I’m the worst sleeper in the world. If anybody sleeps more poorly than I do, I’d like to meet that person. Immediately. Because it’s lonely sitting here in the dark with everyone else asleep. When Hillary Clinton wondered who should take that 3 a.m. phone call in the White House, I was clearly the most qualified candidate. Since I’m generally awake anyway.
Maybe that’s why I appreciate the McKnight’s Daily Update so much. It arrives with a chirp in my email inbox in the wee hours of every morning, and I’m almost always there to greet it personally. My wife says she’s even heard me talking to it and gently touching the screen, but then again, my wife says a lot of things — almost all of them accurate.
It doesn’t help that sleep apnea, one of my many diagnosed infirmities, has been shown to also increase the chances of dementia and many other unpleasant outcomes, including death. I’ve taken these cautionary warnings seriously, done what I’m told, and am proud to say my condition is now entirely cured. Unfortunately, my sleep apnea has been replaced with a new condition I call CPAPnea — the inability to sleep with a scuba mask strapped to my face and a 40-knot wind blowing up my nose.
Even as research grows and sleep disorders like mine are better understood and treated, cases of nursing home residents with sleep apnea continue to go underreported. But here’s hoping and dreaming that by the time I’m admitted, new facilities will feature a centralized CPAP machine, just like that built-in vacuum cleaner your snooty neighbors have. Then we’ll all be able to just plug in and go peacefully to sleep in our pods, attached to one giant lung.
Serves me right for watching The Matrix at 3 a.m.
Things I Think is written by Gary Tetz, who cobbles these pieces together from his secret lair somewhere near the scenic, wine-soaked hamlet of Walla Walla, WA. Since his debut with SNALF.com at the end of a previous century, he has continued to amuse, inform and sometimes befuddle long-term care readers worldwide.