Sleep and I had always been close friends.
In college, when a fire alarm emptied my dormitory during the wee hours, my roommate dragged me unresponsively out of bed and hauled me downstairs. We waited outside until firefighters granted an all clear. At breakfast, when the dining hall buzzed with excited indignation about the false alarm, I thought my friends were kidding. I remembered nothing.
As a mom, sleep and I remained best buds even though my mommy genes awakened me to take care of my children's colic, chicken pox, and curfews. Once they slept, I fell over like a tree.
When my physician husband returned after delivering a late-night baby, my half-conscious mind affirmed the guy climbing into bed with me was tall, thin, and bearded. As long as no short, stocky, clean-shaven men showed up, I could go back to sleep.
After such a long friendship, how could sleep turn fickle? When did she kick me out of her Snuggly Snooze Club? Surely sleep would get over her snit after a few days. But my insomnia stretched into weeks.
Lack of Sleep Is a Big Problem
According to the National Institutes of Health, one of three adults suffers at least occasional insomnia. The majority are women. Medical conditions take some blame—asthma, heartburn, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, sleep apnea, and restless leg syndrome—to name a few. Death, divorce, economic struggles, parenting dilemmas, and other life upheavals wreck our sleeping patterns too.