Sleep. The sometimes illusive necessity of existence. The deprivation, irregularity, and interruptions of sleep are all factors that can make the medical life brutal. I admire my husband’s ability to thrive on whatever amount of sleep he enjoys. He is one of those people that can frequently function on four hours of sleep and morning caffeine.
Yet, while he easily adjusts with his varying ER schedule, I do not. During residency, a shift that ended at 11pm, meant a guaranteed random arrival time home. After charting and a usual last minute patient, he’d come home exhausted. Hearing door locks, a shower, and kitchen noises, I’d find myself WIDE awake. Downtown loft living didn’t leave room for an alternative bedroom on the late nights. Furthermore, I didn’t want him sleeping on the couch. In the chaotic life of the medical journey, one thing I truly treasure is sharing the same bed.
Helpful solutions to his night ending shifts has been an alternating combination of melatonin, reading, and a sleep mask. I do not advocate for regular use of sleep aids; however, when used infrequently, they have been quite helpful. Additionally, I don’t take the maximum amount. On these nights, I hear him come home. Still, I’m now able to quickly settle back to sleep. In the event that I skip melatonin and have my sleep interrupted, I have literally read and prayed myself back to sleep. Our medical life is a team effort. Implementing these solutions has allowed me to have good nights and more refreshed mornings.
“Return to your rest, my soul, for the LORD has been good to you.” – Psalm 116:7 (NIV)
My nightstand staple.