Saturday was the best day I’ve had in a long time. I felt really light and happy (or at least content) nearly all day. I got up early, cleaned my deck, had coffee outside, made breakfast for the boys and served it outside on the deck table. It was delicious and the boys enjoyed a little family time before we went off in different directions.
Alan and I did several small but impactful projects together outside, and it felt good to get them done. He’s so handy – reminds me of his grandfather. I wish that they had had more time to work together on things. Dad would have enjoyed teaching him to use the power tools in his basement as much as Alan would have liked learning from him.
Joey had a double shift at work, so he headed off soon after our “brunch” was finished. I did some work in my shade garden after Alan and I finished our projects, then we went off to the pool for a bit to relax. It was a lovely day, met up with friends at the pool and just really enjoyed the time. Later that night I made fresh pesto from the basil in my garden, a friend came over and we had wine and chocolate on the deck.
Yesterday was a nice day, but my mood wasn’t as light. The sadness of recent weeks seemed like it was always close at hand. Today has just been awful. I feel grumpy, sad, depressed…
So what was the difference? Sunday was a similar day to Saturday. The only thing I can come up with is how much I slept prior to Saturday and since then. During the week before, I was concentrating on getting 7 ½ to 8 hours of sleep a night until Saturday night. I stayed up too late Saturday night watching a movie after my friend left, but went ahead and got up early anyway because I had a full day planned. Last night was worse – got maybe 6 hours. How much difference does sleep make in one’s mood, especially when already dealing with sadness and depression?
Most of the research that I could find focused on lack of sleep and depression:
Lack of sleep caused by another medical illness or by personal problems can make depression worse. (http://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/depression-sleep-disorder)
Insomnia and depression feed on each other. Sleep loss often aggravates the symptoms of depression, and depression can make it more difficult to fall asleep. On the positive side, treating sleep problems can help depression and its symptoms, and vice versa. (http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/excessive-sleepiness-10/10-surprising-results?page=2)
My experience of grief has been that it FEELS a lot like depression at this point, so I’m firmly convinced that there is a connection.
I think that in addition to the other positive benefits that sleep has on your health and wellbeing, it’s going to be important for me in moving through this period in my life and healing from grief. While I don’t want to pretend that it doesn’t hurt, I also don’t want this grief to overwhelm me and stop me from enjoying what I still have. I need to experience it and deal with it, but in a constructive way. So, early to bed I will go, for the rest of the week. Let’s see how I feel in a few more days.