Why do I keep waking at 6am? And after the same dream too!

Arriving at the Land of Nod - and staying there - can be a bumpy road for some people, says Trevor Laffan
Why do I keep waking at 6am? And after the same dream too!

LAND OF NOD: The amount of sleep we need varies, babies need 15 hours while teenagers require about eight. Posed by model

WHEN I was a child, people often told me they were off to ‘The land of Nod’ when it came to bedtime.

Nod was obviously a place where a good night’s sleep was guaranteed so I should have paid more attention. I should have asked for directions because I could do with a trip there now, but nobody seems to know where it is.

I’ve checked Google Maps, but they only directed me to a sleepy East Yorkshire hamlet called ‘The Land of Nod’, which is near Holme upon Spalding Moor, wherever that is.

According to the Internet, there isn’t a lot going on there, which is probably a good thing if sleep is what you’re after, but it’s not the place I’m looking for.

There is another spot by the same name mentioned in the Bible and they reckon it might have been located to the east of The Garden of Eden but again, I drew a blank with Google Maps. History tells us it’s where Cain was sent after being cast out by God after killing his brother, Abel.

‘Nod’ means ‘to wander’ in Hebrew so the implication is that Cain, being in disgrace, was sent to wander aimlessly. I’m not sure how this relates to having a peaceful sleep though, because you would think that killing his brother might have given him a few sleepless nights, but there you go.

We all need sleep. We can’t function without it, but the amount we need varies with age. Babies require about 15 hours on average while your normal teenager needs about eight. That surprised me a bit, because in my experience, teenagers need more sleep than the babies, and it’s a lot harder to get them out of bed too.

That’s not the only anomaly either. The experts tell us that a disruptive bedroom environment can prevent us from receiving enough sleep. Well, I can’t recall my children having any difficulty sleeping when they were teenagers, and their bedrooms could easily have been classified as disruptive environments. It was impossible at times to find the bed, or anything else for that matter, because of clutter. Dirty washing and organisms that would be comfortable in a Wuhan laboratory, hardly made ideal sleeping conditions but they managed fine.

As you get older, you need less sleep apparently and I can appreciate that. I wake most days at 6am — it doesn’t seem to matter what time I go to bed — and I’m usually fresh enough to tackle the day. But I’ve noticed over the last year or so I’ve been dreaming a lot.

Most of the dreams have the same theme. I’m back at work in my uniform, surrounded by my former colleagues and having conversations that seem real. We are all working away when somebody discovers I shouldn’t be there because I had retired the previous year.

That comes as a shock to us all and I gather up all my bits and pieces and leave. Again!!

Experts tell us there are lots of things going on in our brains while we’re asleep. Just because our eyes are closed doesn’t mean that our systems shut down. The brain is still active, and it could be that it’s trying to make sense of everything it has consumed during the day.

But before that happens, we have to get to sleep, and that can be hard to come by at times.

Being over-tired, going to bed on a full stomach, or having a lumpy mattress can make it difficult to drop off, but there’s another cause too — bedbugs!

According to the Mayo Clinic, bedbugs are small, reddish-brown parasitic insects that bite the exposed skin of sleeping humans and animals to feed on their blood.

Although they aren’t known to spread disease, they can cause other public health and economic issues.

About the size of an apple seed, bedbugs hide in the cracks and crevices of beds, springs, headboards, bed frames and any other objects around a bed, especially in places with high turnovers of night-time guests such as hotels, hospitals, or homeless shelters.

It can be difficult to distinguish bedbug bites from other insect bites or rashes. In general, the sites of bedbug bites are red, often with a darker red spot in the middle, and itchy, arranged in a rough line or in a cluster, and located on the face, neck, arms and hands.

Some people experience an allergic reaction to them that can include severe itching, blisters or hives.

Bedbugs can crawl about as fast as a ladybird and can easily move around.

If you’d like to know if you have these creatures or not, just look for bed bugs’ skeletons after moulting, bugs in the folds of mattresses and sheets, rusty-coloured blood spots due to their blood-filled faecal material that they excrete on the mattress or nearby furniture, and a sweet, musty odour.

If that’s not enough to keep you awake, consider yourself lucky. As for me, I’m never going to bed again.

If you should find signs of these bugs in your home though, there are ways of getting rid of them, but don’t do what the man from Detroit in America did.

This guy lived in an apartment complex and became overwhelmed with an infestation of bedbugs. They were obviously getting to him so to solve the problem, he sprayed his couch and himself with alcohol. He then sat on the couch and had a cigarette.

While waiting for the alcohol to dry, he spotted one of the creatures and tried setting fire to it.

The couch caught fire, and so did the man, who was badly burned and by the time the fire was extinguished, four apartments had been destroyed by flames, and two dozen more were damaged by water.

Sleep well!

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