Friday, March 13, 2015


     If you go day after day, week after week, not getting enough sleep, the toll it will take on you can be greater than you realize. Lack of sleep can clog up your ability to think clearly, and can make you feel more raw and sensitive emotionally. The effects tend to be cumulative, so that the longer you've been having trouble getting enough rest, the greater the impact on your life may be. Some people report starting to have depression, hopelessness, or even a sense that they are losing their minds. You can start to just plain feel shaky, physically and mentally.

            So if you feel as though you're falling apart, one possibility is that you just need to sleep.

            Being involved in a destructive relationship can make sleep hard to come by. The stress and emotional pain of being mistreated can keep you awake. Your worries about what your partner will do next can do the same. Maybe sometimes  -- or often  --  he doesn't let you sleep, either to punish you about something he's angry about or as a way to force you to have sex with him. When a man causes sleep deprivation in his partner, he is actually committing one of the more serious forms of physical abuse -- yes, sleep deprivation is a form of physical abuse  --  but the depth of damage he can do in these ways is often not recognized. 

            If you have young children, that adds a lot of additional challenges to getting sleep, especially if your partner isn't carrying his weight about sharing the times of getting out of bed to attend to a child in need.

            Keep some notes about how much sleep you get, and track your rest patterns over a period of weeks. Putting down on paper what is going on can help you to assess whether lack of sleep is actually one of the major contributors to emotional and physical struggles you are having.

(This post is based on an entry from Lundy's forthcoming book "Daily Wisdom for Why Does He Do That?: Encouragement for Women Involved with Angry and Controlling Men", which will be released by Berkley Books (Penguin) on April 7, 2015.)