Me in the Middle of Sleep and Dream Patterns as We Age

Sleep and Dream Patterns as We Age

This was the Spring course I chose out of the course offerings for OLLI Osher Lifesong Learning Institute at the University of Virginia. My being diagnosed with Severe Sleep Apnea OSA has peaked my interest in all things sleep. A very interesting topic!

The course was taught by Dr. Douglas E. DeGood  (UVA Pain Management Center, the Behavioral Medicine Center, and the UVA Sleep Center prior to his retirement in 2014)

“The course will begin with a description of the
biology and psychology of normal sleep and how
sleep and dream patterns change with age. Subsequent
topics include sleep disorders such as sleep apnea,
treatments for sleep disorders including risks associated with sleep medications, and cognitive-behavioral strategies for improving sleep.”

Dr. DeGood gave each of us his CD on Basic Self-Relaxation Exercises ~ BMW RELAX. (The BMW stands for Breathing, Muscle Relaxation and Warming). We learned the importance of deep breathing exercises and how it relates to increasing the oxygen levels in the body and the relaxation of the muscles. Practicing this off and on during the day and then using the technique as you’re falling asleep. I found it interesting that when I used the oximeter to check my oxygen level I could actually see the level rise when I used the deep breathing technique. I could also feel the warming and tingling in my hands and feet as I fell off to sleep.

Breathing Exercise


Two key figures in the history of sleep science of Sleep Apnea were:

Henri Gastaut who described Sleep Apnea as a significant sleep issue in 1965 and

William Dement who established the first dedicated Sleep Disorders Center in 1970

This is an interesting interview: William Dement Interview with Arianna Huffington

How did the focus shift to sleep apnea?

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is one of the most serious and one of the most prevalent sleep disorders, and it was described for the first time in 1965 in Europe. But it was completely ignored by American pulmonologists. (Dement)

I learned that Arianna Huffington had an interest in Sleep Apnea because she has it and she experienced a very painful wake-up call about the importance of sleep. Here’s a Ted video I found where she emphasizes that:

“We are literally going to sleep our way to the top, literally”


This history of Sleep Science ranges from Hippocrates, Aristotle and Galen in ancient times up to Freud (1900), Berger (1924), Kleitman (1925), Loomis (1937), Dement (1954), Lerner (1958), Halberg (1959), Gestaut (1965) and Dement (1970).

Statistics on Frequency of Sleep Problems: National Sleep Foundation Poll, 2011

  • 54% of adults experienced at least one symptom of insomnia a few nights a week.
  • 33% report having an insomnia symptom almost every night in the past year.
  • 18 million adults estimated to be affected by respiratory sleep apnea, 59% of those who report snoring.
  • 12 million adults estimated to be affected by restless leg syndrome
  • Narcolepsy affects 1 in 2,000 adults.
  • Vague definitions of sleep disorders may lead to overestimation of the problem. Most important question should be: How much does your sleep negatively impact your daily functioning and overall quality of your life?

While the class covered many different aspects of sleep, it was clear that the instructor considered sleep apnea worthy of more attention. Sleep Apnea has been found to be present in all ages and affects the quality of life. Practicing healthy sleep habits can help to buffer the severe affects of undiagnosed Sleep Apnea although more awareness is needed to encourage people to get tested and receive treatment.

Some Practices Conducive to Good Sleep

  • Try to sleep only when you are drowsy. Allow a period of “winding down” for at least 30 minutes prior to trying to sleep.
  • If you are unable to fall asleep or return to sleep after a reasonable length of time, leave your bedroom and engage in quiet activity elsewhere. Return to your bed only when you are sleepy.
  • Maintain a regular bed time, but more importantly a regular arise time, even on days off work and on weekends.
  • Use your bedroom only for sleep and sex.
  • Limit daytime naps to 30 minutes or less. Do not try to make up for lost night time sleep during the day.
  • Learn to use physical and mental relaxation techniques to relax your body and distract your mind.
  • Avoid stimulants such as caffeine and nicotine close to bedtime. Do not smoke during the night.
  • Avoid alcoholic beverages within 3 hours of bedtime. Alcohol can help you fall asleep faster, but can disrupt sleep later in the night.
  • Avoid foods before bedtime that rich fatty or can trigger indigestion or heartburn that can disrupt sleep.
  • Exercise regularly to promote good sleep during the day, but not within 2 hours of bedtime.
  • Ensure adequate exposure to natural light during the day.
  • Minimize light, noise and extremes in temperature in the bedroom.

Sweet dreams

I enjoyed the course and learned a lot. There wasn’t enough covered on Dream Patterns and what they tell us. I’m hoping there will be a follow-up where this area is covered more fully.


Me in the Middle on a Virtual Sketchwalk

For the months of March, April and May ~ I’ve been traveling!

Virtual Traveling!

Virtual Reality, Consciousness, Reality

Image by Pixabay

Virtual Sketchwalk is a Facebook Page with 849 (and growing) members.  At the beginning of each month, the Admin ~ Kate Powell ~ posts around 100 plus photographs of interesting places, local and foreign.  Sketchwalks involve a group of artists who meet up at a specific location and spend time sketching together at that location. Virtual Sketchwalk brings together artists who might not be able to travel yet still can enjoy sketching and learning about the area.  It gives us a chance to practice our skills and then share our artwork with each other on Facebook.  Each of us can choose from the photographs and we can sketch as many as we want.  It’s fun to see the different interpretations that evolve from each person.

My previous post on the Virtual Sketchwalk for December, January and February  is HERE.


March ~ Tasmania Australia

Image may contain: tree, plant and outdoor

Photo by Debi Taylor-Ross

March 2019 Ross Tasmania 2

Sketch by Mary Lou

Image may contain: tree, plant, house and outdoor

Photo by Debi Taylor-Ross

March 2019 Tasmania B #1

Sketch by Mary Lou

Image may contain: plant, tree, house, sky, grass, outdoor and nature

Photo by Phil Parsons

March 2019 Tasmania E

Sketch by Mary Lou

Image may contain: bird

Photo by Debi Taylor/JJ Harrison


Sketch by Mary Lou

April Virtual Sketchwalk was People Sketching and I didn’t participate.  I was doing the The A to Z Blog Challenge 2019

In May, we were all saddened by the fire that destroyed much of the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris, France. I was amazed that some of the beautiful stained-glass windows survived. When Kate chose Paris as our May Virtual Sketchwalk I seized the opportunity to take up the challenge and try to sketch the window. Now I can say I tried! It was not an easy challenge. 

Photo by Joyce Harbin Cole

May 2019 Paris~Notre Dame #2


Image may contain: indoor

May 2019 Notre Dame #4

Where will we go next?

Globe, Hand, Global, Concept, Abstract

Image by Pixabay



A Grateful Nation: Remembering Those Who Died in Military Service

This about says it all for me. I don’t know anyone who died in military service. I do have a great grandfather, grandfather, uncles, brother, husband and son who served. ❤

Word Wacker

Monday is Memorial Day here in the US. We tend to celebrate this holiday with department-store sales and cookouts, but it’s meant to be a time for reflection, offering honor to those who gave their lives in military service and to the loved ones they left behind.

To all the Gold Star families who have lost loved ones during military service, I send my personal well-wishes, to go along with the thanks of a grateful nation.

Do you know anyone who died in military service? Can you share their story in the comments?

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Me in the Middle of Poms

  • ” Saw the previews but not the movie yet…previews were questionable!”
  •  “I would rather see a documentary about the older ladies who dance for an NBA team”
  •  “Meh… I don’t see how 60 going on 16 is funny.”
  •  “Not interested at all, but I bet my mom and her bestie will see it. I would go just to watch those two react.”
  •  “I think it looks hilarious…must be cause I’m same age as some of your moms! 😉😊 Fun GNO movie!”
  •  “Just saw the promo on TV. 🙃 I liked Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda and Cher’s movies in their day. Great role models! I don’t see how they show us classy aging women through trying to act and look like teeny boppers. Just my opinion. 🥳 And I’m a classy aging woman who likes to have fun! 💚”
  • “The preview has rubbed me the wrong way, but I am keeping an open mind. It may be that the preview was crafted by young marketing people who are totally out of touch with the audience for this film, while the film works well.”
  • “Why do older men get to be brilliant undercover people or astronauts, and older women are either getting sweaty over 50 Shades (Book Club) or trying to hang out with teenagers? It’s ridiculous.”
  • “With everything going on in the world today, it would be worth the laugh!”
  • ” It’s a lighthearted comedy. I’m looking forward to seeing it with my midlife girls!”
    ‘Poms’ brings on spirited moments, but lacks magic of a certain cheerleading…

    ‘Poms’ brings on spirited moments, but lacks magic of a certain cheerleading movie franchise

  • “Thinking about getting the “old” rally squad together to go watch”
  •  “I think the trailer was WONDERFUL! I can’t wait to see it! Looks like there are a lot of important messages in this movie!”
  • ” It looks like fun!”
  •  “Totally mixed. Not all older women want to exercise like that—I’m more into bedroom sports as it took over 60 years for all the things to get into the right places. 🙂”
  •  “Why make movies that make older women look silly?
  •  “I adore Diane Keaton. I think it’ll be a fun movie. Lots of chuckles and laughs. I’m looking forward to seeing the movie. :)”
These are just a few of the comments that were made on a popular midlife Facebook Page. Just seeing the variety of opinions peaked my interest in going to see the movie for myself. The trailer was enough to confirm my thoughts that older women just don’t need to be trying to fit into impossible molds, and be dismissed and put down for developing more challenging talents.
When a friend of mine asked me to go see it with him I jumped at the chance to see if my critique was right. His interest in going was increased when I told him about the line in the trailer “I was hoping that you would be a man. There’s not enough erections around here as it is!”  😀


Yesterday I got to see the movie! We both got a kick out of some of the characters and some of the lines were down-right funny. In my own opinion, Diane Keaton’s character wasn’t the one who made the movie. The character who best represented a positive approach to aging was Sheryl played by Jacki Weaver. She best represented the message that the movie was attempting to bring to the audience. “We’re all so worried about what everyone is thinking. When, of course, what really matters is what we think of ourselves.” Her reminder to her friend that you were dying yesterday and you’ll be dying tomorrow so you might as well ‘dance’ is a reminder we all can hear over and over again. The movie falls flat in many places, at least for me, yet I liked the way these women rallied around each other when they were dismissed and put down for following their dream. I especially liked their strength when they stood up to any demeaning and abusive behavior aimed at women, both young and old.

All in all, I have to say I agree with the Rotten Tomatoes Rating of the movie. It was worth going to see purely for my own reflection on how I choose to go forward in my life as a classy, aging woman who likes to have fun.


#AtoZChallenge2019 Reflection



When I reflect on my experiences during the 2016 and the 2019 A to Z Challenge I’m struck by the difference the second time around.  In 2016 I was a newbie to blogging and very unnerved by the intensity of the build-up to A to Z Challenge 2016.  There was so much to learn and others seemed to know so much more about the whole experience.  I scheduled ahead some of my posts but, for the most part, prescheduling was random.  I was very ambitious in what I wanted to do.  I wanted my theme Lessons Learned’ to reflect my life journey and what I’d learned looking back. When the Challenge ended I put it in book form through Blogger to share with my family.

In the 2019 A to Z Challenge, my approach was much less intense and stressful.  I planned ahead and I prescheduled my posts.  This time I chose a theme less ambitious yet very interesting for myself and others.  There wasn’t as much anxiety and worry about making a mistake. My theme was April World Holidays and I learned a lot:

day 27 lettering

Sketch by Mary Lou

I realized that this is LIFE also.  Having a vision. Preparing ahead.  Not worrying about mistakes.  Do what you can. Be open to learning and, most of all, have fun!

Here are a few of my A to Z Blogger Friends that I met along the Challenge 2019 road:

1)Arhtistic License 

2) Best Bookish Blog

    3) Charles Health ~ Author

4) Hopes and Dreams

5) Hot Dogs and Marmalade

6) Katy Trail Creations

7) Martha Reynold Writes

8) Sue’s Trifles

9) The Sound of One Hand Typing

10) Trisha Faye

11) Word Wacker


Here are my STATS for April 2019. Much less than the 2016 Stats. And that’s okay! I tried to focus on those blogs that fit best into my own website theme which is supporting a positive healthy aging in midlife and beyond. 🙂

Stats for april 2019