— Andy Wade —
You know how you feel when you don’t get a good night’s sleep? If you also suffer with anxiety, depression, PTSD, or any number of physical ailments, you know that just one sleepless night can easily drive you over the edge. Now imagine you have to sleep outside. Every few hours, sometimes more, someone comes along to wake you up, ask you to move, or threatens abuse. You’ve experienced this before, probably nightly, so even when you do sleep, you don’t sleep soundly, always expecting something to happen.
Joe, a man experiencing homelessness, comments:
Where and how you sleep is often a matter of discipline when residentially challenged,” said Joe, who recently moved to Seattle from the Bay Area. “If you’re sleeping in a car or RV, shelter or friend’s couch, you have the issue of finding a place to sleep and being up and about before the rest of the world is. Usually in a shelter, you have to be up and out by a certain time. If [you’re sleeping in] a vehicle, you have to have it moved by a certain time. If you’re working you have to find ways to make the job fit your situation or vice versa. You’re on others’ schedules. And this is where sleep deprivation hits the hardest. It adds up. The Atlantic Magazine, “Homelessness and the Impossibility of a Good Night’s Sleep”
This helpful article in The Atlantic Magazine goes on to inform:
Sleep deprivation has also been linked to an increase in mental illness, drug abuse among teenagers, and higher rates of violence and aggression. Schizophrenia-like symptoms may also start to develop, which is problematic in a population that already experiences a higher-than-average likelihood of suffering from the disease.
I encourage you to read the whole article, here, and the talk to your local shelter or advocate for those experiencing homelessness to find out how you can help.