Sleep is difficult to come by when you have nowhere to sleep. This is something easily taken for granted when a bed is guaranteed to you every night. We’ve all had our sleepless nights and we tend to have similar reactions. We’re drowsy, drifting off, unable to focus or make decisions, moody, even physically, we feel off. We take a nap, we grab a coffee and at the end of the day, we take refuge at home.
Women experiencing homelessness suffer from tremendous sleep deficits. Because these women are significantly more likely to experience sexual assault, sleep fades to the back burner in the interest of physical safety. This scary and unfortunate truth means women who are homeless have to fight that much harder to make it through the day, as exhaustion strikes heavy blows to mental health and clarity.
“Sleep is vital to the rest of the body too. When people don’t get enough sleep, their health risks rise. Symptoms of depression, seizures, high blood pressure and migraines worsen. Immunity is compromised, increasing the likelihood of illness and infection. Sleep also plays a role in metabolism: Even one night of missed sleep can create a prediabetic state in an otherwise healthy person.”
Sleep shouldn’t be a privilege, because when you don’t have a secure place to sleep, you will spend much of your days looking for one. This is why Sarah’s Circle’s Interim Housing program is so important. Women have the stability of home so they can spend their nights sleeping and their days rebuilding their lives.