Sleep, along with food, water, and air to breath, is one of the most important and basic physiological human needs. Not getting enough good sleep causes people to have trouble with their temperaments, mental health, memory, digestion, concentration and even their motor skills. It's something that those who have a consistent place to lay their heads often take for granted, and something that those who live on the streets consistently go without. This has become increasingly obvious to me since I've been coming The Well and spending time with people who basically never get a good night of sleep. It's impossible. They have so many elements against their chances of getting the sleep they need: rain, their belongings being stolen, their personal safety, lack of comfort or quiet, and the list could probably go on and on, depending on who you're talking to. It's a huge problem, and it's something that I would personally like to work towards fixing...This passage below was written by one of our guests describing the obstacles he faced just during the period of one single night. Imagine what constant struggles all people who are on the streets must face every single night.
"I'm tired and exhausted, and sleeping is not an option. I'm out here with no place to go. I just have a bag of clothes and a bike. I'm starting to feel tired, so I sit down on a bench at a bus stop. I'm starting to nod off. This old lady comes up and sits next to me. For the next 15 minutes I learn about her poodle who only eats chicken and refuses to eat dog food, and how Obama has taken her medicaid. The bus comes by and the lady leaves me. My eyes grow heavy. Two minutes later someone comes by and asks me, how long for the bus? It just left. He sits down and starts explaining how he's going to be late now. I move on.
I make my way down town and sit down on a bench. People come up to me, and ask "what do I have in the bag?" And "how much for my bike?" I wonder what's that funny smell coming from what they are smoking? I don't like how they are eyeing my stuff. I move on.
Okay, here we go, a shelter. After waiting 2 hours, They tell me they've all filled up try again tomorrow.
I can't sleep among all these people smoking this weird stuff and eyeing my stuff. I move on.
It's getting dark out. I find my way to a quiet street next to the water, this bench will do. I finally fall asleep. Is that water I'm feeling. I better get out of the rain.
Daylight comes. I can't stay in this neighborhood. It's too nice. I'll get a vagrancy charge. I move on. Park benches and libraries are out of the question, they don't let sleeping.
After a couple days of this, the shelter lets me in. Wow it's loud in here. No way one can sleep right now. Nine o'clock arrives. The lights go off. I drift to sleep. It's midnight and dang it, I have to go pee. I return to my bed. Is that snoring? Or did somebody open a Harley shop? After a few hours I drift off to sleep despite all the noise. The lights click on. Someone says, "It's 5 O'clock. Time to get up."
I'm tired, and exhausted, and sleeping is not an option."