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Highlights
Smiling joggers and sleepers are everywhere - at least in stock photos.

These idealized images hide the struggles and frustrations of everyday life.

What caption would you give to the picture of your sleep?

Running to sleep: Pictures of life

Filed in
  • Restless legs syndrome
  • Insomnia
  • Exercise

By Thomas M. Heffron  |  Jan 15, 2014
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It’s been said that the camera never lies. Perhaps, but it sure can stretch the truth. Consider, for example, photos of running and sleeping.

Personally, I’ve never been much of a runner. I always say that you never seen anyone smile while they’re jogging.

In fact most runners tend to look like they’re having a miserable time. No pain, no gain, right? That pain is clearly visible. Grimacing, squinting, gasping for breath:

jogger pushing the limits
Photo by *Nom and Malc

That picture is true to life. In contrast, you have the glossy stock photos that create a fantasy world of running. Graceful. Effortless. And the smiles – oh, the smiles:

Smiling woman running with dog
Photo from All You

Look at that: Even the dog seems to be smiling. This image may be true for some casual joggers. But I suspect that it would make most runners cringe.

Stock photos of smiling sleepers also are abundant. They depict the gentle side of sleep. Restful repose. Sweet dreams:

Smiling woman sleeping
Photo from All You

Again, this picture may capture the ideal sleep enjoyed by some - or by many of us some of the time. But I imagine these photos frustrate people who are unable to sleep well. Across the U.S. millions of us have a sleep illness such as chronic insomnia or restless legs syndrome.

These problems can make sleep a battle. Tossing and turning. In and out of bed. Up all night:

Woman who can't sleepPhoto by Dyvo 

Whether running or sleeping, true life can be much less glamorous than a stock photo. What caption would you give to the picture of your sleep? “Sleep is bliss”? Or “sleep is a struggle”?

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