Monday, July 19, 2010


I have always been a champion sleeper. I excel at:
-Falling Asleep Instantly
-Sleeping Regardless of Actually Laying Down
-Ability to Stay Asleep for Ten Hours (Unless Prodded by Offspring to Make Breakfast)

No, I'm not narcileptic, which, inconvenience aside, would be a cool and obscure diagnosis I could use to impress people. Rats.

On a typical night, I tend to wake up several times a night, listen for restless children or serial killers who may have wandered into the house, then roll over and fall instantly back asleep. Lately? Not so much with the falling back asleep part. I've been going to bed, falling asleep with my usual élan, only to awake an hour and a half later in a state of what I can only describe as WIDETHEFUCKAWAKE. (Apologies to those of you with delicate sensibilities; there is simply no other description which conveys the exact shade of wakefulness I experience).

After a night or two laying in bed watching the minutes, then hours tick away without a hint of drowsiness., I began to wonder if this was no fluke, but the new normal. If so, the new normal sucks.

The third night, I began to wonder What do people do to make themselves sleepy? Warm milk, it occurred to me. Then, ew. Being one who prefers one's milky beverages of the icy cold variety, just the thought of warm milk skeeves me out. I doubted it would result in sleep. Vomiting, possibly. Sleep, no.

Which is why, at 12:20 a.m., I was seated on my kitchen floor, back against the refrigerator door, eating a pudding cup. What? Pudding is made with milk. Also: yummy. It just didn't make me sleepy.

I wander to the living room and do pretend yoga, which is mostly just stretching and assuming poses that are vaguely "yoga-esque" because I don't actually know any yoga poses. I now feel stretchier, but not the tiniest bit sleepy. I lay on my back on the floor for awhile and think about how not sleepy I feel. 12:58 a.m.

I open my laptop and squint at Facebook and email for awhile. Getting my glasses from the bedroom would enable me to actually read FB and email, but I don't want to wake up Tom by rummaging around on my dresser. Plus, reading my friends' Facebook status updates while having to guess at about every other word is pretty entertaining. For about four and a half minutes. 1:05 a.m.

1:06 a.m. I eat another pudding cup.

1:12 a.m. I go sit on the front porch. Too hot. Too dark (is that a bear lurking behind the hydrangea bush?). Still humid. I go back inside.

I rummage oh-so-quietly on my dresser and retrieve my glasses. In the guest room, I read an entire library book of Bear's. This kills about an hour and a half. 2:52 a.m.

I go back to bed. Surely, surely now I will fall asleep. I lay on my right side for awhile, then flip to my left. Tom is maddeningly asleep. I ask softly, "Hey, does the air conditioner sound weird to you?" He doesn't answer. I flip back to my right side and think That's it! No more tossing and turning. I will just lay here very still and eventually I will have to fall asleep.

3: 05. Except... I keep remembering how much better my left side felt. I feel like if I could just flip back to my left side, I would finally fall asleep. My right side sucks. My hip aches, and my feet feel twitchy. I tell myself sternly that I'm not allowed to change position.

Twenty seconds later I cave and turn to my left side. Damn. The right side was better.

It's 3:28 am. I'm never going to sleep again, I think. I probably have a brain tumor, and it's pressing on the brain thingy that makes you sleepy. I consider Googling what part of the brain makes you sleep, but don't.

Finally, at 3:40 a.m., mostly because I can't think of a single other thing to do (interesting how productive things like cleaning never occur to me when I can't sleep), I take a shower. I stretch it out by using every single shower product I own. I rinse and repeat. I exfoliate. I shave. I loofah.

And finally, at 4:03 a.m., I sleep.

Until 7:00, when Bug wanders in to ask if it can be a pancakes for breakfast day.


Rose said...

I feel your pain. I couldn't sleep until 1:30 last night and had to be up at 7:30 this morning (although thanks to Steve, we actually woke to a 6:15 alarm even though he doesn't get up until 7:00; bitter? not me) If it keeps up, try meds.

Jen on the Edge said...

I started having nights like that several years ago. Usually at least one or two a week.

Things got better for me after we moved into our new house (no more old creaky house making noises in the night) and at the same we got a new bed (different kind of mattress and we went up to a Queen size).

However, what happens now is, instead of me having one or two restless nights every week, I sleep fine for a few weeks and then have a restless week.

Still, things are better than they were, so I'm not fretting.

Here's what works for me: If I can't sleep, I get up and go downstairs to our home office. No lying in bed and trying to force myself to sleep. I usually sit at my computer and aimlessly read blogs, shop eBay, etc. for an hour or two. Then I go upstairs and usually go right to sleep.

I've found that temperature is a big thing for me, so when I can't sleep, the chances are good that I'm overheated. When I go downstairs, I drink some ice water and sit at my computer (next to an AC vent). I cool off and then I find it easier to go to sleep. (In the winter, just getting out of my warm cozy bed and sitting at my desk helps with the necessary temperature reduction.)

BTW, I loved your description of wandering through the house -- because now that I've seen your house, I could clearly imagine your wanderings.

smalltownmom said...

I have many nights like that...

Anonymous said...

Oh man, that sucks. I do like the idea of a soothing pudding cup to put you to sleep. Sorry it didn't work.

I'm afraid of the dark (yep, chicken right here) so I don't get out of bed when I can't sleep. Which sucks. I do keep emergency books on my nightstand. Emergency BORING books. Nothing puts me to sleep faster than some not so interesting non-fiction.

Dawn in Austin said...

The same thing happens to me every now and again. On one of my nocturnal visits to Uncle Google, I looked up these symptoms and found it falls in the premenopausal category. Along with weight gain, night sweats, memory loss and mood swings.

Isn't that just swell?? I think I'm going to stock up on pudding cups.

Nana said...

Perhaps cutting back on caffeine will help. Once your foot allows you to get back to exercising, I think you'll sleep better. And remember, no naps since you can't sleep well at night. Oddly, I had a night like that just last night. I awoke at 4am. I kept telling myself NOT to think about what I needed to accomplish today, NOT to think about this or that, and bingo! - I started thinking. I never did get back to sleep. :(

Jacey said...

Lurker here... but just for future reference (since warm milk grosses me out too) it's not WARM milk that works, it's just the tryptophan in milk, in general. So cold milk would work too. :)

Susan said...

I have those nights, too. Though my hubby would never sleep through me in the shower, I loved how that sounded! Were you able to pull off the pancakes?

Cindy said...

Been there, done that! Usually, I just turn on the light and read until I'm sleepy. The light NEVER bothers my husband. Go figure!