Tuesday, July 25, 2006

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7!

7 Sheep.

Have you noticed, over there in my profile, that I list myself as an insomniac?

I don't sleep well. Never have, according to my mother. I don't fall asleep easily, and if I do, it's usually a sign that I'm falling ill. Nap? Never. Sleep through the night? Rarely. I'm awake every hour or so.

I deal with it, for the most part it doesn't bother me that much. There have been a few times, though, that I began to feel a bit batty from so many days with little sleep. I cannot differentiate a real doorbell from a dream doorbell. I have awakened to find myself racing through the house to answer the door. I don't care for that.

I've followed all the recommedations for us non-sleepers: comfortable temperature, consistent bedtime, warm bath, warm milk, visualization, relaxation techniques.

I've been recommended "head games." Marcee once told me that she lies down and thinks, "go to sleep toe. Toe, go to sleep." Then her ankle, her calf, and so on. She says she's always asleep before she gets to her waist. When I play that game, I go toe-to-scalp and back again, with no luck.

I've created my own head games: I pick a time or a place in my past—my first grade classroom—and try to recall details. Or I visualize walking home from school, step by step. I figure I might bore myself to sleep.

I've focused my eyes on the inside of my eyelids. I've tried holding my eyes open in the dark. That exhausts me, but doesn't make me sleep.

I broke down a few weeks ago, and mentioned to my doctor that I don't sleep well. She gave me samples of a non-addictive sleep aid, called Rozerem. I hesitantly tried one. And I woke up every hour, to check to see if I was sleeping! I tried another pill, when I was still awake in the wee hours of the morning. I figured if I fell asleep quickly, I'd get the most hours of sleep possible. Of course, I was still under the influence of the sleeping pill when it was time to rise and shower for work, and i had a wretched day, feeling dizzy and even more tired. There is one pill left, and I don't intend to touch it.

What works?

Water. When I'm near rolling waves, I can't keep my eyes open. They lull me to sleep. I was born in San Diego, and I sometimes wonder if my mother didn't push my stroller around the beach to comfort me.

Disinterest in the cause. The more energy I put into it, the more difficult it is to sleep.

Perspective. When I'm going gonzo, I try to see this problem as a luxury. Yes, a LUXURY. I once contemplated the photo of a woman in wartorn Boznia, and I imagined myself telling her, "you think YOU have problems, baby, I can't SLEEP! Can you believe it? I have purchased books for it, and researched it. I've bitched and complained, and I have MONEY enough that I may pay a doctor to figure out how to rest my weary soul."

And I realize, when I do this, that most of my problems are luxuries, really. Luxuries that I can invest in, converse about, gain attention from, and spend money on.

I know something's going on, that I could get help for. And I probably will, eventually. But sometimes you just have to buckle up. And go to sleep. And it doesn't have to be more than that.

I am honestly falling-down exhausted right now, so I leave you for another attempt. Wish me luck. And luxury.


  1. What about one of those sound machines with waves? Or a CD and leave on repeat all night (would you wake up?)

    I am tired just reading your sleep concerns. Oh, and please don't note the time of my comment.


  2. My phone number is always available to you upon request. Night owl that I am, I promise that I am always happy to talk a friend to sleep. I hear I am quite good at it, intentional or not.

  3. Have you tried lying down in the back seat of a car while someone drives? Hey, it works for Brian.

  4. K, here's what I do. I imagine an empty box or a blank chalkboard. I try to stay focused on the emptiness of it. If something gets in the box or suddenly the chalkboard has writing on it. I empty/wipe off and start over. If this doesn't work I have a special herbal tea I use. Yogi Teas Bedtime tea. I usually by it at Stawberry Fields. Good luck.

  5. can't sleep without a fan going.

    has your doc ever talked to you about antidepressants? not that you need the, but several have side effect of conking you out

  6. If we blended our sleep habits together we'd be the perfect person.

    As I sleep too much and you too little...

    ne'er in between!

  7. The Three Bears is the only thing that works for me when I can't sleep (often ~ I'm a fellow insomniac.) As with chez bez, I'm available to talk well after most people have gone to bed. I'm up until 2 or 3 nightly.

    Good luck with it!

  8. Nancy: Good thinking! You're a genius.

    ChezBez: You're willing to drone on and on and on just to put me to sleep? Ya sweety. Let's start tonight: Read me the Celsius --> Fahrenheit chart.

    Dick: How in the heck can I backseat drive if I'm sleeping?!!

    Mim: Chalkboard, check. If that doesn't work, I'll create a mentel Etch-a-sketch. And I never need an excuse to go to Strawberry Fields. I'll get that tea this weekend.

    Paul: Who can sleep without a fan?
    Do those antidepressants conk you out during work hours too?

    Momo: We need to get into a transmogrofier and blend our sleep patterns. Ah, to sleep like you do. I'm jealous!

    BP: I have your number tucked away somewhere...though I'm not sure I could call anyone at 2 a.m.!

  9. I can SO relate. 25 years of insomnia for me. Though I could always fall asleep - just couldn't stay asleep. My doc finally got me straightened out about 6 weeks ago! I'm a new person.

    I hope you find your solution. You might be surprised how great you'd feel after some sleep.

    Good luck!

  10. It is a luxury...I wish you lots of it!

  11. I almost never have trouble sleeping. But I have an ancient LP called "The Psychologically Ultimate Seashore." It's just the sound of surf for a half hour. I copied it onto a cassette and I play it on a little player on my nightstand almost every night. Very soothing. I don't think I've ever listened past two minutes.

    You would have to get a better player than the one I have, though. Mine makes a loud crrrack! when it gets to the end of the tape, which would undoubtedly wake you up.

    Come to think of it, maybe this is not such a great idea...

  12. You probably recived enough advice to write a book by now. But why should that stop me :)

    Please do consider self-hypnotism. It's basically a relaxation technique. You should be able to find books in your local library. It basically teaches you to slowly drop into a semi-sleep. At least read the book and see if it is interesting for you.

  13. Just let it go ... sleep or not to sleep that's the question. I have my cat besides my head and she purres me to sleep !

  14. Anonymous1:58 AM

    I have problems sleeping because of pain. I take melatonin and/or valerian root. The melatonin is strictly for sleeping, but no drugged feeling the next day. The valerian root is like a muscle relaxer. They are inexpensive. I have known people that HAD insomnia for various reasons, and these have helped. Check to make sure it doesn't conflict with any meds you take.

  15. John can give you loads of sympathy. He's very much the same...although his sleep problems seem to cycle, so sometimes he's fine.

    He's certainly learned the trick for getting ME to sleep...just start gently scratching the top of my head. He says I start snoring almost instantly!

    I hope you can find what works for you.



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