I is for Insomnia

I

I‘m writing this at 2AM. Not because I’m a night-owl – far from it. Early to bed and early (yeah, but not THIS early) to rise is my motto. In the 20 years we’ve been together, Mr Tater and I have never seen a New Year in. On a weeknight, we’re in bed by 10PM. That’s when it gets ugly. (Hmmm… that sounds wrong – not very complimentary to Mr Tater. It’s not meant that way, really.) I can  fall asleep quickly, boom, light’s out, I’m out. Then I wake up – I feel like I’ve been asleep all night and I’m WIDE awake, ready to start my day.

Look at the clock.

11:30.

Are you fucking KIDDING me? The rest of the adult world is just now thinking about going to bed, I’m done already. So from then  until 3 or 4AM I spin, and it’s always clockwise along my longitudinal axis. I know this because I have to actually get up out of bed a couple of times a night to unwind my nightgown. Were I spinning in both directions, it would eventually unwind itself.

I know I’m getting some sleep. I’m not sleep-deprived. I don’t sleep during the day, I’m not groggy and unable to focus, I’m not irritable and cranky (dammit!). But I’m getting it in very short bursts and I know this because I’ve done a highly scientific and not at all silly test. Mostly to disprove Mr Tater’s theory that I really DO sleep all night, and am just dreaming that I wake up.

I put a little notepad and pen right on the edge of my nightstand and every time I looked at the clock in the night, I wrote down the time. In the morning, the paper was covered in scratchings. 11:32  –  11:48  –  12:18  –  12:45  –  12:58 and so on. Sometimes it was only a few minutes between times, sometimes as much as 1/2 an hour, but the fact is, I AM awake at many many times during the night.

What’s that you say? Break the cycle? Sure we can try that.

I’ve stayed up til the magic hour of 11:30. And what happens? I fall asleep quickly, wake up at 1, and every 10 minutes thereafter. No REALLY break it. Ok,  I’ve stayed up til 2:30! That’s right, just powered on through it (knowing I had to be up at 5, ugh) and guess what? It DID work. I fell asleep quickly and stayed asleep. I didn’t wake up til the alarm went off at 5. Hooray, success. Well, not so much. That day I WAS groggy and unfocused and horrible all day long. Totally not worth it. So I know I AM getting the sleep, I just wish I could get it all in one chunk instead of little slivers.

Sleeping pills?

Sure – Ambien (or rather  his generic, good lord that stuff’s expensive) works like a charm BUT. It has to be taken on an empty stomach and they do mean EMPTY. Anytime within 6 hours of a meal and it’s a waste of money. And since I don’t get home from work til after 5, that means that even if we eat as soon as I come through the door I can’t take it til 11:30 or 12. Well, I’m usually awake around then – what’s the problem? I’ll tell you what the problem is The damned stuff lasts for 8, 9, even 10 hours. BOOM! Down like a sack of rocks and no stirring til well after 8AM; refreshed, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed! And very late for work. So I can skip dinner and take it as soon as I get home. And THAT’s a great life. Home from work, wash my face, go to bed, get up, go to work. So that one is reserved for Friday or Saturday nights, when I can sleep in.

Also, Mr Tater has reported some VERY strange behaviors, of which  I have NO recollection, and which I’m not going to share here, as this is a family blog. And as  he refuses to take videos (he’s afraid of the FaceCloud), I’ll have to take his word on it. Although one morning I DID wake up in full face makeup, which I did NOT have on when I went to bed, so there may be some truth in his horrifying tales.

I’ve read all the literature, I do all the right things. Well, almost all. I don’t use caffeine after 11AM, I don’t watch TV in bed, I don’t drink or eat heavy meals right before bed, I have a soothing night-time ritual, the bedroom is dark, it’s quiet. I DO read before bed, and there IS a cat on the bed – but those things have been constants in my life since childhood and aren’t going to change.

Well, that killed an hour for me, time to go back and roll around some more. Goodnight.

 

Written as part of the April 2015 A to Z Challenge.

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18 thoughts on “I is for Insomnia

  1. Wendy of the Rock

    I share your pain… but my partner is an eraly/early person who thinks he’s had a rough night if he gets less sleep than his usual 8 hours straight… I have to love him, otherwise I’d just want to smack in the head every time he mentions it.
    Wendy at Wendy of The Rock

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  2. Barbara In Caneyhead

    All I can think of is that you’d be a good candidate for a sleep therapy center. Myself, I can go to bed and almost always fall asleep within 10 minutes of lights out and only occasionally wake up once, but that’s only because I’ve got to pee. Once upon a time I was going through a period of having a hard time falling asleep. Watching the clock tick past one hour, two hours. I started beginning a prayer as soon as I lay down. Might as well use the time time wisely, right? At first I’d pray for every family member individually and a few other things and then fall off. Towards the end, I’d be like “Heavenly Father…ZZZ” Enjoy the AtoZ, no matter what time of the day or night you participate!
    Visit me at: Life & Faith in Caneyhead
    I am Ensign B of Tremps’ Troops
    with the A to Z Challenge

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    1. datatater Post author

      Oh no no no! No sleep therapy/studies for me. I KNOW I scratch my butt in my sleep, and I’m pretty sure I (or my body, on my behalf) does OTHER things in my sleep. And while I realize that those people are trained professionals, and have seen, heard, and let’s be honest, smelled it all, I can’t stand the thought of someone watching me sleep! (TMI? Sorry)
      Thanks for reading, though!

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  3. orneryswife

    I have also heard that you can take magnesium to help you sleep. NOW nutrition makes a product called ZMA with zinc, magnesium and B6 in it for muscle recovery. Take 2-3 capsules about thirty minutes before bed. Pretty cheap and if it works, well worth it!

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  4. Michael Abayomi

    It sounds like you might be a very light sleeper. My girlfriend also has a sleeping problem, though once she’s asleep, typically during the day, she’s usually out like a stone. You can try drinking a glass of milk sometime before hitting the sack.

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  5. Wendy

    Well I don’t have any great insights or advice for you other than maybe to get up for a bit or read until you feel sleepy again. I find audio books can send me to sleep quite quickly. Trouble is I miss lots of chapters and have to keep going back over stuff! At least you’re not feeling tired all the time so maybe you are one of those people wo can survive on a small amount of sleep. 🙂

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  6. hirundine608

    Try some Magnesium? Magnesium relaxes muscles, calcium contracts them. Milk is helpful for the tryptophan, etc. Most people are magnesium deprived. Salt is comprised of two main parts. Sodium and Magnesium. Processed salt, is all sodium.

    Unrefined sea salt contains both parts, as well as other trace minerals. I use magnesium extracted from seaweed. As too, iodine. Now I’m not promising that you will not have another sleepless night. As we age, our need for sleep diminishes. I have had a few nights whereby I’m up by 2 am also. Though being retired, means I can nap whenever I want.

    Try that magnesium. It’s what doctors prescribe to heart attack patients. Since starting my magnesium regime, a couple of years back. Those leg cramps in the night, have all but disappeared. I feel, generally, more relaxed, etc. Cheers Jamie.

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    1. datatater Post author

      I will give the Magnesium a try, thanks!

      I was reading something the other day, NO clue where, about a regime of having 2 ‘days’ per day – being awake for a few hours then sleeping for a few then awake again then sleep again – no issues with insomnia, no getting overly tired – doesn’t exactly fit with the vision of corporate America though. By my latest calculations, I have 8 years and 3 weeks til I can retire, and I’m counting every minute of them! 🙂

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