Interrupting My Body’s Natural Rhythms

Sleep. What a beautiful thing it is. When it happens.

During my early life, sleep was never an issue for me. I would lay down, think up a story or something in my head, and soon I’d drift into good sleep. Then I’d sleep many good solid hours and I’d wake up feeling fine.

In my twenties when I dated a blues musician and I used to attend his gigs which often ended at 2am. I’d go home and get up and be at work by 8am. I’d work a full day, then come home, go to bed by 7pm, sleep something like twelve hours and be fine. How audacious.

That’s how easy sleep has always been for me until the last five years or so. Now sleep is an elusive thing. A will-o’-the-wisp that seems to dance at the periphery, just out of grasp.

I still go to sleep with relative ease, but staying asleep, that’s a whole other matter.

I have consulted with professionals on this matter. The answer? “Well, you know, it’s common for women of a certain age to have this problem.”

Bah! I know plenty of women my age who sleep just fine through the night. I also know quite a few women who struggle like me. Men too.

So last night, as I lay there in my familiar bed in my still unfamiliar home, not sleeping at 3am, I started feeling like I am going crazy. Seriously. The thoughts went like this:

“I am going insane. I mean…truly insane. I am not sure I can keep a grasp on the little bit of sanity I have left. Wait, is someone who is going insane aware of that they are going bugnutty? Or does the slide into crazyville go unnoticed? How does one go insane? Probably like that old saying, slowly and then quickly. If I slip my nut does that mean I have to go into an institution? How will The Good Man deal with that? He would not be happy to have me in a hospital, pent up and pulling at the tethers holding me down while shouting strange things.”

Of course, all of that kind of obsessive thinking does NOTHING to help sleep show up again.

So I got up for a while and The Feline joined me. She had a snack, I looked at email on my phone (with the brightness at the lowest possible setting).

After a while we trooped to the bathroom together and then went back to bed. The Feline was snoring within minutes. Sleep was a little more elusive for me.

I woke up with my alarm and reassessed my situation. Am I going insane? I asked The Good Man. He reminded me that lack of sleep sure feels like a short ride into crazyville.

Today, just past lunch time, sitting at my desk, I feel fine. Reasonably sane and a fairly normal working drone. I am tired but I don’t feel like my sanity is at stake.

All is well.

Until 3am rolls around again and I’m tearing at the sheets desperately trying to find sleep.

Photo by superburg and used royalty free from stock.xchng.

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  • New Mexican

    Try a shot of Wild Turkey about 15 minutes before bedtime…. Not 2 shots, not three, just one. You will sleep like your head was on the saddle covered by a serape next to the glowing embers of a dying campfire just south of Corona, New Mexico.

  • scott

    As a confirmed lifelong insomniac I say…Ah feel yo pain, honeh :)

  • Beth in Taos

    Have you tried melatonin? It’s a more “natural” approach, something your body already makes; sometimes you just need a little more. I’ve used it on those (many) nights when I can’t turn my brain off and I highly recommend it.

    I echo scott: I’m another lifelong insomniac and I feel your pain.

  • Lucky

    I, too, am feeling you (like my students say). I used to brag that if sleeping ever became an Olympic event, I’d be a shoo-in. In college, friends would make it a point to wake me by dinner so I’d be sure to eat that day! Now. . .I feel like I still really need 9 or 10 hours a night, but after a while, my shoulders start to hurt, I have to flip over, I can’t get comfortable, and basically the moment is gone. Sigh. I’d be so happy if I could sleep the way I used to. If you come up with a solution, let us know!

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