Monday, July 16, 2012


It happened again Saturday night, the shattering realization that I had woken up from a bad dream about an old boyfriend - don't ask - and I couldn't get back to sleep. The sheets were twisted around my legs, the air was sultry, and I could hear the rattles of my husbands snores. (Was very happy that it was him there, though, and not the boyfriend from the dream. )

At last I gave up. Articles on insomnia say that the best thing is to get out of bed and do something relaxing, like reading in a cozy chair.  So I scrambled downstairs. I managed to step on every single creaky board in the floor, too. 

Poured myself a glass of milk. Settled myself in the chair. Opened my book, Angelmaker by Nick Harkaway, and tried to read.

As good as that book was, my hazy brain couldn't fathom the complex plot and rapid-fire stream of consciousness that Harkaway uses. I disobeyed all common logic and wisdom and, yes, I opened up the computer. 

Forty minutes later, I told myself, "Hey, dumbass, it's time to get some sleep." I was pretty certain that my child would be waking me up early, since it was the weekend after all. Sleeping in is saved for the weekdays, when I have to drag her out of bed, with many a grumble. Why is that?

I took a calcium pill with the last of my milk and plodded up the steps. By this time the room had cooled down, and I was able to black out. 

Until the next morning, when someone was shaking my shoulder. "Get up and make me waffles, mommy!" Didn't I tell you?

Insomnia is a dreadful thing. It's a self-perpetuating condition, one that I treat at times with natural sleep aids. The pills laced with melatonin and chamomile probably don't really work, but I'll take that placebo effect over being up for several hours when I want to write AND be a mom the next day.

The milk and the calcium help too. So does the relaxing activity I suppose, although I have yet to find one that I can do in the throes of interrupted slumber. Maybe I should take up ceramics or just sort my recipes or something.

Meditation might help, but I'm just not good at quieting down my brain. I'll say to myself, "OK, now I have to think of nothing. Nothing, there's a weird word. No thing. Nada. Rien. Hey, remember that girl who sat next to me in 9th grade French class? She was cool. Wonder what she's doing now ..."

Yeah. Imagine that going on, except to the nth degree.

For me it's just easier and faster to pop the natural sleep aid if the milk doesn't work.


LisaW said...

I'm SO with you on this one.

Johanna Garth said...

So sorry about the insomnia. I have the occasional bouts too and why is it that kids save all their sleeping in time for the week? Great mystery of the universe right there!

Christine Murray said...

I feel you on this one. I'm on the hard drugs for insomnia and sleeping conditions which means I can't sleep without chemical intervention. Which is a bit scary.

Hope you get a better night's sleep tonight x

Amanda said...
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Anonymous said...

Hi Hun,

I really feel for you - I used to suffer from insomnia too and it drove me nuts.
Then a friend recommended I try Lavender Oil. You sprinkle just a couple of drops onto your pillow/sheet/duvet cover and breathe deeply to inhale the scent. It has natural relaxant properties and it worked for me!
You could also have a bath or shower before bed using lavender scented bubble bath or shower gel as well as this will begin the relaxation process before you get into bed and use the Lavender oil.
I'm told that puttng an amethyst crystal under you pillow helps with sleep too, and yes I've tried that one too, but only in conjunction with the lavender.

What have you got to lose by trying it??

I hope this helps you, hun. Good luck. xoxo

west_2552 said...

Concentrate on your breathing. I mean, really concentrate. That way you block out any outside intereference and you'll be back to sleep in no time. Hopefully!