For the past five or six weeks I’ve run across a major roadblock to sanity.
Sleep runs the other direction when I put my head on the pillow. Dreams hide as the covers wrap me in warmth. Rest disappears and restlessness settles in like an unwelcome guest.
Legs twitch, itchy spots scream for attention, the mind performs acrobatics. Even my eyes get in on the action, closed or not, parades of colors dance and swim in loud splashes and vibrant displays.
The sheets warm past bearing, the air chills. The pillow alternates between rock and hard place.
And if by some freak of nature my body begins to relax into that mysterious land called sleep a siren screams through on a distant street, volume turned up extra loud. Or a dog barks. Or some sound or another disrupts that blessed descent to almost unconsciousness.
And if all is silent, then surely a thought intrudes bumbling and jostling its way down the crowded seating in my brain, stepping on every toe.
Every thing that normally invites sleep no longer has any power to invite, elicit, encourage or entice somnolence. A droning audio book, lullabies on Pandora, white noise, humidifier, deep breathing, relaxation techniques, limiting caffeine, eliminating caffeine, reading, lights on, lights off, a light in the hall, no light in the hall, a warm bath, warm milk, a heating pad, a cool pack, lavender, chamomile, a massage, a different bed, a different pillow, a different room, the couch, a chair, the floor, prescription sleep meds, Benadryl, nighttime cold meds, multiple pillows, no pillows, singing, humming, counting, imagining a peaceful scene, conjuring floating on a cloud, no screen time an hour before, rituals, prayer, snuggling, no snuggling, sitting up, a protein snack, no snack, a drink of water, aroma therapy.
I can watch a movie and drop off into an irresistible snooze, then sleepwalk into the bedroom and voilà, I am awake unable to sleep again. I can read a book, barely able to keep my eyes focused on the words, nodding off into incoherence, then closing the book acts like an on switch for wakefulness.
What am I thinking about? What am I worried about? What’s on my mind? What am I anxious about? Why am I wacko?
Everything. Nothing. Anything.
It hardly matters.
Sometimes, around six or seven in the morning, some trigger clicks and I’m out. However long I sleep it’s never long enough and when I do wake from that kind of daytime sleep I drag my head and body through the rest of what’s left of a day like a soaking wet blanket, useless and heavy.
The only thing that matters is the need for sleep and how impossible it is to achieve.
It’s not like this every night. Only sometimes. Every other night, every third night, sometimes. I wonder if I might simply spend the rest of my life exhausted, worn out, sleep deprived.
I can’t think that way, though. I have to believe that the word temporary applies here. Temporary sleep deprivation. Temporary exhaustion. Temporary insomnia. Temporary rest disabled. Temporary partial insanity.
What did Shakespeare say? Oh yeah, “to sleep, to sleep, perchance to Dream.” Unfortunately that lovely line resides among a soliloquy debating the merits of dying. It’s part of that whole “to be or not to be” speech. Yeah, that one. (Most of Shakespeare’s ramblings about sleep are really about dying, so maybe I’ll look elsewhere for a better quote or two about sleep.
How about this one?
“I’ve always envied people who sleep easily. Their brains must be cleaner, the floorboards of the skull well swept, all the little monsters closed up in a steamer trunk at the foot of the bed.” ~ David Benioff, City of Thieves
Or, this one is brilliant in an obvious and obnoxious way.
“The best cure for insomnia is to get a lot of sleep.” ~ W.C. Fields
I like how this author turns things in a positive light.
“You are not an insomniac! (you’re just a nighttime philosopher)” ~ Leslie Dean Brown
Probably, I should incorporate this one in my nightly prayers.
“Lord, grant us rest tonight, and if we must be wakeful, cheerful.” ~ Robert Bolt, A Man for All Seasons
Some day, or rather, some night, this insomnia will go away. I’m counting on it. In fact, I’m thinking tonight I’ll actually sleep. I’m overdue for some.
It could happen!