Posts Tagged With: insomnia

“Sleep…the Best Meditation”

“Laugh and the world laughs with you, snore and you sleep alone.”

 ~ Anthony Burgess ~

It’s Gratituesday! Today I’m grateful for sleep.

Sometimes sleep eludes me. My body weary and eyes bleary, my brain an emotional maze of nonsense, and yet that gentle slide into oblivion simply refuses to happen.

At other times I just don’t manage to squeeze in enough sleep to fully rest my frazzled nerves and the frayed edges of ache and age.

In fact, I recently summed up my life since age twenty in four words:

I need more sleep.

Original art by Adolph Menzel - http://www.villa-grisebach.de/

Original art by Adolph Menzel – http://www.villa-grisebach.de/

Years, no decades, of my journal entries lay peppered with the phrase, “I’m so tired,” or “I’m so exhausted,” and, “If I could just get a nap.” What boring journals.

Some of that I lay at the feet of parenting babies and toddlers and teens. It’s a given, for parenting requires our all. But sadly, some of the constant fatigue I can lay at the feet of depression and its insidious energy sucking vortex of gloom and misery. No amount of sleep cures that kind of tired.

Lately, though, I’ve waged a daily battle against exhaustion –  emotional, spiritual and physical. When my head meets the pillow I feel such incredible gratitude to be horizontal, to be resting, to have sleep waiting to take me somewhere far away.

Exhausted Beyond All Reason

Last night I called it done at 7:45 p.m. Astounding! Normally it’s eleven or midnight.

No I didn’t drag myself around the house doing this and that. You know that wasted time of “getting ready for bed” that takes an eternity? Nope. I felt such lassitude I don’t really even remember pulling my pajamas over my head or pulling the chain on my bedside lamp. I do know the clock hadn’t yet rolled over to eight when I set my alarm and pulled the covers up around my chin.

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Every morning, except Sunday!

Six hours later, at two a.m. my body woke up. Not for any noise or nightmare. No. Six hours equals how much sleep I normally get and my body knows it, so it woke up. Calmly I reassured my brain and body that it could rest another three hours. Three more hours!!! Imagine a snooze button that does that!

I woke still groggy but rested and thrilled, yes thrilled, at having gotten so much sleep. The pace of my morning walk surprised me, less strolling and more actual forward momentum. Surprising what a little (fifty percent more) sleep will do for a person.

There’s a solution to that…

I know I should go to bed earlier. And I’ve literally been telling myself that every single day for years, “Tonight, I am going to bed early.” And nada. Nope. I get sidetracked, waylaid, pulled in, tricked by a series of just-one-more-things.

I wish sleep didn’t feel like such a luxury.

Naps fall in that decadence category, too, don’t they? And yet, twenty minutes with my eyes closed mid-afternoon can make the difference between a moody unproductive evening and a cheerful, pleasant one. That’s not decadence, that’s survival!

Everything seems more manageable after some decent sleep. Doesn’t it? Yes. Yes, it does.

This sums it up nicely:

“It is a common experience that a problem difficult at night is resolved in the morning after the committee of sleep has worked on it.” ~ John Steinbeck

Yes. Today I’m particularly grateful for sleep and its restorative, sanity-keeping, energizing, blissful escape. I’m guessing you are too.

~~~~~

The title of today’s post comes from a quote by the Dalai Lama, “Sleep is the best meditation.”

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Categories: Gratitude, Gratituesday, Mental Health | Tags: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Ignore It and It Will Show Up at your Bedside?

Oh, to sleep like a two-year old, almost twelve hours straight uninterrupted.

Oh, to sleep like a two-year old, almost twelve hours straight uninterrupted.

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.

NOTHING. WORKS.

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!

Categories: Mental Health, physical health | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments

Newborn-babyitis

I’ve acquired newborn-babyitis.

This involves being confused about night-time and day time. Specifically it means where the rest of the world believes it’s time to sleep my brain and body is a non-believer.

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Don’t be fooled by this sweetly sleeping infant. This photo was snapped midday.

Like a newborn, this occurs at the most inconvenient times and places. Specifically at bedtime and in bed.

There’s no logical reason for a baby to think it’s time for alert and active thrashing about and for making various odd noises when almost everyone else (except those who work third shift) has drifted off into dreamland, or as I call it, “that which cannot be named or achieved.”

There’s no logical reason for my own thrashing about and the sense of my body plugged into a direct current of electricity. Wakeful and semi-alert well past bedtime reeks of the nonsensical and infuriating.

This state of unrest, literally un-rest, is particularly aggravating when not ten minutes before climbing into bed my head kept nodding off to the side, dreams kept intruding in the current episode of White Collar or Burn Notice on Netflix, and my eyelids had lost the ability to remain open.

Why, oh why, oh why, couldn’t that near comatose state in the family room translate into the bedroom, on comfy pillows, with a fluffy comforter and total silence?

A pacifier

Unlike a newborn, I don’t have a wet diaper, I don’t need feeding, I’m past the swaddling stage, a binky is completely optional lately and swinging or rocking would just make me nauseous.

This happens even following a completely caffeine-free day. No diet Coke, Diet Pepsi, Dr. Pepper or Mountain Dew. And no, none of that surreptitious caffeine like they sometime put in Root beer. My body craves, desires, requires, can’t go on without, will go stark raving mad without sleep. I’m not about to jeopardize that with a little fizzy fling on ice.

Why such rebellion from an otherwise cooperative and compliantly sleepy brain? I sort of understand the infant’s topsy-turvy sleep schedule. They’ve been ensconced in a perfect floating world for so long where sleeping and waking all looked and felt the same. Suddenly changing when those things happen appears illogical to that tiny brain. But a full-grown, semi-sane adult should drop off into Never Never Land with nary a thought.

It’s like getting in the car and finding the engine won’t turn over. Not even an Rrrrrr, or a click. Just Nothingness. A giant void of non sleep. I don’t even begin to approach that little ledge between consciousness and sleep. Yeah, you know, that elusive line of awareness, fuzziness and goneness. That blissful, wonderful, coveted lack of sensation.

That slippery slope dried up recently. A fence got built in its place.

Baby blankets

Baby blankets (Photo credit: happydacks)

Grrr.

I’ve had experience with sleep meds so I’m not really anxious to go there.  Poor sad potato.<<== Click there to make sense of that weird phrase and to understand my reluctance to go the chemical route.

Eventually newborns adjust their sleep patterns to conform to the family schedule. At least usually. Or so I’ve heard. Not sure I ever experienced that with my own children.

I could take a cue from the wee little ones. Maybe I need to try a pacifier, a blankie and a lullaby or two.

And naps. Lots and lots of napping.

Categories: Mental Health, parenting, physical health | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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