Posts Tagged With: Sleep deprivation

That Fuzzy-Eyed, Staring at Nothing Buzz That Happens

You know that fuzzy-eyed, staring at nothing buzz you feel when you’re running about a week behind on your sleep?

Yeah, that one.

I’ve felt that for a few days now. Seems like a less than stellar way to begin a year. I’m betting I could sleep for three days in a row and still not feel rested. Not that there’s a snowball’s chance in Hades of putting that idea to the test.

wonder woman

To the invisible jet!…Dang it!

I’d be thrilled to get eight or nine hours of sleep at this point. Two nights in a row of eight hours worth of shut-eye and I’d be a new woman. Heck, I’d be Wonder Woman.

It’s not post-holiday letdown, or shopping burnout. Hardly. This year I experienced exactly the opposite of what normally occurs at Christmas, which turned out weirdly good. And, no, I didn’t overindulge with New Year revelry nonsense.

I think, more than likely, I owe this numb brain sensation to more than sleep deprivation. I’m pretty certain I’m in denial about a few things.

Saturday marks one year since my best friend Kathy passed away. All through December she’s hovered in the background of each day. It was a month of “lasts.” Of course, at the time I didn’t really  know they were all lasts. The last time we had a normal day together, the last time I had a conversation with her, her last words to me, last texts exchanged, last soda run, my last “see ya’ later,” her last month of life.

Add in that I did this lousy job at grieving during the year. I did a way better job at denial. I was always in denial, even when we talked about her funeral plans over the years. It was always something in the future. Now it’s all something in the past.

Have I mentioned how much I hate that?

I think I’ve expected some sense of closure by now and it hasn’t happened. But then, I haven’t really done any “work” to make that happen. It’s been a year of life happening to me, not me actively living life.

Abnormally normal, actually. That’s how the year’s gone. Have I mentioned that Kathy used to tell me that she’d keep her battles against an incurable cancer over the weird life I live? Yeah. She said things like that to, what, make me feel better about my life. Or maybe to feel better about hers.

dart boardIt’s been a helluva year in a couple of other ways as well. Which I won’t bore you with or share publicly. Just take my word for it. Crap hit the fan and has stunk up the place. Still digging out. Not sure the smell will ever go away. Sorry for the vagueness. Imagine some things you’d never want to deal with that doesn’t involve death and you’d probably hit the dart close to center.

It’s been an amazing year in some phenomenally great ways, too. Ways that seem to prove that the universe works on some sort of cosmic yin and yang, balancing between good and evil, positive and negative, ridiculous and, yes, sublime. Take my word for it, imagine some of the best stuff ever that could happen that doesn’t involve money and you’d maybe come close to how wonderful life felt at times this year.

Odd, huh?

Throw in a side trip, too.

Throw in a side trip, too.

A yo-yo on a string. That’s me. Spinning, spinning, spinning, hard bounce at the bottom, more spinning, spinning, spinning, abrupt halt at the top. Repeat.

Maybe it’s like that for everyone.

Or maybe, I’m just lucky that way. (Sleep-deprived, brain fuzz, and off-kilter, remember?)

Happy.

New.

Year.

 

 

 

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Categories: Death, Family, Friendship | Tags: , , , , , , , | 5 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

The Best Cure for Insomnia

It’s Gratituesday! Today I’m infinitely grateful for that glorious elixir called sleep. It’s the cure of many ills, both physical and emotional. Sleep can turn a cranky toddler into a happy child or transform a short temper into patience. Enough sleep can make the difference between overwhelmed and empowered.

A couple of fluffy pillows is all I need!

A couple of fluffy pillows is all I need!

Oh, I know it isn’t that simple. But sometimes it is. Sometimes all it takes is a nap, or a full night of uninterrupted dreaming. Sometimes calling it a night is the best answer to any problem we face.

Sometimes sleeping in heals our brain fuzz. The fog lifts and what was indecipherable and impossible becomes doable and understandable.

An entire book, a classic, exists based on the idea of one man’s sleep deprivation adventures. Have you ever heard of Don Quixote? Here’s the part of the book where I wanted to cry because I’ve almost been like that a time or two.

“Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind.” — Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

Running on the fumes of not enough rest can render us nearly mad and fairly ineffective or even nonsensical.

I’m a big fan of naps. Not long ones. Usually. Twenty minutes with my pillow are often all I need to regenerate and get through the rest of the day. Although yesterday I left the alarm off and let myself sleep nearly two hours. Surprisingly I dreamed a vivid, colorful, creative, restful dream in a sleep that left me feeling awake and not groggy or drugged or foggy.

This quote by Rita Rudner makes me laugh.

“I love to sleep. Do you? Isn’t it great? It really is the best of both worlds. You get to be alive and unconscious.”

Ernest Hemingway shared this same love of sleep, albeit for different reasons I suspect, based on these two telling sentences.

“I love sleep. My life has the tendency to fall apart when I’m awake, you know?”

Sleeping like a baby is an oft misunderstood phrase. Babies, esp. newborns wake up crying every two hours to be fed.All. Night. Long.

Sleeping like a baby is an oft misunderstood phrase. Babies, esp. newborns wake up crying every two hours to be fed.All. Night. Long.

I’d like to think I’m less self-destructive than he was when I’m awake. Although I wouldn’t mind being as prolific and talented a writer as that guy. There are days, especially the sleep-deprived ones when I think I should have stayed home, away from civilized people and kept my rude, aggravated, bleary-eyed self out of trouble.

I’ve often wondered why we sleep a full third of our lives. I’ve yet to come up with a good answer for that. I’ve concluded that being human is an odd thing. That’s all. Nothing profound.

If you want profound look to some spiritual leader like the Dalai Lama XIV who said the following:

“If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.”

Who knew those guys could be funny as well as wise, huh?

Here’s one more funny guy with his thoughts on sleep.

“The best cure for insomnia is to get a lot of sleep.” – WC Fields

My favorite thought on sleep was one that made the rounds on the internet recently. In fact, I think I need to get a t-shirt with these very words printed on it.

“I already want to take a nap tomorrow.”

Ah, sleep, I love thee dearly.

Categories: Gratitude, Gratituesday, Humor | Tags: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

What’s for Lunch?

Coconut cream pie.

Photo of a slice of coconut cream pie. Taken a...

An ice-filled glass of coke, or two.

(Not the diet stuff, but the real live sugar saturated elixir.)

That was lunch today.

I feel better emotionally now. Not so much in the tummy. My heart has a little bit of zippiness going, y’know, that extra little beat occasionally?

Honestly, I stayed up too late watching a couple of episodes from season six of “Burn Notice” that just made it onto Netflix. It’s my nightly decompression fix lately. So, sleep deprivation might factor in to the heart fluttery thing and the craving for caffeine and sugar.

Stress could be part of it. Just possibly.

It’s not fun seeing your parents have to rewrite and reorder and realign their lives as illness throws obstacles in their path. I want to fix it all. I want to make everything better, dial back the clock five weeks and somehow circumnavigate the whole stroke thing. I want to move in permanently and be a cushion, bubble wrap, the go-to guy, backup, a wingman.

Obviously, I can’t.

I know, I know. They’re going to be just fine. More than fine. I hope. Between the two of them they outnumber my experience and wisdom by a good one hundred years. Do I sound like I’m trying to convince myself? I’m a lousy motivational speaker.

pink miniature rose against blue sky background

(Photo credit: Vanessa Pike-Russell)

Didn’t I just suggest a day or two ago on this very blog that I ought to “worry less.” Yeah, I did. I’m not so good at following my own advice. I suppose I need to post something about getting enough sleep. Maybe I’d be better at following that advice. Or not.

Life isn’t always roses and blue skies. Sometimes it hurts.

So.

The pie. And the Coke.

It’s probably a really good thing I’m not a drinking woman.

Categories: Family, Food | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Five Ways to Drive Yourself Bonkers

A delayed evening flight is a bad excuse for imbibing in caffeinated beverages. Don’t do it. As soon as you do, the flight will miraculously depart and arrive on schedule. And you? You’ll still be wide awake at 3:45 in the morning writing drivel on the computer when you should be dreaming of a deserted island with a hammock and unlimited iced lemonades.

A Hammock on a tropical beach.

The Perfect Dream Hammock on a tropical beach. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m sure myriad other ways exist for driving yourself bonkers. But this list seems pertinent to my week as I prepare for a wedding reception for my daughter who got married last week. Remember last week? It feels like months ago.

If you have a big event coming up maybe you can learn from my short list.

Five Ways to Drive Yourself Bonkers:

  1. Worry about things you have no control over.
  2. Assume you can do everything yourself and don’t ask for help, even when help is offered.
  3. Wear something brand new to an important event without having sat down, stood up, walked around in and gotten in and out of a car while wearing it.
  4. Try to find something interesting to watch on broadcast television after 10 p.m.
  5. Put off important details until the last-minute. (See number 4 above)

That felt a little negative and sarcastic. (Ya think?) Let’s try a different tack:

Five Ways to Recover from Your Own Mistakes

  1. Pretend that you planned for things to work out the way they did.
  2. Learn to delegate and to graciously accept help.
  3. Take a power nap and then eat some chocolate.
  4. Read a great book while sipping a cool beverage and ignoring your texts, tweets, reminders and calls.
  5. Fall asleep while reading (see 4 above) and stay that way as long as possible.

Not very realistic, for me anyway. Maybe I should fling caution to the wind (sorry, a cliché) and go all out:

Five Things I Would Do Differently Next Time I’m in Charge of Something Humongous.

  1. Rob a bank and hire out all the work. Every. Last. Detail.
  2. Start a meticulous daily to-do list months in advance and don’t allow myself access to any media or chocolate until the days’ tasks are done.
  3. Book a cruise to anywhere for the week of that event.
  4. Just say no? (See how effective that was…I can’t even write a sentence that sounds declarative and forceful.)
  5. Develop amnesia.

Okay, Okay, I can do this. Really, truly. Seriously. One more try for the Gipper. (What does that mean anyway? Remind me to look it up.)

Five Brilliant Insights That Will Save You Heartache and Improve Your Life and Save Your Sanity:

  1. Understand that you’re human and things aren’t going to turn out perfectly.
  2. Accept that life happens and that detours, side trips, distractions and worries are part of the process.
  3. Someday you’ll be able to look back on this and laugh. Someday in the far, far future.
  4. Remember the Beanie Baby. (Not sure if that really applies, but it just came to mind, it must mean something.)
  5. Love these people in your life, even when it gets bonkers.
Categories: Humor, Mental Health | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Sleep and Happy Potatoes

English: Different potato varieties. – The pot...

Happy Potatoes

Sleep has been on my mind. I want some, I try to get some, I try a little and I like it. Then it sneaks off into a corner and avoids me. I manage to wrangle the sleep back into bed. Not long after that my alarm jangles the sleep out of my grip and I’m alone there in the bed with my exhaustion.

Occasionally I toy with the idea of sleep meds. But I had a near disastrous relationship with one once. And another bad relationship with another one.

I mostly have to rely on what people told me about the second experience as I wasn’t really there for it. Ironic, yes?

Doc had given me a prescription for this lovely med which all but guaranteed a blissful night of ecstasy in complete and total slumber. I was sold. Bought it, brought it home, couldn’t wait for nightfall.

If I recall correctly the doctor’s words were, “you need to BE IN YOUR BED when you take this medication!” Exclamation point. His point: this stuff works into your system very quickly.

Okay. No problem.

The first time I took it, sleep and I hit it off quickly. No glitches. Perfect. Woke refreshed and not groggy. Wowser! The stars sang, the clouds danced, the sun broke out in a chorus of hallelujahs, as did I.

A month or two later I’d kind of forgotten the warning my doc had given me.

Sleep had been elusive once more. Sneaking off into unknown hiding places, avoiding me like I had bad breath and body odor. I felt drained, exhausted, desperately in need of sleep.

English: Potato variety Blue Swede Deutsch: Ka...

Blue Potato

So I told MSH that I’d be taking one of my magic sleep pills. Always a good idea to do if you’re planning on being all but comatose for eight hours.

He said, “Enjoy!” and went off for his nightly shower.

I dragged myself to the kitchen, popped the magical sleep potion into my mouth, downed it with a glass of water. Then I saw the mound of dishes in the sink. Figured I’d deal with those real quick before I traipsed off to Neverland.

Then I felt a bit light-headed.

Oh yeah…I remembered the doc’s warning.

I’d better go to bed. The dishes can wait.

I made it to my bed. Slid between the covers for a trip into Lalaville. I hollered a goodnight to MSH.

Then the bookshelf moved.

Correction. The bookshelf morphed. It became a large round bookshelf. Which then became a large elephant. I yelled at MSH to come see the really cool bookshelf trick. He yelled something back that I couldn’t hear over the shower water running. I insisted he needed to get out of the shower and see this amazing thing our bookshelf could do.

I remember the bookshelf then floated off the floor and hovered between the bed and the shower room. I vaguely remember my middle daughter talking to me and calling out for her dad.

She tells me that I talked about the happy elephant shelf  becoming a potato, a floating potato to be precise. The colors were so pretty apparently. Then the potato was sad. A sad, sad potato. According to my daughter I became fairly nonsensical after that. Finally, she says I let my head rest on the pillow and drifted off the sleep.

The next morning I woke refreshed, but nothing stellar happened. No sun, stars or clouds singing or dancing. I simply felt rested.

Then I heard the tale of my nighttime exploits. Hard to believe, but two people swore it really happened. It felt real, I almost remembered some of it and so I believed them.

We refer to this as “the happy potato incident.” Not sure why, since the potato was apparently very sad. Happy potatoes sound better, I suppose. Who wants to remember sad potatoes. Mushy, smelly, drippy, rotting potatoes. Yuck.

English: A Sleeping moon in a cap.

I wrote “HALLUCINATIONS” on the prescription bottle for this sleep inducing, hallucinogenic drug and have never taken it again.

I’ve since learned there are even more bizarre experiences documented in many places on the internet about this particular sleeping med. I was lucky I stayed in my bed and didn’t wander. I was fortunate not to eat anything inedible. I was grateful to be among family.

Sleep and I still have a tempestuous relationship. Sometimes we are fine bedfellows. Other times we fight and argue and disagree about how much time we should spend together.

More is usually better, if you ask me.

Isn’t that what everyone wants out of a relationship?

Categories: Humor | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Clearing the Cache in My Brain and Wishing for Rain

I just need to say this…

You know that thing you do when your computer gets sluggish? Turn the whole thing off completely, then turn it back on. I think it’s called a hard reboot or maybe that’s clearing the cache.  Or maybe they’re the same thing or not at all related. I only know that if the computer or my smart phone behave badly, turning it off and then back on will often solve the problem.

I’m sorry If you’re a computer person and you’re cringing right now.

What I’m getting at is that humans need a process like that.

Actually, I think they do. It’s called sleep. Switch off for a few hours, ideally eight, and then restart. The human warms up and begins functioning as it should again.

sleep

sleep (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

The amount of sleep seems important, not just the off/on thing.

I’ve let my sleep take a hit the past couple of weeks. A little off the beginning, a little off the end most nights. And instead of eight hours, it’s more like six. Then a few five-hour nights and I get sluggishly slow in response times.

Add in a really short night’s sleep, say two or three hours, and bam. Sentences fall apart. New words get created that are gibberish. Driving isn’t recommended.

Even a nap just seems to aggravate things. I need two or three solid nights of uninterrupted slumber to get my groove back.

And another thing…

Virga, Valley, Mountains

Virga (Photo credit: sea turtle)

All day it’s looked like it wants to rain. That kind of teasing isn’t nice to do to desert dwellers. Give me sunshine, or possibly high, thin clouds, or actual rain splashing down from the sky onto the ground. But don’t do the gray sky, virga, smell of rain on the breeze thing. It raises our hopes.

Just saying.

And all this whininess is because…

Lonely Monkey Ape at Zoo

Lonely Monkey (Photo credit: epSos.de)

My cousin isn’t here anymore. And I miss her. Already. A Bunch.

Yup. It was a short visit. But we packed it full to the brim. Saturday felt like three days in one. Even today had a kind of time warp feel to it. Nice. She lifts my heart and makes life cheery and wonderful.

She’s getting on a plane any second here. So now I am feeling blue. It’s temporary. It’s that blue funk I’ve written about before. I’ll be okay.

I kind of need to wallow in it. Sorry to involve you. I’ll try to find a good joke, or story, or something fun for tomorrow.

To summarize…

  • Wish me happy dreams.
  • Pray for rain.
  • Feeling sorry for myself, but only for a little while.
Another Fun and Safety Guide

Another Fun and Safety Guide (Photo credit: Sam Howzit)

May the force be with you. Keep your hands and legs inside the ride at all times. Drive safely. Just say no to drugs. Call if you’re going to be late. Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.  Have a nice day. And turn off the lights when you leave the room.

Categories: Mental Health, Relationships, Wondering | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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