Wednesday, October 24, 2007


Chronic Insomnia is what keeps my blog alive. My grama used to talk about Herb Jepco's radio show, which she listened to all night. My dad used to take walks at 2:am. I was always able to stay up 'til dawn reading a good book, or writing the last minute term paper. It's part of my inheritance.

It gets more annoying as I get older. I used to have dates, parties, exams; then babies, sick kids, and teenagers to occupy myself from midnight on. I had energy to carry me through the morning even without much sleep. Now I lay awake anxiously anticipating the wipe-out I'll experience about mid-morning. I can't nap during the day, but I usually get a big burst of energy at the exact time I've promised myself I'd go to bed. My mind's clicking, my heart's racing...I'm like one of those weighted clown toys that pop right back up whenever they are pushed down.

I take Ambien, and it sometimes takes a while to kick in (they are unpredictable that way for me.) Dee often finds me asleep at the computer, or with the lamp on, a book on my face and glasses perched on my nose. When the pill finally hits, I'm out like a light for five to six hours, with another hour to actually accept that I'm really awake. There are worse medical problems, but if you have a cure for me, I'm listening!

I've read a lot of suggestions: take a long hot bath (it heats me up so I'm prepared for a night sweat episode) aroma therapy (I must have bought the energizing scent) hot cocoa (mild caffeine jolt) listen to music (I just sing along in my head and end up at the computer trying to locate the actual lyrics.)

If you have any old wives tales of remedies for my ailment send them along. Those that may have actually worked will be especially welcome. Are there herbal teas, oils or potions, a magic lotion scent, relaxing recordings...I'd love to hear how other insomniacs are coping. Are we all just blogging into that twilight zone that brings anxiety when you read it the next morning, wondering what you revealed to the screen that was dancing before your eyes before you confidently punched Publish Post?

Dee hits the pillow and is asleep. He never lays there and rehashes every interaction he's had through the day or lays and plans out all the conversations he could possibly encounter the next day. He never lays in bed wondering if he can still remember the Gettysburg Address, the 23rd Psalm, his high school pep song, or poems he memorized in 9th grade English.

If you have read suggestions, but haven't personally put them to the test because you identify with Dee, don't send them (unless you used to have insomnia and this suggestion cured you.) If you're thinking about this post as you watch the clock go around again and reach 3:am, you are a person who identifies with me. You're the ones I want to hear from with a legitimate suggestion: some special nighttime snack--like graham crackers and milk---that works for adults. If you are a health guru, who knows what enzymes and minerals would help me relax, leave comments.

You may think you're helping just one whacko woman with body-clock issues, but you would reach hundreds of pajama bloggers who just want to obey their mom and "Go To Sleep!!" It's a cause!


gab said...

Yikes...I am so happy I get my sleep genes from Dad. I LOVE to sleep. I love that my head hits the pillow and I'm out til morning and Brad hears all the kids' little problems and deals with them. I wish I could help you...but at least you're keeping the blog love alive!

Peter said...

EXCERCISE! i have noticed when i am not doing anything to get my body going during the week, i have a harder time making it switch off at night.

I am a total convert. Healthy eating and excercise cures all. There is no drug or vitamin that can do what wonders a daily walk/ride/swim does.

marta said...

no wonder cures here. i can barely keep my eyes open during a favorite movie. yes, i've become one of THOSE people. it's terribly annoying. just this morning, i had to ask dan, 'so who ended up killing the girl on Law and Order?'

Polly said...

I resorted to drugs long ago, but sometimes when those don't work, I'll put some crystal light lemonade in a cup, heat it in the microwave and drink it. (I like the taste better than any herbal tea) It has calmed me a little, but I don't know if it really works. I've turned into the fall asleep at 9:00 and wake up at 1 and can't get back to sleep, so I'm signing on sometimes about the time you are signing off.

Stie: My Favorite Things said...

Oma, I love your three a.m. rants. I feel bad for you though - sleep is probably one of my favorite things to do. I'd be so sad if I couldn't do it. Josh has inherited your genes, for sure. Only he's not trying to cure his insomnia. He actually likes it. He gets up and reads, works, or internets. I don't get it!

Walker Family said...

Whenever I couldn't sleep, my mom would warm up some milk with a bit of honey and cinnamon--no caffeine, just warm comfort. I have a problem if I wake up in the middle of the night and then start thinking and am not able to go back to sleep--if it becomes routine, I pop a couple of Tylenol PM about an hour before I go to bed and it keeps me groggy enough if I have to wake up.

kenju said...

I don't know how you feel about beer - but one of them puts me to sleep in no time. Wine will put me to sleep, but then I wake up around 3-4am, unable to go back to sleep. I have a heated mattress pad, and the warmth of that lulls me off to sleep too.

Granny Annie said...

My sweet, sweet spouse wanders all night long. I know it is my snoring and my sleep talking that keeps him awake, but he swears it is not. Yet he is awake all hours of the night and I guess this will be my lot next. Maybe then we can wander together.

Joy Des Jardins said...

I never know when I'm going to have one of those nights Marty...but when I's exactly as you describe it...right down to the dose of adrenaline when I plan to go to bed early to make up for it. Reading at night has always made me tired. But do I take out a book and lay in bed waiting for the inevitable? NOOOOOO! I get up and go to the computer to look around, play games, etc. Sometimes I listen to music....which I love, but it doesn't always put me to sleep...depending on what I pick to listen to.

I had a sleep deprived night just a few nights ago. It just wasn't happening. I finally gave up at 4:30 went to my computer. Lucky I didn't have very many of these nights when I was working.

mama jo said...

i'm also a night owl, but, at least when i go to sleep, i really's just hard for me to actually go...

Colleen said...

My trick is reading - but it has to be a book I've read before (that way I don't keep reading).
On another note, I really enjoy your blog. Thanks for being so entertaining. You make me smile.

arpita said...

just think of a very stressful situation u have handled well then think abt all the good things tht happened in ur life specially that which gives u max relief and satisfaction.......... Climax the whole thing by thinking what if i had to start life afresh right from scratch say having kids raising them..................................................ideally yoga wud have been the best antidote that is deep breathing but.check the first alternative . u r very informative and enlightening .. take care

Anonymous said...

If insomnia is wreaking havoc in your life and in spite of your consistent efforts you are unable to sleep at night, you should soon approach a doctor. After a thorough examination, your physician may prescribe sleep inducing medicines such as ambien or sonata. However these medicines should never be taken without a proper prescription from a doctor as they tend to yield side-effects which at times can be serious.

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