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Cure for insomnia? Let me sleep on that

Submitted by on Wednesday, 27 October 2010 No Comment

The final alarm starts going off at 5:30, but it takes me another hour to drag, bleary-eyed, out of bed.

It’s my third notice. Most mornings Alarms Nos. 1 and 2 barely register when they go off at 4:30 and 5, though I must be hearing them because I always manage to turn them off. When you’re awake until midnight 4:30 is just too dang early.

So why set the alarm for the wee hours? Because I’m always able to convince myself that this will be the night that I fall asleep early and stay that way. That I’ll be able to arise humming a happy tune, coffee brewed, email cleared and breakfast cooked by the time it’s time to wake up the guys.

Instead, the same scenario repeats day after day. I try to go to bed when the guys do, and sometimes their bedtime story manages to lull me asleep for 20 minutes or so before I wake up bug-eyed.

I’ve tried reading myself back to sleep, but then I’m up until 11. I’ve tried counting sheep. I’ve tried counting backwards from 1,000. I’ve tried background music but I wind up listening to it. How would you like to try to conk out when you’re trying to figure out the lyrics you’ve never been able to decipher in Orleans’ “Still The One”?

I’ve tried cutting off caffeine at noon. I’ve tried eating earlier and later. I’ve tried warm baths and warm milk and most of the other tips.

You know what works? Absolutely nothing.

That’s insomnia’s cruelest cut. People who don’t have it don’t understand. I envy them like I envy women who can wear skinny jeans. And I want to choke them when they offer well-meaning solutions: Just go to bed. You’ll fall asleep. Just get up and work. You might as well use the time productively.

I’ve tried that one, too. I’ll get up and putter around with things left undone – often they’re the very tasks that were turning over in my mind and keeping me from sleeping to begin with. Finally, around midnight, my brain will shut down and my body follows. I fall asleep without tossing and turning, but that’s no consolation when the alarm starts going off at 4:30 because I knew this is going to be the time that I beat insomnia.

Maybe tomorrow …

Copyright 2010 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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