Monday, August 11, 2008

That little thing you are supposed to do at night

I haven’t had a decent night of sleep in a week, at least. This is a relative term, though, because decent to me means taking about twenty minutes to fall asleep and maybe only waking up three or four times, and getting about six hours total. In the past, oh, six years or so (starting with my pregnancy), the number of times I’ve had a fabulous eight hours of solid blissful sleep is about six times. That’s one night a year. I’m talking about the type of sleep where your head hits the pillow and you drift off to sleep in less than a minute and don’t wake up all night until you naturally wake up feeling refreshed or a bit groggy and stiff from sleeping so hard. No tossing and turning, no having to pee, no child coughing or having a bad dream, no taking forever to fall asleep, no laying there at 2 a.m. staring at the blurry ceiling, and no waking up because you are dreaming that your children are running around your room (yes, this happens about once a month). How did this happen? I know I’m not alone here, but it feels like it, like there is something wrong with me. According to my husband, who can fall asleep mid-sentence, you close your eyes and…fall asleep. That’s it. Don’t think about the day or worry about tomorrow – just sleep. Simple, huh? Uh, not so much.

Well, I’ve tried meditation, yoga, sleeping pills, valerian pills, eating turkey, earplugs, shots of tequila, etc. Sometimes these things do help. But right now I’m in that dangerous zone of too many nights with restless am-I-even-sleeping-at-all feeling sleep. Where, it is not only a physical sleep deprived issue, but a mental one - the dread of ‘how long will it take me to fall asleep tonight?’ and being so over-tired that I’m way too wired and can’t settle myself. Isn’t this a form of torture?

For the most part I’m generally used to it and have mostly come to accept the fact that something changed in my DNA when I had kids that will never be the same. Maybe it’s a tribal thing – a sort of protection of the family, where if you slept too soundly you wouldn’t be able to protect the offspring from dangerous predators? That has to be it. Or, maybe it’s simply because I have to be “ON” all day, constantly being there for the kids, my work, my husband, myself, the bills, the ‘to-do’ list, the playdates, etc., and to suddenly turn that off at night is difficult…and in my tired eyes, nearly impossible.

So, what is the answer to my borderline dangerous week long sleep deprivation right now? Sadly, it eventually happens when my body can’t take it anymore and gives up the fight, finally allowing me a much deserved decent night of sleep. As far as today, I just have to make it through my one day at work, try to keep to myself so I don’t say anything I will regret or that makes me cry, drive home safely, and pray that the sleep gods will be good to me. Pleeeaase….ZZZzzzzz….

Update 8/13: Two nights ago, while I was brushing my teeth, I glanced up at my iron pills (SlowFE) in the cabinet and remembered how they have helped me with sleep in the past, something about more oxygen or blood flow? So, I took a pill and what do you know? I got a decent night sleep. Yea!! So, last night I took another iron pill and actually got a great night sleep, not in the top 10 best night sleeps ever, but pretty damn good - yea! yea! yea! whoo hoo! I think those pills will be my nighty night friend for many nights to come...

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