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Recipe for insomnia

Take a handful of any of the following irritations, and stir (and toss, and turn).

- My arm is squished if I lie like this.

- My hip hurts if I lie like that.

- The pillow is blocking my nostril.

- My shoulder is too cold.

- My feet are too hot.

- I should get up and go to the bathroom. No I shouldn't. Yes I should. No I shouldn't.

- The inside of my nose itches.

- I'm so hungry my stomach is eating itself.

- My mouth is dry. My teeth are sticking to my lips. I should get a drink of water. No I shouldn't. Yes I should. No I shouldn't.

- My hair is poking me in the neck.

- My ear is bent funny against the pillow.

- My nightshirt is twisted around me too tight.

- I'm preoccupied by those emails I need to answer.

- I'm preoccupied by thinking about illness, injury, and death.

- I'm preoccupied by story ideas I don't spend enough time working on.

- I'm preoccupied by the insulting things people said to me five, ten, or fifteen years ago.

- I'm furious because I'm going to be too tired tomorrow to get anything done.

- Furious. Argh.

- A bird is singing outside. It's only 4:00 a.m. Argh. Hate the bird.

...And this says nothing about sleep disruptions caused by others, such as toddlers. Then, at least, there's a reason I'm awake. But there is nothing more agonizingly frustrating than lying awake for no good reason while the clock ticks away the minutes and hours. 12:48...1:15...2:09...3:34...4:02...and you bargain for less and less time. I'll be all right if I can just get six hours of sleep...or five...or three and a half...or two...

I've been this way off and on for most of my life. The worst spell was in college, when, for no apparent reason, I didn't sleep at all for about a week. These days I usually do get at least a few hours even on the worst nights, and the worst nights are no more than a few times a month. But I'd rather get seven or eight hours every night, thanks.

I don't want meds. At least, not really, not regularly, not so I rely upon them. Does anyone have other sleep-inducing tricks? Acupressure points? Breathing techniques? Melville novels?

All other insomniacs out there, come here. Group hug. I'm sorry I didn't come out earlier. It's nothing to be ashamed of, except maybe once in a while when we turn into total crazy people and beat our heads against the pillow, or kick the mattress repeatedly with our heels, or throw ourselves upon the floor in a frustrated heap. But sleep deprivation is a form of torture, you know.


May. 18th, 2008 11:01 pm (UTC)
Your list made me laugh, but only out of recognition, not because I'm a heartless sadist or anything.

*hugs* I'm pretty much recovered, but I still get a sleepless night every so often. I don't have any relaxation techniques, but I second the person who said get up and go somewhere else. It helps to own up to the insomnia as soon as you know it's there: don't lie there pretending that you're going to sleep, that just prolongs the misery. It's hard with a partner and kids, but get up, go somewhere else, read, do something quiet and relaxing (not TV) and gradually you'll hoodwink your body into sleep - just like you can hoodwink a baby to sleep by singing or walking up and down.

Also: no caffeine after 6pm, and just less caffeine during the day generally. It works wonders.

Also: ever since I heard somewhere that hot milk has Speshul Kemikuls in it that trigger sleep, I make a mug of hot milk. It might be psychosomatic but I find it works.

If all else fails, I second the Jack Daniels.
May. 19th, 2008 07:15 pm (UTC)
Hot milk + honey = win

I don't love the taste, but it knocked me the hell right out. My fiance gave it to me, and since then, I've referred to it as "Sneaky Hippie Brew." (His parents were/are hippies.)
May. 19th, 2008 11:27 pm (UTC)
Sounds yummy to me. I'll try it as a treat if nothing else!
May. 19th, 2008 11:26 pm (UTC)
Hey, I hoped to get a chuckle of recognition, so that's good! I really do need to get up and read for a while at such times. I am way too stubborn about lying there and trying to be still, and *will* my way into sleep. Which only makes me more angry when it doesn't work.

Maybe milk spiked with Jack Daniels? :)