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Recipe for insomnia
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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.

Comments

kalquessa
May. 19th, 2008 05:35 pm (UTC)
*hug* Insomnia is the pits. Can't help you with a lot of the minor (or not-so-minor) physical discomforts, but I've managed to tame a lot of the preoccupied-brain issues (I usually put them all under the heading "My brain won't shut up and let me sleep") by memorizing poetry and reciting it in my head to keep my brain from thinking about anything that will result in a real train of thought. The harder the poem to keep straight and get right, the better this works for me. Rudyard Kipling's "If" still holds the crown for putting me to sleep the fastest because sorting out which lines belong to which stanza and trying to figure out of I've missed any sections pretty effectively kills any chance of becoming preoccupied with anything.
mollyringle
May. 20th, 2008 12:36 am (UTC)
"My brain won't shut up and let me sleep" is a very accurate way to put it! I may try recitations of stuff I once memorized. Even lame songs from the late '80s.