Thursday, January 15, 2009

Sleep, sleep, my kingdom for some sleep

If sleeping was an Olympic sport, I'd definitely hold several medals. I can fall asleep watching a movie, I can fall asleep at the movies, I can sleep for 1 hour, I can sleep for 18 hours, I can drink coffee before bed without issue and I can stay up for 48 hours if needed. If there is one thing in life with which I am truly gifted, it is the ability to sleep. One of nature's small miracles is a 2 hour snooze on a Saturday afternoon. I list napping among my favorite hobbies. I LOVE sleeping.

Throughout high school, I'd often spend my afternoons in detention as I couldn't seem to catch the 8am school bus. Throughout college, an 8am class surely meant an F for that course. I have crafted my career in such a way that my position allows me to come to work at 10am. For better or worse, my life has been shaped by my ability to sleep (and perhaps my inability to wake up). I am perfectly fine with that.

So what is the problem? I can't fucking sleep!!!

This is a recent occurrence but it is driving me crazy. My mind is a complete mess. I can't concentrate worth a shit. My OCD tendencies are accentuated. I haven't slept for more than 1 hour in a row for the past 3 weeks. My nights are filled with restless fits, crazy dreams, and sleep walking (I have slept walk/talked since I was a kid but it is now a nightly occurrence). I've tried green tea, melatonin, beer, and some stronger stuff. Nothing works. I suck at sleeping.

Nothing has really changed in my routine. The day-to-day stresses at work are about the same. I'm not doing anything differently than I have in the past. If anything, I have less stress in my life, considering the stresses of the past year. If I were to put on my Jr. Psychologist hat, is this some sort of post-traumatic-stress reaction? Who the hell knows? Maybe it'll clear up on its own, maybe not. All I know is that I *really* want a good night's sleep.

In all seriousness, if you have any thoughts on this subject, I would really like to hear from you. If you've had sleep issues, how did you deal with them? Did you figure out why you were having them? Were they stress related (conscious or subconscious)?



Ram said...

I have 3 suggestions that work for me:

1. Red Wine - I know you are a 'beer' guy, but consider trying wine. It will relax your nerves and hopefully help in sleeping better.
2. An Eye Mask - Not sure about you, but for me, total darkness helps.
3. If the above don't work, here is a more radical (to you but natural to me) idea - Oil Bath. This link describes better than I can. Try this on a saturday afternoon just before you plan to sleep. []

Good Luck,

Jude said...

Oh John do I ever feel your pain!! I'm a light sleeper and NEED my sleep, but I have a snoring hubby and no place else to sleep in this tiny house but right beside him!

About 25 years ago though, I had insomnia for about a year, due to stress at work. I was a basket case. Given your lifelong tendencies to sleep so easily, I'd have to make a somewhat educated guess that your new problem might just be post traumatic stress related. If I were you I would definitely consider seeing a doctor about it and get some help. Please do NOT let it go on too long, what you want to do is get your body back in the "sleep easily" habit.

In the meantime, assuming there are no other "outside" causes for your sleeplessness (ie: snoring partner, pea under your mattress) many people swear by a warm tub soak just before bed, or a warm glass of milk. (bleh!) I myself suggest meditation to people with insomnia, and teach them how. It's helped!

Good luck, and keep us posted will you? I'll be sending a Sleep Angel to your house.

Kim R said...

2 words - heating pad.
Under the small of your back, it loosens all the muscles and melts away the hidden stress. Get one that will turn itself off after 10 minutes or so - 'cause you will be unable to do so in your sleep.
I go to bed everynight with a cup of earl grey, and my heating pad. But please don't tell anyone we know. The story if asked is I have a drink and plug 'something' in at bedtime.

John said...

Ram, the image of you getting into a hot oil bath has, itself, kept me awake this week :)

Jude, thanks for the tips.

Kim, you are too funny :) I will try out the heating pad.

Thanks again all. I actually had a non-pharmaceutically induced sleep last night for about 6 hours which is a great start. Hopefully I can go for 2 in a row tonight.