What I Was Doing When I Couldn’t Sleep

23 comments

I have bouts of insomnia alternated by bouts of sleepomania. I don’t sleep when I’m too stressed out and I sleep all the time when I’m too stressed out. Yes, I’m aware it’s the same thing, it depends on what kind of stressed out exactly I am at the moment. Right now, I’m the kind of stressed out when I never sleep because my brain never shuts down (and never shuts up).

When I was attempting to sleep last night, I found myself engaging in various kinds of bizarre activities not only not related to but even outright counterproductive to sleeping. They say that if you don’t fall asleep within half an hour, you should get up. Alright, so I got up and did the following:

  • In lieu of a hot bath, I went to shave my legs because I don’t have a bathtub and it doesn’t really matter what kind of ritual involving hot water and foam you do.
  • In lieu of hot milk, I opened the fridge and watched it for a while like a TV. There was soy milk but I didn’t dare to heat it up lest it should explode. You never know what they put in these things.
  • In lieu of a relaxing meditation, I put a coat over my nightie and sat at the balcony to smoke. Smoking before bed is even worse than smoking at other times because it apparently pumps you up.
A reverse Live Long and Prosper sign

Then I crawled back in bed and was freezing, either because it was cold outside or due to the loss of my fur by shaving. I lay flat on my back and was waiting, impatiently. Nothing happened. So I rolled on to my side and called the cat. Three times. She was too busy licking her butt on my yoga mat to come to me. I’ll remember that the next time she meows for wet food.

I remembered to close my eyes to facilitate sleep. Then I remembered what I haven’t done today, what I should’ve done the day before and what I should do the next day, provided I fall asleep and wake up. Then I remembered what I have done throughout my life and what I shouldn’t have done. I grew increasingly terrified. Then I managed to cry myself to sleep.

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23 comments on “What I Was Doing When I Couldn’t Sleep”

  1. I actually told a friend the other day that I think we are evolving as a species because everyone I know has trouble sleeping these days. The new human must need less sleep. I never get up, I just carry on conversations in my head with my future self about what I should be doing.

    Now who’s the crazy one?

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    1. You are so right. No one seems to have a good sleep these days. It’s a shame, it’s so important to get a good sleep. I don’t think the new human really needs less sleep, s/he just doesn’t know how to get enough sleep. Talk to me about conversations in your head – that’s what I do before I talk myself down to sleep all the time.

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  2. Great reverse Live Long sign! Sorry you can’t sleep. Question: do you use a fan or other device to generate some background noise? This makes all the difference for me, have used a fan for years, listening to dead silence when trying to fall off doesn’t work. My Tinitus is loud, the fan knocks it back. Try a fan or other source of consistent noise.

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    1. The white noise idea is actually a great suggestion. I experimented with the fan, sometimes it was fine, other times it was disturbing me, so I don’t know.

      I also tried some apps emitting sounds of particular wavelengths good for sleeping, but then I stopped because I was unsure what effect it might have on the cat. I wouldn’t want to hypnotise her or something.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Kitty will be fine, give the fan or the noise a few nights try. Try different fan speeds as they translate into different levels of noise in the room.

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  3. John’s right – they say ambient noise works. Never tried. Lady Luna at her fullest is my nemesis when it comes to sleep…. sometimes I toss and turn, sometimes I get up and fall asleep at the table (go figure!) sometimes, sometimes I play musical beds, sometimes…. well, it just is what it is. Maybe Lyn is right too. I know lots and lots of people with the same problem. I have read somewhere that we are developing a new sleep cycle of 5 on 5 off or some such thing…

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    1. Oh dear, you fall asleep at the table? It sounds quite dangerous if you ask me! I sometimes fall asleep on trains and buses, which isn’t too fun either because you might miss your stop. The movement puts me to sleep though.

      I did try the fan noise with varying results, also relaxation music, but the latter really disturbed me rather than helping.

      It’s a question what the best sleep cycle is, it’s probably individual, and I actually know a person who sleeps in two shorter stretches each day rather than one long stretch. She says it works for her.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m glad you put a name to what I have sometimes – sleepomania. I too alternate between insomnia and sleepomania. The problem with sleepomania is I wake up feeling extremely guilty for sleeping that much. Even when it’s the weekend and I have nothing to do and the children are away.

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  5. I’ve heard that crying yourself to sleep works….glad you did get to sleep…..I’ve adopted some of the techniques of sleep hygiene to help me sleep which I do in an ad hoc way most nights.

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    1. Crying yourself to sleep works wonderfully, except it usually results in swollen eyes and headache the next day.

      Sleep hygiene is an important part of mental hygiene, which I should attend to, but sometimes I do it just wrong, even though I know it. Incorrigible.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I hear you. I am a terrible sleeper. I had chronic insomnia in my teens, would go for days without sleeping at all, and had to attend a sleep clinic. It didn’t help much really. Nowadays I find that I am so exhausted each night that I fall asleep quickly and deeply, often with a book hitting my face. However, I then wake after an hour or two and I am wide awake for hours. I used to sometimes grab an extra hour before the alarm went off but now I have to get up so early that is no longer possible. I, therefore, coast for most of the week on just a couple of hours of sleep a night and then maybe once a week I sleep for 7 or 8 hours as a recharge. Like you, I just cannot get my brain to shut the heck up once I am awake. I try the usual strategies, like keeping a notebook by the bed, but it doesn’t really work. I try not to get back up from bed or do anything that is too stimulating, like reading. I just try to lie there bored which, if it fails to get me back to sleep, at least leads me to be more physically rested.

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    1. Wow, how can you even function on so little sleep? This sounds as really, really too little. And I thought I had troubles sleeping!

      Thank you for putting things into perspective for me. I guess you’ve already tried consulting your options, like sleeping pills and such, so I won’t try to give you long-distance advice.

      Here’s hoping to having a good night’s sleep then.

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  7. For me it’s, I can sleep well but I go to bed late and then I sleep late. What’s the point getting up early when I don’t have to anyway. Advantages of being unemployed. Sometimes I’ve got so many ideas in my head to the fiction I write, I do it all night. Like you, my mind never shuts up. The difference is I always fall asleep in the end.

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    1. The mind is the worst, right? It keeps one awake all the time. Sometimes I have what I think are brilliant ideas just before falling asleep but then in the morning I realise how dumb they are actually. I’m not an early bird either, the advantages of being self-employed 😉

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  8. For insomnia I recommend Amazon – try browsing the titles of books on the new science of sleep/why we need sleep/how we don’t get enough sleep…

    You might like to try collecting the fur until you have enough to fill a duvet to keep warm.

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    1. Haha, thank you for your hilarious comment! It pretty much made my day. I think I will follow both your recipes. I’ll start collecting my own fur and the cat’s fur on top of it, so it goes faster (ew) 😀

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