Tuesday, April 25, 2006

InsomnAGAIN

And it self perpetuates, the lack of sleep one night perpetuating the fear of further sleepless nights. The fear arouses insomnia and the cycle begins again.

Stop my mind, I want to get off.

Years ago, I saw Buck Henry on The Tonight Show. Johnny was trying to have some laughs with him, Buck being a comedy writer and all, and Buck just rattled off a practically incoherent account of his five weeks of sleepless nights, and of his terrible insomnia that was making him think deep, dark thoughts. It scared the hell out of me. He wasn't being funny, he was out of his mind hysterical, and for some reason I saw the potential for this happening to me.

You see, sleep is a fickle lady, fast and solid for weeks at a time, but then temperamental for no discernible reason. Without her help at night, I am lost at day and bound by a miserable black grinding hole in my abdomen. (This can't be good for blogging either.) I smile the smile of a cancer patient, and I push through it. (I really need my sleep, but I also have accepted that I won't always get it. Sometimes I know I won't sleep well like the night before traveling, but at least that I can plan for.)

So it went like this: woke at two, thought, "what if I can't get back to sleep, shh, don't think that" and then adrenaline squirt into my system, heartbeat rose and I was awake the rest of the night. Tried to sleep. Moved spouse each time he snored. Listened to spouse and dog breathe. Heard upstairs neighbors get up, get ready and leave.

Soon the hallucinations will start. I can't believe I have to do this day.

25 comments:

Snooze said...

It's no wonder that sleep deprivation is a form of torture. I can't function either if my sleep is consistently messed up.

Kevin said...

Hey, the next time you can't sleep, give me a call. I'll start talking about something inane ... and you'll be out like a light in no time.

Trust me.

nongirlfriend said...

Insomnia sucks. I get it all the time so I feel your pain.

Make the day an easy one if you can. Good luck!

toobusyliving said...

There really isn't anything more frustrating....before my doctor gave me some "sledgehammer" sleeping pills which help me sleep essentially by hook or by crook, I used to take Valerian root capsules from the pharmacy/health food store occasionally.

Good luck - I know what it's like.

jeremy said...

I'm right there with you. Four hours in the past 34. Yuck. You realize part of it could be your body still adjusting to no nicotine. I'm purchasing TylenolPM when I get home. I'll take the whole bottle if I have to.

Christie said...

I have suffered from insomnia my entire life. I take a particularly wonderful concoction of Benedryl (Diphenhydramine, an antihistamine that is the active ingredient in Tylenol PM) and Melatonin, a hormone derived from serotonin. As sleeptime arrives, our serotonin level rises, aiding in our sleep. Melatonin taken orally helps raise that serotonin level so sleep happens seemingly naturally. Often times, Melatonin is given to people suffering from jet-lag.

Both Benedryl and Melatonin can be purchased over the counter at any local drug store.

For me, the Benedryl puts me to sleep and the Melatonin seems to keep me asleep. Works beautifully.

Christie

Patricia said...

do you notice any patterns to your sleeplessness? like, as the seasons change? or as your schedule gets uglier? i'm clueless, sorry. i've always been blessed with being able to sleep well.

perhaps you need a night of pampering. a lovely dinner, a long soaking bath and then some good exhausting lovin.

Adam said...

Just reading this stresses me out in the same way I get stressed out when I can't sleep.

Anonymous said...

There's nothing like a good old glass of wine or two to make you relax, although I haven't had insomnia like that in a very long time. It sounds like lots of great suggestions above, you should be doped up for the next week or so, no? lol. Best of luck with the non-sleep and by the way, awesome job with the cancer sticks!!! Devo

Rebekah said...

Oh dear. If I could send you my Psychology 101 book from freshman year, I would. Now that was a definite sleep aid. All I had to do was open the damn thing... out like a light.

History Channel. That one works for me too somehow. The guy who's usually narrating the shows has such a soothing, calm voice.

Good luck pal.

t said...

I read this
news item about sleep
just the other day. You may have heard most or all of it before, but the paragraph that says "Imagine a peaceful but engaging scene, with enough sensory details to be absorbing" struck a chord with me, because I've always done exactly the things that section says...and it works.
I've also found that working out hard that day will not only put you to sleep the moment your head hits the pillow, but you'll stay asleep the entire night. That's not something you can do every single day, though.

GayProf said...

I have been battling my own insomnia, so I can totally relate. We won’t even talk about the shadows I catch in my peripheral vision that I think are spiders for a split second.

If you are stressing out about particular things (work, the blog, the global economy), I have been advised to force yourself to get out of bed and literally write out a list of things that you will think about in the morning. For some reason, it is supposed to set your mind at ease.

PĂȘcheuse said...

It's inherited. After two sleepless nights, I take one or two Excedrin PM and enjoy a full nights sleep even if I awake at the dreaded 2 a.m.

Lyvvie said...

I don't have any advice I'm afraid. I'm sorry you're going through this - it does bite. the worst part, is when you finally do sleep, you'll feel like you can't get enough, or you'll just dream the whole time.

Meditation and long hot saunas (with the occasional BJ) a small shot of good whiskey and fresh, clean air will all help you through it.

Good luck, mon ami.

Normlr said...

I find that tossing one (or two) off can help use up that extra energy.

A glass (or two or bottle) of red wine in the evening helps too.

ink said...

Along the same lines as everyone else ... but for what it's worth ...

1. If you can't sleep because you're thinking too much, get up and spill it all into a journal (stream of consciousness stuff). Personally, I like to write by hand - more visceral that way. I find the act of writing - whether I've solved anything or not - helps me empty my mind of whatever's crowding out sleep.

2. Gravol (the anti-nausea medication) can also help to make you sleepy.

3. This is obvious, but ... Don't watch the news or dramatic movies/tv. Don't get involved in an absorbing activity (e.g. videogames ... other kinds of games ... whatever). Read something calming or have a warm bath and just sit and let your mind drift. Go to bed and get up at the same time (weekday or weekend). Remember that routine is your friend in this case.

Good luck, and sweet dreams!

t said...

Ink made a good point...
if you're gonna watch something just before going to bed, make sure it's very light. And it must not be that obvious as my wife makes that mistake all the time, then admits the next day that she regrets it.

Dantallion said...

I sympathize - I seriously do. I think I'm in my 5th or 6th week now of full-on, chronic insomnia. I haven't had more than 2 hours of sleep in any given night. And this from a guy that absolutely requires 8 hours/night to be on his game.

I'd offer some advice on how to fight it, but obviously, I haven't exactly managed to get mine under control.

I hope for your sake that to fall into a restful slumber tonight. I'll kepp my fingers crossed for you.

And for the record, drinking doesn't work.

Freak Magnet said...

I second Dantillion - drinking will put you to sleep, but it's a yucky sleep. I'd offer advice, but my problem is I spend too MUCH time sleeping.

rjh44 said...

i recommend heavy weight-lifting for insomnia...works for me anyway..

Donna said...

the green herbal remedy, it's worked for me for 36 years!

xxx
d

The Persian said...

I suffered from insomnia until my mother found this special hand made mattress and boxspring from a local place. I pass out as soon as I hit the sheets practically and even 2 hours in that bed completely restores my energy .. it's amazing.

Of course before moving here I slept on a couch, that might have something to do with my problem back then lol

:)

Sunshine said...

Dude, go get some valerium. It's natural and hopefully you'll get a good night's sleep.

Chunks said...

I say don't fight it. When I have insomnia, which is about oh, every 25 or so days (thank you mother nature!) I just get up and make coffee. It is better than tossing and turning. I usually have the coffee, play some freecell or read blogs or something, which settles and distracts my mind. Then, I go back to sleep usually, even if it is only for an hour or two, it beats the hell out of tossing and turning!

toobusyliving said...

I'm just getting ready for bed - hope you get some rest!