Monday, November 16, 2009

Sleep the sleep of the dead

Sleep- a wakeful death. Such imagery that I thought I made it up because I've thought it ever since I was a little kid but I'm sure some "poet" actually wrote it and I read it. It seems like it's mine. Sleep had alluded me in my life to the point where I guess I could be called an insomniac.

My insomnia works two ways. It either takes me forever to fall asleep which really sucks when the alarm bell chimes in the morning. The other option is when I fall asleep immediately but then wake up around 3 am and I'm up for the day; I just can't go back to sleep. I hate both options. I would love to sleep normally but it just doesn't usually happen that way.

Sleep had been hard to come by ever since I was a kid. I found I do my best thinking, laying in the darkness. I used to write the best stories in my head, ever since I was little. I would basically make up my own bedtime stories, even after I spent 3 hours past my bed time reading a book under the covers with a flashlight. I would still have the those moments, just laying there waiting for sleep to envelop me. I never wrote them down, which is unfortunate because I'm sure there was an Oprah Book Club book in there somewhere, or at least something that would get me on a best seller list. I still 'write' stories where I turn my life into a fantasy, or I pick a "what if" moment and let it come to life in my brain. Over the years I've written blog posts in my head and most of the time they are never as good when I actually grab my laptop and type it out. I always seem to dream away the right turn a phrase I used in my mind, darn it! Oh well.

I've also come to realize I have hang ups about sleep, that are like OCDs. Oh, hell I have OCDs about lots of other things so why not about sleep? And prescription meds can't even override these- trust me, I've tried. I've taken prescription sleep meds as well as over the counter stuff and they work for a bit and then *bam* nada. Occasionally I indulge in booze to help and it can for just a bit. And I've also taken Tylenol PM with white wine... but that's an issue for another day. Back in the day, a little pot would really help, but i live in a state where that is so NOT legal in any circumstance.

Okay so my sleep hang ups:

Noise: I want it to be completely quiet when I try to sleep- it helps. When I lived in the Wild West, this was easy. Other than an stray barking dog or the neighbor kid's pick up truck, it was silent. The absolute quiet really helps the sleeping. I did go through a phase where I was falling asleep with the tv on but that was short lived. And that only worked on "can't fall asleep immediately" nights. And it sometimes worked against me because I would wake up to turn the tv off and then maybe stay awake rather than go back to sleep.

Here in Civilization, finding the peace and quiet is really tough. I've had to adjust to city noises again like sirens, street lamps, dogs barking in the distance, dogs barking in the back yard, dogs barking across the street, traffic sounds, and voices. What I mean by voices: people walking around outside, not the ones in my head. I mean I don't hear voices in my head. Usually.

I've discovered I also don't do well with "internal people noise." What that means is that noises in the house made by other people are really weird to me and make my sleep troubled. If I go to bed before Daddy-O and I can hear him walking around or watching tv, then I'll toss and turn. It was the same way when Mac lived with me all the time. If he got up to pee or if he sneezed, I was awake. Once, I even told him, or rather yelled at him through the wall, to be quiet and he said he was just breathing. Um, yeah. I have issues.

Light: I want it completely dark when I go to sleep. Again, hard to do in Civilization because of street lamps. Head lights of cars dancing across the walls. Downstairs lights from the living room since my attic room is like a loft- there's no door. I have to even make the red glowing clock numbers face away from me and lay my cell phone face down so the LED light glare won't bother me.

I have a sleep mask or two and I employ those to help with the light issues. That can do the trick most of the time but overall, I can't really fool myself. Though, on a side note, I do like the sleep masks because it seems... glamorous. Go figure.

Temperature: I cannot sleep if I'm too hot or too cold. If I get too hot, I can't get cool quick enough. I kick all the covers off and shed clothes, then fall asleep only to wake later in a freezing cold state. If I'm cold I can't warm quick enough. I put on lots of clothes and get under lots of covers and I still can't heat up fast enough. And it's the end of the world if my nose or toes are cold. I mean, THE END. I have been known to get up in the middle of the night to take a hot shower because I just can't get warm. In the winter, I just give up and take a warm shower most nights before I go to bed to cut the cold toes off at the pass.

So, I'm off to go to sleep. I hope.

G'night sweethearts, good night...
Maggie Mae


Curley said...

You would be surprised how much a fan running on low can mask noise in a room. Kind of like white noise. But it does take some getting used to. Can't sleep without it now.

Maggie said...

Curley- when i lived in the Wild West I had white noise 24/7... well at night every single night, I mean. I ran a small heater in the winter and an oscillating fan in the summer, so white noise is okay once I adjust. I had a fan in the attic this summer... I have a heater to run when it gets cold enough, which I realize then taps into my other problem: the heat /cold part of the sleep. Sheesh- I'm a wreck, eh?

Wiley said...

I can (fortunately) say I don't suffer from insomnia. Sleep is my forte - waking up is more my problem.
But DM jokes that I need to sleep in a hermetically sealed room. I do the same as you with clock and cell phone lights. And too much noise - unless it's the tv in which case I'm out.
Humans are weird critters, aren't we?

Maggie said...

Wiley- we humans are weird for sure.

I always aid if napping were an Olympic sport i'd take USA gold for it. but night sleeping... i wouldn't even qualify for the team. haha!