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Wrong-Somnia

No one on this futon has insomnia.


Here is the crappy thing about having insomnia: You have a twenty hour day, so you are generally much tired-er than people who sleep.

Here is the SUPER thing about insomnia: YOU HAVE A TWENTY HOUR DAY.

So you are a little DROWSY, so WHAT. Do you KNOW how much you can get DONE in a twenty hour day? SO FREAKIN’ MUCH.

In a twenty hour day, you can bring home bacon, cook it, feed some of it to your kids, eat some of it, go to yoga in a fruitless attempt to keep the bacon off your buttocks, take the kids to their various kid-tivities, blog, make out with your husband, make out with the dogs, reread WISE BLOOD, read Lainey Gossip, feel guilty for reading Lainey Gossip, check in with your friends, do a book club call, suit up and kill the alive mold threatening to become sentient in the upstairs toilet, and still, you know, WRITE A FREAKING BOOK.

All hail the twenty hour day. I like it best when I fall asleep around 11 or 11 and a half, and then am awake before 4 am and downstairs writing in the quiet, quiet dark with the dogs asleep behind me on the futon, kids and husbands tucked up clean and also sleeping in their beds.

All those quiet heartbeats going along safe inside the sleeping bodies of everyone that I love best of all. No one awake but me and Boggart, me drinking coffee, and both of us plotting. I plot novels, he plots the destruction of the earth and all its denizens. To each their own.

This is AWESOME-nia.

But for the last 2 nights I am having instead a STUPID impossible kind of insomnia that does NO ONE ANY GOOD.

I am waking up for spans of 1 or 2 fitful grumpy hours IN THE MIDDLE. I need my 3 – 5 hours to happen ALL AT ONCE. Sleeping my four hours in one hour chunks with an hour of being grumpily awake between each hour means it takes as MUCH TIME as SLEEPING for eight hours would take, but without, you know, the actual #&_@&*_$&$ing sleeping.

The scattered night hours I am awake are not PRODUCTIVE. I can’t take my daughter to Junior Yoga at midnight. I can’t write from 1:30 to 2:25. And I am as drowsy all day as if I had gotten up at 4 and BEEN USEFUL.

THIS IS A DUMB KIND OF INSOMNIA THAT NO ONE LIKES. How can this be STOPPED?

23 comments to Wrong-Somnia

  • Voice of doom here: Solve your insomnia before you get to menopause — hot flashes are not conducive to a good night’s sleep.

  • Shelley

    Ambien. Or get up after the two hours, and be productive then for four hours, then go back for a two hour nap.

  • Aimee

    From what I hear, if you take Ambien you may find yourself doing things during your 4 hours of sleep that you didn’t mean to do, like ordering 8 shoe racks from Amazon or dying the dog pink.

    I struggle with insomnia too, and the one thing that seems to reliably help is if I meditate for a little while before getting into bed. It quiets my mind. It’s a struggle to meditate, because of the unquiet mind, but I try to have some kind of white noise to focus on and it is the only thing that seems to make it at all easier for me to sleep.

  • Brigitte

    Envy at the productiveness! When I’m tired, I just can’t possibly tackle anything more than a few dishes or laundry. Or I could be just lazy.

    With your funky drug-reactions, it can be amusing to picture your possible Ambien scenarios!

  • A hot bath and a glass of something alcoholic usually does the trick for me. I know the alcohol causes other issues, but one problem at a time. I had this very infirmity a few nights ago, when I had sat locked in a room for already two days on a jury selection (it ultimately was a four day selection) for a FOUR WEEK TRIAL. This was during the first week of school. So I was twitchy. I only napped, and when I did, I dreamt of dead kittens. Not good.

  • Kathy

    Amen, hollygee.

  • Justin

    I find Melatonin helps me sleep without waking. If you don’t have trouble falling asleep but you’re waking up after one or two hours taking it before going to bed might help you get enough uninterrupted sleep. It doesn’t do a thing for making me sleepy, I just get better quality sleep when I do finally run down.

  • JulieB

    Hey, glad you asked. I’m reading suggestions. Otherwise, you can call me and we can chat. . . 😀 Hope one of these works for you.
    Also, I’ve heard the Ambien one requires that you have 8 full hours, because if you don’t end up dying your dog pink, you won’t wake up early. At least, that’s what I’ve heard from a family member that tried it. In fact, she asked her mom to come and stay at her house the first two nights she was on it, because she was terrified that she’d end up driving around town while asleep. Your mileage may vary.

  • Lulu

    I only have a suggestion that you won’t like.

    When I was having trouble sleeping (and had a whole raft of other complaints) the dr. told me to cut out the single glass of wine every night. I was irked, and figured that couldn’t be it, but I was willing to test the theory for 2 weeks. By night 4 of no wine, I was sleeping wonderfully. Boooo. Now if I have wine 2 nights in a row, I have trouble sleeping the second night. More booooo.

    Sorry. that’s all I have. good luck.

  • Skipper Hammond

    Was hoping a commenter would have found the secret I never tried. Everything mentioned I’ve tried. I’ve hoped I’d find the magic cure. Closest for me has been 20-30 minutes aerobics.
    And the drink–it might weigh down the eye lids, but it also pops them open a few hours later. I never let that get in my way of an icy martini, though.

  • Jessica (the celt)

    I talked to my doctor about mine, but I’m always hesitant to try “real” medication for a variety of reasons. Anyway, she suggested melatonin. I had been taking Valerian root (the capsules stink to heck, but they work amazingly well for me) with lemon balm, but she wasn’t comfortable with me taking it nightly due to a lack of tests or information re: side effects of the Valerian root supplement. Anyway, I tried melatonin capsules, but I always woke up too early and too often (I do the “sleep, sleep, wake, wake, wake, wake and worry about how long you’ve been awake, sleep for an hour, get up for work” thing). I then I tried this stuff called MidNite, which you can take if you wake up in the middle of the night. I take one before I go to bed and a second one if I wake up. If I am having issues sleeping for a few nights, I end up taking the Valerian root/lemon balm capsule anyway, although it’s not nightly. Not only does the Valerian root help me sleep, it keeps me from over-thinking things before falling asleep on those nights that I’ve been up several nights in a row and my mind-worries go into overdrive from lack of sleep.

    Anyway, as always, whatever you’re comfortable with. I’ve never been a huge “natural supplement” person, but I have a week or two every few months where I just can’t sleep. No particular reason or rhythm to it, but that worked for me, so I use it sometimes, here or there. I found the Valerian root one of those two-week periods where I was so desperate for sleep, I was pretty close to just whacking myself on the head with a rubber mallet to knock myself out. I do take some melatonin every night, though. (I have some melatonin capsules that don’t have anything else in them that I take if I’m already feeling pretty tired to help me stay asleep.)

  • What?! How do I sign up for the good kind of insomnia? I only ever have the dumb kind. Some days I think I caught it from my toddler. This is a nice explanation, but does not really comfort me, as the toddler I am thinking of is now 12 and sleeps beautifully whereas I… not so much.

  • Jill S.

    Tylenol PM or Advil PM – 2 of them. I rarely have trouble sleeping – although I am waiting with night sweats and hot flashes ala menopause – if I do have “racing thoughts,” or the day before school starts worries, I use 2 tylenol PM! They do the trick. Good luck!

  • Carrie (in MN)

    I take Benadryl on nights when I think I may have trouble sleeping. Same ingredient as the Tylenol PM but without the pain reliever that I (usually) don’t need. I don’t take it always (because I don’t want to become(psychologically) dependent on it to sleep, so sometimes I do end up having dumb insomnia, but when I do take it – it works!

  • This is where I’d encourage you to read about sleep etiquette, except I don’t follow my own advice and subsequently have a huge case of Wrong-Somnia myself.

    I think it’s the time of year. Mucho changes. This is not good for someone who’d take home a gold should they ever make Control Freak a new Olympic sport. (Referring to me, in case that’s not clear, though if the shoe fits…)

  • jeanette in peculiar

    Long division. Long division in my head puts me to sleep every time. I know it sounds crazy, but while processing numbers, the brain can’t process words. (I find it is the words that keep me awake. All those “racing thoughts”.) SO, keep track of the Powerball jackpot amount and then start with that number, subtract the amount the IRS gets (40%), subtract the amount you want to give to “Jeanette Who Solved Your Insomnia”, divide by the number of years you plan to keep on living, divide by 12 months per year, divide by 4 weeks per month, see how much money you will have every week if you win the lottery. You will be asleep before you get to the end of the equation. Really. Not kidding. Really not kidding.
    Use whatever “divide by” scenarios you like…….How many cocktails can I buy? How many steaks can I buy? How many cats can I feed? What ever floats your boat. How many boats and boat houses can I buy?
    I know it sounds CRAZY but just try it!

  • Dude, if you figure it out, let me know. My productive insomnia lets me read, so I review a lot of books for the shop, and because I read and review so very much, no one takes my reviews seriously. If I could sleep, I’d read/review less and maybe that’d be a good thing.

    I’ve tried Melatonin, Valerian root, hot milk, Benadryl, all the -PM pain relievers, exercise, no TV, and I don’t drink much anyway so cutting out alcohol is not an issue. I don’t want to try Ambien not only because of the driving while dyeing the dog pink (and we don’t have a dog, but I bet I could do it!), but because my doc says that once you get used to using those sleep aids, your body decides it doesn’t have to do the work of falling asleep any more so then you *have* to use the sleep stuff. I’m already lazy enough; I don’t need to chemically encourage my body to do less!

    I’m on book 3 this week. *sigh* And knowing you’re writing another faboo book that’s going to eventually keep me company in the dark hours of the morning is only incentive to stay up and wait for it!

  • Benedryl. …should at least let ya get 3-4 solid hours. …serves double-duty during this dern mosquito season, anyway. 🙂

  • Mary Beth

    One word. Ambien. My best friend.

  • Tanya

    Two things – nice yoga bag on the futon. Try a notepad by the bed. When I am especially frantic mind-wise, I find this is the only thing that helps me shut my brain voice up long enough to get a solid 4 hours. I settle in and then make a list of stuff I need to do, stuff on my mind. Sometimes I need to turn the light back on in 15 minutes to add something to the list, but it seems to put me at ease enough to get some solid rest. Bonne Chance!

  • Casey

    The only thing I have ever found that works – and I am mid-menopause AND take Ambien every night – is magnesium. Like, just that, no calcium or zinc, just plain old magnesium. I got mine at GNC. I take 1 pill 3x a day. It takes about a week to build up in your system. Do NOT take all 3 at once, it has a rather laxative effect, *ahem*. But it seriously works (along with the Ambien I cannot be without). I sleep deeply, and all night, and wake up about 6:30 AM feeling great. And I don’t even take a multi-vitamin. But I will never be without magnesium again. Turnip raised, dirty fingernails, I will never (well, you know)

  • susanvl

    I have seldom slept without chemical assistance since 2006! Peri-menopause sucks, especially because your doctor will tell you it’s NOT peri-menopause and there’s no reason why you can’t sleep. Finally started Ambien when school started. You can break it in half or even thirds. I take a half and have not dyed my dogs yet or (my dealbreaker) done any horrid night-eating of junky junk food that I would never touch during the day. Not drowsy in the morning and typically waking up before the alarm.

  • Melody

    I take Children’s Benadryl, the liquid, non-name brand version, about 2 teaspoons. I am a large woman, and it knocks me out for 6-8 hours. It is wonderful! Knew someone with an Ambien story. She was pregnant and took it, asked her husband the next morning if he had scrubbed the floors downstairs. He told her that she had scrubbed them herself by hand, pregnant on her hands and knees. She did not remember a thing.