…and miles to go before I sleep

“Not being able to sleep is terrible. You have the misery of having partied all night… without the satisfaction.”  Lynn Johnston, For Better or For Worse


I’m finished with my first week of school, and I can’t believe how exhausted I am. It was only two days of teaching, but it has felt endless. Getting up at 5am just two days a week isn’t helping. It means going to bed early, and going to bed early means going to bed and lying awake. For hours. And hours.

Both Sunday and Tuesday night, J stayed up late while I “slept.”

I didn’t sleep.

I stayed awake thinking about what I would do in class the next day, worrying that my hands didn’t feel moisturized enough, freaking out about not having enough water on my nightstand to get through the night, making up scenarios of everyone I know dying, considering every possible thing that could go wrong in my life, wondering if we’ll ever in our lifetimes be allowed to have children–you know, light, airy reasonable thoughts to be having when one is trying to sleep.

I sleep fine on nights when I don’t have to get up at 5am, but on the nights when I’m supposed to go to bed early, when I am to “sleep fast” as my mother used to say, my mind sabotages me, and I end up with little more than two solid hours of sleep. On these nights, suddenly my favorite pillow is the most uncomfortable lumpy thing in the world. The air is too thick for a human to possibly breathe. My mattress–the most comfy surface on earth on an average day–feels like it’s covered in marbles. And my mind becomes my worst enemy and won’t seem to stop no matter how many relaxation exercises I work through or how many sheep I count.

And the dreams, oh the dreams. When I do sleep, I slip straight into these weird vivid dream states. I had dreams this week of convincing teenagers that they shouldn’t kill themselves, riding a dog sled through the mountains in Alaska (and encountering a pack of wolves!), trying to get rid of a gun, and so much more. These have been following me into the daytime when I try to nap off my sleepless night. On Wednesday, I was taking such a nap when J came to wake me up for my evening class, and I asked her where I was. (I was in my bed at home, in case you were wondering.) It’s been a long time since I’ve been that disoriented when completely sober.

It know I’ll find a schedule, and I may just have to start getting up at those obscene hours every morning to remind my body that it can, in fact, sleep at night. J says she’ll go to bed with me if it will help (yes, sweetheart, it will!). It’s amazing how much it does help to have her next to me; I so hate an empty bed.

Just fifteen weeks to go before I can wake up at human times again.



Filed under insomnia, sleep

5 responses to “…and miles to go before I sleep

  1. oh, my. i’ve been there! it’s hard to go to sleep with the mind racing. i took melatonin for a little while at it really helps me on the nights that i can’t get to sleep.

    i’m not sure how great it is for conception, but i figured it was the most natural thing to take, since your body produces the chemical itself. you can find it on the vitamin aisle at nearly any store. one pill a night. i may help you get over the initial hump of needing to go to bed earlier. of course, i wouldn’t recommend long time use, but a few days here in there, when your wife isn’t able to cuddle you to sleep!

  2. I hate that racing head, can’t sleep thing. It’s so mean of our bodies to deny sleep when we know we need it! I hope you settle into your new schedule soon. Have you tried reading something academic and dense before bed? That usually helps me to fall asleep. Also, I sleep better with my sweetie too.

  3. I hate the mind racing… for me it happens in the morning. I find that listening to NPR will sometimes distract me enough for me to be able to go to sleep. I am like you, in that I really need H in the bed to sleep well. I hope you fall into a groove in a couple weeks.

  4. Awh. I know all too well about that. Here’s to hoping for some serious good sleep and a clear head!!! xoxo

  5. tbean

    Yeah…I’m all about the mind racing and the sleeplessness. Are you sure we’re not twins??? Hang in there–it always takes me 2-3 weeks to get into a rhythm for the semester.

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