Thursday, September 19, 2013

To Sleep, Perchance...

...to dream.

Of course, "to dream" is the continuation of the line from Hamlet's famous "To be or not to be" soliloquy.  But, there are times when I think the "perchance" applies to the "to sleep" part.  At least, that is what it seems to be for me some nights.

And last night was such a night.

When my husband and I had both retired, and were free--like water--to seek our own level, we found we have different body clocks.  Work requirements, of course, impose a body clock on any of us.  I am perfectly capable of getting up early in the morning.  In fact, after our son, our first child, was born and I was still teaching college, I had a 7:30 a.m. class.  So I got up at 5:30 a.m. on those days, got myself ready, woke up our son and got him dressed.  Then we headed off to campus, where one of the faculty wives living on campus took care of him.  I nursed him, then headed off to class by 7:30 a.m.  

But, when given the opportunity to go to sleep when I was ready, and get up when I was done sleeping, I found my natural timing was late to bed, late to rise (sorry, Ben Franklin).  I rarely wind down before midnight, and usually prefer to sleep to around 8 a.m.

As I have gotten older, a new dynamic has crept in--occasional insomnia.  It takes me a long time to unwind--make that, a L-O-N-G time.  I read at least a half an hour, then turn out the light and even then stay awake maybe another half hour before I finally drop off the sleep cliff.  I am doomed if I fall asleep a bit, then awake immediately.  That dooms me to an even longer struggle to go to sleep.  As I said, last night was such a night.  I turned out the light at 12:05 a.m., then fell asleep somewhat quickly, but awoke within 5 minutes with a tickling cough.  And that was it--I could not get back to sleep.  All told, it took me an hour and a half to get back to sleep.

My mind jumped from project to project that I COULD do--say, clean out a closet, or tidy up the basement.  But I made myself stay in bed.  However, my body seemed to think adrenalin was called for, which woke me even more.  Eventually, I got out of bed, went to where one of the cats was curled up, and snuggled up to her for a while--that is very calming.

The one thing I didn't do is read--because, frankly, reading just wakes me up.  Finally, I did get to sleep.

I find it humorous that one of the proverbial ways to drift off to sleep is to "count sheep."  My luck--I would end up shearing them, carding the wool, weaving it into yarn and then knitting a sweater--all before I finally got back to sleep.

Hope your sleep is less disturbed than mine.  Sweet dreams.

11 comments:

Anvilcloud said...

I have done that quick wake up thing. It feels like I haven't been asleep at all, but Sue will tell me that I was even snoring. Go figure.

Apparently, we are only supposed to lie awake for ~15 minutes before getting up. For most people reading will work, but I don't know what to suggest for you. If only you had some bad papers to grade. Perhaps heavy non-fiction?

Climenheise said...

I'll send you some of my old letters home...then sleep will be welcome!

KGMom said...

Non-fiction does help...but I really don't want to learn to fall asleep to non-fiction. I enjoy reading it too much.

NCmountainwoman said...

I have to get out of bed when I can't sleep. Lying there makes it worse and worse. I have an iPod playlist for such occasions. I grab a comforter, put on the headphones, sit in a recliner and listen to the music. It seems to be the only way to turn off my racing brain.

Ginnie said...

I have a silly thing that I do to go to sleep. I take a letter of the alphabet and then try to think of as many names that I can that start with that letter. It's the most boring thing you can imagine and usually works to lull me to sleep.

Tina said...

good luck

KGMom said...

NC--my go-to relax music: Bach's Goldberg variations.
Ginnie--interesting idea...I may just try it.

Liza Lee Miller said...

I haven't had a sleeping problem since I had two kids in 18 months. Of course, it's a remedy that most people aren't willing to try. Whatever. Seriously glad you found a natropathic solution (cat-based therapy).

Shannon Baker said...

It sounds like an interesting series. I will check it out

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Paddy said...

Have you tried audiobook or a podcast? I find podcasts tend to put me to sleep. I was jetlagged last night and couldnt sleep, and finally fell asleep to James Joyce's Eveline in audio thanks to Guardian Books podcast!

Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

I have no trouble falling asleep. I drop off to sleep several times a day whenever I sit down. I have even fallen asleep and only woke up when my face hit the keyboard. I go to be late, wake up a couple of hours later, usually when the dog wants to go out, I go out with her and fully wake up in the cool air enjoying the stars. But when I return to my bed I fall asleep right a way. I am an early riser in the morning. I do not know if I am blessed or cursed but it works for me.