Insomnia. It’s an ugly word mostly because of its definition. Being awake. Not sleeping. The inability to sleep. Periods of wakefulness. It is dreaded by all who suffer it and it seems to be one of those things that is contagious. Once you get it, it keeps coming back. It seems to make sense that if you are tired, you will sleep, but that isn’t necessarily true.
When my oldest child was an infant, he didn’t sleep. Since he wasn’t sleeping much, neither was I. Someone (well many people actually), told me that sleep begets sleep. I think it is a quote from one of those sleep books that never seemed to work for me. I really didn’t understand or even care, I just wanted sleep. The sleep eventually came and we went on to have two more children each with their own sleep issues, which I now understand as just trying to fit into their new environment outside the womb and trying to carve out time to feed and bond with parents.
Even when the children were finally sleeping, I still had sleep issues. If I am honest, I have always had periods of chronic insomnia. I used to get up in the middle of the night and go into the bathroom to read so I wouldn’t bother my sisters who I shared a room with. Last summer the sleeplessness was really bothering me so I talked to my doctor about it. I had been taking one Benadryl at bedtime for years just to be able to go back to sleep in the middle of the night once I woke up. The doctor offered me something stronger, but I really wanted to stop taking the Benadryl NOT take more drugs.
Her other suggestions proved more helpful. She suggested I get up and go to bed at the same time every day. I try, but sometimes nighttime after the kids and hubby go to bed, I get most of my work done. The most helpful suggestion really had to do with limiting “screen time”. No computer, tv, smart phone, iPad, etc. an hour or two before sleep and none of those things in the bedroom. Apparently the blue light interferes with our body’s sleep cycle and our natural melatonin. Getting rid of screens in the bedroom was easier for me than Matt, but he has gone along with my ban. We never had a tv in there anyway. I can feel myself getting agitated when he is using a laptop or other screen when I am trying to sleep. I just get up and wait to go to bed until he finishes, but he rarely does it anymore so it isn’t a problem.
Why am I writing about insomnia an hour before my alarm is due to go off? The answer to that is simple. I have been awake since 4 o’clock and couldn’t go back to sleep. Matt had an early train and he left the house at 5:15 so I decided to get up and shower and start writing about at least one of those things that was running through my mind. I am also going to get a jump start on my day.
Today’s wakefulness may have something to do with my three cups of highly caffeinated tea that I had yesterday, or a holdover from Daylight Savings time, or just one of those things. I do know though that I awoke instantly and a blue light was shining down the hall into my room. The computer had updated and rebooted automatically. Coincidence? Maybe. I don’t really have an exact answer, but I hope that today’s insomnia isn’t contagious and tonight will be a better sleep.