I am a life long insomniac, always have been, always will be. Started as a child; I would lay awake all night, tossing and turning, I did not know it was insomnia, I would complain to my parents but, to no avail. Ironically, if and when I would fall asleep I would inadvertently wet the bed. Hmm, I just went from talking about my insomnia to outing myself as a bed wetter. I loved Sarah Silverman long before she outed herself as a bed wetter. I wonder if she’s also an insomniac.
My insomnia was hard for me to understand as a kid, I would be flat out exhausted, but did not want to go to bed, then, as I would go to bed and snuggle under the covers, I would warm up and, … wait for it, I would wake up. Wide awake, so, I would read until I couldn’t see any more then I would toss and turn until just before dawn, then I’d fall asleep, and promptly wet the bed. Soon enough, everyone in the household would get up, after having a full nights sleep and expect I was the same. Nope. I was unable to get up in the morning, cold, soaking wet, and flat out asleep.
This went on until just before puberty hit, when I finally stopped wetting the bed. I was staying up later I’d watch TV then I’d read a book until late night and sometimes until early early morning. Back then, **old man voice**, we only had a few TV channels to choose from, no VCR yet, and the stations would shut off around Three AM. So I would be tired when I went to bed, I don’t remember having insomnia going through puberty, aside from staying up until Four in the morning.
Insomnia was still there for me as as a young adult entering the blue collar work force, perfect, just perfect. I was staying up too late, usually having beers with buddy, watching the hockey games, then laying awake all night until I would fall asleep, just before my alarm would ring. Not very healthy, but then I started getting jobs which required working graveyard shifts, I did that for many, many a year. Insomnia also works well during the day, especially with lawn mowers, city noises and people. Yep, insomnia was here to stay.
Over the years I would learn different coping methods. A few little changes can help, avoid looking at the clock, or even turning the light on. I know the tendency is to do exactly those two things, then start reading, going on-line or TV time. I’ve read, in a few areas, that it’s best to act as though you’re asleep, keep still, eyes closed, and do your best to not ‘think’. It’s hard to do, but with a little practice one can accomplish these little things.
Then along a came Cancer, Surgery, Chemo, and the whole kerfuffle that came along with them. I would sleep in fifteen-minute chunks, awake for four, then more chunky sleep for four. Those might not be accurate numbers, I’ll have to go through my notes, I may have written that info down.
Now, these days, my insomnia is different, I fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow, but then I’m awake after a few hours. I have no problem sleeping during the day but I prefer to be a day person right now, it’s working for me, although lately I’ve been wondering if I’d like to go back to being a night person.