Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I'll sleep when I'm dead

I am so tired.

How often do I say this? At least 10 times a day. Sometimes I say it without even realizing I'm saying it. But the fact is, I am really half-zombie most days.

I used to be a champion sleeper. I used to sleep until 11 a.m. no problem. Not that this is an option now, but when I was younger, the concept of getting 8-10 hours of sleep a night, straight through, was no big whoop. It happened all the time.

Now? Not even. I would say my sleeping issues cropped up when my father died - I believe that created an underlying thread of anxiety that remains with me today. That's about when I started waking up several times throughout the night. And woah, after having a baby that needed to be fed every couple of hours, a baby that seriously would sometimes only allow me ONE HOUR of sleep a night, well, that's when I learned the true meaning of sleep deprivation.

Now, I'm a mess. I can fall asleep no problem, but I still wake up several times a night, and now I just start thinking about something I'm worried I've forgotten at work, or I'm worried that Jane will start coughing (yes, this is truly sucky - not actually being woken up by a coughing/crying child, but waking up because you're AFRAID you're going to be woken up by a coughing/crying child. This blows incredibly hard, but it is my reality quite often.).

I don't want to take sleeping pills, because I know I'll be super-zonked for the following day as well. I don't respond well to that kind of drug. But what do I do? Any suggestions? And I don't want to drink warm milk because that just means I'll have to get up to pee. : )

How do you get to sleep? And, more importantly, stay asleep?


Flann said...

My only recommendation is one you won't like-- Sleepytime Extra Tea. I know! I know! Eeeewww, tea!

Other than that, Tylenol PM and Benadryl are my savior.

I also try a lot of distraction techniques. Some of my favorites are just repeating "Stop. Redirect. Refocus." to myself whenever I find my mind wandering to stress triggers. I also play the "A my name is Alice and I'm bringing Apples ..." game with myself. Or do simple arithmetic in my head.

I've had sleep problems for as long as I can remember (seriously, I remember being 7 or 8 and having major sleep anxiety) so I hope you find a solution that works for you because it's no way to live. :(

lgaumond said...

That's too funny. When I can't sleep I play A My Name is Alice, too! Ha!

Also, I put a pad and pen next to my bed to dump out of my brain whatever pressing detail wakes me up in the middle of the night. If it's some work detail I don't want to forget or a bill that needs paying, I tell myself that there's nothing I can do about it at 3am, so I'll just make a note of it on the pad and allow myself to stop thinking about until I wake up.

When that and the Alice game don't work, I slowly count, picturing the number being drawn, like in sand, and I say the number slowly to myself. Switching my brain from chaotic worry to straightforward numerical thinking usually does the trick.

Good luck to you, and sweet dreams!!

Optimistic Diva said...

I don't do anything in bed that is work related. It keeps my brain too "amped." Also, I personally like falling asleep to music - I have a player next to my bed with a timer on it that helps me with that.

Also, I know this is going to sound nuts to most people, but I refuse to watch TV in bed before I go to sleep. If I want to be sleepy in front of the TV, I do that on the couch.