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It’s Insomnia O’ Clock in the Morning

February 3, 2012

It’s always at 2:30 am. At least that’s what it seems like. I once read that people who have trouble sleeping shouldn’t look at the clock when they wake up in the middle of the night. It had something to do with reinforcing the fact that they had woken up. Or maybe it was that looking at the clock caused you to wake up further. Regardless of why, I try not to do it.

It’s easy to ignore the little wakings. The big wakings are so much harder. My mind turns on and starts listing off all of the things that I could be doing instead of laying in bed. It insists that I have forgotten to do something, or that I could be doing something, or that I could find something to do if I would just get up out of bed. I’ll lay awake in bed sometimes for up to half an hour, trying to trick my brain into going back to sleep. Eventually, I will either manage to fall back asleep, or I will get up.

It doesn’t help that is the smallest things will wake me. The cats jumping on the bed, Moose snoring too loudly, something in a dream waking me up. All of those factors can be big things too. I think we accidentally trained Ninja to rattle the closet door if he wants to be petted. I was just trying to get him to lay down and be quiet, which for Ninja means getting him to jump up on the bed and rubbing his belly. Moose tends to come in after staying up late playing games.  As much as he tries to be quiet about it, his getting into bed still wakes me up. And then there are the nightmares.

As bad as the nightmares are, the 2:30 am wakings are worse in the long run. The nightmare is only for one night. The 2:30 wakings can go on for months. At the end of the work day I am so tired that I just want to take a nap. If I sleep too long, I will not be able to get to sleep at night. I will wake at 2:30, and then again at 5:30 when the alarm goes off. The next day I am worse and the cycle starts all over again. I try to stay awake or only take short naps. But the longer the wakings go on, the harder it is to resist getting that little nap at the end of the day.

Like many of my problems, I’m very reluctant to take pills to solve this. Melatonin only works for those nights when I am having trouble getting to sleep, so I take it very rarely. It does tend to wear off after a few hours, which then leaves me open to an early morning waking. A sleeping pill might keep me asleep for the whole night, but I am afraid of finding out what would happen if I had a nightmare on a sleeping pill. One of my recurring nightmares is about being awake but unable to move or speak. I don’t wear face masks much because I’ve been trapped in this nightmare by the inability to open my eyes and wake myself up. I would rather not find out what it’s like to be trapped in that nightmare by a pill.

Eventually I will start sleeping through the night again and things will be fine for a while. In the meantime, I get by. What I really need to do is move someplace where 2:30 am here is a good time to wake for the day. At least then I won’t be alone.

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