Me: that noise. Stop it
Me: Your nose is making a whistling sound
Him: it's called breathing. You want me to stop breathing?
Him: it was a rhetorical question.
Him: do you know what a rhetori...
Me: I know what it is. Fine. Just do it quietly then.
Him: have you looked into the sleep clinic thing yet
Me: you really think now is the time to bring it up?
Him: I just thought...
Me: changed my mind. Don't breathe.
So yeah. I don't sleep well. It makes me grouchy. A good night is 6 hours. A typical night is less. A bad night is measured in minutes, not hours.
I try things, though...I’m open-minded! Valerian root? Sure! Melatonin? I see your Melatonin and raise you some camomile and yoga. How about some soothing waterfallish, rain-foresty, sounds? Yes! Those too! (well...they don't help the bathroom factor, what with all the water rushing, but yes, bring it on, I'm desperate!) I even accommodate by going to bed at the same time as most toddlers and still nothing works.
I do all the little mind relaxation tricks…and when that (inevitably) does not work, I think okay...maybe I’ll just lie there and not think at all. Yes, this could work. Great plan! Says my brain, rubbing its hands together gleefully. Immediately I am bombarded by approximately ten million urgent and/or worrisome thoughts.
When I saw the doctor about this, to my surprise, she did not drop her prescription pad in shock and beckon all the other doctors to come in to hear about this peculiar condition of mine. She just asked my age and (a little too calmly) (she may even have sighed) reached over and took a pamphlet from the (alarmingly high) pile on her desk. Tips on getting a good night’s sleep. They go as follows.
Do not do anything stimulating before bed such as TV or computer use
Do not go to bed on a full stomach
Invest in a good mattress and pillow
Do not drink water before bed and definitely not alcohol
Limit caffeine intake
There were a few more. I think Valerian was mentioned. I think that a more realistic revised list is necessary. It might read as follows:
At 10 pm, do not start a “conversation” with your spouse about what is considered appropriate spending. Or any type of spending. Just don't bring up money, period. Ditto for any talk on parenting and/or quick run-downs on why you are the better parent. In fact, you know what? Do not start any “conversations” at all, they are – at best – “stimulating”.
Do not eat the piece of pizza that someone forgot to put away several hours earlier. It won’t taste good. It is chewy, dehydrated and will not improve your dream quality. If you truly can’t resist eating it, then allow me to suggest that insomnia is not your only problem.
Do not guzzle any sugary/caffeinated beverages to abate disgusting taste in mouth left by pizza. Even water is frowned upon because it goes without saying that chugging liquids in the evening has nightly downsides.
Do not use the pillow that causes your head to immediately sink right down to the mattress or try and rectify the situation by bunching up a sweatshirt and shoving it under your neck, this rarely improves matters. Buy. A. New. Pillow.
It’s tricky. You could follow all of these changes and still have no luck, then one night do everything wrong and sleep like a baby. Unless you’ve had a baby, then you know how categorically wrong this particular metaphor is. Considering my dog sleeps approximately 16 hours a day, I say someone needs to officially change it to sleeping like a dog.
I’m committed to making at least a half-hearted effort to follow these lists and maybe give brief consideration to the idea of not bottling up every single angry or stressful thought I have throughout the day to pry open for some real focused worry at 2 am.
So I’ll let you know how it goes. In the meantime, I will try not to murder anyone who has the misfortune of crossing my path after a bad night of sleep. Because I really doubt I would sleep well in prison. Just based on things I’ve read. I could be wrong, though. Maybe being locked in a cell, cut off from the world and from cupcakes and from loved ones is the miracle cure for insomnia.
In that case, I’ll just wait for this phase to pass…