Sleep & I have a love-hate relationship. Setting aside your utter lack of surprise that a coffee addict is an insomniac, my mom has attested to insomnia being a lifelong companion of mine. Fortunately, as a late-night reader herself, she understood that reading was actually more restful than attempting to sleep. How do people do it? Lying there in the dark silence, with nary a thing to distract one’s brain from the chaos such an opportunity unleashes. There’s nothing so pointless as trying to sleep. Those who can fall asleep simply because they’re comfortable, there’s a modicum of peacefulness and it’s time must have more cooperative brains.
There’s little I haven’t tried in order to give my poor, weary body its due & induce my brain to step down overnight. As for the infamous sheep-counting, I did get tired.. of counting. What were the old wives with their tales thinking? Who in their right mind would suggest a creative exercise for a brain that won’t quiet; don’t give it something to latch onto. I even learned to write in the dark as a child, imagining that writing thoughts down might successfully save them for later. Instead, I wrote many a barely decipherable poem. Once I could simply sneak out most nights, sleep & I parted ways.
Now then, health & I were never on good terms either. I’d been on the outs with sleep for a good decade by the time it joined forces with health & they’d clearly had enough of my willfulness. Together, they kept me bedridden & it was a brilliant ploy for I was forced to seek them out. Raising the white flag after numerous negotiations, I endured a bizarre experience as health slowly but surely made itself at home. My thought processes would slow, motor control became iffy & I felt downright woozy; turns out I was tired! Much like my renegotiations with alcohol the first time it had any effect beyond pain relief, I found myself rethinking my pursuit of sleep — oft having no choice.
This truce had lead to a healthy (literally) appreciation for sleep, understanding that it & health are a package deal. Of course, the ability to feel sleepy is still a far cry from sleeping. It has held true that trying to sleep inevitably keeps me from it so I’ve long since opted for quality over quantity. After all, why should it be any different from other areas of my life? Therefore, I always have a good book and/or DVR recording standing by for the relaxation they afford keeps sleepiness & I on speaking terms. Our talks are not always effective, however, & we’re scarcely speaking anymore. I won’t deny my stubborn brain has its part to play in this falling out.
With my Grandma in hospital, our eviction imminent & the last month spent house-bound, my mind’s repeatedly racing to a deadlock. I’ve reached the point where physical exhaustion can no longer trick my mind into shutting down. Each day has been getting progressively longer; sleep not coming til later & later each morning, resulting in fewer & fewer hours of it. I cannot forgo both quantity & quality indefinitely unless I want to end up on the outs with health as well. Being but a pawn amidst my physiological goings-on, there’s no telling from where the next conspiracy will arise! My metabolism has become far less cooperative over the years..
“Life is something that happens when you can’t get to sleep.”
~ Fran Lebowitz ~