Sleepless Nights

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Thursday morning. It must have been around 6am. I woke up, still a little sleepy, and figured that the birds would be starting to chirp at any moment…

I lay there, slowly waking more and more with each passing moment. Waiting for the birds.

Within a few minutes I was wide awake. I checked the clock – 3.30am. What? How could I be wide awake at 3.30am? That time of day doesn’t even exist for me – I am, even at the worst of times, a very good sleeper. Finding myself awake at a time when the BFG would have just wrapped up his dream catching was a little disconcerting. And so I lay there in the pitch black darkness, staring at the ceiling that I couldn’t see (due to the aforementioned pitch black darkness), thinking about how weird it was that I felt so awake.

I gave it a good half an hour of trying to get back to sleep, all the while listening to Joel breathing in and out – slow and steady deep-sleep breaths – and being totally jealous of his uninterrupted slumber. I eventually realised there was not going to be any nodding-off in my immediate future, so I hauled myself out of bed and went into the lounge where I’d at least be able to turn on the light in order to actually see a ceiling. And that’s what I did for the next hour. I stared at the ceiling. And the walls. And the floor. And the coffee table. I refused to turn on the TV or open my laptop, because I feared that would somehow constitute the actual start of my day. As long as I kept just staring at flat surfaces I figured I was in a weird no-man’s-land of existence.

Thankfully my eyelids grew heavy just before 5am, and I gratefully sank back into bed where I drifted easily into two more hours of sleep.

That day at work was shit to say the least. I was so tired when I woke to face the day that I couldn’t be arsed putting even the slightest effort into my appearance. That meant comfy clothes (read: unflattering) and no make up – a look more suited to doing the housework than heading to actual work. The interruption to my night plagued me throughout the day, manifesting itself in my inability to concentrate for more than a few minutes at a time, and my repeatedly getting words all jumbled up every time I opened my mouth.

Generally speaking, I don’t get enough sleep. I am always tired after work, but I seem to get a second wind around 8pm at which point I’ll kick into some baking, or telly, or serious internetting… most nights I’m still awake come midnight. So yeah, even though sleep is my true love, we really don’t spend as much time together as we should. Despite going to bed late, I can usually get through the work day without issue. I can most often focus on what I’m doing, get the job done, throw around a few witty lines, and then head home. But actually waking up after I’ve already been in a deep sleep and not being able to get back there? That’s some next-level mindscrew that actually dropkicks your world for the next twenty-four hours.

I do not recommend it. And I’m pissed off that it happened again last night.

14 Comments

  1. Oh boy can I relate to being tired! I’m a shocker when it comes to not staying asleep. I’ve slept through the night maybe half a dozen times in about the last 20 years. Every other night is interupted by some sort of wake up moment, or waking up, then staying awake until 5am or so before conking out totally.

    I can fall asleep (typically while attempting to watch TV shows), but I can’t stay asleep. Even knock out pills will merely mean it is slightly easier to go back to sleep, but don’t keep me asleep.

    My issue is typically brain in overdrive about work, home, car, or something else that is stressing me out. It is truly unpleasant waking at 1am, and knowing that you are going to be awake for the next four hours, and grumpy for the rest of the day

  2. This is me pretty much every night now. I’ve tried all the relaxation techniques that doctors and the internet have recommended, and was even on sleeping pills for a period of time because i was getting only a couple of hours a night. I have improved since then, and given up on all relaxation techniques. I now find that if i fall asleep with my tv on a timer (to turn off after i go to sleep) and i go to bed earlier (not at an exact time, pretty much i need to go to sleep when i feel tired). I usually wake around 2am, i warm up if I’m cold, cool down if I’m hot, have a warm drink, go to the toilet, and turn the tv on again until i drop back off, usually around 4/5am until 7/8am. And as long as i stick to the ritual, don’t try to stay up til 1am when I’m exhausted at 10pm etc, i find that i’m perfectly energized in the morning, and feel on top of my game. I also sleep walk and sleep talk, so there is a possibility that I am just somewhat nocturnal lol

  3. AndiNZ says

    Wow, Jane, that sounds horrible! I have thus far in my life been a good sleeper, able to drop off in a few minutes, and i have been known to sleep through an earthquake, a medical emergency at my house that required the presence of an ambulance, and even Christmas morning!

    This week, my sleep has been driven by increased exercise – I’ve taken up that running lark again, now that spring is finally here. Yes, I am still surprised by this, but at least I’m used to being surprised now, and do it anyway, if you see what I mean. 🙂

    So, no words of wisdom from me on this subject, no experience to draw on (touch wood!).

    Sweet dreams.

  4. I’m with AndiNZ on this one. Can more or less sleep through anything. If I’m lacking sleep it’s mostly self inflicted by playing games until too late at night or being out somewhere.

    However if it gets hot, then I can’t sleep. Will be tossing and turning trying to find a position that is comfortable and cool yet still limits my snoring (to prevent a rib injury from a well aimed elbow).

    Hopefully you can figure out the cause and deal with it, or at least manage to scrape up enough sleep over the weekend.

  5. Jubee says

    Terribly unfortunately (and no matter how I try to prove it wrong!) the solution or me is that the more active I am, the more I sleep :-(. I’m like you have been the last 2 nights wake at 3 or 4am and don’t get back to sleep till just before the alarm goes off. At which time I feel crap! But if I’ve been busy (read not-sitting-on-my-you-know-what busy) or happen to do more walking than between the fridge and couch or desk and snack box at work, then I don’t have the problem. Then again if I go overboard on the exercise like go to the gym every morning at 5:30am for over an hour of weights and cardio, it has the opposite effect so not all bad I guess . . .

  6. You’d with all my experience in not being good at sleeping I’d have some helpful advice. I don’t unfortunately. Only sympathy.

  7. I’m a heavy sleeper, so much so that when I was at school, I slept through a fire alarm drill in the middle of the night (the siren was directly above my head :-/ ).

    But when I have been through massive stress times, I found if I made myself physically exausted, I didn’t have the energy to stay awake. The added benefit is the exercise used up any latent adreniline in my body caused by the stress. Don’t know if that would help others tho.

  8. I am usually a very good sleeper, so i can’t really speak from experience. But how about actually getting up and doing something when you wake? Obviously something quiet, but something you’d normally resent having to spend time on (housework? ironing? maybe even some quiet baking?). I guess you’d be pretty tired by the end of the day, but maybe hold out until your normal bedtime, so hopefully this kicks you back into the right sleep-cycle. A bit like getting over jetlag?

  9. Stella Morbius says

    Thats terrible; I’m sorry to hear that Jane. I’ve been consistantly waking up between 3 and 5 am most nights lately but luckely I’m only a student with class three days a week. I do find that its the time when I think clearist so I normally crawl out of bed and sit on the floor writing poems and possable conversations and things on a giant A2 post-it pad before crawling back onto (never in after waking) my bed for another hour or two.

  10. Michael says

    I read a comment on a friend of mines FB wall a little while ago – I had to laugh – Sleep is for the weak – he had just pulled an all-nighter for a project he was about to complete. Or had to.

    Anyway, I find sleep illusive until I collapse at around 2 in the morning and that seems to be my lot at the moment – I can sleep a little later than most because i work from home, but I am usually in my office at 8 in the morning. Perhaps it’s the room, perhaps it’s the mattress, or just stress, but anyway, Or all of the above. I seem to get by. One day I promise myself I’m going to take myself off on a bush holiday and for the first three days I shall sleep – lol

    Be well and hopefully your insomnia has left, or will go shortly – snuggle up, keep warm, and dream happily 🙂

  11. jessicapea says

    Uggh – hate that. I usually lie there getting more and more frustrated about the not sleeping and more and more resentful of my happily sleeping partner beside me!

  12. Simon says

    Apparently, the less you TRY to fall asleep again, the more likely you WILL fall asleep again.

    If that happens to me, I just get up and start working. It means I get a headstart on the day (so even if I am tired at work, it won’t matter so much), and my work is pretty boring, so tends to send me back to sleep again anyway.

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