Tuesday, June 19, 2012


I want to be sleeping, but it is almost midnight and here I am writing.  Sometimes I am purposefully and happily up late writing, when I am feeling inspired, or just can't step away until whatever I am working on feels finished.

Not tonight.  Really, I just want to sleep.  And of course, sleep is one thing you can not will yourself to do, it has to happen.  The more vexed you feel by not sleeping, the more impossible it becomes.  So rather than toss and turn, here I am at the computer.

Insomnia is one of the most ubiquitous of human complaints, although I wonder if non-Western societies are as plagued.

And there are so many reasons and factors.

I never had any issue with sleeping until having a baby; most women will tell you they never quite rest as well again once sleep is so massively interrupted by the discomfort of the third trimester and then the arrival of the bundle of  up-all-night joy.  Yes, shitty diapers makes for shitty sleep, and my sleep has been generally a bit lighter since that time in my life, as though I could never entirely turn off that vigilance for things that go "wah" in the night.

And then of course there is perimenopause.  My friend Rita said she was surprised I did not include insomnia in my post the other day.  I guess I wasn't really making the association, but now that I think about it, my insomnia does seem more frequent lately.  Hormones affect everything...

Then there is the factor of poor sleep hygiene, as it is called.  Most of us have some bad habits that get in the way of a good night's sleep, like leaving the TV on.  Or sometimes we do things in bed we shouldn't, like pay the bills.  The first rule of good sleep hygiene is that the bed is only for sex and sleep. Since sometimes I try to help my clients with insomnia, I know all the things that you are supposed to do and not do, and of course I do not always follow my own good advice (like right now, engaging in the stimulating activity or writing!)  But even when I do everything the right way, sometimes it just is what it is.  I can not sleep.

Many people are up at night because they are worried or stressed and can't turn off the chatter in their brain.  I tend not to worry too much, but occasionally my brain gets to buzzing about something or the other.   And tonight, as many times, it is also that my body that feels restless, despite the fact I am really tired.  It is not a lack of exercise; I spent an hour at the gym this morning, and one after work.

Well, it just is what it is.  I will go lay back down, focus on breath, and sooner or later I will shift into non-consciousness.

Ah, it just occurred to me!  I was reading right before I tried to go to sleep, and I think it stirred me up a bit.  I will tell you about what I was reading on my next post, or else I really shall be up for half the night.

See you in my dreams...

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