Saturday, July 19, 2008

sleeping is for sissies

Bertram Russell once said,"Men who are unhappy, like men who sleep badly, are always proud of the fact." Unfortunately, I think this is true, at least among insomniacs. A room full of insomniacs is just as bad as moms at a baby shower: "You think that's bad? I was in labor for 18 hours! And then they used forceps!" It is in that spirit that I share the following: The night before last I slept for 1 hour and 30 minutes. And, no, I do not have a newborn. No, I wasn't about to take the LSAT. I was on an antibiotic, of all things, for a sinus infection. It was terribly potent and caused all sorts of gastronomic distress, numbness in the extremities, dizziness, and what can only be called sleep resistance. Every time I was near sleep I had that little body quake, the mechanism meant to keep you awake during something important like night driving or watching a neighbor's wedding video. I tried everything our bathroom pharmacopoeia had to offer, I read a boring text book, I counted backward from 100, I got on the internet (and, incidentally, found this amazing site about an old mental hospital in New York), I drank tea, and then I just stayed in bed for hours, simultaneously envying and getting irritated with dh, snoring blissfully by my side. Around 5 am it became a reverse psychology game with me. I was going to make myself stay awake until dh's alarm went off at 5:45, and would thus fake myself into falling asleep. My brain saw through this clever plan of its own design and I finally fell asleep at 6:00. At 7:30 the kids were up and dh was off on a business trip. But here's the thing: I survived! My kids knew I was really tired but I was still a relatively happy mommy. It's a major accomplishment for me because I have had frequent bouts of insomnia since I was 9 and I think it contributes to frequent bouts of pessimism. No small part of the credit here goes to Coke Zero and some tasty chocolate.


The Youngblood Family said...

I just finished an Abnormal Psy. class and I so could of used that article. I found it very interesting.

Patty O. said...

Oh, Reba, I so sympathize with you (but also truly admire your fortitude and ability to be happy despite MAJOR sleep deprivation---something I will try to emulate in future tired moments). I can think of few maladies worse than chronic sleep deprivation. Bil actually heard part of a segment on NPR about some disease which causes people to not be able to sleep. The kicker is, the disease is fatal, which I guess just goes to show just how important sleep is. I hope you get a really refreshing nap sometime very soon!

pianogal said...

I just spent half of last night up with a stuffy-nosed kid and couldn't get back to sleep after she finally went back to bed. I was thinking of you and this entry! (It was a good read!) It was like I couldn't turn my brain off and it was absolutely infuriating. I hope I can be as "relatively happy" today as you were after your bout of insomnia!