Tuesday, March 3, 2015

On My Incurable Insomnia SOL#15 Day 3



If my night life had a narrative, it would be this: I "lack the season of all natures, sleep." 

Lady Macbeth offers this diagnosis to Macbeth whose conscience torments him so that he earlier proclaims:  

Methought I heard a voice cry 'Sleep no more!
Macbeth does murder sleep,' the innocent sleep,
Sleep that knits up the ravell'd sleave of care,
The death of each day's life, sore labour's bath,
Balm of hurt minds, great nature's second course,
Chief nourisher in life's feast. (Macbeth 2.2.46-51)

I think about these lines from Macbeth often as I lie awake at night, which I did Sunday night. Indeed, Sunday night tends to be the time I most often experience insomnia. 

My insomnia has a name, but its causes are as numerous as the herd of sheep prancing through the insomniac's mind:

  • Worry--about school, about my children, about trip preparations, about the dogs, about this that and the other. 
  • Noise--from my husband's snoring, from my husband's C-Pap (sounds like heavy breathing), from the neighbors playing basketball or hosting a party during the summer, from the dogs barking at the air, from Snug's snoring (Snug is our schnauzer.)
  • Light--from the moon, from the stars, from the shadows, from the garage and porch lights I left on for my children when they come to visit, from my iPhone when a student in Comm 1101 texts me a question in the middle of the night.
  • Chronology--from my advancing years!
  • Reading--from reading through the night to finish a book, from thinking about the book I want to read but that I put down so I could sleep.
  • Temperature--from too much heat to too much cold. I rarely have a Goldilocks experience.
  • Pain--from exercise; from lack of exercise; from back pain, residue from a ruptured disc long ago. 
During the night, I'm a very busy person. I write lesson plans in my mind, I answer email, I check Facebook, I cruise Pinterest, I contemplate what I'll wear to work, I pet Snug as he snuggles at the foot of the bed, I think about retiring to a beach in the Caribbean, I daydream. 

I'm not alone. According to  "Fast Awake and Wide Asleep," a 2014 article in New Scientist, 15-40% of the population worldwide suffers from insomnia. 

Many who experience insomnia suffer from sleep apnoea, restless leg syndrome, acute stress levels, orcadian rhythm disorder, REM parasomnia (violent behavior while sleeping), and in rare cases, narcolepsy. 

I'm lucky that I don't have any health issues that interfere with catching some shut-eye, and I know that I'll sleep the next night. I also know that come summertime my sleep will normalize. 

If your bedtime story, like mine, too often reads more like Eyes Wide Shut than like Goodnight Moon, rest easy in knowing other night walkers crowd source with you. 




16 comments:

  1. Well it sounds like you try hard to make good use of your sleeplessness. I occasionally have a worried-filled-anxiety-laden night like that and am wiped for days!

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    1. I think it's easier for teachers to function after a sleepless night if we keep moving. Exercise also helps, although getting to the gym after not sleeping is tough.

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  2. With ya ... I do writing in my head as I sleep and then wake in the middle of night with stories, songs, lesson plans, etc ..... may your sheep find slumbering repose ...
    Kevin

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    1. Do you remember what you write in your head? I keep lots of pens and some paper handy, but somehow getting my arm to lift and move is a task that often eludes me. When I do sleep, I end up forgetting.

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  3. I totally relate to your post and many of your reasons for insomnia as well. I hope tonight is better!

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    1. Thanks. Insomnia is one of those things I don't wish on anyone.

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  4. I totally relate to your post and many of your reasons for insomnia as well. I hope tonight is better!

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  5. I share a bed with an insomniac like you - my husband! Years back, we set up a small room next to our bedroom as his 'go to' place for his "busy night" - I love that line of yours, "During the night, I'm a very busy person." After all these years of his night wakefulness, I question whether we all need the same amount of sleep...he amazes me in his ability to have a productive day. My guess is you do, too!

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    1. We have a guest room, currently occupied by one of our dogs who enjoys sleeping in a queen-size bed, that I could use, but I'm trying not to become my grandma, whom I never remember sharing a room w/ my grandpa. They were, however, married 50 years!

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  6. I share a bed with an insomniac like you - my husband! Years back, we set up a small room next to our bedroom as his 'go to' place for his "busy night" - I love that line of yours, "During the night, I'm a very busy person." After all these years of his night wakefulness, I question whether we all need the same amount of sleep...he amazes me in his ability to have a productive day. My guess is you do, too!

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  7. Wow- felt like I could have written this. Good luck getting some sleep!

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    1. Thanks. I had another restless night last night. I blame the snow!

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  8. Wow- felt like I could have written this. Good luck getting some sleep!

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  9. I am a sleeper and generally have no trouble falling or staying asleep. My husband, on the other hand, for a variety of physical reasons, sleeps no more than 3 hours at time. During the school year, the guest room is my haven. I wouldn't be able to function!

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  10. Like, Deb I'm a sleeper. Friends used to tease me for my early bedtime but it works well when your wake up is o'dark thirty. During a bout of sleeping difficulty, I made myself feel better about being awake by researching sleep and discovered segmented sleep ideas (the first sleep, the second sleep). Thought to be common before the Industrial Revolution--that made me feel better. Wishing you good rest!

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