Last night I got two hours. I have no idea why. When I don’t sleep, I obsess over it. When I do sleep, I’m surprised and elated. I psych myself out. I always have. And I’m betting that most of you do the same thing. I journal every day and it’s embarrassing how many sentences I’ve written about my sleep (or lack thereof) habits.
How in the world did I live during those years I had to work every day. And the last two years of my outside-the-house working life I had to be on the road every morning at six thirty. How was I even sane?
Because what I do is wake up in the middle of the night and then talk myself out of going back to sleep because there are things that I’m going to have to do. It doesn’t matter that those things won’t happen for five or six … or seven or eight hours. No, I need to fret about them and think about them and process on all of the steps around doing those things until one hour … two hours … three hours … oh darn, it’s time to just get up.
But somewhere in the middle of that awake period, I turn into an insane person. My life is ending, the world is going to hell in a hand-basket, I will never sleep again, I won’t get any work done since my brain is fuzzy … all of that. It’s all so bleak.
I used to try to trick my brain into shutting down and relaxing. People used to say (un) helpful things to me like “Maybe God is trying to talk to you and that’s why you’re awake.” So, I’d ask God what he wanted to talk about. Apparently, he has a long list. Because I was fully engaged at that point. You’d think we could have had that talk when I was alert. I’ve never avoided conversations with him, but I’m not sure why they had to happen at 3:42 in the morning.
Or, I’d turn on the television, hoping white noise would put me back out. Seriously. I’ve seen this episode of MASH, Cosby, Wings, (whatever) thirty five times already. I know how it ends, I should be able to shut my eyes and go to sleep. Okay, turn the sound down really low. Great, Diane … now you’re straining to hear it.
You see, for me to be at my very best, I’m a nine hour a night sleeper.
However, my body thinks that three to four hours is a really good nap and you know, I’m old now and that’s about the perfect time for my bladder to wake me up screeching and running (or tripping over the cat, as the case may be). Don’t turn the lights on, don’t flinch, just go back to bed, shut your eyes and …
The cat is chasing something around the room. Oh look, it’s a full moon. Man, I’m too hot. Why do I have an itch on my ankle? Oh, good heavens, I forgot to ship that book today. Get out of my hair, you stupid fly!
I’m awake. Maybe if I just read a few pages in my book … 2 hours later.
And then there’s another hour of pressing my eyes closed. Is that dawn? Sigh. That means TB is really going to be up and tearing around the house now. That involves him jumping on top of me, not once, but a couple of times in order to get my attention. Or he’ll sit on the bed beside me and scratch at the wall, because in the past, that always stirs me up. Or he’ll sit on the ledge of his cat tree and paw at the window … and look down at me to see if I’m paying attention. One more heavy leap on top of me and then a mad tear off the bed to the other end of the house.
Fine. I’ll get up and go to the bathroom again, because when I finally do go back to sleep, I will want to stay there. That’s all it takes. The cat just needed to know that I was awake. (Why don’t I learn this and get it over earlier rather than later?)
About the time I’m ready to give up, TB will crawl under the top comforter and snuggle up behind my legs. Before I know it, a few more hours have passed, but this time, I’ve been sound asleep.
You’d think I would learn that no matter what or where or when, I will sleep and I will live through the no-sleeping thing. Just like tomorrow is the chance to make a new start, tonight is a fresh opportunity at nine straight hours.