I’ve been trying to post consistently every few days, but I had to let things go a bit this week. We’ve gotten our first round of colds for the season. My daughter has one of those nighttime coughs that no amount of vaporizers, syrups or slanted mattresses can help. Fine during the day, but her lungs rebel at the horizontal position and she hacks the night away.
I’ve been a light sleeper since having a baby and the onset of unreliable hormones. It means that any little noise, off-schedule caffeine, creak in the floorboards, keeps me awake. I am chronically sleep-deprived, propping myself up with caffeine and snarls throughout the day. When I do sleep, it’s heavy, with a horrible middle aged snore that inevitably leads to me sleeping on the couch. I always volunteer to move first, since my husband has to stay awake in an office all day long.
As I’ve gotten older, I realize how critical sleep is to my mood and brain functions. Entire days have passed by and I cannot recollect a single detail. On the occasion when I get a good night’s sleep, I have to re-check all of my paid work to make sure there are no errors. I have to reacquaint myself with my family. I have to apologize to friends for rambling phone calls in which I’ve completely forgotten dates and times of get-togethers. I have to apologize to my body for eating my way through exhaustion and not getting in a workout.
There are a lot of factors to getting a good night’s sleep and it seems if only one thing is off balance, I will awaken, startled in the night, wondering if I cancelled the dentist appointment or if the cats have been fed. On especially awful nights, I hear prowlers and potential kidnappers on the stairs, wrestling with windows, shimmying down drainpipes. I lay tense, thinking about all the objects in the room that could be weapons, in addition to the wooden T-ball bat next to the bed. I imagine that I would kill an intruder and not for just being an intruder, but for waking me up. Again.
When I hit the wall, which is right about yesterday, I have to scale back on the caffeine, stop working, writing or eating into the late hours and force myself to bed. The first night of enforced rest I bitterly resent myself, tossing and turning and bemoaning my every ache and pain. By night two, I get the hang of things. By nights three and four, I start to get cocky. I stay up with a book, get into some show on Netflix, write like a mad journalist on deadline or eat my way through the cupboards. I think that I can resolve some software glitch I’ve been wrestling with for months or write a really great schedule for tomorrow, all the while ensuring that I will have no energy to follow said schedule.
Tonight is a re-set night. There will be lotion on my feet. I will have flossed. My bed will be warmed with a lavender heat wrap. And I will lie there, resentful and self-pitying until blissful sleep overrides my bad decisions.