Fighting Sheep

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.

17 Comments on “Fighting Sheep

  1. I have to admit when I first signed up to follow the green study, I thought it was going to be an environmental type of website. You know… Go Green! Recycle! etc I am enjoying your blog more and more as I read more and more…. hope the colds go away soon!

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    • Thanks for your patience – sorry to mislead! I certainly aim to be a better steward of the planet, but I have a hard time being hardcore about anything. It might be my short attention span or how annoying I find people who are hardcore. I recycle – I just don’t advertise. I hope the colds go away soon, too. I can’t get rid of the echo in my ears!

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  2. Great last line it surprised me. 🙂 As a generally sleep-deprived person, or one who just has odd insomniac hours I can relate. It can get one a bit loopy.

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    • Thanks. I’m a little worried that the combination of aging and sleep deprivation is going to get mighty ugly. Like trying to park the car in a closed garage or showing up at parent teacher conferences with my underwear worn on the outside of my jeans….it’s waiting for all of us.

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  3. “Re-set night.” I like that term. I have those on occasion, and I usually use a sleep aid, such as Tylenol PM, to help me stay conked out. Aging is a lot of fun, isn’t it?

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  4. I’ve had all those experiences, girlfriend! Some practical thoughts: Let the kid sleep at a 45% angle, not flat, when that cold-cough strikes. I often have success with reading a light magazine in bed for 10 minutes to clear my mind, then use meditation techniques to fall asleep — I clear away all words from my head and picture myself floating and slowly moving over a field of flowers on a “magic carpet” and seeing the colors of flowers change but do not attach any words to the images.It helps me drift off.

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    • We’ve had her at an angle, but this cough seems resistant to that. When I’m feeling a little less self-destructive I have a great guided imagery MP3 that I listen to, except when I’m irritable and mentally cuss at the voice. Somehow, that doesn’t settle me down! I agree with you on the magazine and have done that on occasion. Thanks for the reminder tips!

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  5. Like Bette Davis said, Aging ain’t for sissies! But considering the alternative, I’m happy to be aging! I don’t have sleep issues – I just have to get up a couple of times during the night for a bathroom break, and while I’m up, I usually let the dogs out for their own bathroom break. And I don’t snore, I don’t, I don’t. that noise must be from one of the dogs, or my partner, because I certainly don’t snore! 🙂

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    • This made me laugh. I’m glad to be where I’m at. I think aging requires a really good sense of humor though, which you seem to have in spades!

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  6. Gosh it sounds like we could start a late night book club or poker party or something. I have gone through periods like you describe and if you haven’t experienced real insomnia, you can’t fathom how it impacts your life. The saddest thing for me was finding out that a nightcap (or 3) made it WORSE! Hope you are all well soon!

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    • Thanks for the good wishes. Had a good night’s sleep last night – only had to get up once for coughing child needing water. Now I need another week or so of sleep like that. The problem with insomnia these days, is that I’m so tired I can barely manage to do anything else while remaining completely awake. It’s a weird kind of zombie existence.

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  7. I’ve always been a night person, so I like being up when the world is asleep. Things seem so quiet and still. I just wish it was possible to take naps during the day… that’s when I’m actually tired!

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    • I am usually up by 4am – I’ve always been an early riser. I like it for the same reason you like nights – the world is quiet. By 8pm, I’m ready to call it a day and end up in vegetable land – surfing the web, snacking and writing inarticulate prose. It’s always best if I can sack out by 9pm, but it rarely happens!

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      • Many of my women friends have been that way. Much as I enjoy having someone fall asleep on me (literally on me), it would be nice to enjoy the whole movie together, let alone talk about it afterwards. I need a vampire lady!! 🙂

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  8. Where did you ever get that hysterical sheep photo? I covered up the clock in the bedroom so I can’t see how long I lay without sleeping.

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    • I purchased a subscription to canstock.com. I can usually find photos that fit some goofy idea I have. My favorite find was the pig smoking the cigarette in my post about becoming a vegetarian. That still makes me laugh. Blog advice always suggests original photos, but hey – I’m a writer, not a photographer.

      I toss and turn for what feels like hours, even without a view of a clock.

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