Lord, I'm Sleepy!

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I rarely am insomnical, but my God, the other night was dreadful, with the cats keeping me up, and such a limited time for sleeping that I practically slit my wrists when the alarm rang at 6a. Do you have trouble sleeping?

-- Kymm Zuckert (hedgehog@hedgehog.net), August 21, 2000


At least once a year I get a bout of insomnia. It hasn't happened yet, so I still have it to look forward to.

It's generally in late August or early September, so I might as well blame the heat.

Otherwise, I do "relaxation exercises" everynight to soothe myself to sleep. Counting backwards from 100 almost always works.

-- Jackie (jackie@jackie.nu), August 21, 2000.

Ever since I started drinking gallons of water a day, if I wake up in the night I HAVE to get up and go to the bathroom or I can't fall back asleep. It sucks.

Also, I married a man who's out in two minutes flat. No joke. It's one of his worst habits. I hate it. Even after years of it, I lie there thinking, "O, I'm still awake and T. is snoring, I'm going to be up all night."

-- Jessie (blue@avocation.org), August 21, 2000.

Recently, yes, but that's partly because I'm housesitting, and the 16- year-old boy who also lives in the house is about as good as I am when it comes to shopping, which means that the only food purchases of the last three weeks have been Frito-Lay products and marshmallow fluff. So I haven't exactly been eating balanced meals. And that always makes me sleep badly.

Also, the temperatures in Bucharest have been close to 100 F, so my little attic room becomes a little oven. I usually stagger down to the main floor to sleep in air-conditioned splendor, but this means that my cat decides to bounce around in the closets.

Tomorrow I will be awake at 4:30 a.m. for a 7:00 a.m. flight. The second flight won't land until the equivalent of 8:15 p.m., and disembarking and customs and travel home and whatnot will mean I won't even have a chance of sleeping until 11 p.m. It doesn't sound so bad when I put it like this, I guess, but I know I'm going to be a little Air France zombie, especially because there will still be several hours of daylight remaining when I get back to Chicago, so my body will be all, "huh?"

My body is easily confused....

-- Dorothy Rothschild (dorothyr@spies.com), August 21, 2000.


I went to bed at midnight. I woke up at one because the dog was throwing up on my bed. I woke up a little later because Jeremy was going to bed. I woke up around three because I itched. I woke up around four because the dog itched. I woke up at five because the neighbors turned their light on and started talking. I got up at five thirty and said fuck it.

I can't remember the last time I got eight hours of sleep all in a row. I don't think I've ever gotten that much sleep on a regular basis.

-- Beth (beth@xeney.com), August 21, 2000.

Jeff likes to fall asleep listening to the TV. I can't fall asleep listening to the TV, because I get pulled into Watching The TV and end up staying up many hours later than I had intended. This rule applies no matter how sucky the programming is on. I can always find something that will keep me awake. My best bet is to go to bed, turn the TV off immediately, and then I'll sleep. We do have a timer on the TV, it's in 15 minute increments, but 9 times out of 10, by the time the 15 minutes is up, I'm hooked into the program and have to see the ending.

-- Amanda Page (amanda@amandasprecipice.com), August 21, 2000.

Generally it takes no more than ten minutes or so of reading in bed, and I'm asleep. However, our neighborhood has been undergoing gentrification, which actually seems to make things worse, because as we poor bohemians and student types and working-class folks are forced to leave, in come families full of noisy children and rich techie yuppies who party on their balconies all night long. So through my west-side bedroom windows there's a large drunken cocktail party going on every freaking night until 3 AM (I can hear their conversation loud and clear, and if they think they're witty and sophisticated they've got another think coming), and if I retreat to the living room there's a baby that shrieks at 75 decibels all night long, and I lie there fuming and wondering why someone doesn't stuff a sock in the kid's mouth. If this goes on any longer, I will be forced to stick my boom-box up against the window and give someone an earful of the opening monologue of "Full Metal Jacket." Do I sound cranky? Do I, now? Maybe I should take a nap. Goodnight ladies,


-- Catriona Richardson (catri696@purpleturtle.com), August 21, 2000.

I normally don't have any problem falling asleep, although I do have a bit of a rule about not lying down until I absolutely can't stay awake any longer. There are nights, like last night, when my mind just zooms along and won't shut the hell up. I got maybe five hours. And there are nights when I put off sleep because I somehow feel that I'm cheating myself out of time I could be using to do something important. Where did that come from? I have always loved sleep.

If something interrupts my slumber (which is rare, unless I'm not remembering it), I can usually go back to sleep if I lie down again within five minutes or so. But I read something really scary last week, a story about a study that said that by age 45, men lose nearly all ability to enter deep sleep. Now, deep sleep makes up a small portion of your average night, and I know as we age we get less sleep and lower-quality sleep, and I'm not nearly 45 yet, but geez, do they have to put it like that? Forty-five's not ancient, and am I supposed to pretend I'm not somehow going to miss my deep sleep? It even sounds comforting. Deep sleep. Deeeeeeeep sleeeeeeep. Actually, the point of the study, which can be found at CNN.com, is that a growth hormone is produced during deep sleep, and without it, middle-aged people tend to gain weight (oh, and "reduced muscle mass and strength, and reduced exercise capacity"). So, in lieu of some future hormone shot or sleeping pill, I have that to forward to also. Again, not unexpected, but I'm thinking that some things are better off left as mysteries of the human body.

-- Charlie (jovi775@yahoo.com), August 22, 2000.

I've had chronic insomnia for the better part of my adult life, probably the last fourteen years.

There is nothing like not sleeping for 96+ hours. There is no pain or horror like it.

I've tried everything but drugs and hypnosis. I haven't done the drug thing because my worst insomniac bouts have been in the past few years when I've either been pregnant or nursing. If current trends continue beyond the weaning of my youngest (who turns one this weekend, hurrah!) I may have to give in and go for the prescription.

On that note, I'm going to go try to sleep now. It's been 53 hours.

-- Dreama (dreama@bluesilver.org), August 24, 2000.

Lord, yes! And to see the result go to http://www.geocities.com/dreamboi81

-- Michael (dreamboi81@yahoo.com), August 25, 2000.

I usually have a lot of trouble falling asleep. I tried melatonin last night, and while I still was awake for over an hour, it relaxed me so much I didn't care that I wasn't asleep. Has anyone else tried it? Is it one of those things that you have to take for a while before it really starts to help?

-- Mary Ellen (sarcasticah@yahoo.com), August 30, 2000.

Sleep? What is this phenomenom you speak of? I have developed insomnia, and since I came to college, with its wonderful 24-hour internet access, I never sleep before 2...and usually its 4 or 5 AM when I pass out....though I can manage to sleep through important classes....hmm.....

-- Stacy Vega (sane_enough72@37.com), May 27, 2002.

Sleep? what the hell is that? :) hee hee no really I swear about 4 days out of the week I have serious insomnia! my brain just wracks and wracks out new ideas all night long, and my heart beat races! it's outragious! I used to think it was because I drank too much Dr. Pepper, but I've been off all soda for almost a year, so I know it isn't that.(I added all of the ounces I was drinking of whatever soda and it came out to almost 90 ounces that's why I stopped drinking it) I guess it's just that I can't sleep, but once I fall asleep the only thing that wakes me up is my cell phone vibrating on the night stand. weird huh? I wake up to background noises only! loud noises don't faze me at all.

-- Lisa (lightning_stalker@hotmail.com), February 28, 2004.

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