Friday, May 11, 2007

I've got to get turned on to turn off

I've tried all sorts of things over the years to trick my mind into turning off so I can sleep, with varying degrees of success.

I'm not sure if I'm a classic insomniac or not, because most nights that I "can't sleep" I'm really not even trying. Instead I watch bad late night TV, goof around on the computer, get wrapped up into some little project, pick that time to do household chores.

Rarely do I lay in the dark staring off toward the ceiling begging for sleep. However, I did do that a lot as a child. Until the age when my mom no longer set a bedtime for me, it was not uncommon that I would lay in bed, daydreaming some elaborate scenario about the adventures I would have as an adult.

The only times the insomnia really causes problem are few. There are periodically days that the alarm clock is not enough to roust me from the sleep that has finally come sometime in the pre-dawn (or occasionally post-dawn) hours. The only other times it has been real noticeable is when I have been sharing my bed with someone else.

A few years back when I was working a late shift, my ex would either be getting ready for bed or would already be asleep on the couch with the TV on. After getting her to bed, she would usually demand that I lay next to her until she fell back asleep, which usually took all of 30 seconds. It used to fascinate me that a person could fall asleep so quickly, easily and regularly. It seemed magical to me. As soon as the clock would strike 11 p.m. she would undergo a transformation. We could be in the middle of a conversation and suddenly I would realize that she wasn't talking anymore. Even if her eyes weren't closed she would be in a near catatonic state. If you didn't get her to bed and horizontal soon, she would fall over wherever she was sitting.

Often as she slept I would lay there next to her and watch her sleep as if I looked close enough and hard enough I could discover her secret for effortless sleep. To make matters worse, she was a morning person, up early, going through an elaborate routine, parading in and out the patio door, just inches from my side of the bed. Fortunately, most mornings if I'm awakened by some sound, like a sliding patio door, a ringing phone or an alarm clock, all I have to do is plop back into bed or roll over and I'm out again almost instantly (if only I could do that at the beginning of the night, rather than the morning).

No, instead I work myself into a state of complete mental and physical exhaustion most nights before I can turn off the light and crawl into bed. I have a love-hate relationship with my bed. I hate crawling into it but I love being in it once I'm asleep and hate to leave it.

One thing that I have tried recently that has worked is listening to mellow music or some certain podcasts on my iPod at night. If and when the day ever comes again when I do share my bed with someone again, I don't know if that will go over too well. Some people seem to like quiet when they sleep. Quiet doesn't work for me, very well, because if it's quiet then every little sound is an interruption. Cars, sirens, neighbors talking, walking, flushing the toilet. Every little sound scratches on frazzled and frayed nerves. I need a low hum of some type to drown out the little noises outside my room, until I reach a deep sleep anyway. After that, a freight train could roar past my window and I wouldn't care.

I guess it's time to put on a podcast, or maybe some Diana Krall or Nora Jones. My favorite podcasts to dream to haven't had any new episodes in a while.


Gene said...

Squinting at a crossword without glasses works for me...tire out those eyes...otherwise, I lie (got that?) for a long while.

3rdtimesacharm( 3T ) said...

Nice play on words in the subject title, Mr. G-Man! ;-)

What about one of those Sharper Image white noise sound machines? It has the ocean, rain, forgs, birds, and plain ol' white nose. I like the ocean waves personally.

Can't hurt to try it. Well except for the 40 or 50 bucks it cost to pick on up. (It's been a while since I purchased one.)

But if the IPod works...


The G-man said...

Gene, I actually did Sudoku puzzles for a while, and that sometimes worked. And thanks for the grammar correction. I knew it wasn't laid, though.

And 3T I may try one of those white noise machines sometime. Although I'm not sure if nature sounds would work for me. Real nature sounds don't. Maybe retirement would work for me though. I always seem to get sleepy early on Friday nights when I don't have to get up early the next day to go to work.

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