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Monday, December 1, 2008

Sleep: Not enough of it to go around


It's 3:28am. I have been awake for 36 minutes. I went to bed at 12:02am. I have to be awake and getting ready to take the kids to school and head on to work at 6am. If you do the math, you'll see that there is no way I will be getting enough sleep tonight.

If you would look over my sleep patterns for the past week, you will find that I am averaging about 4.6 hours of sleep each night. And if you did a historical retrospective study (is that redundant? I don't know, I'm too tired to decide) on my life as a sleeping -- or non-sleeping, as the case may be -- person, you would find that the last time I got consistently good sleep was probably January 1999.

Some of this not enough sleep business is my own fault. I go to bed too late. I know that, but the clock seems to march double-time after the kids are in bed and the next thing I know it's knocking on midnight.

Often, I'm double-crossed by my own body. I'm awakened by heartburn; by my own internal clock nudging me out of slumber saying, "Wake up. You've gotten 3 full hours of sleep;" or, like tonight, a postnasal drip tickle in my throat that keeps forcing a cough that hurts my throat and keeps me awake.

Other times my sleep deprivation is brought on my someone else: Mike's freight train-like snore. Robbie climbing into our bed and sleeping with his feet up in my rib cage, making me feel like I'm 68-1/2 months pregnant.

I don't hop out of bed immediately when I wake up. I lay there for 20 or 30 minutes hoping for the good fortune to get back to my dreams of being on the Biggest Loser and winning a lifetime supply of Diet Coke. But more often than not, I end up here, checking e-mails and surfing the web.

And what I find taunts the sleepless me. Tonight, I opened my e-mail to find a newsletter called Risks of Insomnia, Part 1 of 8. It is happy to inform me that:

Research shows that a perpetual lack of sleep can:
  • Undermine the body's ability to fight off disease
  • Reduce the quality and quantity of your work
  • Mimic the symptoms of impaired glucose tolerance, which can lead to diabetes and hypertension
  • Hinder weight loss and/or cause weight gain
  • Impair concentration
  • Cause disorientation
  • Slow down the body's reaction time
  • Increase moodiness and irritation
  • Lead to depression
7 out of 9 cannot be good. But fear not, the newsletter goes on to say that lifestyle changes including proper nutrition, stress management, and regular exercise can improve the quality and quantity of my sleep starting tonight! Why does the answer always have to be diet and exercise? Does anyone smell a conspiracy here?

Closing the e-mail and moving on to do a little surfing, I am searching for a letter I'd written to Santa that appeared in a local magazine, when my search turns up this: The Importance of ZZZZZs for Parents. Now how did that turn up in my search results? Am I going to be on Santa's naughty list of lack of quality sleep?

So now it's 3:58am and I've at least turned my sleeplessness into blog productivity. I've spent a half an hour sucking on ice to numb the tickle in my throat and I find myself closing my eyes with my fingers still on the keyboard. If I hurry, I can log another two hours before I have to get up, wake the kids for school and hear them tell me, "Mommy, I can't go to school. I'm too tired."

Tell me about it, kid.


Anonymous said...

Hi Amy,

Good morning (if you can call it that) from a fellow non-sleeper. I got a little more sleep than you did last night, waking up around 3:45 a.m. (bed at 11:00 p.m.), but I still feel your pain. I've been reading blogs and playing mindless games for the past few hours. One day, maybe I'll start blogging to help me fill these sleep-deprived nights.

Lucky me, I get to wake hubby in 15 minutes, and again 10 minutes later, then 10 minutes after that. Then, I am honored with waking my 11-year-old daughter, who has exactly 1/2 hour to get ready and leave for school. When she is heading out the door, I'll wake daughter #2. Luckily, I'm not working today, so when I finally crash this afternoon, I'll be able to take a short nap. Hopefully, you'll be able to find a moment of respite today, too.

Take care,


Sharon said...

Oh gosh, Amy, I can imagine you're worn down! Selfishly, I'm glad you blog. I enjoy your posts. ;)
Now winning a lifetime supply of Diet Coke...awesome.

~ April ~ EnchantedDandelions said...

Oh sweetie! I hope you can start getting more sleep soon. I wish I had some advice for you. :(

Lori said...

I can't help you with the kicking child or snoring husband (although I can definitely relate on the latter), but I have found a simple solution for those nights when I'm lying in bed with my eyes wide open, feeling not at all tired.

Close one eye.

I know it sounds ridiculous, but trying to keep one eye open makes your other eyelid feel ridiculously heavy. I do it for as long as I can, then I close the other eye and go right to sleep.

Otherwise, go downstairs and blog. At least we can get some enjoyment from your sleepless nights.