Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Who Needs Sleep?

The question is who needs sleep. The answer is, of course, EVERYONE.

The problem, however, is that I have apparently decided to give up sleeping. Which sucks because I really do love to sleep. Sleep is awesome.

What is not awesome is lying wide awake in your bed not sleeping. When I go to bed, I listen to Joe toss and turn. I listen to Joe snore. I listen to Sebastian snore. Some nights, I even listen to Mischa snore. On the nights when Mischa is not snoring, she is often whimpering. I can only imagine that she is having nightmares about wayward bridges, cookie sheets or magazines. Maybe all three. I can imagine that and do. Because I'm wide awake.

I also listen to the cats. They get banned from the bedroom every night because the orange one, Jenny, is just frakking annoying. She wants to be as close as possible to you. She'll sit right on your face if you let her. We don't let her. We throw her out. So Jenny and Lily spend all night wrestling up and down the hallway. Sometimes they sit in front of the bedroom door and meow. Sometimes, I listen to Lily sneeze. Lily has this apparently non-curable respiratory infection that causes her to sneeze. As in all over the place. Most of the time it's pretty harmless, just a little gross. Other times, it's so freaking disgusting, there aren't words.

So yeah, I listen to that too. I listen to the heat come on. I listen to the heat go off. I listen to the filter in Joe's fish tank. When it's windy outside, I listen to that too.

I also think. I think about scenes I'm writing. I think about books I'm reading or shows I watched that night, or shows I'm planning to watch the next night. I think about my plans for the coming day. I think about things that piss me off. There are, often times, a lot of things that piss me off.

Like not sleeping. That pisses me off.

So, when I went to the grocery store Tuesday, I picked up some Rescue Remedy Sleep Aid. It's all natural and non-habit forming. The box said it would help calm a restless mind. The box said it worked quickly. The box said two squirts on my tongue and I'd soon be asleep.

The box is a big fat liar.

Two squirts on my tongue (by the way, the stuff is disgusting.) and all I got out of it was a chance to test my gag reflex (in tact, in case you wondered.) and dry mouth because here it is, four thirty in the freaking morning, and I'm writing a blog about how much I can't sleep.

And now it's to the point where, even if I could sleep, I wouldn't bother because Mischa is going to be up in an hour and a half anyway because she doesn't comprehend the concept of sleeping in. She'll actually be pacing around the bedroom in about an hour in anticipation of getting up. On the mornings when I don't get out of bed to write blogs or read books, I lie in bed and listen to her pace. Taptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptap from one end of the bedroom to the other. It's really the only time I regret having such a large bedroom. Meanwhile, the boys are both still snoring and I'm watching the freaking sunrise.

But the absolute best part (SARCASM ALERT!), is when Joe, who has, by the way, been sleeping since nine or ten the night before, gets out of bed and promptly complains about being tired. I, of course, always respond with loving empathy. Never with cranky bitchy sarcasm.

So here's what I'm doing now to kill time: I read the headlines on MSN. A man is facing assault charges for roughing up the Chuck E. Cheese's mascot. A woman called 911 after the McDonald's she was in ran out of chicken nuggets. What the hell is wrong with people? I was flipping through my dictionary a moment ago and discover that the definition of the word "water snake" is as follows: a snake that lives in or near the water. Well, thanks for clearing that up. By the way, I wasn't looking for the definition of the word "water snake"...just happened to catch my eye. Oh look, here's another one: wrist band: a band worn around the wrist. A "xystus" is an Ancient Greek walkway with a roof supported by pillars. That one I didn't actually know.

Yep. It's coming up on five in the morning and I am actually reading the dictionary. Not that there's anything wrong with that, really. It's a good way to learn things. It's just that, at five in the morning, I'd much rather be sleeping. But instead, I guess I'll google "trouble sleeping" and see what pops up.

Here are some suggestions for getting a good night's sleep (courtesy of 4therapy.com, the first on the results page.)

**Follow a regular schedule--go to sleep and get up at the same time each day. If I could go to sleep, I wouldn't be needing suggestions for getting a good night's sleep.

**Avoid taking cat-naps during the day. I never take cat naps. Next?

**Try to exercise at regular times each day. Moderate physical activity 2 to 4 hours before bedtime may improve your sleep. 2 to 4 hours before bed, I'm usually playing with Mischa to help improve her sleep. Unfortunately, it still does nothing for mine.

**To adjust your internal sleep clock, try to get some exposure to the natural light in the afternoon each day. Check. Now what?

**Eat smart, avoid heavy dinners, and don't eat too close to bedtime. I have no smart ass comment for this one. Except that I just don't tend to do that.

**Avoid drinking caffeinated beverages late in the day--caffeine is a stimulant that can keep you awake. I haven't had a caffeinated beverage since 2005.

**Refrain from drinking alcohol close to bedtime or in an effort to help you sleep. Drinking even small amounts of alcohol can make it harder to stay asleep. Dammit. I was going to try that next. What if I mix the alcohol with the sleeping pills? Is that all right?

**Smoking in an effort to help you sleep can have the opposite effect since nicotine is a stimulant. I don't smoke. I'm still using my lungs.

**Do something pleasurable before bedtime to help you unwind and get your mind off the day's responsibilities and nagging concerns. Like taking the dogs outside and standing in the single digit degree night while I wait for Sebastian to find a goddamn place to take a dump?

**Take a relaxing shower or bath before bedtime and, if you like to use fragrances, consider using lavender scented body soaps, lotions or oils for its naturally calming effect. Been there, done that. Didn't work out.

**Avoid over-stimulation before you go to bed. And only go to bed when you're actually tired. Don't try to force yourself to sleep, instead get up and "do something boring" then head back to bed. Trust me, I'm really tired.

**Be especially thoughtful about what end-of-the-night TV shows you watch and your bedtime reading selections. Avoid content that focuses on issues that are disturbing or that dwell on a topic that's currently causing you to feel concerned, worried, threatened, or afraid. Well, the selection of the top twelve contestants on American Idol concerns us all.

**Listen to music you especially enjoy at bedtime. Play it at a low volume and make sure to select music with especially soothing rhythms and calming lyrics. Gregorian chants, anyone?

**Consider purchasing an acoustic "nature sounds simulator relaxation machine" (typically under $20. at certain pharmacies, or stores like Target). Settings for such sounds as "Spring rain," "mountain stream," "ocean waves," and ""summer night" can help relieve end-of-the-day stress and act as a natural sleep aid. Yeah. Right.

**Create a safe and comfortable sleeping environment. Make sure there are locks on all doors and smoke alarms on each floor. A lamp that's easy to turn on and a telephone by your bedside may be helpful. In addition, the room should be dark, well ventilated, and have all nonessential sounds blocked out. Non essential sounds...you mean like "Spring Rain" or "Mountain Stream" right?

Anyway, the next two results are music videos on YouTube. Because that'll be helpful. Well, maybe they have soothing rhythms and calming lyrics. I hear that can help.

The next result is a site with a quiz called "Do You Have Insomnia?" I think I'll take the sleep quiz to find out. It should take under five minutes. It actually takes about two, and that's only if you read each question really, really slowly. I score a 20. I have no idea what that means. The only numbers on the entire quiz were the question numbers. Don't these people know enough not to frak with insomniacs? I mean, even Joe, once he complains about how frakking tired he is, will stay the hell out of my way. Is 20 good? Is it bad? What's the scale here? I scored 20 out of what? 20? 30? 100? What? Frakkers.

"Superannuate" means to retire, or retire someone, with a pension. Just thought you should know. Oh look. An ivory billed woodpecker is a woodpecker with an ivory-colored bill. Who the frak wrote this dictionary because I am going to kick their frakking ass.

Hmmm...Maybe I'll go write some lyrics instead.

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