I’ve never been much of a sleeper. Even as a child, I struggled to sleep, with all the junk whirling around my head, keeping my mind too busy for the good stuff.
In my teens it wasn’t so bad. The young are tough, and who needs sleep when you can be partying? Besides, isn’t that what Sunday mornings are for? Most school nights I’d be up reading ’til three or four in the morning and struggle out of bed at the last minute, never quite late for school. In my twenties with two babies my sleeplessness stood me in good stead. My oldest dort woke every couple of hours all night until she could read herself to sleep, and she never really napped, either. So, like mother, like daughter, I guess.
By my thirties I had more of a routine, and I honestly believed that if I could only get five hours sleep a night, fairly regularly, I could do anything. I was probably kidding myself.
I believe it’s been five nights since I last slept anything like five hours, and I feel a little dull, a little woolly in the head. I don’t feel stressed or particularly tired, and I don’t feel snappish or ragged or strung out. I’d like to sleep, and I know that I will... eventually.
Finally, in my forties, I learned that there is only one way to deal with a lack of sleep, and that is to relax, and to get as much rest as humanly possible. I try not to think about the sleep I am not getting. I try not to clock-watch, I try not to become anxious. I keep my routine just as it is. I go to bed at the same time, and I get up at the same time, and I resist napping. I have books on my little i-pad so I don’t have to turn on a light and wake up the husband, and I have a mini-dvd player on my nightstand with earbuds, loaded with old favourite tv shows on dvd, nothing I haven’t seen before, and nothing too exciting, and I watch that. I might get up and make a hot drink, never caffeinated, but I don’t turn on lights, because it’s still night time and I don’t want to stimulate myself into activity.
I might not be able to sleep, but I can have some peace and quiet, and I can rest, and that has a value all of its own. One day, soon, the sleep will return, and I’ll feel great again for a little while. There’s no way to catch up; lost sleep is lost forever, but I don’t have to be stressed about it. This too shall pass.
Wish me luck for tonight.