Thursday, October 8, 2009

On giving in.

Kyle's phone starts beeping in the middle of the night. He wakes up, listens for a minute as his sleepy brain registers the noise, looks at the screen. Junk email. He sighs.
What time is it? I ask.
It's four-forty five, says he.
Guess there's no sleep for me tonight, says I.
In forty-five minutes the alarms will go off, we will press snooze a few times, and then be up for the day.
I need to get some sleep.

The following night, last night, for the first time, I gave in and bought something to help me sleep. After a lifetime of lying in bed staring at the wall, I am caving. I thought maybe this problem could be squashed with chamomile tea and a good routine, but, hello? I am a nurse. There is a very good chance it will be years and years before I have a job which doesn't involve shiftwork. I can't, can't continue like this.

It never, ever takes me less than two hours to fall asleep, and hasn't since I was about five. I remember when my parents would come check on me before they went to bed, they were often shocked to find me awake, quiet, staring at the ceiling. My brother and sister, on the other hand, would give it twenty minutes and then be in the living room with an "I can't sleeeep".

On bad days, I sleep two or three hours or not at all. I feel like I can't turn off my brain, even if I am not thinking or deliberating over anything important. It's usually making to-do lists for the following day, thinking about how I wish I had painted the bedroom when I was on that painting spree in the spring, wondering about the logistics of minimizing dust and dog hair in my home. Small, ridiculous things.

So yesterday, I bought my first bottle of melatonin, three milligrams. I will take it regularly, for a while, and later only when I have the signs of a poor night's sleep: a tight jaw, an active mind. It seemed to work last night, though that could have easily just been utter exhaustion. We will see.

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