Friday, 5 October 2012

Toss, turn...

Hello Friends.

Fair warning: someone complaining about how they can't sleep is about as interesting, generally, as someone explaining what they can and can't eat on their diet. It's as exciting to hear about as the driving route someone took to get to a party you're both attending. It ranks up there with someone detailing the weather for the past two weeks in a town about which you've never heard and know nothing. Ironically, this flies in the face of my Dream from a few weeks ago about whining, pouting, and bitching, but sleep is all I can think about in my foggy waking hours, so I'm just gonna write about it, consequences be damned. Silver lining: perhaps my complaining about how I can't sleep is enough to put you to sleep, so you can wait until next Thursday to visit this blog again, or read on and settle in for forty winks that I could desperately use.

Dream: Sleep.

Goal: Achievable? I don't know, you guys. It seems like since moving here six weeks ago, I've tossed and turned every night. Plus the oppressive heat of Toronto's June, July, and August kept me in sufficient discomfort during the wee hours this past summer. It makes me wonder if I ever slept well in my life, and if the perpetual "you look tired!" I always hear is less a passive-aggressive diss and more an accurate assessement.

Plan: Figure out what keeps me up at night and put it to bed.

It's not that I'm not sleeping at all (though I've had a few zero-sleep nights), it's that the only way I seem to be able to drift off is by succumbing to complete exhaustion, which hits me later and later, and then only lets me sleep for a few hours, before jerking me awake for some phantom emergency. I'm a terribly light sleeper so any noise and I'm the jerk who goes, "WHASSA MATTER!" and bolts up.

Unfortunately, there's a great deal of noise to contend with in this building. The neighbours in the apartment next to ours own this dog who goes insane every time his owners leave the apartment, which is usually every morning about 6.30. It usually goes on for about twenty minutes or so, but he manages to somehow wake up all the dogs in the building before he retires for the morning, satisfied his work is done. Incidentally, he barks consistently from about 5 to 6 pm every evening. Instead of waking me up and making me angry, this period of noise just makes me sad. Why have any dogs in an apartment building? I'm sorry, dog lovers, but it's such a small space and they're bored out of their fucking minds.

Our building is also beside a construction site, which makes me want to weep. When we first moved to Toronto, the modest buildings at the end of our street were being torn down to make room for two high-rise apartments. Those buildings were under construction for the entire three years we lived there. Here in Edmonton, they're building onto the parkade adjacent to us, and recently posted a sign saying construction would be ongoing for three years. They don't construct at night, of course, but put a real damper on sleeping in.

Before you mention a helpful sleep hint, I've tried them all. I drink one cup of coffee when I wake up, then no caffeine for the rest of the day. I don't eat a thing after 9 pm anymore. I exercise during the day to try to ensure that my body is tired by bedtime, and it is tired, but my mind just races. I've even tried over the counter sleep aids, and that's turned out to be the scariest thing ever (and not just because, if I've had sex with you in a dream, you might have sleep AIDS now). If I pop a Nytol, my body and head feel all mushy and gooey, but I get the sensation that I'm slowly being pushed underwater. I get this foggy, unpleasant feeling and for some reason my brain makes me snap to and I jolt awake. But why? What in the hell do I need to be awake for? Plus, whenever I have fallen asleep thanks to a pill, my dreams are always those terrible neverending task ones. I'm pertually moving boxes, for instance, or trying to schedule a haircut.

The other thing about lying awake late at night is that, like a buzzing mosquito in a bedroom, the negative thoughts fly in and can't be easily contained. I know admonishing yourself for staying awake by thinking, "GO TO BED, IDIOT!" is no help at all. But then this awful Greek chorus comes in with "Look at your life! Look at your choices! You have no job! What's with your hair?" etc. combined with niggling thoughts that are completely inane like, "Do I wear enough green things?" I consider myself a fairly positive person, but there's no convincing pep talk you can give yourself when it's 6 am and your boyfriend's getting ready for work and you haven't slept because you can't get the lyrics to Somethin' to Talk About out of your head.

The worst and scariest part about this lack of sleep, the thing I hate to admit, is that it doesn't strike on a Friday or Saturday night. Almost never. That's because the Doctor and I have a few drinks, we go see friends, we watch bad tv, we talk, we both go to bed late and we both drift off peacefully and sleep in blissfully. But all of that means that my Sunday to Thursday lack of sleep is nothing medical or physical, it's nothing influenced by external factors. My insomnia, it would seem, is entirely in my own head. This notion is unbelievably frustrating. I would imagine it's like being really overweight, hating how overweight you are, then binge-eating to quell your self-hatred. Maybe it's not exactly like that, but there's something about the body and mind's impulse to betray its host at its own peril. Why would I willingly do this to myself?

I know that this too shall pass. I eventually have to get hired somewhere and the externally-imposed schedule will demand that I'm functional from this time until that time and it will just work out. It happened when, after years of shift work, I finally got nine-to-five employment. Despite my concerns that an early rising time would be impossible to meet, I actually got on the best sleep schedule I've had since I was in school. Being mentally stimulated all day meant I slept like a baby all night. So I suppose the best Plan is finding a satisfying, interesting way to fill the days. Let's hope this Goal is Achievable, and lets me Dream again.

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