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What I Wouldn’t Give for a Solid Eight Hours.

Breadman's Daughter| Views: 328

I sleep like a baby. A newborn. On a good night, I get four hours sleep. On a not-so-good night it could be three, sometimes even two measly hours. I’m like one of those infants who make their parents regret not using birth control.

It’s been this way since I was pregnant with my youngest daughter. She’s now twenty-nine. Add nine months and you’ve got roughly thirty years of interrupted lousy sleep. And I’m really tired of it. Enough already.

I’ve tried all kinds of things in my quest for a solid eight. Everything from booze to baths.

I’ve practiced fastidious sleep hygiene. And nightly rituals. Body parts are always carefully washed and brushed. I’ve tested sundry things to eat. Or not eat. Or when to eat. Or what. I’ve tried exercising before bed. Lightly because the strenuous kind is too stimulating. And we don’t want that. I’ve tried relaxing nighttime yoga. This stresses me out when serenity can be so fleeting and fugacious. Bedtime meditations. These make me want to get out of bed. I’ve practiced mindfulness. I can’t get my mind off the fact that I’m wide awake. I’ve counted sheep. And all the other farm animals. It gets very noisy inside my head.

I’ve experimented with different bedtimes to find the optimum, the most perfect time, to hit the hay. I have considered a mattress made of hay. Is this not the ultimate in au naturel? And hey if it’s good enough for horses. They seem to have no problem sleeping. In the end, I’ve learned that it doesn’t matter when I go to bed. If I go to bed at ten o’clock, I wake up roughly four hours later. Same thing happens at nine or eleven.

Over the years, I’ve explored and re-explored various natural sleep aids and supplements. M&M, for example. Melatonin & Magnesium. I take this combo occasionally with a warm milk chaser. I do like to take a walk on the wild side sometimes. The thing is, Melatonin puts me to sleep in much the same way a shot of Writers Tears does but it fails to keep me in dreamland. I like Magnesium but too much and I’m up in the middle of the night letting loose and not in a fun way. I’ll skip the details and let you use your imagination.

I’ve detoxed the bedroom. All things digital and annoying have been removed. So, no television, iMac, iPad, iPhone, laptop, or anything that snores or cries out in the night. There are, however, a few items that I refuse to remove from the bedroom. Books. Reading in bed is my magnificent obsession, my glorious lifelong habit that I will not surrender, abstain, nor abandon. I admit. I’m a novel junkie. And I surrender all.

And here’s a little paradoxical conundrum. I have absolutely no problem falling asleep. Staying asleep is the issue. When I wake up in the middle of the night, or during the hour of the wolf, the challenge is getting back to sleep. Sometimes I’m successful. Sometimes not. Regardless, reading helps. Typically, a page or two, maybe three, into the current book on the nightstand and it’s lights out. I’m dead to the world. Put me in front of the television set and I’m a goner. On movie nights, I tell my family, “It doesn’t matter to me what we watch. Pick something, anything. You all know I’m going to fall asleep before the opening sequence ends and the movie begins.” That is a fact. Of course, I’m wide awake as soon as the closing credits start to roll. But I did have the magnificent two-hour sleep. Just like a newborn.