Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Woman of the Night

I still remember the annoyance of listening to my sister breathe. In, out. In, out. I would give anything--anything--if I could just sleep like that.

My tiny fingers pressed against my eyes, harder… harder… if I squashed them hard enough, maybe I would get sleepy. I didn't… but I did discover little glowing shapes that stayed with me through the night.

I was four years old, but later insomnia followed me through middle school, high school, and college. I learned to work with it; writing papers most nights from 11-2. I was truly alive during those hours, but driving to work the next morning was somewhat like letting a toddler behind the wheel…

...after giving him a Percocet.

Then I met him: The Caveman, a.k.a., the man who rose and set with the sun. Literally.

How this gorgeous man fell in love with me, I couldn't figure out--until I realized after months of dating long-distance that he'd probably been sleeping through my late-night phone confessionals. For months after the wedding I would say, "Don't you remember?---" and he would just sit, wide-eyed.

It wasn't that he didn't care after 7 p.m. in the summer (or 5 p.m. in the winter). It's just that talking to him was as pointless as explaining to that two-year-old on Percocet why he had to get out from behind the wheel. He just wasn't with me.

About six months into this marriage thing, I realized one of us was going to have to change our biological clocks. The only time we were both coherent at the same moment was the middle of the day. This left any weekend I didn't happen to be at work for us to hang out.

I was desperate. I'm not proud to admit… I turned to drugs.

Benadryl became my dear my friend. I've been drugging for six years now, and my relationship with my man has improved greatly. I wake up to him refreshed, happy, and alive. (After my toddler hands me a cup of coffee and waits for a sign of life.)

Unfortunately, scientists just came out with a study that says Benadryl kills brain cells and contributes to Alzheimer's. I thought long and hard about that. I pictured us as old, decrepit lovers--me, unable to remember his name.

Wait a second. That's pretty much how I am now with my insomnia, right?

So I guess the question is… do I want my coherent years now, or later?

Questions 4 U: When's the best time for you to write? Do you wake up, or set with the sun?


  1. One word for you: Melatonin.
    Personal Confession: both of my boys take it so I have sanity in the evenings. (Some days I wish the girls took it too!)

    As for writing....
    I am a grog fest without my coffee regardless of bedtime - but I can be found writing even then. Usually my characters tuck in for the night around 9:30 unless something exciting is going on. 8)
    My sleep has been irregular this past year, insomnia coming to visit more than it has in a long time. A few months ago I would regularly find myself wide awake at 4am-ish much to my chagrin. Somehow I made the most of that time by writing (still not sure how). I have to juggle my life around a lot of other people in the house so a consistent writing time is often impossible. (Except maybe 4am; but I really would prefer to be asleep then....)

  2. Yeah, Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome and we can't sleep. Go figure. Wonder whose bright idea it was to give it that name? I have done the benadryl beast for years until I recently discovered tryptophan which had a bad rap until of late. It works well, I sleep better and more soundly. Still have the CFIDS but at least recognize the various traits of it and how to help those I can. :)

  3. I am a late-night writer. If anything I write is any good, it probably came to be between 10:00PM and 2:00AM... which is fine until you're in college and you can't stay up late like that and still be functional enough to pass your 8:00 class the next morning. :/

  4. Hey Bekah, have you tried essential oils? Lavender, and I think bergamot, and maybe there's another too, are supposed to be epic in helping people fall asleep, even if they have hard core insomnia.

    Also, I write best at night. That's when my overactive-scardy-cat imagination kicks in. =)