Elusive sleep

The night seemed long.
Wilbur’s stomach was empty and his mind was full.
And when your stomach is empty and your mind is full,
it’s always hard to sleep.

E.B. White, Charlotte’s Web 

Well, gentle readers, here we are.  It’s after two o’clock in the morning and I am wide awake.  Mentally, that is.  Physically, I’m exhausted.  I’ve been up since six o’clock yesterday morning, and my body has run out of steam. Otherwise, I would probably be cleaning the apartment right now, rather than playing on the internets while lying in bed.  My body is ready for a few Zs.

It’s this razzle-frazzle brain that just won’t shut up!  It is constantly buzzing with thought, reviewing the events of the day, planning practice time for tomorrow, inventing clever retorts to the snide remark to which I should have responded nearly twelve hours ago, freaking myself out by overanalyzing the strange nighttime sounds of the apartment building.  The more I try to quiet it, the louder the buzzing becomes.

So, I find myself like Wilbur, except that my stomach isn’t particularly empty.

Since I’m no stranger to insomnia, I have a long list of sleep aides in my bag of tricks, few of which actually work.  (I’m talking natural sleep aides; I have yet to take an actual sleeping pill and I do not intend to begin any time soon.) From tea to hot baths to NyQuil to Werner Herzog, I have tried everything I can think of, and more often than not I find myself more awake than ever.

I’ve considered the possibility that the anticipation of sleep is what’s keeping me up, but thinking about it only complicates the problem further.

When I was a little kid, my dad would rub my back and tell me stories until I fell asleep.  What I wouldn’t give for one of those back rubs right now…  It’s times like these when it really sucks sleeping alone.

Does sleep ever elude you?  What do you do when it does?


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. curlywurlygurly
    Apr 16, 2009 @ 21:17:23

    i hate when snappy retorts come 12 hours too late. 😦 sorry to hear you can’t sleep…i have trouble staying asleep and don’t have any quick fixes for you. you could always try reading a horrible book…that could do it. 🙂


  2. Joy
    Apr 18, 2009 @ 20:40:20

    I was going to suggest reading too. That almost always makes me sleepy if I’m reading laying down. I do have trouble sleeping but usually fall asleep right away and wake up a few hours later unable to fall back to sleep. If it’s bad enough, I just get up and try again in a little while. The longer I lay there the worse it gets so it helps me to get up and move around. Sometimes a nice warm shower helps even if it’s at 3 AM. It makes me warm and calms me down.

    Good luck. Not sleeping is the pits.


  3. Megan
    Apr 22, 2009 @ 11:54:37

    Every night without fail, I lay in bed and read — until the book slips from my fingers and my eyes shut whether I want them to or not. Most of the time, I barely make it through a few pages… but it’s a way to really quiet and steady my mind before sleep. If I don’t have a book handy or I can’t read — like when I’m on vacation and sharing a room, etc. — I can lay there for hours! Not fun.

    On the nights I’m so anxious or upset or just wading around in insomnia, I force myself to keep my eyes shut and lay in the darkness, picture a blank TV screen (static and all) and count backwards from 100, really concentrating on each number in my mind! I’m pretty sure it works… I wake up in the morning without any real idea what happened 🙂

    Good luck!


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