Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Sleep and Me

Benchley demonstrating How to Sleep. The short...Image via WikipediaI'm just not a very good sleeper. I mean, like someone could say they're not a good pianist or not a good organiser. It's a skill I just happen to lack. If there'd been 'how to sleep' classes when I was a kid, I'd have been an ideal candidate for them.

Of course, when I was a kid, it didn't seem like a big deal. Nothing seems like a big deal when you're a kid, and the fact that from about 10 years old I'd go to bed after my parents did and wake up before them just wasn't really commented on. My parents just said, 'well, don't stay up too late', and head off. Five hours or so just seemed to be enough for me back then.

Now, I have no real idea how to answer the question, 'how much sleep is enough for you' except to say, 'more than I'm getting'. It takes me a good long time to drift off, I grind my teeth so much I've broken a few, I do that leg-kicking thing, I snore, and I wake up every ninety seconds.

I find that last one hard to believe myself, but I've had tests done and that's what they tell me. Not that I 'wake up' but that I 'rouse' every ninety seconds on average - that means come to the verge of being awake, out of deep sleep anyway. I don't notice this, but certainly I'm no ball of energy in the morning.

Compound this with the fact that I have a toddler who still hasn't really figured out how to sleep through the night... it's all a recipe for pretty darn low energy levels.

They gave me sleeping pills once, pills that had this cool effect of doing nothing at all for almost precisely twenty minutes before suddenly turning me off as if I had an on/off switch. When I was taking them, seemingly no time would pass at all until it was morning. I can't really say how much it helped my energy levels or overall wellness, but it made nights easier anyway. But when I went off them, it was just the same as it always used to be. Add to that the fact that within a month my daughter was born - and then sleep was just a luxury.

They tell me if I take the same pills for a longer course, it might well 'cure' the waking-up thing (maintenance insomnia, they call it). But that also means putting all responsibility for screaming-baby-care squarely in my wife's lap, and I'm not eager to do that. But yeah I can't say I hate the idea of a good night's sleep. I've read about them; I hear they're cool.

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