I have never been a great sleeper, but lately it seems my choices of how I feel in the morning are one of two things – drugged or tired. I fall asleep fine; it’s the middle of the night or early morning hours that haunt me. I wake up anywhere from 2 to 5 a.m. – because my bladder calls, Kaya lets out a yell in her sleep or a dream ends – and that’s all it takes. I’m awake, and there’s nothing I can do about it. I think my body gets confused. It was asleep, and now it is awake, so it thinks it must be time to get up. I try to talk sense to my self: “No, it is most definitely NOT time to get up. It is still dark and you need at least two more precious hours of sleep.” But my body just won’t listen. I guess I get my stubbornness from somewhere.
My insomnia reached an all time high last spring. I basically did not sleep for the entire month of May. I thought I was going to go crazy. I feared for myself and my children when I was behind the wheel with only two to three hours sleep. Finally, after a horrible two days sleep-walking through my sister’s graduation weekend at Claremont – where I broke down and cried at dinner because I hadn’t slept in so long – I saw a doctor who prescribed Ambien. Ahhh, Ambien. She soon became my best friend, my keeper of deep sleep and sweet dreams. For the past year, we have a had a good relationship. I figured out how to self-dose – if I woke up at 3 a.m., I knew I only needed a quarter of a pill to get me back to sleep.
But in the last month or so, our relationship has gone awry. I would either take too much or not enough, making me either tired in the morning or feeling in a cloudy haze all day, like I was an astronaut slow-motion walking in space. After a month of not sleeping last year, I am terrified of that sleep-deprived feeling, but I also do not enjoy feeling like my head is awash in bubble gum. It’s strange, not feeling yourself. It makes me wonder how drug addicts do it day in and day out. But I guess their whole point is not to feel, whereas I would like to feel like plain old Melissa again.
Today, I slept straight until 5 a.m. without the aid of medication, which is sort of a cause for celebration, but not really since I would have much preferred to have slept until 6 or 7 a.m. I don’t need a ton of sleep. Seven hours is fine, sometimes I can even make due with six. Eight hours of uninterrupted sleep seems like a pipe-dream to me, but I guess a girl’s gotta dream, after all. I just hope I’m still dreaming when that first crack of sunlight peeps through my window at five in the morning.