Short Stories From 10 Years Ago – April 13, 2004
A Lack Of Sleep
Short Stories From 10 Years Ago – April 13, 2004 – I know why women who are ‘menopausal’ are dangerous – it’s because we’re exhausted and our brains are so befuddled with a lack of decent, quality sleep that our neurons don’t know whether they’ve fired, are re-loading or are out of ammunition.
I’m sure the neurons are connected to the centre of reason in the old cerebellum, or perhaps it’s to the hip bone. At any rate my neurons are shot. I’ve been tired for eight years. Not just a wee bit over-extended but down right depleted. I have great intentions every night to go to bed earlier and I see myself rising from bed the next morning – a rested vision of loveliness. Relaxed, energized and eager to start the day.
Well it doesn’t matter if I go to bed at ten-thirty or midnight. I’m awake until two in the morning. If I’m not tossing and turning in the throes of a night time sweat, I’m staring at the clock as the minutes tick by, my body ramrod straight with tension. Or I’m scurrying off to the bathroom for one of my three or four night time pee sessions.
Now this may be just a little too much information for you to digest, but too bad. This is what it’s like for a lot of middle-aged women. It’s not that we don’t want to look dewy-eyed and fresh-faced with bee-stung lips, but we’re too darn tired most days to care.
I take vitamins, try to eat well and minimize the stress in my life but I’m fighting a losing battle – I can’t sleep. By the time the alarm goes off at seven in the morning, I’m ready to twist off my left arm and beat myself senseless with it just so I can have a rest. I drag through the day firing on a cylinder and a half when four of those babies are required for me to be fully charged. I smile a lot at my clients and say – “Me – I’m just great thanks – having the time of my life”. Lies all lies!
Just the other day I was listening to the radio and Christine McGee of Sleep Country Canada said that thousands of Canadians don’t get enough sleep because they don’t have a good mattress. Just this afternoon I watched fifteen minutes of Oprah and she was interviewing a scientist who was talking about the dust mites living in the bed linens in most of our homes. This is just great. Now I can lie awake at night on my insufficient mattress and think about the microscopic bugs that are munching on the discarded skin cells that have flaked off my body onto the sheets.
I remember when I went to bed, yawned a couple of times and the alarm went off to signal the start of a new day. I slept like a baby. I woke up rested and relatively enthusiastic about my life. Now I’m a mad woman – I’m sure certifiable some days – with no prospects that things are going to improve any day soon. What to do?
Well I could take massive amounts of sleep inducing drugs, but that isn’t like me. I don’t like taking Advil for a headache unless it’s a really bad one. I could try hypnosis but then I’d have to sleep with my therapist every night – well, first I’d have to find a therapist who wanted to move in with a sleep-deprived, middle aged woman who fantasizes about being armed and dangerous.
Maybe hot milk laced with brandy might work, but that might become addictive if I live for another thirty years. There are probably worse things than a brandy dependency. I could try not going to bed until I simply fall over. I’ve tried meditation – but my eyes flew open about four minutes into my yoga pose when I realized that the blood had been cut off in my legs because they weren’t used to being twisted around my navel.
I might have been in danger of suffering an embolus. Finally I flop over onto my back – a failure – defeated. I can’t even meditate. I know why they use sleep deprivation as an inducement in prison camps – it drives people bonkers.
Now here is the good news. See how optimistic I am. I actually think there may be good news, even though the evidence is all to the contrary. I need to think about this entire sleepless business and come up with some suggestions and when I do – I’ll let you know – I promise!
Maybe, in spite of “morning fatigus supremus” I’ll force myself to get up at six in the morning for a week and see if that works. Surely I’ll be sleepy by midnight. I love a plan. If you don’t hear from me tomorrow, you’ll know I’ve been committed. Just look for news about a Toronto real estate agent who kidnapped a client, was captured, lost her mind and was last seen out looking for it (her mind) in the recreation yard of the local asylum.