I read in the paper last night that it's normal to have 'feelings of lethargy and irritability' that last up to a week after the time change.

(I know that's not earth-shattering news, but I always like to mark an occasion where somebody puts in writing that something about me is normal).

I have sizeable sleep issues. I know most parents or people with jobs or maybe everyone these days has sleep issues. I'm not sure exactly where mine stack up against the norm, but they suck. And it's hard to ignore them, since they're in my face every twelve to sixteen hours.
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My main problem is something I think of as sleep inertia. That thing about a body at rest tending to stay at rest and ditto for a body in motion? My body prefers to stay awake when it's awake and asleep when it's asleep. Therefore sleep is always long in coming and it's almost invariably torture trying to wake up, even when I've theoretically had enough sleep. Also, my body clock seems have sleep on the schedule between two or three a.m. and nine or ten a.m., which obviously doesn't work with the schedule most of the rest of the world is on.

When I worked, I got to work on time. When I had kids, I got up with them. One might think this would have cleaned my clock, so to speak. It didn't. My stupid body keeps trying to reassert its stupid idea of when I should be sleeping.

Frequently in the morning when I'm trying to wake up I have nightmares that seem to last forever, although for all I know they're five minutes long. They all revolve around me being asleep and unable to wake up, either while somebody I don't know is breaking into the house or while somebody I do know is about to come in and find me sleeping and get really mad about it, or some other occasion where it's all-important that I wake up, and I can't. It's like trying to pull myself out of quicksand, and it's a hideous experience.
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I have no idea if my problem is hereditary, or hormonal, or psychological or what. I've tried a few things, and when the kids are in school full time I might keep trying, although at this point I worry that if somebody did find a way to fix it I would just feel incredibly bitter that I missed so much of my life trying to sleep or trying to wake up.

This looks whiny and pointless reading it over, but I'm posting it anyway because I've got nothing else. I think I had a point at some... point (DAMN the damn time change!). I do really dislike the sleep machismo that seems to pervade our society. I remember watching an Oprah episode (now suppressing the urge to explain that I don't watch Oprah that often and how I just happened to see this one because the tv was on and I fell on the remote which changed the channel to Oprah and I couldn't get up because I'd fractured something so I just had to lie there and watch) a couple of years ago about sleep. The sleep expert began by saying that most people today are sleep-deprived. Oprah and the expert then surveyed the audience, and everyone was talking (bragging) about how little sleep they get, and then one woman said she usually got up at nine o'clock in the morning, refreshed and ready to meet the day; you would have thought she's confessed to eating kittens for breakfast, the way Oprah fell out of her chair and spazzed around in disbelief (NINE o'clock? YOU get to sleep until NINE o'clock?). I just want to go on record saying I think being proud of never getting enough sleep is lame. If you tell me you got four hours of sleep last night I will never try to one-up you. And feel free to tell me your surefire cure for insomnia -- I'll try anything.


Anonymous said…
I wish I had a good suggestion for you. At the moment I have a small baby, and so I'm not getting the sleep I want on my own terms. I'm just waiting for him to get older. I hope that you find some resolution for yourself soon.
Rosemary said…
I could comment heaps on this subject right now. I've never had this problem until recently (last year or so). I WAS one of those people who dozed off in the chair at 10 (if I was lucky) every night and then zombie my way up the stairs at midnight when Dana would give me the boot. Now however, I am not running around like an impulsive hyperactive lunatic all day and so I appear to not be burning out so quickly. Reading seemed to work for a while but then as my reading skills have re-emerged I am actually engaged in the books and I cannot stop reading. Leaving me awake. Thinking. At 2 am. By 3 am I'm in a puddle of tears on the living room sofa. Exhausted by 4. Then I found a book that I like BUT the writing is somehow very challenging to me. I read a few pages, my mind starts getting tired and I'm out. Now I'm getting frustrated that I'm never going to finish this book. I can't win. Don't get me started on the seasonal/time change stuff. Anyway I'd suggest some deep poetry, something rhythmic maybe? Do you think there are actually any books left out there that might challenge you? :) Try "Love in the time of Cholera" I swear, I'm going to have to just watch the movie.
alison said…
No ideas here either. My sleep issues are more on the 'trouble staying awake' end of the spectrum. It seems like I never get caught up on my housework/laundry/reading/phoning friends because I'm so tired in the evenings that I often go to bed right after tucking the girls in around 8:00-8:30, because I can't keep my eyes open.
alison said…
One thing just occurred to me. Have you had a physical lately, or had blood work done? Could it be a thyroid imbalance thing? Maybe ask to get your thyroid levels tested next time you're at the
doctor's office.

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