Tuesday, November 1, 2011


How do you deal with being awake at night? For no particular reason whatsoever, except that when you lie down and close your eyes to sleep, you stay awake, staring at the clock as it slowly ticks past midnight, getting closer and closer to the time when your alarm will go off?

I've been very lucky to avoid sleeping problems for most of my life. Sure I've had the occasional problem falling asleep, but most often I can trace it to that second cup of coffee that I didn't really need, or some chocolate that I had too late at night. I've known people who have had serious sleep issues and because of that I've tried very hard not to take my good sleep patterns for granted. 

For much of the past year any sleep problems that I had could be attributed to the pain from my gallbladder attacks. I'd be in too much pain to lie down and sleep, and so I'd creep out to the couch to read or watch TV until the pain subsided. Even when I was in pain, I'd have to admit to a certain beauty in the stillness and quiet of the middle of the night - a secret time just for me. But the overwhelming tiredness and not being able to think the next morning could never make up for the quiet awake time in the middle of the night.

Last night was something different for me - I just couldn't fall asleep. I could hear my husband and my dog sleeping peacefully next to me, but I was wide awake, staring at the ceiling. Even though I'd been tired when I was getting ready for bed. So I followed what's been my routine this year when the pain made it hard to sleep. I went to the couch and read, thinking it would only take a half hour or so until my eyes grew heavy and I could go back to sleep. Instead, it took 1 cup of tea, 2 1/2 hours and many, many chapters in my book before I reached the point where I thought I could maybe go back to bed and fall asleep.

Given how tired I've been today, I certainly hope that this is not the beginning of a new pattern, but simply a rare occurrence of a mind that wasn't quite ready to shut off. But in case it happens again - have you had this happen? How do you get yourself to fall asleep when your mind refuses? 


  1. I've had some serious bouts with insomnia over the years and it really sucks. People say work out, drink warm milk, have a bedtime ritual...blah, blah, blah. Nothing works for me except sleeping pills. I've had OTC and Rx. I don't like to resort to that but it gets to a point where I gotta get some sleep. Hope yours isn't long term. Maybe it's just a random night that's an exception.

  2. For me, I know it's stress. It's not the falling asleep that troubles me, it's the STAYING asleep. Lately I've been waking up at like 4am & can NOT go back to sleep. My mind starts racing about everything going on & that's it, I'm up. I have found that a white noise machine works. Try a fan or an AC too maybe??


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