Tuesday, January 25, 2011

This thing called sleep

For the past few weeks, I have been beginning to believe that sleep is a myth. I spend my nights tossing and turning, drifting off only to wake back up a few minutes later. I wake up exhausted, get a burst of energy that lasts about three hours, and then feel like I'm ready to crash by the time the kids get home from school. Of course, I've come to realize that if I allow myself to nap, then I don't sleep at night, so I'm afraid to give in to my desire to steal even fifteen minutes of sleep during the daytime. By the time I get in bed at night, I can barely keep my eyes open but I can't get to sleep. It's like I'm too tired to actually fall asleep.

My senior year in high school, I became dependent on Tylenol PM to help me fall asleep (do not believe the commercials when they say it is not habit forming because my mother and I both became dependent that year, and it took a long time for us to be able to go to sleep without it after we quit using it). Since then, I've rarely allowed myself to use it to help me sleep. I had a doctor give me a sample of Ambien once, and it put me into so deep of a sleep that I woke up choking when I'd gotten sick in the middle of the night (he thought it would help me sleep since I'd been so sick). Between the two experiences, I've developed a bit of a fear of taking any medications to help me sleep.

I have, however, started taking some Melatonin from time to time. I'm still afraid to take it nightly, worried that I might become dependent on that. In fact, over the past few weeks, I've only taken it once to help with my insomnia problems. It helped me get to sleep without the tossing and turning, but I still couldn't stay asleep that night. It usually does wonders for me when I use it, helping me get a good night's sleep without the dragging feeling that sleep medications tend to leave you with. I'm hoping that there were other factors at play that night, making me wake up so many times despite the effects of the Melatonin. Tonight, I'll be trying it again to see if I can get a better night's sleep this time.

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