Sunday, December 27, 2009

Insomniac Lite Utopia

I am an insomniac, lite. I sleep at least 5 hours most nights, more than 6 many nights, and usually am not awake when the alarm goes off the first time. I get up one, two, or sometimes more times per night, and frequently don't fall back to sleep for a while.

I know this is "lite" because I deal with insomniacs all the time who tell me that don't fall asleep for two hours, or they sleep two hours a night or even, "not at all". I don't believe anyone who tells me he, or usually she, sleeps not at all, but I think some do believe it themselves, and believing you don't sleep at all would have to be almost as bad as really not sleeping at all.

For us lite-weights in the insomnia department, the seeming uselessness of time spent trying to do something you can't do by trying is the worst of it, that and the wondering if you'll make some awful mistake the next day because of the shortage of REM or Stage Four or whatever it is you're missing. Unlike saints and artists, I cannot seem to use the opportunity to let my mind travel the mystic spaces, pray, or create with my mentally free bed time. So I've wondered why I don't follow the advice I give to my patients about getting up if they're not asleep in 30 to 60 minutes and doing something with that time.

I think it is this: Getting up is cold and uncomfortable and I think that maybe waiting another five minutes will put me where I want to be, that is, unconscious.

So I have a little project in mind. It goes like this. Instead of just a bed in the next room, I put an armchair and a floor lamp. I put a blanket or a fat robe next to it, and a stack of books of poems or essays or ancient saints' writings so I can't get caught up in any plot. And a basket of yarn and a crochet hook or two. And a legal pad with two or three colors of pens, so that anything I want to remember or think about later, I write down. The things it shouldn't have would be food, or medical literature, or a computer (in any form). I haven't decided about my faux-pod or music; might need to experiment with that. My hope is that, if I do this, I won't feel the time I spend awake is such a waste of time. Maybe I'll even wake up disappointed occasionally that I got such a good night's rest that I didn't get any reading or crocheting or writing done.

Nah, probably not.

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