Sunday, September 13, 2009


Sometimes sleep evades me.  Sometimes I entice it to settle in but somewhere around 2 or 3 or 4 in the morning, I lose my grip on it.  Sometimes it bolts away like a dog that has slipped it’s leash.

Me, wide awake with eyes closed, “Oh the little bastard has run off again.  I wonder what time it is this time.”  I try to intuit the hour by the nature of the silence the way a snake tastes the air with it’s tongue.  

Sometimes it’s sneaky, letting me think that I can fall back under if I just concentrate on it and sometimes I can sweet talk it back after a half hour or so.  

Me, stretching, waking, opening one eye to see if it’s day yet.  Shit!  It’s still dark.  “Sleep, where are you, what are you doing?”

Sleep, hopping back and forth from foot to foot, “I got bored.  Your dreams are boring.”

Me, “My dreams are boring?  And be still, come closer where I can see you better.”

Sleep dances forward a step or two.

Me, patting the edge of the bed, “Sit here and I promise to have an exciting dream for you.”

Sleep, twirling in a little pirouette, “No, you’ll just go off freaking out about the test you have to take and didn’t study for and don’t know where the classroom is.”

Me, thinking Sleep is acting like a petulant child, “Well then, how about the one where the monster is chasing me?”

Sleep, with lip pouting out, “Too scary.”  

Me, getting tired of the game, “Come here sweetie, the bed is so comfy.  Come join me and we’ll go exploring the big house again or maybe we’ll find a new boyfriend.  You’d like that wouldn’t you?”

Sleep creeps a little closer thinking over these options.  The big house is always fun and she hasn’t had a new boyfriend in a while either.  “Well, OK, but only because I’m tired.”

I used to just lay there, tossing and turning thinking that if I’m not sleeping, at least I’m resting.  I don’t do that anymore.  Now I just get up.  I’d like to say that I do something productive during these dark hours of the new day but I don’t.  I gather up my pillows and make a little nest on the futon, if it’s winter I’ll fix a cup of tea, and then I just read until I feel sleep creeping back, apologetic for having run off, trying to get back in my good graces.  I don’t trust it though.  I know that if I get up and move back to the bedroom it will run off again like a bully that snatches the treat away just when you reach for it.  So that’s where Husband finds me in the morning when he gets up to start the coffee, asleep on the couch.

These nights of sleeplessness are offset by the nights when I do sleep.  Those nights I will sleep for 9 hours solid.  The other night I slept for 11 hours.  I always wanted to be one of those people who could get by on 5 hours of sleep a night.  However having my waking hours divided up into two sessions was not exactly what I was thinking of.

I’m not a worrier by nature but sometimes when I am feeling pressured, either from too much work or no work, I will have these bouts of insomnia.  Sometimes I can’t get to sleep because Husband is trying to bring the house down from the very vibrations of the snoring issuing out of his face.  Sometimes I have no idea why I can’t sleep.  But not last night.  Last night I know exactly why I woke up.  It was the 200 or so muscles that were screaming at me every time I moved or even thought about moving.  You see, yesterday I renewed my membership to the gym and went and worked out for the first time in about 6 weeks.



  1. Oh Ellen you could have written that post for me...I so understand it...this is me as well as you...we're fighting a losing battle you know? Last night was one of my rare sleep nights...10 hours...bliss! I gave up with moving to the sofa (my OH snores too) because I end up stiff and achey in the morning. OH is away at the moment, so when I can't sleep I switch on my laptop...thank goodness there are so many good blogs out there to keep me occupied.

  2. well ellen - you could have written that one for me also! the only differences - i don't have a husband snoring next to me . . .that's me! i won't leave and sleep anywhere else. otherwise, body pain from a way too hard bike ride, tension froma tough or long stretch of teaching and all that goes with that, the moon cycles, and weather. i used to be able to do the five hours a night sleep thing - for years in fact and then one day it was gone. i needed seven or eight if possible. sleeping in never happens anymore. naps do. any chance i can take a nap i will. have a nap ellen!!! steven

  3. I wake a lot during the night. It's very very rare that I sleep to six.

    This morning, Riley mewed at me ... it was 6:15 .. I guess he is on my early schedule

  4. You caught the situation beautifully. Did you mean it that even a new boyfriend couldn't get Sleep to settle in and dream along? Shucks, she needs the rest more than she knows!

  5. I sleep like a log and nothing wakes me up unless it's very loud. I posted about an antidote for insomnia in July. (see my Friday, July 17, 09' post)

  6. Wonderful post about an otherwise stressful predicament, and the photo is just brilliant. When I was eating mostly raw foods I slept so well and could get by on less sleep - five or six hours.

  7. Yeah, good luck with that whole sleep thing.

    Call me next time you can't sleep. I'll be up.

  8. Oh, honey, I hear you! I don't sleep easily either -- not the falling asleep part, not the staying asleep part, none of it.

    Then again, you did get a decent post out of it. :-)


  9. I like that sleep aid commercial on tv where the woman wakes up in the middle of the night, as you described here, and a rooster is sitting on the foot of her bed crowing. A voice says, "Tired of morning coming in the middle of the night?"

    I had this problem for a long time, and I did what you do, I got up. But then about 5, I would be able to sleep again, but have to get up in an hour and a half for work. I finally stopped it happening by using Excedrin PM when I feel keyed up.

  10. That pesky sleep has a mind of its own sometimes and you captured the struggle perfectly . . . deep sleep to you!

  11. I was rolling on the floor when I read the last line! Our bodies sure do know how to let us know that enough was more than enough! The snoring husband is my biggest demise when it comes to sleep. He even wakes himself it's so loud. Fortunately, I'm deaf in one ear so if I happen to be sleeping on the wrong side, I'm up no matter what enticement I give Madam sleep.

  12. Sleep IS a petulent child. Snoring is its evil cousin. Just last night I was blissfully sleeping, snoring away despite one of those damn nose strips, when my wife wakes me.

    'What am I going to do with you?' She asks.

  13. Insomnia and I are close friends. We tend to work well together, as we have conjured up many a remodel project. I used to get up and mop floors or do some other activity, but as I have aged a little I simply lay there and let my mind roam........ or read a few good blogs!

  14. This is such a great post, Ellen! So well written. I can actually imagine you talking o Sleep, this petulant child! Do you actually have boring dreams? Just kidding. :)

  15. What a perfect description of insomnia. I see you know it well. I hope your muscles are healed by now and that you have once again made peace with the bully.


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