I Remember Sleep
There was a time when I could sleep like a baby. Obviously, when I was a baby, but I mean later.
As an adolescent, I specialized in that thing that most adolescents do exceptionally well. I could sleep. And sleep. And sleep some more.
I was lucky to have a mother who let me sleep in on the weekends. That meant that some Saturdays, I rolled out of bed at noon. It was marvelous! I never thought one thing about the fact that I could go to sleep and stay asleep. I did not know that one day I would be jealous of my adolescent self.
Then, as a young adult, I could go to sleep when my head hit the pillow and stay asleep all night long. I was a good sleeper. I had lots of energy and could tackle anything life threw at me with gusto.
When I started having kids, my sleep was sometimes sporadic by necessity, but I still had no problem going to sleep. Staying asleep was only a challenge when the kids were babies and my mother’s ears heard every rustle and groan.
When they got big enough to sleep through the night, my sleep returned to me. However, when they started driving and dating, I was back to hearing every sound as I anxiously waited to hear them come through the door, safe in the nest once again.
Then, finally, they were all grown and gone and I was free to sleep without worry or fear. Hooray!
Only I could not sleep. Something had happened that I did not agree to. I entered the roller coaster of menopause and became an insomniac.
As I lay in bed — tossing, turning, sighing, kicking off the covers, pulling them back up again — I became more and more pissed at the sleep gods who would play such a cruel joke on me.
Every night it is the same. I fall asleep quickly, only to be awakened by god knows what 30 minutes later. Then I lay there and wait for sleep to return. As soon as it does and I get into a good rhythm, the darling man next to me starts to snore.
Now I am awake again. I may as well get up and pee. I grab my ear plugs and get back in bed. I fall asleep pretty quickly. But then, I get a hot flash and my entire body feels like it is burning from the inside out. The heat roars up to my neck and face and the sweat pours.
Off the covers go in one violent action that catapults the cat off the end of the bed. Then I am up turning down the thermostat and turning on the fan. I finally get cool, but now, I have to pee again. Up to go to the bathroom.
Back to bed. It is now 3:30 a.m. I have two hours to sleep before I have to get up. I am sleeping soundly (finally) when my early bird husband gets up at 4:30. This breaks into my consciousness just enough for my bladder to say, “Hey, better go pee now or you will have to get up later.”
When 5:30 comes, I stumble into the kitchen. I am bleary-eyed and tired.
Damn. Why can’t I just sleep like I used to? I miss my sleep. I am like the walking dead. I sit in my chair after a long day of busy-ness and look at the clock. It is 7:30. I am ready for bed.
So I start the whole process over again.
I am exhausted.
I look forward to the day when sleep and I can be on good terms again. It will happen, won’t it? Oh, please. Tell me it will.