I used to be friends with this girl who suffered from depression. That’s how she always phrased it, “I suffer from depression.”  It was possibly the most annoying thing in the world, as if she pictured depression sweeping into her life like a comic book villain and making her suffer.  Considering the fact that we were in college, and everyone was depressed, I think she did it just to make herself sound slightly more special.  I was not fooled.

Now, I’m suffering from what seems to be insomnia. I say suffering from, because it has swept into my life like a comic book villain and is making me suffer. Also it seems unlike what I pictured insomnia to be.  Rather than toss and turn all night, like the person in the sleep aid commercial, I fall asleep quite easily almost as soon as I put myself to bed. The problem comes about 3am when I wake up, and cannot get back to sleep.  I then spend the rest of the night trying to will myself to fall back asleep, which hasn’t worked, and then berating myself for waking up at 3am in the first place.  Because this is the time when I wake up, I get tired earlier and earlier, sometimes crawling under the covers at 10:30pm.

One night I decided to use this time, and actually got quite a bit of reading done, but after about an hour of that, I attempted to try sleep again.  I couldn’t fall back to sleep, but was even more exhausted than usual the following day.  I’m convinced that laying in bed resting my eyes, must be slightly more restful (even though it’s extremely frustrating) than laying there reading.

I read a lengthy article about this problem years ago before it became a problem for me, and I’ve tried some of the tips it mentioned, and some that have worked for me before:

  • Go to bed at the same time every night and get up at the same time every morning– With the exception of the nights when I just cannot keep my eyes open past 10:30, I’ve managed to do this pretty well.  I’m going to start trying a bit harder.
  • Exercise– been doing that regularly, and in the past it has worked for me (sometimes), not so far.  The problem with me and exercise, is that it makes me need less sleep, so I guess if I keep it up, I may still be waking at 3am, but that will be less of a problem.
  • I’ve been using my S.A.D. sunlamp, which was seriously miraculous last spring when I was mired in a similar situation.
  • I read that you’re supposed to keep away from TV and computer screen at least 30 minutes before you want to fall asleep because something about the images stimulates your brain and it takes a while to calm back down– so I’ve been doing that.

None of these is working so far, and I suppose my next recourse could be to cut out caffeine, but then how the hell am I supposed to be alert after only 4 hours of sleep?  I certainly don’t want to take sleeping pills– Judy Garland, plus I really like the idea of being able to function successfully without any assistance from Western medicine.

So, friends, if I start yawning in the middle of a story or anecdote you are telling, please don’t think I’m bored, it’s just that I’ve been up since three.

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