Friday, April 13, 2012

To sleep, perchance to dream …

I have not been sleeping well lately.

Actually, that's not true. I sleep well when I sleep, but once I wake up, I'm UP. As in wide awake, ready to go, bouncing off the walls UP.

For the past several days, UP time has been between 2:30 and 4:30 a.m. I realize that for both of you, 2:30 and 4:30 come once a day, when it's light outside. You might be having a mid-afternoon snack then, or you might be at work.

The other 2:30 and 4:30 come when it's pitch-black outside. Frost develops in the pre-dawn hours, preparing to wreak its havoc on strawberry blossoms and baby apples. There's not much traffic on our road, or anywhere else around here for that matter. Should the sheriff drive by, he might wonder if all is well, seeing my kitchen light on at such an unseemly hour.

Bedtime is early, usually by 9 p.m., so I'm not technically sleep-deprived, more like underslept. Five or six hours, and sometimes seven, is certainly enough to get by on, but getting UP so early-early-early takes its toll after more than a couple of days.

My energy level drops dramatically around 4 p.m. – just in time to start dinner. I feel fuzzy, almost like I have a hangover, with the blackout but without all the fun. Not a good feeling. I have trouble concentrating and I'm not a good listener around that time. Just ask my oh-so-patient husband.

To somewhat prepare for not ever wanting to make dinner again, yesterday I cooked 10 pounds of chicken quarters. Some went into the crockpot for chicken noodle soup (which we ate last night and will have again tonight). The rest is in the refrigerator, ready to skin and bone this morning and put into the freezer in meal-sized packages. I also cooked and froze three pounds of ground beef with some chopped onions.

Hey, it's a start. As long as I have pasta, pizza dough, tortillas, cheese and the usual vegetables – celery, carrots, onions, peppers – I can make something that passes for dinner which will still be healthful and home-cooked.

Because shortcuts are allowed when you've underslept. Right?

I know some of you have written about your own sleep issues. How do you get back on track? I'll be staying UP later tonight, as I'm going to see The Hunger Games. It begins at 7, ends 142 minutes later and it takes another 25 minutes to drive home. I should be collapsing into bed around 10 p.m. Maybe that shift in schedule will be enough to get me back on track.

Until the next time. I'm open to other suggestions. (Can you believe it? I'm actually asking for advice!)


gingerzingi said...

Ugh. I feel for you. That's my pattern too, waking up around 2:30. Only I'm not UP bouncing off the walls, I'm exhausted! I know people will say "If you can't sleep get up and do something, don't just lie in bed sleepless," but I'm far too groggy to do anything. It's miserable.

I don't know how I get back on track because I don't really know what causes the insomnia to start with. There are several possible contributors, but they don't always cause sleep problems, and sometimes I can't track it down to anything!

Given your pattern, all I can suggest is trying to take a nap in the afternoon. A lot of people believe that the 8-straight-hours is an unnatural pattern anyway, that humans are better adapted to 2 or 3 shorter sleep periods.

gingerzingi said...

Although - something I've been reading a lot about lately is exposure to "blue light" such as from television and computer monitors. Apparently it can mess up your sleep patterns significantly. So that might be something to look into.

denise said...

I know about the 2nd 2:30 and 4:30 because these are generally target toilet times for me. Even though I hate it that I get up at least one and usually two times during the night to go to the bathroom, I'm grateful that I can get up, go, and go back to sleep when I return to bed - at least most nights.

The only time I've had the problem you describe is when I've been traveling to faraway time zones and need to readjust. Or, as Ginger outlined, I in explicably wake up and can't go back to sleep and I'm exhausted through the whole time.

I too have read a lot about the "blue light" effect and how you shouldn't use the computer or watch TV within a half hour or hour of going to bed. But I do that every night and it doesn't seem to had an effect, so either I'm immune to it or so used to it that it doesn't matter.

Here at my mom's house, I wake up consistently earlier than I do at home and I think it has to do with being further north where it gets light earlier and in a place where the light invades the room in a different way. But at 2:30 or 4:30 I wouldn't think light would be your issue...

Good luck getting back on schedule.