I slept like a baby. I love using that sentence… or I would love using that sentence, because I imagine a baby’s sleep to be absolute wonderful bliss. In my mind, every minute of a baby’s or young child’s sleep is relaxation, rejuvenation without any interruptions or that terrible urge to use the restroom. If they sweat, they kick of their blankets, and continue sleeping.
If I sweat, I am so uncomfortable that I wake up and have the hardest time going back to sleep. I have to splash my face with cold water and sometimes change my clothes.

I have not slept like a baby in many, many years. Now, at 38, I consider an actual good night’s sleep a luxury I can rarely afford… only, I could actually afford it if I knew how to fall asleep in the first place… and then how to stay asleep.

I shouldn’t say that I don’t sleep at all. I go through phases when I have no trouble falling asleep. I don’t ever sleep through the night, but when I do wake up, it’s only to catch a glimpse of the time, then drift back into la-la-land. I feel reasonably rested during those times, so I won’t complain.
But then, every few weeks, it happens. I go to bed the same way I do every night. Same routine for years. Usually within an hour of the same time. And I will not fall asleep. I read an article about the Stages of Sleep today, describing how we go to sleep, what happens during each stage and so forth.

It appears to me that during my sleepless times I am consistently stuck somewhere between stage 1 and stage 2.

Stage 1

Stage 1 is the beginning of the sleep cycle, and is a relatively light stage of sleep. Stage 1 can be considered a transition period between wakefulness and sleep. In Stage 1, the brain produces high amplitude theta waves, which are very slow brain waves. This period of sleep lasts only a brief time (around 5-10 minutes). If you awaken someone during this stage, they might report that they weren’t really asleep.

Stage 2

Stage 2 is the second stage of sleep and lasts for approximately 20 minutes. The brain begins to produce bursts of rapid, rhythmic brain wave activity known as sleep spindles. Body temperature starts to decrease and heart rate begins to slow.

More often I think it is stage 1, that just won’t end. I don’t feel like I’m asleep, although I’m already starting to “see” dream like images drift by. Eventually I get so annoyed by this “transition” that I start feeling uncomfortable. Now I start tossing and turning. I’m a side sleeper, so I need a certain kind of pillow. Sometimes I use a body pillow, and I’ve wrapped myself around that thing in the weirdest knots, because I just couldn’t get comfortable. Half the time I can’t find anything to do for the arm I’m lying on. These seem like silly problems… until you actually are in that situation and find yourself going a little crazy over them.

I used to get terribly annoyed over my sleeplessness. I bitterly sat around and moped. I watched boring shows on TV and I was awake until the wee hours of the morning. I’ve written about this very subject right here on this blog. Of course I started doing a little bit of research on how to fall asleep. No screens, total darkness in room, same bedtime routine, no hot baths before bed, avoid certain foods and certain beverages… blah blah blah… None of these methods help. When I go through a phase of sleeplessness like right now, then I’m awake, and that is that. And I would totally leave the subject alone and just live with this peacefully if it weren’t for two itty bitty little problems.

1) I need a certain amount of hours of sleep each night to make it through the next day. Yep, I’m one of those 9 hour sleepers.

2) My inner alarm clock rudely awakens me at 6am sharp every morning. Day after day after day. I don’t remember the time I actually slept in. Sleeping in… I don’t even know what that means! 🙂

So, I believe I will continue to explore the subject of why I can’t sleep, without moping about it. And if any of my dear readers out there have any input, I’ll take it. Any and all of it.

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