Tuesday, January 23, 2007


by Meryl Neiman

I've been thinking a lot about sleep these days. Maybe because I haven't been getting much of it.

I'm prone to bouts of insomnia. If I'm working too late or under stress, my brain refuses to turn off. Once I've had one or two nights of little sleep, then I become stressed about not sleeping. As you can no doubt see, this results in a vicious cycle of sleeplessness.

The past two weeks I was working 24/7 getting ready for an auction fundraiser. I finally turned to sleeping pills, but even those little beauties had their limitations. The event was on Saturday night. Everybody had a wonderful time (except for my husband and I who were running around like chickens with our heads cut off). People spent lots of money. A woman bid by proxy from Maine to win a trip to the world premiere of the new movie 300. Another woman spent over $4,000 to win a walk-on role in Weeds. Guests stayed out late after the event partying.

We came home. To sleep.

But my body was so used to not sleeping, that sleep still did not come. And, of course, there were all those post-event details to ponder. Like how to get the airline tickets and gift certificates back from the woman who inadvertently took them home with her package!

So, I've been thinking a lot about sleep. As babies, we sleep most of the day. Yet, as parents of infants know, sleep doesn't always come easy even then. My daughter would fall asleep in my arms and then awaken a minute after she was placed into her bassinet.

For most children, sleep is the enemy. Kids clamor to stay up late. I remember hating bedtime. Sleep seemed like such a waste of time. The interruption of a good day.

Now, I love to sleep. Snuggling into bed with a good book is my favorite time of day.

Then, of course, there's death. The ultimate sleep. The state that is so elusive to many envelops all of us permanently in the end.

How do you feel about sleep? Waste of time? Pure bliss? Any home remedies for insomni? My ears are open.


Anonymous said...

As a fellow insomniac, you have my full sympathy. It sucks. Big time. I've tried everything--the sleeping pills, the relaxation CDs, yoga, and even a new mattress. If there is a magic secret to drifting blissfully to dreamland, I'd love to hear it, too.

Glad the auction went well. I imagine you've got some interesting character material for your writing.

Now try to relax and get some sleep. (Easier said than done, I know.)

Joyce said...

Insomnia is one thing I've never had a problem with. I'm usually out as soon as my head hits the pillow and I don't wake up until either the alarm rings or the cat jumps on me.

I always think I'd get so much more accomplished if I only needed to sleep a few hours a night.

The auction sounds fascinating! You'll have to tell us all about it at the next meeting.

merylneiman said...

The problem for me, Joyce, is that I usually fall asleep instantly. But, if I don't, then I get worried about sleeping and I don't fall asleep for ages. The fact that my husband snores doesn't help!

Working Stiffs said...

Kristine, sorry to see you're in the same boat. Do you find you get hungry when you're up in the middle of the night? I often have to go down to the kitchen and eat something. So then I'm not getting enough rest and I'm getting fat!

kathie said...

Wow, your auction sounds impressive to say the least. Those auctions were fabulous and what a great amount of money you raised! You'll crash soon then you'll feel bad because you're sleeping too much. Or you won't and you'll never sleep well again until you're--well, dead. Isn't that what "they" say.

Tory said...

My home remedies: several different yoga postures which allow the feet to be above the head for 10-15 minutes. Easiest one: lie on floor, bend knees and put calves on cushioned chair or bed. Sometimes needs a folded blanket or pillow under the head.

I also have an aromatherapy mixture that's really helpful.

Judith said...

I'm somewhat jealous of those of you who can stay up for hours at a time. My body is programmed for eight hours sleep, no matter when it happens. If I go to sleep at midnight and get up before 8, I am a grouch and only half awake the rest of the day. But I'd like to have more waking functional time in my day. Can you work when you are awake?
As to the ultimate sleep...death...guess I'll get more than my eight hours and you will catch up on your lost sleep. So stay awake while you can. :)

Anonymous said...

Meryl: Yes, I do get hungry in the middle of the night, which adds unwanted calories and doesn't help with digestion.

Judith: I don't know about Meryl, but I can't get any work accomplished in the wee hours of the night. I wish I could! My brain is fried but too wired to sleep. Go figure.

Anonymous said...

Meryl, I forgot to add that my husband snores, too, so I feel your pain.

merylneiman said...

I can do mindless work when I'm up, but not real thinking work. And I DO need a full eight hours of sleep, and I'm grouchy without it, it's just that sometimes I can't fall asleep or stay asleep long enough to get it.

Going to bed early tonight. Wish me luck!