Friday, May 10, 2013

The Sleep Struggle

Sometimes I find myself wondering about the intricate parts of sleep and why so many of us have a routine we follow. Not everyone follows a pattern, necessarily, but then there are some, like me, that have strict parameters that have to be met in order to slip into sweet unconsciousness.
As a kid, I always fell asleep listening to Bible stories on tape. At some point, I added a fan to my routine. This was probably because of my boat bed, which was elevated in my room high enough to make an area underneath for a desk. Since heat rises, and I’ve always run a higher temp, the fan became incorporated in the nightly schedule. The fan and Bible stories were both sources of white noise, which I also found useful when studying. People with short attention spans benefit from having music playing while studying or working because it supposedly cancels out the wild parts of the brain that are running all over the place and not staying focused. So it was with sleep.
I’ve never been able to sleep in dark rooms, light had to be present somehow. Often I left the bathroom light on across the hall and left the bathroom door open a little bit. I still do this in my bedroom and also leave a dim lamp turned on as well as a string of Christmas lights that hang on my wall.
Time went on and eventually my nightly needs increased and I resorted to taking sleep aids, which I still am quite reliant on. Despite having light piano music playing, a fan blowing on me, and dim lights on, thoughts and feelings and uneasiness still found their way into my mind, causing restlessness and insomnia. Slowly but surely, my body realized that food helped the sleeping process happen easier too. At least, that’s what my mind believes and craves while I try to fall asleep. Dairy is the key to my nocturnal needs and I’m learning more and more about the addictiveness of it. It’s insane how addictive dairy is and most of us don’t realize it probably.
Why am I saying all this? Because it is 5:30 am in Jackson Hole, Wyoming where I am with some friends. Despite being up all night, I find myself feeling suddenly not tired. The setting is wrong. The lighting and fanning and noise and everything doesn’t jive with my brain. However, the pills (which are basically Benedryl) will take effect soon and soothe my soul to sleep.
When you’re a night owl, you develop frequent frights of the night even though it is what you know and is normal. The constant struggle for peace in bed is one that I hope to resolve in the near future. Oh geez it’s a sad situation.

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