Sleep. That one word is so loaded. Not getting enough. Getting too much. When to do it. Where. On what. With whom?
Sleep, for me, is elusive most nights. I fall asleep pretty well, usually with some old TV sitcom on in the background (I am trying to turn it off before I actually fall asleep, but still…). It’s a few hours later when the trouble starts. Something wakes me up and off I go, brain buzzing, trying to relax again, breathe deeply and rhythmically. Re-fluff my pillow, re-position my blankets. Turn over to my other side, turn onto my back. Don’t look at the clock, then finally, check it out. Do I read? Do I lie in the dark? Do I get up and take an antihistamine, which can make me drowsy, or is it too late? Decisions, decisions, all made in the middle of the night.
Why does my brain seem so alive in the dark? My imagination runs wild with ideas, worries, plans. What will I wear tomorrow? What will I make for dinner? I wonder what the kids are doing. Why is my husband sleeping when I’m not? Why do bad things happen? What can I do to fix things? Okay, calm down, breathe. Try to imagine a peaceful place, maybe the beach. Creating the image makes my brain more awake. Listen to my breath, in, out, in, out.
Sometimes, I get some really creative ideas when I can’t sleep. Do I get up and write them down, or try to hold them in my mind until morning? Another dilemma. Sadly, what sounds brilliant in the quiet darkness often sounds like gibberish in the light of day. I ponder what it all means. Are these ideas some sort of dream? Am I actually awake or in a twilight sleep?
Sleep. I usually manage to doze off an hour or so before the alarm is scheduled, leaving me to awaken groggy and not rested. Sleep. It is my friend and my nemesis. Sleep. It fills me with both longing and dread. Sleep. A wisp of time. A window into my mind. Barometer of my soul. Sleep.