Sleep warfare

I am really, really mad at Mr. Bookworm today.  If I’m completely honest with myself, it’s not that he did anything to me.  It’s that he has something I don’t have — namely, a good night of sleep under his belt.  I’m a fairly chronic insomniac, and he is not.  Last night was an even less good night than usual for me while he, the lucky son of a gun, not only slept through the night but managed to stay in bed an extra 2.5 hours after I’d already gotten up with the kids and gotten the household going.  He’s refreshed and perky; I’m yawning and dragging.

It’s just so unfair!!!

At this point, I have two options for handling this situation in the future.  The first is to keep him awake while I struggle to fall asleep, and then I can wake him whenever I wake up, whether it’s six times during the night, or that final wake-up at 6 in the morning.  Doing so won’t give me any more sleep, of course, but I’m sure I’ll feel better knowing that he’s suffering too.  After all, if we’re both suffering, that’s fair, right?  And really, who cares if the fall-out for penalizing him for having the temerity to sleep through the night is that, lacking that sleep, he’s unable to carry out the job that supports our family?  I’m sure his employer will just keep giving him money . . . or maybe someone else will.  I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.  Under this scenario, all that’s important is that, because I can’t seem to reach Mr. Bookworm’s high level of sleep, I need to bring him down to mine.

Alternatively, I can continue my search for sleep, and leave him alone, so that he can sleep, be refreshed, and earn money to support our family.  Right now, I’m tending my garden:  I exercise, eat fairly right, take Melatonin, and do whatever else is healthy for me and consistent with sleeping well.  It might also behoove me to reconcile myself to the fact that, with the best will in the world, sleep is not going to be a part of my life in the short-term — or maybe ever.  Destroying Mr. Bookworm’s sleep isn’t going to change that unpleasant fact.

Yes, it’s unfair, but as I say to my children, life isn’t fair.

(For those wondering, the first paragraph of this post is absolutely true.  When Don Quixote called this morning and asked “How are you?” my answer was pretty much verbatim what I typed in the first paragraph.  Don Quixote laughed and said “sleep envy,” which phrase was, of course, the genesis for the rest of this post.)

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  • ferninphilly

    “Occupy Mr. Bookworm’s side of the bed!”
    Start calling all of your fellow insomniacs over and you can camp out on his side of the bed until you can all sleep….

  • tomthesubmariner

    Bookworm, I’ve had the same problem with my wife and vice versa my wife has had problems with me. Turns out I’ve had fibromyalgia, apparently for a few years. Symptoms are just the same as you describe. Consult a rheumatologist. Tomthesubmariner 

  • MacG

    See if polypahsic sleep has any merit for you.

  • Michael Adams

    Well, I sympathize with your insomnia, although it rarely afflicts me, but your description of sleep envy, as a parallel to wealth envy, is very good.  (Almost as good as my height envy;) BTW, if you’re not falling asleep during in the day, you may just not need as much sleep.  If that’s the case, we look forward to even more and better blog entries.

  • dustoffmom

    What doseage Melatonin are you taking?  I ask because I share your insomniac tendancies but have found Melatonin to be a blessed miracle for me.  However, it took a while and I had to keep messing with the doseage until I got it right.  If your taking one of the lower Mg’s try upping it or even doubling the dose.  I started very low and kept playing, now I am at 10 Mg’s and I swear I sleep better than I ever have in my life.

  • Cynthia

    Please see a sleep specialist to see if you need a polysomnogram (sleep study) to determine whether you have a sleep disorder or just need to improve your habits to support rejuvenating sleep. I also recommend you get a better understanding of sleep by reading The Promise of Sleep: A Pioneer in Sleep Medicine Explores the Vital Connection Between Health, Happiness, and a Good Night’s Sleep by William Dement, M.D., one of the founders of the field of sleep medicine.

    Blogging is particularly bad for healthy sleep because we bloggers often write in the evening and stay up late finishing a post. This means we are staring into a bright light — the monitor — at exactly the time the body needs dim light in order to produce melatonin, which makes us drowsy. Once I caught onto this last May, I began to go on brisk walks early in the morning shortly after sunrise in order to turn off my melatonin production. This has really helped reduce the symptoms of one of my sleep disorders dramatically. 

    By the way, the anger that you are feeling is characteristic of people with disordered sleep. You may be in more trouble than you realize. Please see a sleep specialist. 

  • Danny Lemieux

    I attribute much of my sleep disorder to aging and work stress. I take two Benadryl before I go to bed. Work well and it’s a lot cheaper than Ambien.

    Interesting post, Cynthia…I will try shut down my computer in the evening and see if I detect a difference.

  • Jose

    Obviously Option 1 is irrational, but if you are at that point, you’re too late to recognize it.  
    The thing is, while help is available, no one can cure insomnia for you, and you will have to expend effort to work out an individual solution, whether exercise, diet, or whatever.  Mr Bookworm can’t give you sleep, but his ability to rest and work does make sure that you don’t have to worry that the lights are on, etc.
    I don’t have insomnia, but as time goes by, I have to be careful not to do anything stimulating before bed.  Hmm… television works best.

  • Danny Lemieux

    Also, no alcohol late at night.

  • Bookworm

    Danny’s nailed it, re the sleep problems: age and stress.

    Dustoffmom may be right about fooling around with the Melatonin dosage.  I took more last night and slept better. 

    Cynthia:  I’ll also try getting away from my computer earlier in the evening.  It never occurred to me that the screen’s light could be tricking my brain.

    As for the anger, it wasn’t that extreme.  I’m given to hyperbole in my speech.  I wanted to entertain Don Quixote when I spoke with him.  And then, after he said “sleep envy,” I knew I had a good parable for the whole OWS movement.

  • Jose

    I thought it was a good parable.

  • Gringo

    As I get older, I have noticed that  I have less tolerance for eating in the evening. If I eat a big meal in the evening, I will have trouble  sleeping. I don’t know if this applies, to Book, though.
    Cynthia’s comments were interesting.
    Maybe I will try melatonin.

  • Ymarsakar

    About 10 minutes of deep breathing exercises will relieve stress and rebalance the mind body.

  • Ymarsakar

    A simple technique is to breathe in from the diaphgram. This means your belly gets big first, then your chest. Rather than the normal way people breathe, shallow breathing, which is from the chest and often doesn’t even reach the diaphgragm. Hold that breathe there, then relax and release it. Take as long breathing in as you breathe out. It doesn’t matter if you are standing, laying down, or exercising. This is the physical part. The mental exercise is to concentrate on the present, and forget both the past and the future. Otherwise your mental stress will erase the physical benefits.