It happens from time to time. Whether it is my ADD/OCD in overdrive, premenopausal night sweats, or just too much on my mind, I’m not sure. This is what I do know: it will be about another week before insomnia goes away.
It’s 9:45pm and Wayne just asked me was it time for bed. I mentally calculated if I go to bed now, I’ll get four hours in before I’m wide awake again. I decide to try to wait until at least eleven before I turn in, even though I’m yawning now as I type these words.
As far back as I can remember, I have had seasons of insomnia. As a little girl, I would wake up and lay there, imaging all manner of intruders breaking into our home and coming to kidnap me. Once I even thought cannibals from a Pacific were trying to break in our house to eat us. Props to Sunday school mission stories for that night terror. In the dark, I would snuggle closer to my little sister and sometimes even “accidentally” wake her to see if she too had heard the intruder.
In college, there was always a wealth of things to get up and do if I could not sleep. Some of my best paper writing and care plans were written by the night-light of the bathroom on the ninth floor of Griffith Tower.
Blessed with good sleeping babies, I seldom had trouble returning to sleep with a sweet sleepy baby curled up beside me. Don’t condemn…I was “that mother” that let her babies crawl in bed with her when they got up in the middle of the night.
Insomnia strikes at the most inopportune times. I try to make the best of it. Sometimes I pray. Sometimes I think about my training schedule for my next race. Sometimes I read my downloaded book on my iPhone. Most of the time I try to lay real still so I don’t wake Wayne. If I “happen” to flop around too much it “might” disturb him from his deep snoring. When this “accidentally ” happens I hear a groggy, “Whatsa’ matter baby?” and despite the dark, I can see the sleep in half-opened eyes and the bit of drool that winds it s way down his cheek.
“Oh nothing, I just can’t sleep.” I sigh. Hopefully at this point he responds, but usually he has returned to his snore pattern before the words are completely out. In such case I make a slightly louder than necessary sigh and ever so gently toss myself over on my left side, face to face with him. If he is being a good husband, he will feel me staring at him through the dark and without opening his eyes, reach up and rub my arm and mutter, ” Why can’t you sleep?” This is my cue that I am allowed to tell him what is on my mind, who I have prayed for, for the last ten minutes, why I have prayed for them and what I think would be best for them to do in this given situation. He manages a “Ummhmm” between periods of deep snores and sleep apnea, which means I am allowed to go ahead to tell him my various worries about his two daughters and the possibility of all sorts of potential life altering decisions that they must make in the next few years. I really need to give some advice, but they do not seem to want my opinion on the best suitable prospects for marriage or career choices.
Finally, I realize at about 4:53 am that he has gone back to sleep, and I need to get up in an hour. I realize at that moment, it was the torrential soaking sweat of a hot flash that woke me up two hours ago. I realize that hot flashes are every it as brutal as I have heard them described to be, and that menopause will not be for the weak of heart. After another half an hour of thinking about my FSH and LH levels, I feel my eyes get heavy…sleepy…I can snooze for just a little bit….30 minutes and I’ll get up……
A rude buzz welcomes me to a new day. I stumble to start coffee. I know that until insomnia leaves me in a few more days there is no rest for the weary. Wayne will be awake soon and hopefully rested enough that he does not remember our 3am conversation. I hear him yawn and ask me what time it is. “6:30” I tell him, which means he has 30 more minutes left, he rolls over and pats me, “Did you sleep good baby?” he asks.
“Yeah, I slept great.” There is no point in reminding him. He will remember on his own this afternoon around 3pm when he wonders why he feels sleepy.
You see, when your wife has insomnia, you do too, even though it’s her little secret.