Insomnia

Can’t sleep.

A group of teenagers talking loudly as they walked up our street at 04:00 woke me.  “We’re gonna party all night…” they were singing, getting the lyrics wrong.  Still, must be gratifying to be so near to achieving one’s goals, I suppose.

I got up for a pee and went back to bed where, instead of nodding off again, I started thinking about all the things that keep me awake at night.  How my daughters are doing, careers, money, faith, that callus on my foot, why the dog is licking himself again….

Can’t sleep.

I tried the “It-doesn’t-matter-I-don’t-need-to-get-up-in-the-morning-anyway” approach, then the “Just-think-about-frivolous-things” strategy, and actually the last one very nearly worked until a late season mosquito came buzzing by.  I waved it off in Renata’s direction from where I knew it wouldn’t come back hungry.

Can’t sleep.

I first had this problem when I was a teenager.  I know it sounds incredibly pious, but it was the way I learned to pray.  I’d wake up in the night for no apparent reason and having nothing else to do would attempt to send a prayer up on behalf of every single person I knew.  My immediate and extended family got a lot of prayers in the late 70’s.  But I don’t think I ever made it through everyone at my high school.

Can’t sleep.

A bit later in life I had a spell where I’d wake with nasty stomach aches.  Looking back I think it was stress.  (At the time I thought I had a pretty normal upbringing; now I know it’s not normal to have had 16 home addresses by the time one turns 18.)  I’d run a hot bath and soak for an hour before heading back to bed, fine again.

Can’t sleep.

Jet-lag is always a challenge, more so the older I get.  Going east is much worse for me.  I do my best to match the pattern of life wherever I am, eating, working, going to bed at the right times, but it can take a couple of weeks to get completely back on schedule again.

Can’t sleep.

Having young children was an extended exercise in sleep deprivation.  Those years are just a fog of tiredness.  Awhile back we found a home video made when we had four children under the age of 6 (!); both Renata and I look like zombies.  We were zombies.

Can’t sleep.

My wife’s therapist…what a delightful phrase….  My wife’s therapist said it’s best to get up, make a list of what’s on your mind and go back to bed.  You can deal with your list in the morning.

That’s pretty much it; heading back to bed now.  Slaap lekker!

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