Tuesday, March 14, 2006


That's my little insomnia song. I suffer from insomnia on and off, mostly just a night or two here and there, but every now and then my body just refuses to sleep. Right now I'm in a really long bout; my body hasn't slept without chemical assistance since the end of January. I'm really. tired. I can only take sleep aids for two out of every three days or so, so this means on day one (no pill, no sleep), I'm crabby and exhausted. On day two (pill), I sleep for 12 hours and am alert. On day three (pill), I sleep for a normal 8 hours and feel great. Then on day four, we're back to no pill, no sleep.

My doctor urged me to try various "home" remedies, ranging from a glass of wine to a pair of benadryl. What happens then is that I sleep until I metabolize it out of my system - 2 or 3 or 4 a.m. - and then I lie awake and feeling drugged and cotton-headed. So we're back to prescription sleep aids.

I get insomnia so often that I've actually categorized my insomnia into "good" and "bad" insomnia. Good insomnia is where I'm WIDE awake in the middle of the night, and I can go pay bills, read a book, clean the house, watch the 4 a.m. farm reports, and chat with friends on different continents on IMer. I'm still tired the next day, but I've usually accomplished 80% of my to-do list before 6 a.m., so I can lie on the couch and feel tired and watch Dr. Phil with impunity. Bad insomnia is where I'm wide awake in the middle of the night but groggy and out of it. I can't sleep, can't get any rest - can't even get comfortable - but my eyes won't focus, I tend to trip into walls, I can't think. It's sort of like being drunk, but without the good parts. I can't get anything done, and I just lie there, turning over every 15 seconds, for hours on end. Bad insomnia typically also involves an ear worm, which (for those of you not up on the slang) is when you get a particularly annoying song stuck in your head. So I lie there and listen to my brain on auto-repeat for five or six hours. Then I'm tired and crabby the next day and I still have a full to-do list.

This last month-and-a-half has been entirely bad insomnia. The soundtrack to it has been this song my sister introduced me to called "The Mo Song" which goes, "Mo, please don't / put your cigarette out on your shoe / 'cause it burns your soul." There's more to it, but that's the only part my brain will play. I'm almost ready to listen to "Karma Chameleon" six or eight times in a row just so I have something different to listen to in my head tonight.


pollypeoria said...

You poor thing!!! I too suffer from insomnia occassionally. Frankly if you went completely insane and robbed a bank, or streaked naked across the courthouse square, or even clobbered Mr. McGee because he left a dirty sock on the floor or didn't change the toilet paper, and I was a juror (a true peer) I'd let you off.

My tactic for insomnia: Informercials. Interesting enough to shut down the clutter in your brain, but dull enough to lull you into a stupor. During a particular stressful and sleepless time in my life I actually recorded and replayed the Ron Popeil (sp) Pasta Maker Informercial almost every night. Worked like a charm. I'm sure I still have the VCR tape around here somewhere if you would like me to send it to you...

Also, folding warm laundry -right out the dryer- while listening to Mozart works well.

Warm milk will only give you heartburn, but a hot bath accompanied by Mozart is quite soothing.

If absolutely desparate, try reading and memorizing tax and/or patent law. If it doesn't work, you will at least have a new area of knowledge that is in high demand and that folks are willing to pay a fortune for. Hey, if you're going to be awake, might as well get rich, right?

Good luck, I feel for you.

Anonymous said...

i may be working on a drug that has to do with insomnia... if i did, i couldnt tell you about it, because of the confidentiality stuff that i have signed, but assuming i was to have an opinion about such a topic i met reccomend lunesta if you havent already tried it....it has been approved by the FDA for long term use, has a half life of 8 hours in a human body, and comes in 1, 2, and 3 mg flavors. though i wouldnt reccomend chewing on a tablet, the taste of the active pharmaceutical ingredient is vile.
hopefully this helps, i have told nicole about this, since she too suffers from insomnia.
andrew coon