Friday, October 19, 2012

The Elusive Dream; In Search of a Good Night's Sleep!

The other night, like many nights on any given week, I woke up around 2am, this time because I had to go to the bathroom. Now, there really isn't anything unusual about that and obviously I had forgotten to follow any one of the "over-the-age of 45" rules of not drinking anything after 8pm, not having tea after 5pm, not drinking coffee after 12 noon, not checking email after 9pm, not falling asleep to a Seinfeld rerun or the news or not shoving a pillow through my ears after 11pm to drown out my husband's incredibly loud over-the-age of 45 snoring or any one of these sleep more soundly pieces of advice that are out there...

So after getting up and still feeling at least half asleep, I quickly slipped back into bed and despite my mantra of breathing deeply and chanting "I am a happy, productive, calm, relaxed woman" to myself over and over to help compensate for any and all of the prior day's bad events, I was promptly wide awake for the next hour and a half, during which time I managed to not only relive all of my mistakes from the prior day, but also the prior 40 years of my life! (What is it about middle of the night thoughts; why aren't they ever of all the great things we've done in our lives, right?!)

What's so ironic is that I remember when all three of the kids were in any given stage of newborn-, baby- or toddler- hood and getting a good night's sleep was not even an option, let alone a reality. As you know, each night was an adventure of being woken up typically in the 2-3am hour to the sounds of crying for either nursing, a warm bottle, a diaper change, or just some company because they are ready to start their day and play, screaming from a night terror, screaming from a wet bed when potty training was beginning or screaming for help with a sensory-awakening bottom wipe if potty training was in any way successful, kicks or head butts to your most vulnerable body parts after one, two or all children crawled into your bed with you, or, my personal favorite, the middle-of-the-night throwing up session when you have an early appointment or very important _________ (substitute anything here) the next day. Those were good times, weren't they?!

So it was during these good times of walking around in zombie-like stupor for years that I remember my husband and I thinking that we could not wait until all the kids were old enough to sleep through the night. Well, here's the cruel joke that we didn't realize; what you don't know at the time is if you were like us, and didn't start to have kids until your mid-30's, that by the time they are indeed old enough to sleep through the night and even beyond 7am(!), is about the same time that you in your pulled-in-a-million directions mid-life space will now begin waking up for many other reasons including but not limited to and not in any particular order of importance or frequency, the following worries: aging and depleted hormones, too much ____ to drink, too little ____ to drink (insert water or any alcoholic beverage here), a car alarm which may or may not be yours, a loud dog barking, which may or may not be yours, a low smoke alarm battery that never seems to go off in the middle of the day (what is that?!), a cat fight, a cat on your head, a now well potty-trained child going to the bathroom who doesn't ever close the door, a now aging potty trained dog who must go outside at 3am, a rain storm, a wind storm, a marital storm, body aches, heartache, a debt, the cost of college, your emails, your undone to-do list, your checkbook balance, your work/life balance, your diet, your bills, your memory loss, things you want to forget but keep remembering, your retirement fund or lack thereof, your kids, your friends, your kids' friends, your husband or wife, your boss, your husband's or wife's boss, your parents, your health, your parents health and of course, the fear that you won't fall back asleep in time to not feel like a zombie the next day! Almost makes you yearn back to the days of puking kids, doesn't it?

So in the spirit of uniting in our lives' craziness, just know that you're not alone in your insomniac's quest for a good night's sleep. And if we can't remember each other's names on the school yard, or show up to each other's house one week early for a planned play date, one hour late for a birthday party or we've sent our spouse to the wrong sports field at the wrong time for our child's soccer game (yes, I am guilty of all of these infractions, and then some!) we can not get offended (or lose any more sleep!) but instead laughingly chalk it up to trying to survive yet another day after an unsuccessful, middle-aged quest in search of a good night's sleep...

And just in case you were wondering, I finally did fall back asleep the other night around 3:30am but then woke up in a sweat to an early morning dream of arriving at a resort in Cancun, Mexico for a long-planned, pre-paid family vacation only to find out that in my sleep-deprived, mistake-prone state I had read the fine print incorrectly on the Expedia page and "all-inclusive" did not actually include any drinks! Talk about a middle-aged nightmare! 

Wishing you all sweet dreams until next time...