Sunday, December 30, 2007

Dream for an Insomniac

I am a complete insomniac.

I am not quite sure when it started. I have memories of not being able to sleep when I was a little kid. My sister and I shared a room back then, and she would seem to fall asleep the second her head hit the pillow. I never could!

When I was in the fourth grade, my family moved from New York City to suburban Monmouth County. I had spent my whole life falling alseep to the sounds of horns beeping and people yelling and that homeless guy across the street belting out "La Bamba" every night (yes, really, "La Bamba), and now I was forced to learn to fall asleep to...

PEACE AND QUIET!

Many people pay for CDs of waterfalls rushing and birds chirping and waves crashing. I, on the other hand, needed a CD of just the opposite.

I couldn't fall asleep in the suburbs!

It was so quiet! How did people do this all the time!?

It was that year that I discovered Highway to Heaven reruns. I was always a very big Little House on the Prairie fan, and here were Pa and Mr. Edwards...playing ANGELS! It came on around 3:30 AM and I would watch it almost every night (or, morning.) Highway to Heaven often had two-parters so that was always extra motivation to stay up to find out if Mark and Jonathan saved the day. (Even though the odds were quite good that they always WOULD, I would still want to watch. Speaking of which, I think I need to get that show on DVD soon.)

Then Leave it to Beaver would come on after it. My dad would get up early for work, and he’d sit at my desk chair and we’d watch it most mornings.

When I wasn’t watching classic reruns, I was reading Baby-Sitters Club books or writing. (I believe fourth grade was when I became completely serious about being a writer!)

I am pretty sure I didn’t get a full hour of sleep that year.

It is quite a miracle that I did not fail out of the fourth grade.

As the years went on, I continued to have issues with sleeping.

Many things trigger sleepless nights…such as, stress. If I knew I was going on a job interview the next day (and I have been on roughly five-hundred of those things over the past three-and-a-half years), I knew I was in for a sleepless night the night before. It was just something I accepted as fact.

I am not a scary movie fan, but I also need to avoid anything remotely haunting after 9 PM or so. A few years ago, I saw that The Pianist was going to be on HBO and told my friend I was going to watch it because I hadn’t seen it yet. My friend responded with, “I’m going to get a crazy IM or phone call at 3 AM with, ‘I can’t sleep! I was watching World War II movies before bed again!’”
And that is exactly what happened.

I would love to just be able to fall asleep. Just once. Just once…shut my eyes and fall asleep and STAY that way for at least six hours.

I now have one of those cushioned masks to put over my eyes. I used one last night. This specific kind came recommended from a friend. The first night I used it, I put it on too loosely and it slid around my face and pillow all night. The second night I used it, I put it on too tightly, and it end up around my neck and I was clasping my throat worried I was going to choke.

Last night, it actually STAYED on my face, but I kept pulling it over my eyes to peak at my alarm clock...even though I had no reason to worry about time, because it is Sunday!

Over the years, I have also learned that there are certain things you shouldn't do shortly before sleeptime (besides watching The Pianist)...such as taking Claritin and Midol in the same gulp. Claritin claims it won't make you drowsy. Midol says that it will help fight fatigue.

If by "not making drowsy" and "fighting fatigue" they mean "you will be bouncing off the walls with a vacuum cleaner at 3:30 AM" (oh, it HAS happened) ,then I could be their spokesgal.

I start a new job tomorrow, and I am already accepting that I will not sleep at all tonight and will be running on nothing tomorrow morning.

I am going out today to buy some more special lavandar spray or "silk pajamas" lotion or chamoille pillow spray from Calgon. That stuff is supposed to work, right? (Well, never did for me.)

It won't.

It never does.

I wasn't meant to ever get a good night's sleep.

Diana Rissetto