The Insomniac Diet

It’s another one of those nights for me. I’m awake. I’m miserably tired, but I. am. awake.

I swear I know the landscape of every tiny bump of the popcorn texture on my bedroom ceiling and just the way high moonlight creeps in through the curtains. I know how many times the night trains rumble by on the tracks a few miles away.  I understand that my husband never moves after he falls asleep and that my child does gymnastics. I know these things firsthand. Ever since my pregnancy, I go through periodic bouts of sleeplessness. I’ll have a few nights of peaceful rest, and then I’m up the rest of the week, maybe settling down enough to sleep a couple hours each night. Maybe.

I guess I function okay during this time. I go through the motions of doing what needs to be done at least.  I take care of the kid and do my work, but it’s all done through a haze of tiredness and dread of bedtime. Dread because I know that one sleepless night usually sparks another one.  And I know why.

There’s a diet that all insomniacs are on. It’s a diet of anxiety that we feed ourselves at bedtime. If you can’t sleep on a regular basis, you probably know exactly what I’m talking about. Oh my, is it really three o’clock in the morning? What in the world am I going to do if I don’t get any rest? Please, I just really need to get some sleep. Is it really getting lighter outside? Okay, okay, okay, no more looking at the clock.  Just rest your eyes and maybe you’ll drift off. 

This is my life. And I know it’s my biggest problem when it comes to getting to sleep. I’ve fixed everything else. I cut out the caffeine. I dim the lights. I drop off screen time about an hour before bedtime.  I lay down at the same time every night. I have a sleepy time routine. I still struggle.

I know there are options out there for me. I’ve tried the over the counter sleep aids. They don’t even touch my sleeplessness. I’m a stubborn insomniac. I don’t really like taking them anyway. That’s a big reason why I haven’t seen a doctor about it, even though I probably should. I hate the thought of having to take pills for the rest of my life, and I don’t like the thought of being dependent on drugs, even if it’s not about getting high. I’m not knocking anyone who has found relief this way. More power to you. This is just about me, about my personal preferences, and about my history with drugs. I’m pretty scared of anything that might springboard me back to the state I was in when I was seventeen or eighteen. I’m a much happier person now, insomnia notwithstanding.

I guess I don’t really have any other options. So I’ll be over here. Awake. And trying to change my diet.