Thursday, January 11, 2007

A bureaucrat's bedtime

Last night I got in bed around 10:30 (later than I should have - I'm still trying to stock up on sleep to fight whatever lingering cold germs are lying around) and listened to music. I've been having a lot of trouble falling asleep lately - it's taking and hour or more when I go to bed at a reasonable hour. Of course if I go to bed around midnight, I can drift right off - but that doesn't really mesh well with my 6:00 a.m. wake up (which then gets pushed to 6:15, 6:30, a shower, back to bed for 15 minutes (the only thing that gets me to get out of the shower - the promise of my pillow), frantic bathroom time and a cobbled together lunch before sluggishly dragging myself to the car and making my way to work...late). As much as I'd like to be able to get by with six hours of sleep, I can't.

I'm in between books at the moment and also haven't yet replaced my bedside table light bulb (this is the kind of thing about myself that drives me crazy. It's an Ikea light - so it needs a special Ikea bulb, but you really need to be in a certain mindset to take on Ikea. I haven't been in that zone in quite some time, so the burnt out bulb sits on my catchall, gathering dust, and I remain in the dark). Though reading is sometimes a good tool for easing myself into a dreamstate, right now it requires getting out of bed to turn off the room's main light - which wakes me right up.

Last night I tried music - and while it didn't put me to sleep (ipod head phones are not actually all that comfortable when lying on your side) it was a nice way to end the day. I listened to a bunch of Sufjan Stevens and fell into my favorite prayer, "help me help me help me help me." In her book Traveling Mercies, Anne Lamott says her prayers go one of two ways, "help me help me help me help me" -or- "thank you thank you thank you thank you." That's my faith more or less summed up to a tee (or should it be 'T'?).

I know there are a number of reasons why I can't fall asleep when I want to - but yesterday one of them was the impending doom of the next day, and facing all the things I'd failed to do in the sun cycle coming to a close. After a truly frustrating day at work and a bout of procrastination and intimidating paperwork with no end in sight, it was kind of all I could do to throw it out there and ask for help.

Sometimes I forget that I face these paralyzing limitations of self for that very reason, so that I know no matter what, I'm never going to be able to do it on my own. I forget that when I've exhausted my own avenues for help I can throw that prayer out there, and somehow know it's going to get done.

When I finally turned off the music and felt my body settle into the moments before the inevitability of sleep, I had what I needed to get me out of bed in the morning, and take it all on again.

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Blogger The [Cherry] Ride said...

I can totally sympathize with you, Mocha. And I too often turn to music for inspiration and to elevate my spirits. Hang in there!

1/11/2007 9:10 AM  
Blogger Eve said...

Oh no! If you're not sleeping well, that messes with the rest of your life. Maybe it's your body clock? Could you try taking Tylenol PM for a couple of nights (just 2 or 3) to try to get on a different rhythm? Or try some breathing exercises. Sometimes I get I-can't-sleep anxiety, which just makes things worse.

Hang in there!

1/11/2007 9:40 AM  
Blogger Peter DeWolf said...

Why is it that our body, when it knows it has to get up early, fights even harder against sleep?

I don't typically have trouble falling asleep -- unless I power through my "sleep window." Then I'm awake for hours and can operate heavy machinery. (You know, at least as well I can normally.)

I'm actually a "drowsy maker." One of my exes - up to a year after we broke up - would call me in the middle of the night with, "Hey. I have a big meeting tomorrow morning and NEED sleep. Work your magic." I've chosen to take this as meaning that I am charmingly soothing and not just dull. ;)

1/11/2007 12:01 PM  
Blogger S'Mat said...

oo boy, everything's louder in the dark, especially thoughts. a glass of wine? and/or a hot bath? a space heater on a timer? whale music? like eve suggests, it sounds like you're looking to dissipate your focus...
there's one thing i'd definitely suggest if it weren't so suggestive, and because i've suggested around it i reckon the absence of that suggestion is probably suggestion enough... though of course, its different for everyone.
er, i'll be going now. good luck!

1/11/2007 12:06 PM  
Blogger NAME: Dr. Kenneth Noisewater said...

Reading usually knocks me out, but not when I take a nap and then read anything by Chuck Klosterman. Six hours would be good for me lately.

1/11/2007 2:40 PM  

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