Monday, November 28, 2011

My case of almost-insomnia

A few years ago I suffered from insomnia. It was a miserable and hellish existence that I wouldn't wish on anyone. The cycle of exhaustion during the day that borders on insanity and the dread as night approaches and once again you will be faced with the inability to sleep, even though there is nothing your body craves more. Luckily for me I no longer suffer from insomnia. Instead, I suffer from almost-insomnia. My almost-insomnia started around 18 months ago, in the spring of 2010 when we switched to daylight savings time. Something about the time change, the early morning light and my aging body created a perfect storm of which I have yet to escape. 

The reason I call it almost-insomnia is because I fall asleep fine. I sleep well through the night. And then I wake up. At 5:30am. Wide awake. Did I mention it is 5:30am? I do not want to be awake at 5:30am. There is little to nothing to do at 5:30am except work at the computer. I could go running, but it is dark. I could watch television, but it is morning and technically I should be getting ready for the day. The grocery store isn't open. Target isn't open. So instead I get up and have some coffee and think longingly of all those people who have to set an alarm to rouse them out of bed at 6:30 or 7:00. This works well when I have a lot going on and tons of work to catch up on and am so busy during the daytime hours that I need the extra morning time to get it done. This totally sucks when I have nothing urgent to attend to and there is space open on my calendar to accomplish whatever needs to get done that week during normal person hours. 

The downside of the almost-insomnia is that I am exhausted by mid-afternoon. By the evening I am a zombie. If I could go to bed at 7pm maybe that wouldn't be an issue. But for some reason my kids don't want to get on this schedule. They are burning the midnight oil, staying up as late as 8:30pm most nights. They have no consideration for mommy's almost-insomnia.

And yes, I have tried altering my sleep schedule by going to bed later. All that happens is that I get less sleep because regardless of when I go to bed, I am up at 5:30am. Even when I traveled to France this past spring, took a red-eye flight there, adjusted to the time change, flew back home and...immediately reverted back to my 5:30am wake up time. 

The problem with my almost-insomnia is there is no sympathy. If I mention it to friends it sounds like I'm bragging. Saying *oh, I just automatically wake up at 5:30am* is only a few degrees away from *I try and I try and no matter what I eat I simply can't gain any weight*. No one feels sorry for you. 

The medical profession truly cares about the insomniacs. They have lots of ways they can attempt to help you including several different medication options. The almost-insomniacs get sighs and reminders that we are technically getting the recommended amount of sleep for our age, and we are sleeping through the night, and it's not like we are waking up at 3am. In other words, we need to and accept this is our lot in life.

So I continue to exist with this condition and hope that one day it will get enough recognition and appreciation that there will be telethons and charity 5k races in its honor instead of eye rolling. In the meantime I think the best I can do is plan a trip to Hawaii where there is a several hour time change and then stay for a few months until my body's clock works things out. But until then, if you ever need someone to have coffee with you at 5:30am send me a text.