The battery-operated clock in my office has a second hand that clicks. In the next room, my husband sleeps, quieter than the clock, no snore in his present stage of slumber.
It’s 2:30 a.m. I wake, ready-set-go. I pull the chain on my bedside lamp and warm light enters the room, a stack of books by the bed beckon, my iPad next to them. No way, I’m picking that up if I want to fall back to sleep.
Instead, I start a new novel, hoping I’ll fall back to sleep, full well knowing this might not be the case and three hours of shut-eye will have to suffice. After an hour, the bed feels like concrete. I flip off the covers, resigned to my plight.
You can get a lot done when you work at home and can’t sleep. I walk across the hall to my office, where stacks of books lay on the floor; others are fanned out upright so their picture book covers are easy to see.
I shuffle through the piles, sorting the keepers from those that will be donated to worthy causes, temporarily stored on shelves in our basement. Up and down the stairs I go, happy to be moving around and not obsessing about going back to sleep. Downstairs there’s another stack of books to be sorted, so I start on that area, and then notice things are out of place in the family room, and put them away.
Back in the office I’ve made such amazing progress that I start on my desk — the top of which I haven’t seen in months. I sort through the papers littering its surface, and actually clear the wood top, then go to the laundry room for a dust rag.
The hours I’ve been awake have flown by. It’s 5:30 a.m., decision time. Should I try to get a couple of hours’ sleep or muscle through?
Not Just Me
This decision has to be made several times a month when I fall asleep like a child on her father’s shoulder after a long day, but wake like an electrical appliance plugged into an outlet. There’s no rhyme or reason to why or when this happens; I just don’t sleep consistently, a joy I relished when I was younger.
Misery loves company, so they say, and when it comes to sleeping that saying is magnified. A lot of women I’ve talked to about this problem also are afflicted, and while we joke about being awake in the night, it’s still annoying.
For me, insomnia doesn’t spring from worry; I just wake up too soon raring to go. A sleep specialist I know said if you can’t sleep after an hour you should get up and do something. Since seeing her I’ve taken her advice, giving thanks for having a job that allows me to work when the sandman’s dust wears off faster than an Advil for arthritis.
What They Do
Two of my retired friends have their own ways to make the wee hours wing by — one likes to clean up her kitchen, and the other exercises on equipment she has in her basement. Anything is better than staying in a bed that feels unwelcoming, and there is a huge sense of accomplishment in greeting the morning having gotten more done in the middle of the night than counting sheep.
Sure, you might be tired, but if you can’t hold your head up at noon you can always opt for a power nap. Experts say you should hold it to 20 minutes so you’ll sleep better at night. Not sure about you, but that’s only three sheep over the fence for me, and one astraddle. Good night, sleep tight!