Discolor Online

Weblog of the sweetest person you never want to piss off.


Interrupted Sleep

For the last two weeks I've been waking up in the middle of the night again. Somewhere between 3:30am and 5:30am I wake up and I'm awake for an hour to an hour and a half before I can fall asleep again. I've tried getting up and doing things, I've tried just laying in bed and trying to fall back to sleep, either way I seem to be stuck with being awake for at least an hour.

This happens to me from time to time, just like my periodic bouts of full-on insomnia (usually where I wake and I can't fall back asleep at all, as opposed to being unable to fall asleep in the first place). I was never a poor sleeper as a child; in fact, if anything I slept too deeply (making me a notorious but inadvertent blanket hog, among other things). Occasionally I would be unwilling to fall asleep because I was caught up in a good book or some other activity but it wasn't until I became a mother that I had such a hard time with insomnia and interrupted sleep.

Kate was a restless baby who often only slept for 45 minutes or an hour at a time over the first year of her life. She was a year and a half old before she could sleep through the whole night and even then she didn't do it regularly. At three she was still waking me up by climbing into my bed a few times a week. After years of interrupted sleep (and that first horrible year of intense sleep deprivation) I've been much more prone to waking than I ever used to be. Early on in motherhood I was quick to wake at Kate's sounds, Chris couldn't get out of bed without waking me because every movement triggered my "mommy radar" and I couldn't help but come awake. Now, though, it's nothing like that keeping me awake. When I wake, Kate is sound asleep and usually Chris is as well. No sound, no movement, no need to go to the bathroom, no waking from a bad dream... I'm just no longer asleep.

I've begun to dread those early morning hours. My mind churning, lists of things I "should" do, snippets of songs in my head, anxiety about not being asleep turning into a more general anxiety. Needless to say, such broken nights of sleep are not restful. I noticed this during the summit and wrote off my exhaustion to our busy pace but in the week that's followed I'm still waking and still unrested. It's wearing thin, I'm tired of it. Perhaps it's time to follow the lead of my friend JD and start a routine of melatonin.


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Anonymous Anonymous Says:

Have you tried wearing ear plugs (or if you, like me, tend to sleep predominantly on one side, an ear plug just in the ear that faces away from the pillow)? It doesn't have to completely block outside noise, but if it muffles and deadens it a bit, that might sooth the brain a little more.


Anonymous Kara Says:


I have the EXACT same problems with sleep. I wake up almost precisely at 4am every time. I've had it last as long as 6 months, waking up every single day at 4am, laying awake for 1.5 hours-ish, only to fall asleep and have the alarm go off. It's horrible.

Now, when I have those days I'm thankful. I went through the most un-holy insomnia bout when I was in my last year of college. It was like someone hooked me up to an electric table. I didn't sleep a wink for almost 2 weeks before I broke down and got help.

Melatonin helped in the early days, but it stops working after you take it for so long. It also kills women's sex drives after about 3 months.

You mention laying there, and your mind won't shut down. That's exactly what happens to me. It's like my eyes click open and my mind is off to the races.

What this all boils down to is anxiety. Classic symptoms. A very low dose of Buspar and yoga have been the only long-term solutions for me. That and 3 years of on-again off-again anxiety counseling. You learn tricks to help shut your mind down, to curb the anxiety before you even go to bed.

I know first-hand how expensive seeing a therapist is with no insurance. I would recommend Googling some sites for relaxation techniques. They will take time to master, but they will definitely help you in the long run. I promise.

And ear plugs... I'm at the point where I have so many sleep probs that the hubby can't sleep in the same room with me. He snores like a chainsaw. I can stand to wear earplugs for 2-3 days, and then my ears start itching so bad deep, down inside that I understand why Van Gogh did what he did.

I'll draw this novel to a close. Feel free to email me with any questions. I'd be happy to talk to you more about it. I know how awful and straining it is.

Blogger Nikchick Says:

Thanks, Kara. I've always just kinda toughed it out in the past and never had to deal with more than a week or so at a time. I have no doubt that stress and anxiety have a lot to do with it, although I can't say I feel any more stressed or anxious than "usual" when I'm awake. I mean, this is just my life, it's the way it's always been...

One thing I've noticed is that as I've hit the tail end of my thirties, my body just isn't physically the same as it used to be. It's been easier to put on weight, even though nothing else has changed (still eating the same, still at the same general level of activity, etc). Same for aches and pains: I'm physically more stiff, more tired, slower to bounce back than I was 10 or 15 years ago. I have to assume that my body is rebelling in a similar fashion to the stress in my life. Traitorous body!


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