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Adventures in Insomnia and Oversleeping

Posted Apr 23 2009 11:51pm

Ahhh a good night’s sleep. It’s arguably as satisfying as a good meal and it’s something we take for granted until it eludes us. Well, it certainly eluded me the other night. I tried all of my usual remedies - lavender oil, valerian root, warm milk, relaxation and breathing techniques …but alas, nothing worked! I finally got up and emptied the dishwasher and wrote and answered e-mails.

I know I had a lot on my mind - particular after a busy day and an evening out. Still, I had done everything by the book to induce sleep - even reading a soothing novel for a half-hour before turning out the light. I went to sleep just fine, but was back awake and stayed awake after only about 90 minutes of shut-eye. According to the sleep experts this is called “ middle of the night insomnia “. (Not a very clever name, but certainly descriptive).

Unfortunately, while the name is clear, the cause of middle of the night insomnia is opaque. In fact, researchers don’t really know what leads to it. They do suggest that a constant noise (maybe one of those “sound sleep” machines?) can help. So, too, can avoiding caffeine or high protein foods too close to bedtime - which can increase alertness. Well, I don’t do caffeine and I hadn’t had a hi-pro dinner and had even consumed a high-carbohydrate, serotonin-inducing snack an hour before turning in. So there really was no reason I wasn’t in dreamland!!

The next day I felt tired but not excessively so. I went to bed the following night hoping that I would make up for the lack of ZZs the previous night. Well, not only did I sleep - I didn’t wake up until 10:02 am - 2 minutes past the time I was supposed to leave to teach a spinning class. Needless to say, once I saw the time I was wide awake! I somehow managed to get out the door in 6 minutes and make it to my class on-time. I don’t think in my entire life that I’ve ever slept in past 9 am, much-less 10am - that’s what a night of insomnia will do I guess!

Be Well (and sleep well!),

Carolyn

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