A hot (no pun intended) topic among my midlife friends is insomnia, which seems to go hand-in-hand with hot flashes, headaches, irritability, weight gain... oh yeah, that's called perimenopause.
But the insomnia seems to be the most debilitating of all of the symptoms. I recently had a conversation with some of my virtual (but very real) friends about sleep, and it went something like this:
"I can't sleep. I play Words with Friends at 2 a.m."
"I fall asleep and then wake up soaked with sweat. I have to turn the air down to 52 degrees to cool off"
"If I don't have a glass of wine or two, I can't sleep at all."
"If I don't take an Ambien, I can't sleep at all."
and the worst of all:
"Once I'm up, my mind starts racing, and I never fall back to sleep."
So what is that keeps me up at night, on those nights when I wake up, wide awake, at 1:43, or 2:17? Or worst of all, 4:30 -- because if I wake up at 4:30, I'm for sure not going back to sleep.
Well, there's these things:
- Money worries
- What fatal illness I must have that's keeping me awake
- What fatal illness I must have that makes me so tired all day (ummm, could be the not sleeping at night?)
- What to make for dinner tomorrow -- I mean, today
- Where I put... something I can't find
- Why I made that bad choice in 1986
- Why I said that stupid thing in 1992
- Why I shouldn't have had so much to drink at that party in 1997
- What it would be like if I lived in (insert city or state here)
- All the people I used to know who I don't know anymore
- Whether all the people I used to know that I don't know anymore ever think about me
Then there's these things:
- All the books in my stack that I want to read
- The phone call I forgot to return (oh shit)
- The dentist/gyno/eye doctor appointment I need to make
- Whether my son will get hurt playing football
- Whether my kids are happy
- Whether my husband is happy
- What does it really mean to be happy
- Is happiness an illusion
- Is it all an illusion
- Or maybe a delusion
You get the picture.
In the dark, in the middle of the night, I think about things that don't cross my mind during the day. I lie in bed, listening to my darling husband snoring, my adorable dog scratching and snuffling, and at least I know this -- I'm safe and sound.
Still, a good night's sleep would be nice.