Sleepless Nights

I lie awake in bed, waiting for the cellophane haze of the Ambien to surround me. I notice that I am always tense; my shoulders, back, neck, hands. My attempts to relax are useless, as if my mind and body have no real connection. I remember a period of time when my brother and I were much, much younger and he was faced with sleeping issues. He would try tensing every muscle and then relaxing them each one by one, trying to teach his body to relax. I have tried this. I have tried meditation. I have tried baths, candlelight, exercise, chamomile tea, reading, television, sticking to a schedule, complete silence and darkness, wine, Benadryl, Trazadone, Tylenol PM, Unisom, ditching all caffeine. And yet, sleep eludes me.

The rare times I am able to fall asleep unaided by medical intervention, I am awake after only a few hours as if I have been asleep all night. This of course leads to three o’clock death march later that afternoon. I am constantly thinking about how to get more sleep. I Google insomnia and read about how it is all psychological, all the while wishing my head were screwed on right. The same advice is everywhere – follow a schedule, get up if you cannot sleep, try not to worry about things before bed, keep a journal, do not drink alcohol or caffeine, get exercise and eat well, stop worrying about not sleeping because it won’t kill you – unless it does.