A hot (no pun intended) topic among my midlife friends is insomnia, which goes hand-in-hand with hot flashes, headaches, irritability, weight gain, and so many other symptoms that come and go as we sometimes blindly find our way through the haze of perimenopause and menopause.
Insomnia is the most disruptive of all the symptoms, it seems. A conversation with some of my friends about sleep 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 drink any alcohol, I can’t sleep at all.”
“If I don’t take and Ambien, I can’t sleep at all.”
“If I wake up and my husband is snoring, I’m done for.”
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, that’s it, I’m up. And that makes for quite a long day.
[clickToTweet tweet=”Insomnia at #Midlife – When the Mind Is At Its Sharpest. Who else is up at 3 am?” quote=”Insomnia at #Midlife – When the Mind Is At Its Sharpest. Who else is up at 3 am?”]
Here are some of the things that grow from tiny thoughts to big, oppressive word bubbles floating around my head:
-What fatal illness I must have that’s keeping me awake
-What fatal illness I must have that makes me so tired all day (could be the not sleeping at night?)
-What to make for dinner tomorrow – ummm, today
-Where I put….something I can’t find
-What I’m going to write about for my next blog post
-Why I made that bad choice in 1986
-What I’m going to write about that will get me published in the Modern Love column
-Why I said that stupid thing in 1992
-What I’m going to write about for my next 5 blog posts
-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
-What I’m going to do when I run out of things to write about on my blog
Then there are these things:
-All the books in my stack that I want to read
-All the books I should read but don’t want to read
-Whether my husband will ever stop snoring
-The phone call I forgot to return
-The email I didn’t answer
-The dentist/doctor appointment I need to make
-I really should floss more regularly
-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.
More about midlife: If I’m Tired, It’s Ok. Right?
In the dark, in the middle of the night, I think about things that never cross my mind during daylight hours. I lie in bed, listening to my darling husband snoring, my adorable dog scratching and snuffling, and watch the clock. It could be worse, I guess. At least these two are here with me.
Still, I’d like to go back to sleep.