It is rare that I find a story that speaks to an issue of which I so identify with. But that is exactly what I found in a story written by Karina Bland titled My So-Called Midlife, in the AZ Republic on Sunday May 1, 2011. In part, this is what she had to say about Insomnia.
“I have found myself lying wide-eyed in bed in the wee hours when everyone else is asleep. Well, not everyone. On Facebook at 3 a.m., I invariably find a female friend about my age who also is awake, sleepily checking her Farmville crops or half-heartly taking the What Famous Literary Charter Are You? quiz, and she’ll be up for a chat. It’s almost 4:30 a.m. and there’s no point in going back to bed. So I read on the Internet that about 59 percent of women ages 35-55 won’t get much sleep during perimenopause, the 4-8 year period leading up to menopause. Researchers say this group of women is more likely to experience insomnia than any other. I say we should all meet for pancakes and coffee.
I don’t have trouble falling asleep. Most nights, I can barely keep my eyes open to read in bed for even 10 minutes before I drift off. But a few hours later, I’m awake. Wide awake! Oh, and I have to pee. So I grope my way to the bathroom with my eyes closed, stumbling over flip-flops on the floor, leaving the light off in hopes of convincing my brain that we’re really NOT ready to get up. But as soon as I climb back in bed, my mind is swirling with things that didn’t get crossed off my to-do list. I look at the glowing red numbers on the alarm clock. It’s 3:12 a.m. Groan. I flop onto my back, close my eyes, willing my arms and legs to be still and sink into the mattress. 3:39, 3:40, 3:41! And then my foot cramps, pulling me up off the pillow, and I throw off the covers and stand pressing my gnarled toes against the cool tile to uncurl them, 3:45, and I’m up! Other nights it’s hot flashes that drive me out of bed, overheated and sweating, and then back under the covers, damp and chilly. My mantra used to be, I’ll sleep when I’m dead, because there were too many fun things to do and places to go. But now, I FEEL dead, and I’m beginning to look it, with my skin taking on a strange pallor in the glow of the refrigerator and dark circles appearing under my eyes. It’s not age giving me these bags; it’s a lack of sleep. I’m going to bed earlier, skipping the 10 p.m. news. But I’m still waking up at odd hours, so rather than lie there and worry, or get frustrated, I’ve started embracing these empty hours.”
I have many empty hours in the early morning, some mornings are worst than others, but I try to occupy my mind with whatever seems worth it at the time. The other morning, I found myself back in bed at the respectable hour of 6:30 a.m. I watched as my husband slept so peacefully and then I woke him up, lovingly of course. Hey, it’s only fair that he share this special time with me every once in a while. So I ask you, Insomnia, is it a blessing or a curse? I’m just sayin…………………………..