Sometimes I wonder why I have so much trouble sleeping. I read a lot of articles and hear a lot of news stories that this is a common problem. I wish being "part of the gang" made me feel better, but it doesn't.
And then two nights ago, I got scared.
A little bit of history (short, trust me). I haven't slept well since 1998. That's a long time. Mostly I can get to sleep, but then wake up somewhere in the middle of the night and can't get back at it. Then, the alarm goes off just as I feel like I could possibly drift back. The time I'm awake in the middle of the night varies; maybe anywhere from two to four hours. By the end of the day, I can barely keep my eyes open. When 10 p.m. rolls around, I'm headed for the next erratic sleep cycle. Usually, the only thing that makes me sleep is a few days of not getting any. Then, I sleep.
I had an OMT (osteopathic manipulation treatment) a little over a week ago, in the hopes of some relief. In the spirit of the hunt, I drew up a chart and started keeping track of my sleeping habits that night so the doctor could see how I was doing. I experienced my usual pattern the first couple of nights (6 ½ and 5 ½ hours of sleep, respectively), and then something weird happened. The next night I wasn't able to fall asleep until 1:30 a.m. and only slept 3 ¾hours, and no more than a couple of hours at a time. I started having trouble getting to sleep most every night after that, and kept waking up in the middle anyway.
Four nights ago I got desperate and took a Melatonin, even though they don't really do anything for me. I took one again the next night, and then again the next night.
On the last day I took the melatonin, two nights ago, I got a total, a total, of two hours and fifteen minutes of sleep. During the five and a half-hour gap between 1 a.m. when I woke up and 6:15 when I fell back to sleep (but only for 45 minutes), I realized the problem was that I had stopped being sleepy. Usually I'm dead tired; when I'm awake in the middle of the night, when I'm struggling to make it through the dreaded 3:00 in the afternoon and when I'm forcing myself to stay awake until 10.
The sleepiness just stopped. Gone. No more sleepy.
I had read an article in National Geographic about people who can't sleep. Here's the thing: they die.
Last night I laid awake until 2:30, not the least bit sleepy even though I hadn't slept the night before. As I lay there, I thought about those people in the National Geographic article, and I suddenly realized that this was it.
This was how I die.
But not before I go back for my second OMT this Friday.