Some people claim to thrive on next to no sleep. I am not one of them. I rarely have a problem with sleeping and I can rarely think of anything I'd rather do between 10pm and 6 am than sleep. So the past six weeks has been an interesting challenge to me, averaging 4 hours a night, and never more than 5.5. It's the kind of insomnia where you fall asleep like a cat (not like a baby, anyone using that cliche obviously wasn't a parent) but you wake up in a surge of adrenalin in the very smallest hours of the night and don't fall back to sleep.
Perhaps because of it's unfamiliarity, this pattern of insomnia was an exhilarating novelty for the first couple of weeks as I discovered that those hours of darkness are incredibly fertile for generating and developing creative ideas. Over the second couple of weeks the exhilarating creativeness took on a slightly manic tinge and I discovered that the middle of the night is also a suitable space for facing one's own dark shadows. In the last couple of weeks my creativity and self-reflection have begun to be overwhelmed by chronic exhaustion, and sleeping through the night has become my unswerving (but as yet, unmet) goal.
Everyone has tips about how to sleep and I am trying almost every suggestion except hot milk, as dairy doesn't agree with me. So far nothing has made me stay asleep, but with all the vitamins, minerals, herbs and flower essences I pop every day plus plenty of exercise, massage and meditation I'm continuing to function without physical or emotional meltdown. Readers may feel free to offer additional sleep-inducing advice through the comments function.
My favourite suggestion was from Silke, who's acupuncturist recommends singing to help the chi flow where its supposed to. It doesn't help me sleep, but singing Ka Waiata over and over in the middle of the night is a much more pleasant a way to pass the time than tossing and turning and cursing my whacked-out adrenal glands.
Oh, you might be wondering why am I not sleeping? Well, my last solid sleep was the night before Brad's funeral which happened to be the first night in a new housesit in town, and a couple days before I resigned from my job. I've experienced massive transitions on a number of fronts during this period of grieving for my beloved, brilliant, inspiring friend. I reckon I probably needed 20 hours a day of consciousness to process everything at first, but now it is just a bad habit. So today I'm off to seek professional help to ensure that I start my new job next week fully rested and ready to go.