I foresee things getting a little tricky, blog-wise, in the immediate future. My sleep issues have decided to rear their ugly heads and to be honest, right now I’d rather throw my laptop at the next thing that looks at me than write on it. Instead, because I just bought it, I’ll talk about what I mean by “sleep issues” instead of chucking Steve the Laptop.
I’ve always been a bad sleeper. My parents will tell you that I tossed and turned and kicked and punched the entire night through as a kid. Although a lot of that has tapered off, some of the new issues are much more interesting. The nightmares have always been there as well, and those definitely persist. A psychology teacher once told me that actual monster nightmares stop in the teen years and get transformed to focus on real life issues, but I still get monster nightmares. But here’s some of the other things that keep me up:
- Just plain waking up. Monday night, for example, I went to bed about 12:30 or 1, and was awake again at 2, about 3, 4:30, 6, and 7:30, and I finally gave up. Everybody has those nights, when you can just never get deep enough to stay asleep.
- Sleep Talking You’re all probably familiar with this, either personally or through that wacky friend from your youth who you hoped was going to say something scandalous when you caught them talking at three in the morning. I do this a lot. Almost any friend of mine that I’ve shared a room or bed with can tell you multiple stories of things I’ve said in the past. Shaun told me one morning that I’d sat up in bed the night before and told him, “I’m a ‘nanner!” before laying back down to sleep. My buddy Cara, knowing I was a sleepwalker, was trying to keep me from leaving the tent during a camping trip by quizzing me about what I was doing, checking to see if I was actually awake. She told me to get back in bed after I told her, “I’m trying to get my shoe on but it’s laughing at me because I’m sticking my foot up its ass.” The list of Shit Kristin Says While Asleep is endless, but amusing. The majority of the time, it’s nonsense and unintelligible and ends when I get mad at Shaun for not understanding and then roll over in anger and go back to sleep.
- Sleep talking. To people in the room. Who aren’t in the room. This one has a tendency to freak me out a little because it’s so weird. It’s a very odd thing to experience. People, generally people that I know or interact with, just are in my room and we’re having a conversation. It’s like I’m awake with a dream overlay. If I sleep with no clothes on, or feel like I wouldn’t want these people to see what I’m wearing, that reality remains intact. My room is still my room, I’m still in bed, and these dream people are in that environment, as if they were really just standing at the foot of my bed. It’s never weird that they’re there, and it’s not a malicious thing, but it’s…small talk, usually. This one doesn’t happen too much anymore, but damn it was weird.
- Sleep Walking This is exactly what it sounds like. I get up and walk around. When I’m very lucky, I just walk to the back door and stare out, or make it a few steps and wake up. Bad days, I wake up knowing I’ve been sleep walking but unable to remember where I went or what I did. When I’m very unlucky (and this doesn’t happen much anymore), I leave the house. While I still lived at my parent’s place, in high school, I’d wake up a ways down the road or out in their acreage, just standing there like an idiot and wondering what the fuck I was doing. Being out in the country meant I managed to stay out of danger, but still. On road trips with friends, in strange towns and strange hotel rooms, I’ve woken up with the hotel door open, about to walk out of the room.
- Sleep…activities No, not that. Although some people do suffer from that. I used to be a sleep-eater, though. I’d wake up next to an empty bag of chips or with a carton of half-eaten, melted ice cream in my hand. Also, I’ve sleep-cleaned. Sounds fantastic, right? Nope. I throw away important things, like remotes and homework.
- Night Terrors This one is truly terrify, for multiple reasons. The actual terror is scary, of course. I’ll have very vivid, real dreams about things I’m scared of. A lot of times, these are nightmares about house fires, or Trex being in very real danger, or someone I love doing something that’s going to hurt them. They evoke an instant, physical response. Most of the time, they manifest as me sprinting out of bed as fast as can in any direction. In one motion, I’ll throw the covers off and leap out of bed, hitting the ground running. This really sucks when there’s things on the floor, or I run at a window, or, you know, when my legs are asleep and they can’t hold me up. Some of the dreams that focus on Trex get me searching the room frantically, looking for him. Everywhere gets searched until Shaun wakes me up. I’ll look under the bed, all over the floor, in the covers, through the closet…where ever my panicked brain thinks is logical. This one is very dangerous and the most disruptive. I’m terrified, Shaun normally wakes up suddenly when I start freaking out, and there’s a very real chance of serious injury. Just ask Mike Birbiglia. He ran through a window.
So what’s the answer? Fuck if I know. The most obvious is for me to suck it up and do a sleep study, but I have some hangups. I’m scared that I’ll go in there and that will be the night I sleep like a baby. I’m worried about the cost. I worry they’ll try to put me on a sleep med and we don’t get along, sleep medication and I. I can’t even take NyQuil because I can’t shake the effects for about 18-24 hours. A while back I was prescribed a muscle relaxer for my back. I took one and it knocked me out really, really badly. Luck would have it that I had to drive to a job site the next day, with Trex, and I was so sleepy I was in tears. So these meds, even the “only lasts 4 hours” or such type, last too long for me to be able to function on. I feel like treating these issues is futile. For me, it’s just how I sleep and it’s been normal for so long and without the meds, what can they do?