COLUMN: Dream bandits | Opinion
Continuing the elusive journey to Sleepy Town, USA has been an impossible feat for me over the past six hours. I’m not sure if it’s the fact that my dogs must have their playful little paws on a crack (as evidenced by their out of the ordinary 2am date in the hallway) or that I neglected to take my night helps sleep at normal time, which prevented me from enjoying a peaceful night’s sleep. Nonetheless, it has been a horrible night without a rest, and I don’t look forward to a day at work where all I can think about is how nice it will be to finally come home so that I can catch up with the rest that I have. missed that night.
It’s 4.30am and I’ve been up for two hours. As I lay in my bed with my wide eyes fixed on the ceiling, I was thinking (issue 1) about all the responsibilities that are being left out before our biannual trip to Talladega this weekend (excitement – issue 2). I was up later than usual so I was already late in my VERY usual routine of going to bed around 10pm. Insomnia is a chronic problem for me, and I have no problem admitting that I take prescription medication that helps me be able to maintain a normal sleep schedule. However, last night I never had time to take it, and I already knew there was a possibility that I was having a bad night (problem 3).
I got into bed around 12:30 a.m., and after about an hour of turning and turning, I found myself in a strange place, somewhere between nightmare and adventure, dreaming of being locked in a post-apocalyptic hotel room while Val Kilmer stood guard while the police came to stop the neighbors from painting their house purple and green. I felt the anticipation and fear in my sleep as Val told me to be calm – only for that Taco Bell induced late night dream that was interrupted by our scratching 17 year old Dachshund Shelby (very loud) on the bedroom door. It only took a moment for me to realize that the noise I was hearing was my # 4 problem, and I was struggling to ignore the frustrating sound. After a few unsuccessful attempts to join Val in saving the colorful neighborhood paint bandits from my dream, I finally resigned myself to the fact that I had to let Shelby out to drink some water.
For some reason, this 17-year-old, one-tooth, usually lazy pet decided it was a good night to ‘play’ with our new 5 month old Labradoodle Elliott. It is AMAZING how loud puppy paws / claws are when paired with laminate flooring at 1 a.m. living room to try to calm the animals back to sleep.
I was trying to rest on the couch and every time I was almost back in Dreamland one of the dogs decided to jump off the couch to walk into the kitchen. I continued the cycle between endless pet activity and the constant list in my head when I finally decided to make the most of this time and grab my laptop in my bag to write this column. .
From my quick research on the subject and according to medical research from Johns Hopkins, I discovered that insomnia is one of the most common complaints about sleep. From what I understood, while I was struggling to get back to sleep, there were still 30% of you doing the same! Chronic insomnia (more than three nights a week for more than a month) is not as common, affecting just 10 percent of the population. It’s a club I really don’t like to belong to.
I’m sure tomorrow (actually Thursday) I’ll be exhausted and promise to do whatever I need to do to stick to my regular routine and sleep hygiene. Go to bed at a fixed time. Take medication when directed there. Never eat Taco Bell at night. Avoid the explosion of Baja. Don’t watch Facebook while lying in bed (screen brightness disturbs your circadian rhythm). And make sure the animals get what they need before everyone else settles in.
As I am currently sitting in my (finally) calm and peaceful house to finish writing, I am very jealous of the four-legged old lady snoring next to me, huddled in a warm blanket. The alarm that just sounded on my phone telling me it’s time to get up and go to work hasn’t moved her at all (partly because she can’t hear to save her life, and more likely because she’s too exhausted to care about my stupid alarm). I can feel her legs bounce as she takes a deep breath, and I can’t help but wonder what her dreams are made of.
Maybe she’s walking through this same colorful neighborhood that I visited earlier, and if she sees Val, she’ll say hello to her for me (because you know dogs can talk in dreams). Hope I can see how the story ends later tonight. Sleep well, old maid. Sleep well.
Dr Rhonda Smith is a Certified Clinical Social Worker at South Central Regional Medical Center. Email him at [email protected]