Sunday, March 6, 2011

Ambien, You Have Forsaken Me!

It's 4am as I write this. It's the best sleep I've had in days. Four-and-a-half uninterrupted hours of sleep. Uninterrupted is the key word. I bounced out of bed at 3:44 this morning, unable to sleep one more wink, having slept straight through my brief repose. If I slept nine or ten hours, but woke up several times in the night, I'd be exhausted and cranky, praying for the end of the day when I could go back to bed.

My best friend, Ambien, has let me down. Say what you will about it, but if I take one I'm out in 15 minutes and a marching band could go through our bedroom without my batting an eye. I don't know what's happened lately - maybe too many Girl Scout cookies too close to bedtime - but Ambien has not been there in the clutch. I tried chewing one last night, to speed up it's effect. Never try that. They taste terrible. Really terrible. And it doesn't help. I did fall asleep, eventually, but not with the clockwork precision I've come to count on from Ambien.

Over the past few nights, I've dozed for an hour or so, then woke up, then couldn't get back to sleep for hours. By 7pm the next day, I was a bear, eating dinner in a flash, then bolting upstairs to jump into bed, where I'd immediately kick into overdrive and stay awake, staring at the ceiling until 2am, praying for sleep. I'd read, I'd write, incoherently, I'd watch TV, I'd change beds. Eventually I'd fall asleep, just at the moment I was sure I'd heard a burglar trying to break into the house. I can scare myself to sleep, apparently.

I'm working on a three-day deficit of sleep here, yet feel awake and refreshed, enough so to be able to sit down and blog. I don't feel bad if I wake my husband up, because 1) he can sleep sitting up, literally, any time, anywhere, and 2) his snoring is often what keeps me awake. I tried in vain the other night to listen to a sleep CD, but it got drowned out by his snoring, so I gave up and went to the guest room, groggy and irritated, to try to catch some winks.

I have an irritating habit, I'm told, of announcing that "It's a brand new day!" every morning when I wake up. It usually means I'm getting up for the day. It can also mean, depending on the time and my energy level, that so are you. It was nice this today when, after my morning announcement, my husband got up shortly after I did and went down and made coffee for me. He'd been through my three-day sleep roller coaster with me, and knew that I wasn't going back to sleep. Sweet thing. Now he's downstairs, staring at the front door, cursing the paper boy for slacking off and not getting the paper here until 6am.

I've been an insomniac my whole life. I just never knew it until a doctor first prescribed Ambien for me. "You mean people sleep this long? Every night?" I asked. I was elated! My whole perspective on the world had changed. Don't get me wrong, I was still late for work every morning, that was a ritual based on procrastination. But during the day, I felt great! I could concentrate and focus, even after the coffee wore off. Eventually, I was banned at work from having more than one cup of coffee, because it made me too perky for everyone else to handle.

So thanks for nothin' lately, Ambien, but I know you'll come back to me. You always do. And my nights will once again be filled with blissful, restful, uninterrupted sleep.

But right now, it's time for more coffee.

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