The hubs guest blogs again! This time, about his fight with insomnia. ~Alicia
Oh sleep, thou fragile and oft unobtainable thing.
So Grayson has been having some fun times with his sleep lately. Over the weekend he decided to be awake for 2-3 hours each night in the middle of the night, then suddenly he wanted comfort to fall asleep (but then slept through the night)… so with all of that fun going on, I thought I’d talk about sleep for a little bit here.
I’ve been an insomniac for most of my life. Luckily I’ve had small breaks throughout ( I’ve had as much as almost a year without it at times), though normally I don’t get more than a week’s reprieve before it comes back to visit for a while.
The oddest thing about it was that I thought I was normal (ok, in the sleep department… definitely not in other departments). I would watch TV and scoff at the stupidity of people simply falling asleep as they hit the pillow (I still kind of do, especially in our newest favorite show Awake). I chalked it up to director’s necessity. You can’t really show someone tossing and turning for an hour… not exactly riveting (though perhaps better than Jersey Shore)… It was actually only at the end of my teenage years (when I gained college roommates) that I learned that people actually WERE capable of falling asleep quickly… like in 10 minutes… unlike me.
For my youngest years, until I was 25 or so, it literally took me at least an hour to fall asleep, if not two. I’m sure now that part of it was due to my ADD (which I was diagnosed as a late teen… more on my broken brain in a further guest blog, perhaps). My brain simply would not shut off, and more to the point it could not even settle on one thing for more than a minute or two. My thoughts would bounce around like a caffeinated monkey in a padded room, leaving me largely unable to sleep. I learned to counter this by listening to books on tape at night. It gave me something to focus on, and helped. With that I rarely was up longer than an hour and would usually fall asleep in about 45 minutes. The headphones were uncomfortable, though.
This all means that my body is astoundingly used to functioning on 5-6 hours of sleep.
Amazingly, my first year with Alicia was probably the best I’ve ever had, sleep-wise. During that time I suffered almost no effects, but it has slowly crept back over the years. I’m currently running at about 30 minutes.
So, what are the effects of a baby on an insomniac?
When G was a newborn, it was both extremely tough and amazingly easy. On the bad nights, G would wake up every 2-3 hours to eat… eat for 20 minutes, go back to sleep. Then I’d take another 30-40 minutes to fall asleep, only to be woken up again far too early. On the flip side, a lifetime lacking sleep left me much better off during the days than my poor wife. Five hours of sleep, even broken up, was okay with me most of the time… Lis, not so much.
Then G went through a period of waking up at 3am or so, and simply refusing to go to sleep without mass amounts of rocking. This was given to him in the form of Dad (me) with a foot on a bouncy chair for an hour or so until he was asleep enough to be transferred back into his crib. Sometimes I simply did it until morning. I didn’t mind too much. I was honestly kind of used to just getting up for an hour or two in the middle of the night and doing things. I believe it was during this time that I finally managed my 100% completion of Final Fantasy X. Go me.
It wasn’t all beneficial… if you can call any of that actually beneficial. That’s like being touched with a cattle prod and saying “no, no, that’s fine… I’m used to being electrocuted.” No matter how many times it happens, it’s never a good thing. I think the worst part was the last month or so that G slept in our room. He slept in a little crib in our room until he turned 4 months, and it was during that last month or so that he started to not like little noises in the night. This was problematic to a guy that shifts around a lot while trying to fall asleep. It made me very self-conscious, and made it even harder on me to get back to sleep after his wakeups.
My shifting still annoys the crap out of the wife, but she falls asleep in about 5-10 minutes these days. I can usually hold still enough for that long for her to get to sleep, and then I can go about my horrible nights without bothering her unless I’m going crazy. I change positions about once every 1-5 minutes, I’ve figured out. That can drive a co-sleeper nuts, I’m sure. The wife occasional gets woken up and pokes me or mummers something in a “settle down or I hurt you” kinda way.
As I stated, I’m at about 30 minutes these days… which is pretty good. Usually an hour tops, with rare nights that go on so long that I’ll get up and go do something else, for both our sakes. I don’t know what to credit with the decent time span (YES, 30-60 minutes is a decent time span, ye gods yes). I feel like my ADD is worse right now than it’s ever been, but I feel like my mental outlook is at its best. I love my life right now (even with all the recent horribleness included), and it makes being at peace and serene quite easy most days. I go to bed most nights happy and madly in love with both wife and child, and that seems to be enough. After all, what more is there in life?
Okay, okay, I don’t have any of my world-famous badly photoshopped G pics here. Last time I blogged, I mentioned my fear of G tripped while running at the zoo and smashing his face into the concrete so badly he would resemble a Batman villain. So here you go: the new Batman villain: