It’s way too early for this

Well, I guess it’s not way too early, at 7:48 a.m., but 5:56 a.m. certainly is, which is when I woke up this morning after not falling asleep until around 2 a.m. This new medication I’m on has the unfortunate side effect of only letting me sleep in short bursts, it seems. It started out as only allowing me to sleep for six hours, which was manageable with an afternoon nap. But this four hours of sleep business is getting old. And it’s not like I wake up and I am sleepy. I wake up, and I am A-W-A-K-E. I laid in bed for about an hour, tossing and turning, trying to fall asleep again, until I finally gave up. I took a shower, got some breakfast, and here I am.

I’ve always had trouble sleeping, ever since I was a kid. I get it from my mother, along with her allergies and proneness to migraine headaches — thanks, Mom! (I get other perfectly lovely things about her, but that’s a post for another day.) I’ve tried all sorts of stuff — meditation, journaling, music, muscle relaxation therapy, counting, even OTC and prescription sleep aides. The medications work, but they leave me feeling groggy in the morning, and they don’t always prevent me from waking up in the middle of the night. Considering truly restful sleep needs to be uninterrupted, this is not very helpful.

I have used the time well, I suppose. While I was teaching earlier in the summer I’d use my extra two hours awake reviewing my lecture for that day’s lesson. Now I’ll check my e-mail, plan my day, maybe do a bit of research or reading. Normally I can fall asleep again a few hours after being up an active. In probably about an hour I’ll be able to sleep again, so in the meantime I’ll probably work on some research — knock out one hour of the ten I’m supposed to do every week. Life as a graduate student: absolutely fascinating.

Begging the question that someone will actually read this, do you have a good strategy for falling asleep again after waking up in the early morning? I’m honestly willing to try just about anything. I just want to be able to get a full eight hours again. I wish I could be like my boyfriend or father, who can basically roll over and fall asleep, no trying at all.

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