Thursday, August 14, 2008

Sleepless in...Carlow

Once again I am suffering from that very irritable occurence where you lie in bed, desperately tired, yet you cant switch your brain off and are thus unable to sleep. Having been here before, and having listened to my rants from a variety of friends, I even tried following their advice.

Ordinarily I must sleep with a tv or at the very least a radio in the background. It helps me to tune out my own thoughts, allowing me to succumb to slumber by reducing the background noise (be it tv or radio) to an incoherent static. It's enough to stop my own thoughts, but not enough to keep me awake.

Tonight however, as I lay in bed with the tv on and my eye patch over my eyes (I must have complete darkness) try as I might I could still hear my own thoughts. They buzzing around like bees around a hive. I tried following my friends' advice for once (they could be right you know...) and switched off the tv. I lay in complete darkness and complete silence for two whole hours.

It didn't work.

My brain will just not stop buzzing. It keeps hopping from one thing to the next as well, it's not like there's one particular thing bothering me, it everything that's going on, and even things that aren't going on. Thanks to an episode of Men Behaving Badly combined with this random show I came across Notes From the Underbelly (your run of the mill newleywed comedy) I was even thinking about babies and giving birth. Not something that I'm particularly concerned with at the moment!

So now I'm here. I figured the only way it might be possible to get my brain to switch off is to come on here and try and tire it out by venting some of whats hurtling around in there. To return to my earlier analogy of a beehive it feels like the Queen has gone postal and all the other bees are rocketing around trying to restore order and calm but without much luck because some of the bees have decided to give up and kill themselves. Which would actually be a good thing for me coz it would mean the death of the buzzing bastards. Unfortunately they're not very bright and are trying to kill themselves by jumping from a great height. Not the best idea when you can fly and just as you're about to hit the ground your survival instinct kicks and and you start beating your wings subconscioulsy. It's about as effective as a fish trying to drown itself.

I think the above rant only serves to prove how tired and rambling my brain is at the moment.

Its all down to work. It has completely messed up everyting from my sleeping pattern to my eating pattern. Working as a social care assistant in a residential home is not easy at the best of times. The hours are very unsociable to say the least. Now don't get me wrong, I actually do like the job and after three years of working part time at weekends and over the holidays its fairly safe to say I'm beginning tobe quite good at it. The only thing is, you're on the opposite time table to everyone else. You start work when everyone else finishes, and if you're on an over night shift you work when everyone else is asleep and you sleep when everyone else is at work. The general daily shifts are enough to cause havoc - typically starting at half four and finishing at ten, without any real break, you tend to try and eat lunch around two or three, but by the time you get home just after ten you're starving so you eat a dinner - the worst thing you can do at that time of night. That inevitably keeps you up for a few hours and then because you're not in work early you sleep late. When you're on an overnight, a 10pm -10am, you're lucky to get one meal a day. I tend to only manage a bowl of cereal and maybe some dinner before I head into work at eight or nine, still very late to be eating dinner. Inevitably the nibbles set in during the night so you snack on whatever's available. Usually biscuits or a bar. Hardly what you'd call healthy. Obviously, when you switch quite often between 'day' shifts and over nights, it causes havoc with your whole system.

The result? Me, sitting here right now because I came in from work starving because I didn't get a chance to eat anything before work and therefore indulged on a rather large dinner which is now just sitting rather uncomfortable in my stomach. I feel like I never want to eat again. I do like my job, I get great satisfaction out of it. I just wish it would play quite so much havoc with my body's systems. There must be a better way to deal with it.

As I was feeling quite fatigued on a regular basis I've started taking pharmaton which does seem to be giving me a bit of a boost energy wise. Today I went out and bought some green tea which is suppposed to be good for boosting your metabolism and de-toxing your body - something I definitely need. I need to do something, I feel like one of those mini gel men you put in water that grow to five times their normal size. You know what I'm talking about.

I'm aware that Una Power is probably the only person in the world who will read this, and she'll probably laugh her way through it, but that is not the point of this blog. No. To my mind, all that matters about this blog is that I get to rant, and get things off my chest without anyone interupting me. Rather like when I ring my friends and leave ridiculously long voicemails about nothing just so I can air some troubled thoughts. So whether or not anyone reads this, I don't really care. The point is I have sufficiently ranted to my hearts content and am now finally starting to feel my brain shutting down enough to allow me to sleep.

I'm off to watch St Elsewhere - an eighties Grey's Anatomy starring Denzel Washington and Helen Hunt. Bizarre, I know, but it works. Shame I only get to see it when I have a bout of insomnia.....


Una Power said...

It's a pattern Janice. You need to create a new routine. That doesn't happen in one night. Especially as you clearly don't want the advice to work. You want it proved wrong.

Your body and mind need to be trained to sleep. I was in the same situation as you a while ago. But what I started doing was this:

1. No bed time snacks unless it is cheese or milk - which make you sleepy.
2. Read for a half hour to an hour.
3. Go to sleep.
4. If sleep does not work, try one of two things:
a] Read. But read something you have read before, like P&P, which you know the ending to and won't want to stay up reading.
b] Masturbate - releases the right sort of sleepy chemicals and does wonders for your skin.


As this will only lead to further insomnia. The internet has boundless possibilities and blue links, which tired over worked brains like to follow. The atificial light, unto which you look straight, will keep you awake longer.

I don't know if you will take the advice. I rather suspect you like the idea of suffering insomnia... :)

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