Monday, November 25, 2013

books are my friends

I have struggled with insomnia occasionally in my adult years and much more frequently since my first cancer diagnosis. I don't know if it's my age, the years of chemotherapy and side effects, my old bed or things that go bump in the night but I very often wake up between 3:00 and 4:00 and can't get back to sleep, no matter how much I toss and turn.

I've learned not to look at my phone or turn on my computer. There is something about the back-lit screens that jolt me further awake, making it impossible to get back to sleep before dawn. And lying in bed, trying to will myself back to sleep just adds to my frustration.

I've started to keep a book-light on top of whatever novel I'm currently reading by the side of my bed. When I sense that sleep is temporarily hopeless, I read until I feel that it's worth it to take another crack at sleeping. Sometimes this is a couple of chapters. Sometimes it's a couple of hundred pages.

Reading is so soothing. It distracts me from worries of inadequate sleep and doesn't let me indulge the fear and anxiety that thrives in the middle of the night. And when I read at night, I feel none of the guilt that can accompany daytime reading that voice that says I really ought to be doing something more productive.

Last night, I read "Saints of the Shadow Bible" by Ian Rankin. I started it before bed last night. I'm now on page 150. I know it would be better to be sleeping more. I've cut out afternoon caffeine. We're trying to figure out how to afford a new bed, after 17 years.

I could write a book on what to do to cut down on insomnia. For now, though, I'll just appreciate the joy of reading one.


Amy said...

That's my current read as well. I'm curious to see where it's going.

Jacky said...

I find books on audio tape are wonderful for sleeplessness. I usually fall asleep and miss some but can backtrack the next day.

Jacky said...

I find books on audio tape are wonderful for sleeplessness. I usually fall asleep and miss some but can backtrack the next day.

laurie said...

I love audiobooks, too but have never tried them at night. I just find reading very soothing. Amy, I'm liking this one much better than his last. I hope the ending doesn't make me mad again!

Teresa said...

He's such a good author, when I visited Edinburgh I though of his books as they are often so intertwined with that city. I am reading Ruth Rendell, funnily enough he often has testimonials in her books. 3am is an awful time to be awake, hope the reading helps.

laurie said...

He has made me very much want to visit Scotland, something I hadn't thought about much, before reading his books.

tccomments2013 said...

dear laurie,

books are my friends, too. when I get all snugged up in bed in comfy pjs, my must-have 4 pillows and a good book, is when I feel most peaceful. reading is such a therapeutic escape, and I love getting lost in it all. if I awaken at some ungodly hour and can't fall back asleep, I go right back to reading. and since it makes me feel so peaceful, I simply chalk it up to a healthy indulgence that doesn't make me fret about sleeping time missed out on. sometimes I wonder if those intervals are meant to be, that I might discover something in the book that will be especially insightful, then fall asleep feeling grateful I came across it to mull over nicely, as I drift back to sleep.

if your bed needs replacing, here's a suggestion. if you have a Habitat for Humanity re-sale shop in your vicinity, you can often find brand new, still in their wrappings, mattresses, donated by decorators or contractors if they were the wrong size or too hard/too soft - for very little money.

much love and light, and happy reading to you,


Francine said...

My husband and I were just about to resign ourselves to sleeping in separate beds because I toss around so much. We bought a Thermarest mattress, I can't do without it.

angela said...

i know EXACTLY how you feel. i think, for me, it may be a combination of it all (years of chemo, medications, age, and definitely my mattress!).

amazing how parallel are experiences are! glad you're well my friend.