When You Can't Sleep And Nothing Helps

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Every evening it happens: my eyes start to flutter around 8:30 or so. It doesn’t matter if I’m cleaning the kitchen, lying down with my kids watching television, or reading with obnoxious music in the background.

I’m delirious and I think, I am going to sleep so good tonight.

Only I don’t.

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Lately, it seems like as soon as my head hits the pillow, it sends a signal to my anxiety that it’s time to wake up and come out and play.

Why does everything feel so intense when the lights are out and everyone else is comfortably sleeping? This is the moment you’ve been waiting for all day long and you are not in the relaxed state you’d thought you’d be when you needed toothpicks to keep your eyes open during lunch. The ghosts in your mind that lie dormant all day, only mildly bothering you, start dancing.

Lately, each night I wonder how I went from feeling like I could fall asleep standing up to being so awake and alert I swear the refrigerator sounds different than it did yesterday and, Holy shit this is another thing I have to worry about and what if it quits in the middle of the night? I just bought groceries, which reminds me I forgot to get eggs and I’m supposed to make cupcakes for a party this weekend.

If I do manage to fall asleep, it never fails: I wake up around midnight, swear it’s time to get up because I feel so awake and wonder if I actually did it — it I really got a restful sleep and this will be the day I rise from my bed and can function without feeling like I had NyQuil for breakfast.

Which reminds me, I’ve tried NyQuil, Tylenol PM, melatonin and all the others pills, essential oils, and vitamins that are supposed to help you sleep —they don’t work for me.

I once read if you can’t sleep, lying in bed thinking about how you can’t sleep and watching the clock is the worst thing you can do. It spikes your anxiety, and before you know it, it’s 5 a.m. and you have to get up in an hour and tend to your life.

Supposedly you can get to your happy, sleepy place by getting up and doing something else like reading or walking around your kitchen or staring at your kiddos as they sleep soundly.

That worked for me a few times, until it didn’t.

Chamomile tea is supposed to be another soother that can lull you into a deep sleep, but it just makes me have to get up and pee even more than usual. I try to walk to my bathroom with my eyes closed, thinking it will keep my from waking up all the way, but stubbing your toe or ramming your forehead into the wall will wake you up faster than anything.

My daughter made me a small lavender pillow to put under my pillow and it was the sweetest thing ever. “So you can sleep better,” she told me. I love the smell of it; it reminds me of her and her gesture, and how often I am apologizing to my kids for my grouchy state because I didn’t get a good sleep. For Christmas, everything my kids got me were splashed with labels like “relaxing” or “stress-free” or “to help you sleep.”

After getting a new mattress, my nights got a bit better but I still lie there wondering why I can’t let go and rest.

My lack of sleep isn’t for lack of trying, but I’m so over it. It’s lonely at night. I hear every sound and think every thought and feel every feeling.

Also, I look a whole hell of a lot better when I can catch some ZZZs.

For now, I will keep manifesting a restful, peaceful night. I’ll try not to worry about everything and stop feeling like the weight of the world is on my shoulders, because it’s not.

But if anyone knows where the switch is that will turn my mind off, just for 7 hours or so, please let me know.

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