Awake when I should have been sleeping: A backward tale


Everything — and I mean everything — is quiet at 3 a.m.

The dog isn’t barking. The TV and all the lights in the house are off. Traffic flow in front of my suburban house is nil. And My Beloved is snoozing.

Snoozing. Isn’t snoozing a great word? That’s exactly how my Beloved sounds at 3 a.m., a cross between a wheeze and a snore that soothes me to sleep.

When I can sleep.

But I couldn’t sleep last night.

So I was eating leftover combination fried rice in my robe and recklessly buying things online.

Whoa! How did I get here?

Ironically, I heard a piece about the value of sleep on NPR’s Weekend Edition yesterday morning and I smugly thought to myself, “Well, no problem there. I’m a good sleeper.”

Pride goeth before a fall.

Normally, I am a good sleeper. I go to bed at a reasonable hour, I dream, I wake rarely (and usually only when my recalcitrant dog thinks she needs to make a midnight run in the back yard), and I get out of bed in the morning without an alarm.

Last night, I had no reason to experience disrupted sleep. I was coming off three days of beaming successes (a satisfied client on Friday, a productive book fair on Saturday and a fabulous birthday party for my mother-in-law on Sunday), and everything else in my life is copacetic so no worries to gnaw at my unconscious mind. General health? Good. Didn’t have too much caffeine or alcohol before bed. My Beloved was snoozing, not sounding like a wounded grizzly bear, so I can’t blame him either.

Why was I lying awake at 2:40 a.m.?

I still don’t know. Maybe it’s those damn perimenopausal hormones. Let’s blame them.

I got out of bed, went downstairs and got cozy in my oversized living room chair with my iPad.

Well, 45 minutes later, after I’d read every post on my Facebook Newsfeed, I tried concentrating on deleting emails from my InBox when I came upon an invitation to “Like” a new author’s Facebook page.

Hey, wait a minute, I didn’t know Heather Slee was an author!

I worked with Heather Slee at one time, and I knew she was a writer, but I had no idea she’d gone and published a book. A memoir no less! Hey, I love memoirs! “Expect This: A Pregnancy Memoir” is about a “formerly anti-kids couple who decide to go for it,” and the first review on Amazon says, “I laughed pretty hard.”

A light read about someone else’s pregnancy — and hormonal problems on the other end of the child-bearing spectrum — sounds like a panacea for insomnia if ever there was one.

Only 99 cents? Buy now with 1 click!

This is what’s beautiful and highly dangerous about ebooks: Instant gratification.

By about Chapter 3, I decided I was hungry. Yeah, that’s why I can’t sleep. I can never sleep when I’m hungry. Yes, I had a snack before bedtime but apparently the popcorn and dark chocolate didn’t cut it. Hmm, what could I eat? Yes! That leftover combination fried rice should fill the inexplicable void.

I delighted in a greasy snack only those with Night Eating Syndrome indulge in at 4 a.m. while reading two more chapters before deciding it was time to go back to bed.

I review Slee’s book on my author blog, but suffice it to say, it was a funny substitute for counting sheep and infinitely better than deleting old emails. Instead of thinking about how I have … to go … to sleep … NOW, I started counting my blessings for never having had to go through a pregnancy.

I shut down my Kindle, crept back into bed and snuggled up to my Beloved. By now, the quiet was inviting instead of oppressive.

And I went back to sleep.

11 responses to “Awake when I should have been sleeping: A backward tale

  1. I’m a night person and frequently up at 3 AM. I love how quiet it is. It almost seems like all those sleeping minds make the psychic space quieter.

    • I don’t know about the psychic space — I have some pretty action-packed dreams. The other night, I dreamed I was making waffles and I had to flip them (who flips waffles?). That morning, I decided to have pancakes for breakfast.

      • Oh, I’m sure it’s just a poetic impression I get due to the reduced noise and traffic levels. Still,.. at night time we don’t do all that communicatin’ and we sink into our own waffle-like thoughts.

        [Do you still even follow the Twins? It’s been another awful season for them. They even traded Justin Morneau to the Pirates! (Although he must enjoy finally being on a winning team.)]

      • Oh, I hate to think I’m a bandwagon fan, but no, I’m not following them at all. I paid $124 for a season of mlb so I could watch them, and I’ve seen about 3 games this season. I did hear about Morneau. October is coming, so I should probably brush up on the division leaders. I do love October baseball.

      • I ask myself sometimes why I do follow them. Some combination of loyalty, inertia and masochism, I suppose. I lived in L.A. for almost 20 years; I’m tempted to go back to being a Dodgers fan!

        Braves, Dodgers and Tigers are almost certainly a lock. Probably also the Bo-Sox. NL Central is a three-way fight: Cards, Bucks (Go Bucks!) & Reds. Thought it would be the Rangers, but the A’s are making a strong bid. And to my delight, the Yanks don’t look to make the playoffs at all.

  2. Thanks! I was just recommending your memoir to a bunch of people at a golf tourney!

  3. I have to read to sleep. But half the time I am so bleary eyed by the time I go up, that I read 3 pages, which I will then need to re-read because I’m too tired to remember what I read. Maybe it’s the book…

    • Maybe you only THINK you have to read to sleep. If you’re that bleary-eyed, maybe just close them and start dreaming. … Or it could be the book.

  4. Pingback: Pregnancy memoir mines for humor in the personal aspects of a universal experience | Monica Lee

  5. Yes, what is it about 3 am, anyway? When I have problems sleeping, I always wake up right around 3. Maybe it is the quiet that wakes me up.

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