To Sleep Perchance To Dream

“The best cure for insomnia is to get a lot of sleep.”  -W.C. Fields

Seems simple, right?

I find myself writing this post after an almost Herculean amount of time spent awake. Aside from “naps”, which I categorize as something akin to sleep taken in less than 60-minute intervals, I was awake from approximately 0600 Sunday morning until Tuesday night  at around 2200. Let’s do the math, shall we?

64 hours.

Wait. Let’s check our math: 0600 Sunday to 0600 Monday, yeah that’s 24 hours. 0600 Monday to 2200 Tuesday.

Yeah. The math works.

It’s the sleep that isn’t computing.

Okay, let’s give me 4 hours of total sleep during that time. That brings me to a nice, round number of 60. That seems SO much better, doesn’t it?

I’m a nurse. I know how this is supposed to go. I understand the restorative and healing benefits of sleep and all that happy horseshit. Apparently, MY body hasn’t gotten that memo. I have somehow managed to maintain myself on an amount of sleep that would challenge even the busiest of interns or residents. Shit, maybe my body is telling me to go to medical school. No. That’s not the answer.

I used to be GOOD at sleeping. I mean, I was a professional sleeper. If I could have gotten paid to sleep, I would be a rich woman. I used to consistently get 8-10 hours of sleep per night. You could ask any of my friends or family about 5 years ago, and they would laugh and say, “Oh, yeah, Lisa? She can do some serious sleeping!” It was a well-known fact; one I was proud of, and one skill I flaunted proudly.

I even used to flaunt my stellar sleeping abilities to the night shift nurses at work.

Now, I’m the night shift nurse, who on occasion, resents the day shift workers who come in all fresh and pretty, smelling of lightly-perfumed soap, scrubbed skin and smiles galore. Ironically enough, I do not want to be one of them. I don’t. I enjoy my night shift nursing job. I enjoy it enough to sacrifice a little sleep here and there to keep this job. Granted, I am fortunate enough to only work 3 nights per week, and with that, I find myself maintaining a “normal” circadian rhythm when off the clock.

Let’s define “normal”, shall we?

When I work a night shift, I am pretty happy if I get a total of 4 hours in the sack with my eyes closed. If I wake up and this amount of time has passed, I have been known to squeal with delight. Who does that? Who gets excited about sleeping for a whopping FOUR HOURS?

I do.

This is my “norm”. I have been a night shift nurse for almost 3 years now. Wow. That fact alone blows my fucking mind. I can still remember vowing to people, “I’ll NEVER work night shift. That shit is for the birds.”

Chirp chirp.

I’m not throwing in the towel, people. I’m just acknowledging that I’m a little lacking in the sleep department, that’s all. Like anything else in life, it deserves a good tweaking. When I’m not working, I go to bed at what most people would consider a “resonable hour”, say around 2300 or so, and I’ll wake at 0600.I suppose I could try the whole cutting caffeine thing, warm milk, bath, etc, but quite honestly, it’s never really worked before. I mean, SEVEN HOURS, seems good, right? What’s wrong with 7 hours?

Nothing. If you actually SLEEP for those 7 hours. I find myself doing the usual waking in the middle of the night, farting around with my BlackBerry, twittering about how I’M NOT SLEEPING, engaging in what seems to be very important debates via Twitter at 0300, rather than simply laying my head back down on the pillow. Yeah, yeah, I can already hear you now,

“Turn off the BlackBerry.”

Right. Right. Uh, no. That’s not gonna happen. Next idea?

In any event, I’m hoping that soon, very soon, my body will finally give up the fight. I’ll be able to somehow find the magic again. Sleep, you are indeed a fickle lover, but I will win you over, and you will be mine again. Soon.

Does your sleep have a face? My sleep does.

My sleep is a handsome man. A man who comes to me silently, uses no words, only actions. He reaches out to me and envelopes me in his strong, sleepy embrace. I curl myself into him, and form myself to him. Sleep caresses me. Sleep makes me feel safe and warm and happy. With sleep, I haven’t a care in the world. Suddenly, the worries and troubles of the day are gone, only to be replaced by a warmth and relaxation that can’t be felt without Sleep. I feel myself fading, happily fading, closer to the edge of that precipice, ready to open my arms, fall back and let Sleep catch me. But, before I fall, Sleep whispers to me, “Close your emerald eyes and dream, for when you wake, you will smile, knowing that I was here.”

Yeah, that’s the kind of Sleep I need.

Fuck sheep.


3 thoughts on “To Sleep Perchance To Dream

  1. cheryl grundlingh says:

    I have been on night duty for about 25yrs now.Sleeping for longer than 4 hrs is an absolute pleasure and doesn’t happen very often.I think sleeping is overrated.My motto “I’ll sleep when I’m dead”

  2. Sara says:

    You described “sleep” perfectly! I need to find me one of those…and about the blackberry, don’t feel alone as I do the same thing :]

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