Sleep Would Be Nice

I don’t sleep much.

This may not be a surprise to those of you who know how active I am and how much I get done on any given day. Unfortunately, often on any given night I’m pretty active, too. Even though I always get to sleep easily, I wake up often. Many nights I find myself wide awake at 2:00 or 3:00 a.m. (for a while, 3:30 a.m. on the nose was my body clock’s daily wake-up time)

When I don’t have these wide-awake-in-the-middle-of-the-night episodes, I get, on average, five to six hours of halfway-decent sleep each night. Believe it or not, five hours is really quite enough for me to be one hundred percent functional on any given day, and that’s even without coffee, which I don’t drink. I’ve read many articles about how “getting eight hours” isn’t truly for everybody because there are so many factors involved, and because I don’t walk around like a zombie all day long I’d even go as far as to say I’m happy with five hours.

But five GOOD hours.

It’s when I’m going through a phase of insomnia–like these days–and getting less than five hours either because I wake up frequently or because I am wide awake (for the rest of the night) after only two or three hours that I get…well, crabby. I long to be a heavy sleeper, or someone who needs an alarm to get up, or someone who can sleep past 6:30 a.m. on the weekends. I think it’s just not meant to be.

Lots of people tell me I must not sleep well because I have too much going on and in the past that’s definitely been a factor but these days, it’s not that kind of insomnia. I have made some changes:

I had a conversation a couple of weeks ago with a wise friend who talked about how I should think of each element of my active life as a different bucket that I’m carrying, and I need to figure out which buckets to drop. I love that imagery and she’s so right, but I’ve been there and done that. My response to her was twofold:

1. I have actually dropped many of my buckets in the past year.
2. I am very, very happy with all of the buckets I’m currently carrying and I don’t care to drop any more.

My brain is one of the things that keeps me from sleeping well. It doesn’t stop. I’m not awake worrying about things, either: I’m constantly coming up with ideas, darn it. I keep a notebook on my bedside table just in case I think of something and start to worry that I’ll forget it by morning. I write it down and, voila’, I can put it out of my head. Sometimes, though, my brain just keeps buzzing. And buzzing. And buzzing.

Sometimes my inability to stay asleep has nothing to do with thinking. I’m a light sleeper and any random noise can potentially wake me up to the point of not being able to go back to sleep.

Sometimes I wake *myself* (and Jim) up, snoring. (Shut up.) But I’ve taken steps to prevent that, too: I wear those nasal strips (ahem, if you have a few minutes you should watch this vlog in which my sistuh-from-anuthuh-muthuh Liz reveals our nasal strip secrets to the whole world), and I bought ANOTHER new pillow, one that’s more firm and keeps me more elevated than my newish, fancy goose down pillow did.

Sometimes I have to get up and, well, you know. Nature calls. Sometimes more than once. It’s terribly annoying. (See: It sucks getting older.)

Am I doomed to five-or-less hours of sleep each night forever? My goodness, I hope not. What I do know is that worrying about it is futile. Also, this too shall pass.

I hope.

Because I could sure use some sleep.


  • TheNextMartha

    Are you on any medication that would keep you up as a side effect? I know that I can’t take cold meds if they have coloring or they keep me up. Or just too much coloring in general. I’m a light sleeper but if there’s no noice I’m a 8-9 hr person myself.

    • Melisa Wells

      Nope. Nada. I’ve had this problem off and on for probably the last…forever years? (Since I had kids?)

      8-9 hours sounds HEAVENLY. Sigh. You obviously got our parents’ good sleeping genes.

  • Shannon

    I’m a seven to eight hours girl myself, but I do know what you’re talking about with the not being able to shut off the brain.
    Sometimes, for me, it’s that I miss the window of opportunity. If I feel really tired at 9:30 and I can go to bed, then I should, because if I force myself to stay up, well, then, I’ve missed it.
    My husband swears by going to bed at about the same time every night and getting up at the same time every morning. Something about training the body. But that sounds a little boring to me, and besides, he can go to sleep in an instant.
    I hope you sleep well tonight, Melisa. Sweet dreams!

  • Jennifer

    I feel your pain Melisa! I stopped sleeping well during my pregnancy with Princess M. Insomnia was horrible! Then I was always awake with a newborn. Then a baby monitor forced me to be a light sleeper. I started taking sleep meds only on my “nights off” so that I could crash for 8-10 hours and catch up (although you never can replenish your sleep bank once you’ve depleted it so significantly). Enter pregnancy with K and I was a goner. My weight is a direct correlation to my lack of sleep. I take meds every night – but it’s been 4 years and I refuse to up the dosage. Now I’m lucky if I get 6 good hours of sleep.

    Have you tried ear plugs? A white noise machine? A fan running? It’s helped me tune out some of the other noises.

  • Tiaras & Tantrums

    Oh Lordy- do I feel you on this one. I don’t sleep either. Like you, I am a super light sleeper. Every.little.noise! I use a sleep machine and if I didn’t have that I don’t think I would ever sleep. It takes me like 1-2 hrs to even fall asleep and then like you – up and down every couple of hrs. It is torture. BUT, I do think it is either in our DNA or stemms from childhood. My brothers are the exact same as me – it’s freaky!

  • Grandma W

    I think you are like me and your sister is like your Dad. I go to sleep hopefully by midnight and up by 5:30. But I ususlly get up once or twice during that time to go you know where. I like falling asleep with the TV on which Dad hates but it helps me to fall asleep. I find if I take my shower to late in the evening it is even worse. I am a light sleeper but the winter with the windows closed is not as bad as the summer when we have the windows open. Your grandmother was the same so I think it runs in the family.