I've always had trouble sleeping through the night. I think I did a little too many graveyard shifts for my dad's answering service when I was a teenager.
When I was younger, it wasn't such a big deal. I could get by on four hours and still function well the next day. For weeks at a time.
For the last few years, that hasn't worked. The older I get, the more difficult it is for me to function the next day after a sleepless night. It's magnified every year by the time change. (Can't we please just stick with one and not switch anymore without moving to Arizona???)
Awake at about 2 every single morning, unable to fall back asleep until right before the alarm goes off. Then suddenly, I can't wake up. Night after night after night. That's been the routine. Only Ride the Rockies cures my sleeplessness, and even then, only for the week afterward. Then the time-tested instincts return.
I've done all kinds of relaxation techniques. I've tried (and am still trying) to get off the computer by 8 p.m. every night. I've listened to relaxing music. I've tried reading relaxing books. I don't eat Mexican food past 8 p.m. at night. I don't eat sugar, drink no caffeine or alcohol, and I have never smoked. Anything. (Some people would say that's my problem; I'd sleep better if I'd smoke a particular thing. I guess my need for sleep isn't to the stage I'd be willing to try anything yet, and I can't ever imagine stooping to that, even if my insomnia continues for decades.)
Hot mineral bath. Wonderful stuff, but for me, it serves only to relax, not sleep.
Sometimes crocheting will help me fall asleep, but most of the time, I can't go to sleep until whatever I'm working on is finished, and sometimes then the adrenaline rush from finishing will keep me awake.
Quilting is too adrenalizing any time. Too bad I can't do that at work...
Melatonin doesn't help. Valerian will once in a while. Benadryl helps for abut four hours but doesn't work if I take it more than three days in a row. A drop of lavender oil on my pillow sometimes helps me at least relax, if not fall asleep.
Excedrin PM is the only somewhat reliable night-time OTC relief for me. I try to use that only when I have back pain that makes sleep impossible. Since the 2012 recall that left it off shelves for at least six months, it can be difficult to find in my neck of the woods, prompting me to try to go without for months at a time.
I hadn't slept well in what feels like forever. I'd periodically looked for the OTC whenever I went shopping, always without success. The afternoon sluggishness at work finally got to me one day, and I decided to take a walk to the drug store just a couple of blocks from my office, fingers crossed they might have a bottle of Excedrin PM.
One bottle. That's all the Excedrin PM they had. But that's all I'd need. I can make that one bottle last for years.
As I walked back to work, one of the more colorful characters habitually inhabiting the streets of Downtown Denver jumped in front of me, shirtless with pants sagging nearly to his knees, wires dangling from his earbuds, crooning at the top of his lungs.
"I can't sleep when you touch me, Baby," he sang, and very off key at that.
Do we really need a punch line here???