Sleep deprivation is a temporary torment you get through when you have babies and another thing entirely when you hit menopause. I need seven hours solid sleep. Just one off night gives me the achy, sloggy, can't-think blues.
Nonetheless, I awaken drenched in a hot flash most nights at 3 am. For the next hour or two, I am wide awake.
So . . . what are you doing at three am? I've consulted friends and family to share frustrations and empathize over each other's chronic sleepiness. Our nocturnal activities are surreal and splendid.
- Get up, iron clothes, and go to sleep on the sofa.
- Read something really, really boring. Like a book club pick or a business magazine.
- Wander around the house checking doors and lights.
- Just go ahead and stay up. After you've tossed and turned for a couple of hours, it's time to get up anyway.
- Take Tylenol PM. Not every night, though you really need it, but once or twice a week just to catch up on sleep.
- Check email and shop on eBay.
- Blog. (Okay, that's me.)
- Organize the linen closet.
- Dust. You'd like to vacuum, but the family might object.
- Take the dog for a walk. (I saw one neighbor do this as I stared in frustration out the window. Bless her. It's good to have company.)
- Watch one of the cable news channels. Trust repetition of news stories to induce sleep (breaking news! celebrity couple breaking up! government official caught lying! storm topples trees!).
- Googled "insomnia" and found http://www.well.com/~mick/insomnia/. The entry titled Green Cows - And Other Animals Of Color is just plain weird.
- Make to-do lists (a great idea since you'll be too fuzzy to think straight the next day).