I’m A Night Person
It’s more normal for me to be awake late at night than early in the morning. I guess I was made that way. From what I’ve been told, I was that way by the time I learned to walk.
Out of Sync With the Rest of the World
I’ve never minded being a night owl. In the past, I’ve thought of it as my time for ‘creative work’. Even now, I tend to write blog posts in the wee hours when I’m not sleeping.
The Magic of Benadryl
I’ve used Benadryl to help me sleep when I’ve needed to go to sleep in order to wake up early the next day (or else risk being up all night and getting no sleep at all). I’ve treated it like a magic pill. But, I read somewhere a few months ago that it can inhibit the ability to remember information, so it’s not a good idea to take it when studying. In the past couple of weeks, I found more information on it that said that when used long-term, it can affect the brain in ways that look like memory loss or dementia. I’m paraphrasing here, but it was enough to convince me that I need to stop using it to put me to sleep more than once in a while.
So, I’m Awake … All Night Long
I hope I won’t be awake all night long, but I’m writing this post at 3am, and I’ll be surprised if I’m asleep before 430am. And, I’m supposed to be awake and meeting classmates to study at 10am. We met at 10 am today (yesterday) after I was awake for about three hours in the middle of the night. I felt like I’d been run over by a truck. (I hope I never really know what that feels like.!) It took several tall refills of Panera’s coffee before I felt fully human again. By 8pm, I could barely move, and I fell asleep on the couch for about an hour. Now, I’m up again, and I’m showing no signs of slowing.
Why Does This Happen?
The obvious reason for my insomnia, my best guess, is a mixture of having a ‘night owl’ nature, and working a whole string of overnight shifts recently. I don’t work any set shift. I just work now and then, when they need me. But, when I worked recently, I worked overnight, and I did parts of five nights in a row. So, it should not surprise me that I either cannot fall asleep, or I wake up in the middle of the night.
What Am I Going To Do Now?
What can I do now? How can I go to sleep at any reasonable hour, now that I’m trying to avoid the Benadryl? I still think it’s a great drug and it works wonders. But, if the literature I read is correct, it should only be used infrequently. That takes it away as an easy 3-or-4-times-a-week sleep aid. 😦 (sigh)
Pretending to Sleep Put Me to Sleep (at least one time)
Last night, I was able to go to sleep on my own and quickly. Maybe it was because I was exhausted from working close to 60 hours during the middle of the night. That would be a very good reason. But, I told myself this was the reason. I lay down and closed my eyes and pretended I was asleep. I don’t really know what that means. But, that’s what I told myself I was doing. I decided to pretend to sleep. Maybe it worked. I was asleep in less than one minute!
Sleep Schedules and Physical Health
It seems to be a given that people who work night shifts are physically all out of sorts, or can be easily, because of the messed up sleep cycle. I’ve read that working nights also weakens the immune system, makes people more prone to disease, and shortens the life span. That would not surprise me. I have no sources to quote, so consider these comments anecdotal and third-party, at best. But, that’s why I’ve not been jumping to work a night shift in my next job. The shift pay for working nights is sweet, but I’m trying to look down the road and imagine my physical health. Will I be healthier if I work a day shift or if I work a night shift? I’m guessing days are easier on the body and long-term health. This exhaustion and insomnia are certainly running me down in the short-term.