Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Inexplicable Insomnia

FOR THE PAST TWO nights, I have been plagued by an unprecedented streak of insomnia. This never happens to me. I can stay up late when I need to, and then fall asleep like a corpse when the night finally ends. Sometimes, after poker night, when I pull down a good win, I get too excited to sleep. In those cases, I just run out my string either by cleaning up or futzing around on the Internet. But otherwise, even in Las Vegas, I can usually expect some shuteye after I actually shut my eyes.

Well, I was doing that for a damn long time Sunday night, after Chinese food with my parents and a bit of the late-day Jets game, and it just wasn't happening. I usually sleep with earplugs in, due to my noisy upstairs neighbors (they evidently don't believe in following the part of the lease that mandates rugs). I only had one cup of tea with dinner, which was made without MSG. Still, I just lay there, flopping around, looking for the magic body position that would plunge me into slumber. This on a night before what I had planned to be a workout morning.

The last time I can remember seeing my clock that night was midnight or so. I did eventually drift off. But even then. I kept waking up. Not because of any memorable nightmares or excessive street noise. Mysterious and irritating.

My original wake-up time of 4:00 wasn't gonna cut it anymore. When it buzzed in the next morning, I reset it for 6:30 and, thankfully, slept right through to that moment. I went with a plain whole wheat bagel and Diet Coke for breakfast and managed to survive the day somehow.

I got into bed last night around 9:45, after taking some time to cook food for the week. I had avoided caffeine in the afternoon so I might have a better chance of getting right to sleep that night. No dice. Again, I kept tossing and turning, listening to my breathing, with no visit from the Sandman in sight.

Between last night and Sunday night, I don't think I got more than 8 decent hours of sleep. This presented a risk. Cold season is well underway. Flu season is slinking about the periphery of the area. At least two people at a poker game on Sunday were getting over colds. By Tuesday morning, I hadn't exercised in three days (working out boosts the immune system). Plus, two of my teammates at work were fighting on-and-off colds or chest infections and, inexplicably, placed the importance of their jobs over their health.

This is insanity. Work will give you health insurance if you are lucky, but not your actual health. No job is worth your wellness, and no job will give it back to you after it fails. Even though I only have three days left this year, I took one of them today to steer clear of disease and to ensure a proper amount of sleep tonight. I'm not a Howard Hughes–type by any stretch, shuffling around with tissue boxes on my feet and bathing every surface with Lysol. But as I've gotten older, I have become less tolerant of those who don't take care of themselves and in fact share their illnesses with others out of a stubborn sense of duty. I had a subordinate at a previous job who boasted about never having taken a sick day at one of the other two jobs she held in addition to the one we had in common. She would often come to the office hacking like a malfunctioning diesel engine. This was not one of the factors that contributed to her eventual dismissal, but it was definitely something I did not miss when the next cold season arrived without her heralding its approach with a cacophony of coughs.

I have actually taken the opportunity to get over to the gym. It felt good to go through my program again. I lost a little strength in two of the exercises, but in most of the others I either met or beat my recorded reps and/or weight from last time. I enjoyed a thick protein shake while writing this, purple and frosty from the frozen blueberries I added. I anticipate collapsing like a drunk midget by the end of the day.

I have conceived of one mildly productive duty to undertake while here, however: booking my next trip to Las Vegas. I owe you, the faithful Schizohedron reader, my take on the Neon Havens. I shall not keep you long.


Trish said...

May I recommend Tylenol Simply Sleep? As Theresa will confirm it is an amazing over the counter sleep aid. You're supposed to take two but one knocks me out for the whole night. It's got the same stuff as Benadryl.

Schizohedron said...

I'm sure one would put me right under as well, seeing as I am a lightweight when it comes to intoxicants. Thanks for the info!