• 66°

Of insomnia and somnia

Why did we hate naps as children? And by “we” I mean me.

I remember being walked back to my red-on-one-side, blue-on-the-other nap mat in first grade during the teacher’s favorite part of the day. It happened many times. I would lie on my side and watch my friends become unconscious as I daydreamed of being a knight or firefighter or bird catcher or anything other than a little hyper boy forced to take a siesta. So I’d get up and sneak over to the book rack or coloring station so I could do something that did not involve snoozing.

When nap time was over, I was always one of the first to have my mat folded and put back in its spot so we could get to whatever it was that came next. And naps at home — are you kidding me? I kept moving until I fell over.

My younger son did the same. He’d run full-tilt until he staggered, then fell over and clunked against the floor. Sound asleep. Then we’d have to massage his feet and calves to keep them from cramping and waking him up again.

Even when I was in college and working four part-time jobs concurrently, I found sleep to be a waste of time. There were things to be done, people to see, girls to watch, jobs to get to, girls to watch, concerts to go to, girls to watch.

It wasn’t until years later and I was the proud daddy of a couple of effervescent children that I found myself sleep deprived and unable to simply fall asleep when I needed to do so. A few more passed and I was working on my master’s degree, a full-time job and a part-time job and had three children. I would lie awake in bed for hours, unable to shut off my brain — even though much of my thoughts may not have been concerned with anything more monumental than T-ball — and sleep for just a few hours a night, often punctuated by sudden startled awakenings that involved panic and gasping for air. Part of that was anxiety and stress, and part was my undiagnosed — at that time — sleep apnea.

It’s been a decade and I’m now father to five total (six, if you count my new daughter-in-law, and I think I will, thank you) — ahem, six children — and no longer work more than one job. Well, I do some freelance writing, so … who cares.

I still can’t sleep.

I bought a sleep aid the other day. Which day? The other one.

Per the box’s directions, I took one pill at bedtime yesterday. I worked late, so I got home late. I got ready for bed, took the pill and was wide awake for another two hours. But then I fell into hard, glorious sleep.

And woke up a half hour later, feeling like Niagara Falls was thrashing in my bladder. Whew. Problem taken care of, I stumbled back to bed and fell back into wonderful sleep. Then almost exactly one hour later, Niagara came calling again.

Took care of problem, stumbled back, slept, then almost exactly an hour later, Niagara. Then took care, stumbled, slept, Niagara. Again — the fourth time. What in the world was in that pill?

The next thing I knew, my daughter was tapping my arm to wake me up four hours later. I had eight missed calls plus texts from my wife. Was I OK?

Mmmblaedu ads fell aleep … can’t wakeup … zzzzz. A half hour and a couple of snoozed alarms later (did I set an alarm?) I managed to get out of bed and get dressed and walk to work.

I know. I’m proud of that last part, too.

I drank a 5-hour energy shot and am about to attempt to make coffee. I think I’ll take another pill tonight. This time, probably before I leave the off-issss … zzzzzzz.

Lifestyles editor Brett Campbell can be reached at brett.campbell@dailyleader.com or 601-265-5307.