Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The 3am Blues

If I were a songwriter (or if I was still a poet), I'd write something about 3 o'clock in the morning -ie, the worst hour of the day.

3am falls right in the middle of my night of sleeping.  And for whatever reason, I often wake up around this time and am unable to roll over and go back to sleep.  Instead, I feel wide awake - more so than when my alarm goes off 4 hours later - and I toss and turn for at least 45 minutes before I eventually nod off again.

But during this hour of sleeplessness?  I lay in bed and worry.  I worry in an all-consuming, uncomfortable, out-of-my-mind sort of way.  I first worry about the immediate threat:  that I'll not be able to fall back asleep and I'll be super tired the next day.  But then I start worrying more generally.  About everything, really, in my life that could possibly cause worry.  My health.  My husband's health.  Getting pregnant.  My job/career path.  My husband's.  Money.  Marriage.  The leak in the ceiling in our bathroom.  Yardwork.  My mom.  Gaining weight.  Writing the Great American Novel.  Failure.  Unhappiness.  Life's mistakes.  Selling our house someday.  It goes on and on and on...

Additionally, during this time, I feel quite a bit of self-pity and loneliness.  And it's odd.  It's almost like one hour of the day, I have a glimpse of the darkness people see who suffer with depression.  It clouds all rational thought and consumes my brain.

But then?  I eventually fall back asleep.  And when I wake up at 7, I feel fine.  Normal.  And when I think back to what was causing all that anxiety, it seems almost laughable.  Insignificant.  Wasteful of brain space.  It feels like the thing on which I fixated for an hour is merely a little dot on the giant canvas of my whole life.  And I guess that's a good thing.  But I wonder, does anyone else suffer from the 3am blues?

6 comments:

Team DesGranges said...

You should totally use the sleep cycle app and see if that gives you any insight into why you're waking up at 3 am specifically...

Sarah said...

Although I don't experience this sleeplessness as frequently, I experience very similar feelings when I do wake up and can't fall asleep again. I can especially relate to the feeling in the morning that it all seemed silly the night before, but can't seem to stop myself from overreacting in the middle of the night. Ahh well, at least I am not the only one.

b|rad said...

I tried the sleep cycle app. I think it's hogwash.

katie said...

i have the same worries/thoughts when i wake up in the middle of the night. it's interesting that you and sarah have the same thing. i wonder if our brain does something weird when we're awakened mid-sleep to cause this. hmmm. but rest assured that you aren't the only one.

and brian also tried the sleep app and thought it was "hogwash" as well...

Claire said...

I'll have these sorts of moments the night before a big job interview, say, or a day when I have something important to do at work. Or back when I was in school, and had a big test or paper due, I would wake up the night before and literally be running lines from the paper, or something I had read for the test, in my head. Same thing with a big interview: "I'm qualified for this job for blah blah reasons..." It's a terrible feeling, and does go away when I'm fully awake in the morning. You may want to reflect a bit more on why you seem to have this level of anxiety over "everyday" sorts of things (getting pregnant isn't something you do everyday, but you know what I mean)? I do think we're at an anxious age, but I'm not necessarily losing sleep over it, thankfully. I worry plenty when I'm awake!

Jackie said...

I can say with 100% certainty that whether or not the sleep app is "hogwash" or the real deal, there's NO WAY I would be able to sleep with the phone on my pillow. I can barely get comfortable as is. And I wake up at least 4 times in the night and roll over to the other side.