To sleep, perchance to dream

Apr 16, 2008 at 12:02 p.m. ET

Every now and again, no matter how tired I am, it happens, I go through several days of having a very difficult time sleeping. I'm sleepy and yawning and (day)dreaming about my favorite flannel sheets, but when the lights go out, my eyes won't close.

I've never been able identify a trigger or a pattern for these episodes. It doesn't seem to be related to family issues or work issues or other issues. Perhaps it's environmental or even hormonal. No matter what it is, I'm restless on those nights. I can't settle my brain even though I'm not thinking about anything in particular. Trivial things bounce through, not really stopping to be considered or resolved. I'm not particularly aware of big things lurking in the shadows, but probably they are there.When these insomnia episodes strike, I do all the things I've read about. I keep a consistent bedtime routine, watch my food and beverage intake, things like that. Sometimes they seem to help, and sometimes they don't.Sometimes during these episodes I the things you are not supposed to do. I turn on the TV at very low volume and veg' out to inane movies on strange channels. Sometimes I go surf the Internet (I did adhere to a suggestion I heard once to never actually make purchasing decisions at such a time). Once I tried to be "productive" and made lists and tried to organize the following day. I even considered making brownies. Those definitely were not the right thing to do.Of course, during waking hours I am so, so crabby. Woody even said to me, "You're really crabby. What's your problem?" Of course, I barked back. Yeah, that's parenting behavior I want them to emulate.Then, it seems just as quickly as they start, these episodes stop, and I can sleep again — often before my head hits the pillow. It takes a few days to feel back to my normal level again, and days longer before I can consider rationally what just happened and the possible whys.I may or may not figure out why these episodes of insomnia happen. I'm thankful that they are just intermittent episodes of insomnia for now.