Sleep that knits up the ravell’d sleeve of care….
Shakespeare’s Macbeth quoted here, pulled from my mind. My mind, which seems clogged and sluggish, like a car engine trying to start in below-zero weather, or molasses being poured from its bottle, right out of the refrigerator. My sluggish, sleepy mind.
Eldest has not been sleeping this week. It started Friday of last week, an inability to fall asleep compounded by his young mind running rampant over all sorts of rocky terrain. Stumbling, falling, running again. He’s always had this tendency, I remember one conversation with him at the tender age of four where he described his inability to fall asleep as an inability to turn off his mind. His mind, racing like a toy car that winds when you pull it backwards…held over the floor with the wheels disengaged. Running, running.
What to do? We’ve had bouts with insomnia at various points, usually points of intense growth–physical or mental. They came and went, and it’s been years since we’ve had to deal with a sleepless child. But this time, it’s been nearly a week and he hasn’t fallen asleep before midnight despite going to bed at 8:30 or 9:00. The longer it goes on, the more anxious he feels about falling asleep, and the harder it is then to relax and let sleep take over. We have tried prayer, we have tried Valerian Root tea (smells like sweat socks), he has come close to memorizing the entire 23ed Psalm in his hours lying awake. We’ve tried allowing him to read until he can fall asleep, we have tried the company of various pets, we’ve tried leaving the light on in the hall (which results in the dog and cat playing all night long, and the whole house can’t sleep for their antics).
I am suddenly thrown back into my own battle with insomnia…the Mother insomnia that is so familiar from younger days. You put them to bed, not knowing at what hour you’ll be back up with them again. You sleep with your ears open, half asleep and half awake. You battle worries of your own…what if this goes on longer? Would using Benedryl to help him fall asleep teach him to medicate his difficulties rather than deal with them on his own? Would herbal remedies be any better? Could this be a problem with vitamin deficiency, as the medication he was on for his GERD depletes 3 of the minerals that are supposed to help with sleep?
I don’t know. It’s that simple…I don’t know.
I guess we just wait it out, there seems to be nothing physically wrong and there is no new stress or problem in his life that could be pinpointed as the cause. It seems that the problem lies mostly in the frustration and anxiety that he might not be able to fall asleep, which of course becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy. He seems fine all day long, and we haven’t seen signs of sleep deprivation at this point. But I am starting to dread bedtime.
Oh, how I wish I could fix this. I know this, too, shall pass….but in the meantime I’m praying for strength for the journey. Strength, and good rest.