For the second night in a row, I rolled over, looked at the clock numbers projected on the ceiling and, AARRGH, it’s the middle of the night. Whenever I wake-up in the middle of the night with the feeling that it must be morning, only to find that it’s 1:00 a.m., 2:00 a.m. or, as was the case tonight, 12:15 a.m., I feel a helpless, irritated sigh rise within me. Sometimes I wake-up, look at the clock, roll over and go back to sleep; those times I’m not really awake – and I know it. Other times, like last night and tonight, I know as soon as I feel consciousness that I am really awake. I’ve tried simply staying in bed – that rarely works; it usually becomes a rock-n-roll tussle with the sheets. I’ve tried reading in bed – that disturbs my husband who rarely struggles with middle of the night consciousness. I found sleeping pills to be quite helpful – and gained 20 pounds while using them. I found a CD called zMusic that helped lull me back to sleep, but – husband, again. So, I usually just get up. I try not to do anything overly exerting or exciting; the idea is, after all, to try to get to the point of sleepiness again. I usually make myself a cup of decaf tea and then I either read or play computer games (Freecell is my favorite). Tonight, I had the song Midnight at the Oasis running through my head. Maybe I need to look at my house as an oasis to be enjoyed in the middle of the night. I looked up the lyrics – something about camels, sheiks and a cactus pointing the way – that starts to sound like a Salvadore Dali painting and isn’t what I need to get myself back to sleep. I’d blame this on the “M” word, but this has been a lifelong affliction for me; I’ve prowled the house while everyone else slept for as long as I can remember.
Actually, I sort of enjoy the quiet in the middle of the night. Even though I’d rather be snuggled into bed, fast asleep, I feel a sort of peacefulness at this hour. Maybe this is just my normal rhythm and the only reason it’s a problem is because the alarm clock that goes off too early when I’ve spent a couple of my sleeping hours not actually sleeping. I guess the day will come when it won’t be necessary to set an alarm clock, when it won’t really matter that I’ve been up in the middle of the night. Maybe that’s one of the ways that aging will feel comfortable to me; I’ll be able to accommodate my own rhythms rather than fighting them. Maybe I’ll just enjoy this time right now and turn the alarm clock off in the morning. Maybe this really is an oasis in my busy day.