Call Me Sleepy, the Most Boring of the Dwarves

It turns out that if you shovel copious amounts of caffeine into your system for a period of…decades, your sleep system and levels of tiredness get all sorts of fucked up. And, it seems, the only way to make it even wackier is to quit said caffeine totally cold turkey.

If, in the past decade or so, you have asked me, “How are you?” chances are that I said one of the following:

• “Tired.”

• “Good. But tired.”

• “Hanging in there. Tired. You know.”

• *bursts into tears and runs away*

My dominant fucking emotion is tired.

For a long time I have assumed that all the caffeine I drank made me paradoxically more tired because I am sure it interrupted my sleep cycle and kept me up too late and all sorts of vaguely bad things that I attribute to caffeine.

I also attribute some of my sleepiness to having to share a bed with a man who fucking insists on breathing no matter how often I kick him in the shins and tell him to shut up already. Seriously. All night, every night. Sometimes he snores too.

Since quitting caffeine, however—day nine! can I get a what what!—I spent several days waking up with eyes crawling with sleepiness and the desire to take at least one three-hour nap every day, often beginning at 8:38 am after my last kid gets on his bus.

(Is it a nap if you take it that early or does that count as a less slothful sounding “going back to bed”?)

Problematically, taking long naps during the day makes it harder to go to sleep as soon as my head hits the pillow at night. This is a problem because bedtime is like a race to go to sleep for Alex and me. Well, it’s kind of a one-sided race that Alex doesn’t know or care about. I always want to fall asleep first because that way breathing/snores have to wake me up to bother me instead of keeping me from falling asleep/making me want to murder Alex while he slumbers.

Alex has a job though, so Alex doesn’t nap, so Alex falls asleep almost immediately. Not to mention that lying in bed trying to force your mind to fall asleep will make your mind do almost anything except fall asleep.

I used to set my white noise machine on foghorn at top volume and put it right next to my head to drown out the sounds of quiet breathing. It’s a serious problem.

All of this is to say that I’m tired. And I am tired of being tired. And Alex is tired of being kicked in the shins.

Today is the first day in a long time that I not only haven’t taken a nap, but haven’t felt as if I’ll die without a nap. I sure do hope this is a sign of things to come because, frankly, if ditching caffeine doesn’t make me less tired, methamphetamine use is my next option. Fingers crossed!

30 thoughts on “Call Me Sleepy, the Most Boring of the Dwarves

  1. Oddly enough I had a sleep study and was diagnosed with hypersomnia. Stimulants are the treatment. I’m trying some other options first.

    • No way. That is so fascinating. I had to just google that. Are your other options “naps”? Cause those work. Kinda. Let me know if you figure out anything that works better than that because I am totally interested in a middle ground between naps and meth. But let me know if your legal speed works too.

  2. I decaffeinated ( verb?) 9 years ago and the two biggest bebefits were the decrease in migraines and decrease in panic attacks. It is amazing how sensitive your body is to caffeine once yiu have stopped inbibing it. The first 2 weeks are rough going but after that it’S all rainbows ans sunshine.PRomise.
    Good luck.

    • Your lips to my brain. I am really looking forward to rainbows and sunshine. :)

      I can’t wait for the first time I have some caffeine after that and then I don’t sleep for a week.

  3. (Is it a nap if you take it that early or does that count as a less slothful sounding “going back to bed”?) – maybe it’s just me, but I think going back to bed sounds more slothful if It occurs after 8am. On the other hand, I don’t consider afternoon naps to be slothful at all.quite the contrary.

    I also have a husband who insists on BREATHING. But worse than that is the fact that I have not been able to train him to not drag the covers along with him when he rolls away from me. Practically a deal breaker.

    Take a Benadryl. Or that other sleepy inducing medication. I can wake up if I need to but always fall right back to sleep. And I drink caffeine all morning.

    • The covers! I am the cover hog in my couple. But we totally fixed that problem. We bought a second identical comforter and now we both have as many covers as we want. It has saved our marriage. Because I don’t think Alex would put up with being both kicked *and* freezing.

      (We’re just a bottom sheet and comforter family though, so it might be harder if you actually use sheets and blankets.)

  4. My husband has always had problems falling asleep and then staying asleep. He has started melatonin and 5-HTP (which says “supports positive mood” on the bottle) and has found it to work (so far.)

    (I always have a panicky feeling if he goes to bed before me–he insists on breathing REALLY loudly–and I cannot fall asleep if he is already sleeping. So I feel your racing pain.)

    • Hmmmm. Melatonin. I do happen to have a lot of that in my house. I don’t know what 5-HTP is, but how could something that claims to support a positive mood be bad? :)

  5. I moved from Pepsi to 7-Up to juice over three years ago. I definitely am sleepier earlier, but sometimes still need naps. So persevere! Any chance Alex needs a sleep apnea machine? My husband snored horribly (and was so tired during the day) till he got that wonderful machine. Now there’s just a slight, delightful, background buzz.

  6. I am a firm believer in going back to bed, even if I have to get dressed and drive the kids to school (usually my husband drives them). I also love naps, always have. I also require an extraordinary amount of sleep.

    The hubby has ditched caffeine several times and the first few weeks are always the hardest. Hang in there!

  7. My husband is a loud breather/occasional snorer. I hate it. I make him roll facing away from me and I cover my head with a blanket. It’s ridiculous how annoying it is. I too suffer from being tired. I wake and don’t want to. I’ll take 3-4 hour naps and still go to bed on time. After every test in the book I’m now taking a stimulant on days I have to get shit done. The other days I call hibernation days and I sleep all day. It sucks!

    • I’m so sorry. It totally does suck. :( And I do the same thing with my husband except I use a pillow instead of a blanket to cover my head.

  8. sleep is incredibly complicated. Very very complicated. Try earplugs for partner snoring (which occurs even WITH the cpap he has for apnea). Not the dinky foam kind, but the silicone ones that fit your ear better do a decent job of blocking noise. (tho i am now reading all the dangers of those, phttt.)

    • That’s a good idea. I should look into those. How can earplugs be dangerous though? Unless your ear, like, sucks them in during the night.

  9. Theoretically, if you exercise at precisely the right time of day, your sleep will improve dramatically.
    I haven’t tested this theory, myself. :)

      • Ahem, no need to shout. You must be tired. :(
        Anyway, Mayo Clinic says, ‘Regular exercise reduces stress and anxiety, and generally improves sleep. But for some people, exercising within five hours of bedtime may cause problems getting to sleep.
        …. It may require some trial and error to see how working out affects the quality of your sleep. Without making any other changes that are likely to affect your sleep, take notes on how well you sleep after working out at different times. This can help you determine the time of day that’s best for your workout and the least disruptive to your sleep.’
        This article has more tips: << That's for people who wake up at night, but the tips look good! [Unfortunately, they don't recommend naps.]
        Of course, they don't mention keeping up with three busy kids!
        Hope your energy level is better soon.

  10. I posted the last chapter of my life story and added one more thing to high school. The next five weeks I’ll post on what I can think of to tell about. In a reply on the high school comments I mention school gerbils.

  11. Melatonin is great. Just take it before like 9am! I will not wake up for 8 hours after I take it (but if I do I can go back to sleep easily).

    Also there are good apps for meditation and whatnot that, if you can sleep with ear buds,will knock you out before you realize what happened. Unless that’s just me?

  12. Have you had your thyroid levels checked? I was exhausted, among other minor things, that I wrote off to being a parent of 3! Turns out my thyroid wasn’t working enough. Much improvement now that I’m on medication. Still love my coffee and naps though ;)

  13. I quit caffeine when I was about 23 because I stopped being able to handle it. I was pathetic, I’d have a soda at lunch and then be awake for the next three days. So I’ve had no caffeine to speak of for like the last ten years and it’s been good. I adapted within a couple of weeks and now I am much more awake than all my friends who flop around whining about coffee.

  14. Hey there its Keegan again from the Sluis Academy. I could not agree more about caffeine. It is great when its stimulating your entire body and keeping you going but i cant tell you how many hours I have lost just from having a coffee to late in the day. Im glad to hear your no caffeine diet is working for you!

  15. Look into Sleepphones. They are headphones that you can sleep in – “Headphone Headband With Built-in Removable Headphones” . If you search sleepphones, a bunch of different brands will come up.

  16. Thanks for sharing! Going back to bed after the children have gone to school may not be the right move for you. I know you’re very tired but you remain in a vicious cycle if you carry on doing this. Try staying up through the day until bedtime and you may find you’ll fall into a deep sleep and wake up feeling refreshed.

    • You are probably definitely right. I need to get on a solid, normalized sleep schedule and I think I’ll feel a lot better.

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