Sweet Dreams

Or….How to Sleep Like a Baby

I would like to talk about a subject that is near and dear to my heart:  Sleep.

The thing is, people take pharmaceuticals for a variety of things.  They take them for headaches, for diarrhea, and sometimes just for fun.   But when it comes to sleep, people get a little weird about it.

Case in point: One recent evening Rick and me, Mike and Jeri, and Tom and Linda were outside on the deck passing around a joint, and in the course of the conversation, I happened to mention that nearly every night I need a little “help” to get to sleep.  A hush came over the group.

“Lisa! You take drugs to go to sleep?” asked Linda, all judgmental-like.

“I never do that shit,” piped in Jeri.

At this point, Tommy inhaled a lungful of the reefer and held his breath.  Then he stiffled a cough and shook his head.

“It’s … better … to sleep … naturally,” he said in spurts, after which he exhaled a thick plume of smoke in my face. “You know what they say about Ambien.”

Then Michael, who’s kind of like the wise, Godfather of our group looked at me and shrugged.  “Sure, Lis, you might not sleep one night, but you’ll make up for it the next night.”  Then he continued in the kind of voice a father uses to reason with his kid. “But don’t do drugs, Lis. Just say no.”

Rick was smart enough to keep his mouth shut.

Then someone handed me the joint and I took a drag. These people were really stressing me out.

Ok, fine.  I’m an addict. I’m addicted to sleep. But I have no choice.  Without a full, dreamy, rem-filled night of sleep, there is hell to pay in the morning.  Goodbye loving person.  Hello grumpy be-otch.

So I take a pill.  To sleep. Sometimes it’s Ambien, sometimes it’s Valium.  And I have other options up my sleeve.  Is this a crime?

Well save your breath. I will never NOT sleep again.  Never ever ever!

And in case you’re wondering, no, pot does NOT help me sleep. Quite the opposite.  With weed, all the synapsis in my brain go wild and I have these thoughts and ideas swirling in my head into the wee hours of the night. The only way to turn it all off and to get some sleep is with three melatonin, a couple of Benadryl and a valium.  Then I snap on my eye mask, stick in my ear buds, and turn on my Glenn Harrold Hypnotherapy for Sleep app.  In fifteen minutes, I’m in deep, euphoric slumber.

I have it down to a science.

Just so you know, I have tried the “natural” sleep stuff they sell at Whole Foods.  Not good.  For one thing, those things are so big, you risk asphyxiation just trying to get them down. The first time I took two of those horse-sized tablets, I thought I was on LSD. I laid there feeling heavy and weird and really drugged out… which made sleep all but impossible.

I mean, I know what they say about Ambien. How it makes you into a psychotic zombie and do things in the middle of the night.  Like walk around with an ax and murder people. Give me a break. Okay, yes, one time I woke up with blood smears on my hands and there were reports about a brutal attack in the neighborhood.  But it wasn’t me.  Besides, the person lived.

Seriously though, Ambien’s been a godsend. it’s simply untrue that you go into an intoxicated sleep and won’t wake up for anything. I very distinctly remember waking up at four in morning to my cat dry heaving, and it sounded like the rhythmic pumping of a bicycle pump.  Think large, empty, plastic, Seven-Up bottle that someone’s squeezing in and out with their hands, really loud in your ears.  Then suddenly there’s a waterfall sound, and something is gushing out.  Obviously cat hairballs and other liquids from your cat’s stomach.  And you hear yourself blurting out “NO NO NO NO !!!!”

Then the damn cat does it again.

If Ambien was as bad as they say, it would let you sleep through the simple act of a cat barfing.

Or at least let you get back to sleep.  But nooooo.   Once you’re awake you gotta pee.   So then, it’s like tip toeing through a minefield in the dark.  Last thing you want is to step in the cat vomit at four in the morning because you sure aren’t going back to sleep with cat throw up squished between your toes.

Anyway, so here it is, now 4:15 in the morning, and I’m laying in the dark, worried the cat’s going to barf again.   The Ambien has totally worn off.

So I turn to my arsenal of sleep aids. At this time of morning, a Valium will be just dandy, along with fifteen minutes of Glen Harrold, the hypnotherapist, slowly telling you in his soothing voice to “Let it all go… Go to sleep… Go to sleep.”  Soon I’ll be lulled off to dreamland, enjoying a couple more hours of blissful slumber.  What could be more perfect?

But whatever you do, please don’t tell my friends.




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