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Letters to Nowhere

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Gooood Morning 4 AM

Insomnia: Almost everyone will experience it at one time or another in their lives. Mine began shortly after puberty.

I have what’s known as Primary Chronic Insomnia. The reason it’s considered “primary” is because I do not have a single consistent underlying medical cause of my insomnia. Insomnia can be caused by chronic pain, aging, shift work, anxiety etc. That is considered either short-term insomnia or secondary chronic insomnia.

So what made me think about it tonight? Well besides the fact it’s 4 AM and I’m awake you mean? I was looking up a number for a doctor in Atlanta a few days ago and found a company that recruits “Clinical Trial Volunteers”.

When I lived in Florida, a decade ago, I was part of several sleep studies. It’s like selling your blood, only you sleep instead. Depending on the study they try to rule out things like depression, temporary stress or anxiety, insomnia caused by the normal tide like changes in hormones in *ehem* women. (Off topic, but do you know why the call it Premenstrual Syndrome? Cuz Mad Cow Disease was already taken... yah yeah.. Everyone’s a critic. Anyway)

They hook you up to enough wires, electrodes, monitors, and harnesses to, in theory, lasso the fricken SUN. And then.. and then... they want you to sleep. HA And not just once, but many times. The good news, they pay you for your time, travel, and inconvenience.

The bad news? Depending on what kind of study you “volunteer” for, they may use unproven and/or new and/or controversial “therapy” to check the impact it has on you and your sleep. It may be sleep aides, drugs, learned behavior, or anything else that you signed on for.

I did learn how to direct my dreams, to an extent, to avoid nightmares; I did learn that Vaseline will remove all that left over adhesive. And for the first time I heard the words “Miss Clover, Your brain waves are, well... They are atypical (read that: fubar'ed)”

I spend more time in REM sleep than most, when I do sleep. I spend very little time in the recharge state (I’ve forgotten what it’s called) So long story very short, I seem to need less sleep than the average person, and when I can/do sleep I dream more often, and longer than the “average person”.

Which is good in some respects since my performance at work doesn’t usually suffer when I’m having one of my insomnia binges. But... It leaves me with hours, and hours, to kill until sunrise.


  • I always worry about what goes through your mind when you are sleepless. I guess I don't fully appreciate the things you think about when you're awake in the dark of night. I know these days, you have much on your mind.

    By Blogger Student of Life, at 7:24 AM  

  • Rem sleep is what u need to recharge...I know because I don't get any. I have had 2 nights in hospital doing sleep studys. I have apnia...I am opposite to u..I stop breathing so my brain wakes me up aprox every 61 seconds!...needless to say I am tired most of the time because I am never able to reach rem sleep. I have what they call a C-Pap machine but I absolutely hate it...mask on face, sounds like darthvador and just makes me feel down right UNSEXY...

    By Blogger moon, at 1:37 AM  

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