Jewish Journal

Sleepless In Los Angeles

by Mihal Levy

November 30, 2009 | 8:55 am

It is 5 A.M. and I am wide awake, which is a first for me.

Although I would like to take credit for being an early riser and so on top of my day that I woke up early to start it, I can’t.  I still have not gone to bed since last night.  Let me rephrase that, I have gone to bed, numerous times, in fact, just not able to actually fall asleep.  I did fall asleep for a half hour and then up again.  After staring at the ceiling for what seemed like hours and thinking about anything and everything, I decided that maybe sleep wasn’t having me tonight.

Ironically, I have an early birthday party to take my son to today.  In four hours to be exact.  Yes, a 9 A.M. second birthday party at the park.  How that is going to happen, I am not quite sure this moment.  Who does that?  Have a birthday party so early?  Ok, a mom who has five other children to get to school on time and is already up and making her rounds.  But, what about moms who don’t have an early A.M. drop off (like me, for instance) or moms that have been up all night (like me again)?

Why is it that when we have to be somewhere early the next day, our bodies choose to simple stay awake the night before?  An adrenaline rush?  And although I am happy to attend the birthday party, I highly doubt that the anticipation is what actually kept me up.  Sometimes my mind wanders (ok, often) at bedtime and I can’t help but recap the day, and find myself thinking about the next day’s to-do list (or next week’s, or next month’s).  Tonight, last night, rather, my mind was on overdrive.  I would calmly fall asleep somewhere between dreamland and wakefulness and dreams would start firing, images of crowded shopping malls, stories to edit, roller coasters and giant purple pancakes (OK, everything but the latter).  I would wake up and look at the clock and a mere fifteen minutes had gone by, setting a world record for most dreams in fifteen minutes.

All the while I kept looking at the clock, counting the hours left to sleep and making excuses.  “Ok, maybe I will get a good five hours of sleep.  Three?  Two?”
When I found myself spending more time focusing on the mathematics of how many hours were left to sleep, I decided to call it quits for tonight.  I was hoping Googling “rapid fire dreams” and “racing thoughts” would help me get back to sleep, but instead just instilled a fear in me of how many disorders and diseases I may actually have.  Something else to ruminate about?  Great, not the outcome I was hoping for.

So, now what?  And I can’t stop thinking about the darn birthday party.  Do I just skip out on it after promising to attend?  My son is looking forward to it and it is probably the only thing that finally got him to sleep.  Do I still make my way there on no sleep?  In my college years, yes, but now in my mommy years…I don’t think that is a good idea.  In my college years pulling an all-nighter was nothing that three shots of espresso couldn’t solve the next day.

I thought I got over not sleeping all night when my son stopped nursing years ago, but I guess I was wrong.  Sleeplessness finds its way into mommyhood every now and again.  Now if I can just make it through the birthday party, the day and an afternoon nap perhaps?  Who knows, with some luck, maybe I can still fall asleep before my family gets up.

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Mihal Levy used to collect degrees as a hobby.  After receiving her B.S. and M.S. degrees, she worked as a psychotherapist and research scientist before continuing her hobby of...

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