Thursday, August 04, 2005

To sleep, perchance to dream

Ah, sleep. You are like crack to me. I cannot get enough of you, no matter what I do. You rule my days like a persnickety hobgoblin on hormone therapy—cranky, fickle, never letting me entirely out of your greedy grasp. I give you 8 or 9 hours a night and still you want more from me.

I am always tired. Every time there’s a seasonal change, I tell myself that my sleepiness is due to the weather. In the winter this is usually true. When it’s cold and awful outside, there is no better place to be than in my bed, snuggled up in world-class flannel sheets and my down comforter. But it’s August and even though it’s hot and humid, I see no reason to be this tired. Heat is enervating but seeing as it warms me to the core, it’s a cozy enervation and one that I don’t fight. Really, what is there to fight about reading on the porch and enjoying the fact that you don’t have to move AT ALL.

But it’s a different story during the week. Mornings are my personal nadir. This is why, despite my best intentions, I have never been able to be one of those morning runners or morning yoga people. There are a lot of days when I can barely keep my eyes open, no matter how much caffeine I drink or how much protein I eat. My deep, dark, guilty secret is that, on the days when the exhaustion sweeps over me and I cannot shake it off, I go down to the parking garage and take a nap in the back seat of my car during my lunch hour. I live in fear of someone I know walking by the car and finding me out.

Two months ago, Lunchboy and I went to give blood at the local blood drive across the way. They did the little finger prick test and ushered him over to a table, where they stuck a fat needle in his arm and drained a bag of blood from him in like 5 minutes. After they pricked my finger, though, they sat me down and told me they couldn’t take my blood because my blood iron levels were too low. The Red Cross, which always wants people’s blood, turned me down. Not that it was a surprise—I’ve suffered from chronic anemia for as long as I can remember, even though I stuff myself with multivitamins and try to eat lots of iron-rich foods.

Okay, jelly beans have no iron. But still.

The anemia is probably the root of all evil when it comes to my energy levels. There are days when it feels like I could sleep for 13 straight hours and still be tired when I woke up. I know this because right after I graduated from college, I came home to my parent’s house and for the three weeks before I moved into my first apartment, I slept for 13 hours a night and still needed a nap during the day. Same thing after grad school.

This past weekend, I stocked up on iron pills at Trader Joe’s and am on a mission to banish the exhaustion. Sleep is already a carefully horded commodity for me. As anyone who has lived with me, stayed with me and/or hosted me knows, I am the ultimate sleep dork. Every night at bedtime, I break out the construction-grade earplugs and my beloved black satin sleep mask, all the better to block out errant noise and light. Woe is he/her/it that wakes me up before the alarm goes off.

My hope is that the iron pills will make a difference. I am tired of being tired.

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