Over the last decade or so, I have battled insomnia, sometimes moderate, sometimes absolutely hellish. At one point I actually feared my bed, knowing what horrible things lay in wait for me, and by "horrible things" I meant "everything but actual sleep."

This spring, I rigged up a new drug cocktail to force myself to sleep. It is not what anyone would call infallible, but it seems to work more often than not. In case you missed it:

  1. One Elavil (amitriptiline), 25 mg
  2. One Gabapentin, 300 mg
  3. 1.5 "cups" of Zzzquil (diphenhydramine)
  4. One Ambien (zolpidem), 10 mg
  5. One melatonin, 5 mg

Assuming an 11:05 bedtime, as I strive for on weekdays, the optimum consumption schedule seems to be: #1 and #2, 10:25; #3, 10:45; #4 and #5, 11:00.

Aside from mostly knocking me out within an hour, this particular combination seems to have one distinct advantage: the usual Ambien "dreams" have been conspicuous by their absence. It's been a rule for me that I can never remember a dream unless I wake up before it's over. And it's been a month or two since I had any kind of dream memories. Some people suffer much more dramatic side effects from the Z-pill, but for now, I am not one of them.

Ideally, at the time I turn in, the Los Angeles Dodgers are at home, or playing some other West Coast team. The Dodgers have a local radio affiliate, mostly because our local Triple-A ball club is at the top of the Dodgers farm system, so I'll have the game on at bedtime. If they started at 7:00 Pacific, which is 9:00 here in Central, at 11:05 they should be in the sixth or seventh inning. I'm actually pretty good about falling asleep in the bottom of the eighth. If there's no Dodgers game, I can fire up the tablet and find some other West Coast game, though the tablet gives away a whole lot of sound quality. (My radios at home actually sound quite good on AM.) Of course, once the World Series is over, I lose that option for six months.

I still worry, of course, if I haven't fallen asleep by midnight, and the worry tends to keep me awake, a positive-feedback loop of the worst kind. But the major problem I have with this arrangement is that it hits me at mid-morning with the urge to snooze. On weekends, this presents no problem: just stay in bed. On workdays, though, it's not at all a good thing. Usually it passes by noon, with a brief reprise around 3:00. But I have things to do, and being half-asleep will generally not enhance the quality of my work.

Still, I'll take this situation over night sweats and terrors and such. I just have to remember that around 10 am, I'm not going to be much use to anyone. Not that I've ever been much use to anyone, but you know what I mean.

The Vent

  24 July 2017

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