Tuesday, June 1, 2010


I went to see a sleep specialist last week. This is because I have been struggling with chronic insomnia for over two years. It’s funny, I have met a few people who say they also experience this – I consider them members of the club – they are the only ones who really understand how horrible it is.

I have been to doctors, a psychologist, an endocrinologist, I have bought a hypnosis program, I downloaded a weird noise soundtrack that is supposed to trigger your brain into sleep mode, a book on how to cure insomnia and have read countless web pages on the subject. I have scrolled through insomnia user groups and have learned there are those who have it way worse than me.

I have tried sleep restriction therapy, said to be the most successful cure for it.

It’s very difficult to do because it involves forcing yourself to stay awake until very late and waking up the same time every morning, no matter how many actual hours of sleep you got. I tried it twice in the past and could never manage more than three or four days before giving up in despair.

So I go to the sleep doctor guy and he puts me on a sleep restriction therapy program – aaak!

He tells me I have bad sleep habits – like I go to bed at 8.30 or 9 sometimes because I am so tired from no sleep the night before. I am not allowed to do that anymore.

He says I have to find a hobby to keep me busy late at night; TV and reading are too passive so they are out. I am not allowed to work either as this is stress related, so I now use this time to practice my drawing skills.

I just draw whatever I can find – animals, people, etc. Sometimes the drawings are not half bad, sometimes they could do with being binned straight away. I don’t spend too long on a sketch, it’s more about honing observation skills – which is one key to being a good artist. A lot of people don’t realize that this is something anyone can do and you don’t need to be born with a special talent. It only requires practice and desire.
These are a few of the sketches I made last night and the night before. This one on the right is of my dog Chino. The other dog sketches are from Max's Weighless booklet - yes, my dog Max is on a "Weighless" for dogs program, he's not just podgy, more like obese! Not quite his fault, the cortisone treatment for myositis is making him fat. It makes him more hungry as well, poor bugger.

As for the therapy so far, it’s been five nights and I am beyond tired every single day.

I still can’t fall asleep without a pill. I will get there, with determination and perseverance.

So if you are missing me at the milonga’s, now you know why.

I am too tired to dance.

The woman depicted here is from a photo in a book I am reading about a guy's travels in Africa, she is performing a fertility ceremony - p.s. - the bottom half of the photo is a bit rude!


  1. Two things, firstly to tired for tango is TOO TIRED! Secondly, drawing of woman is incomplete! Unresolved. Please fulfill.

  2. Your comment made me laugh Erik.
    Will see what can be done about resolving woman picture.

  3. So interesting getting to know you.
    Yes.. I have several friends who suffer from insominia.. I say, why don't you just close your eyes and clear your mind !
    I didnt get your reference tonight about it because I haven't been reading my emails - studying.. eeek !!
    hope you get some tonight !
    (sleep that is)

  4. (He smiles...) I'm one of Tasha's friends who apparently has insomnia. But it's not really like that - I just prefer to procrastinate in an opposite direction to my pillow until my eyelids win. :-)

    Sleep tight. yawn. |-)

  5. Hey Lei - at least your eyelids win at some point!
    Thanks Tash, it didn't happen last night, I was awake all night.
    Here is where the sleep therapy gets hard - I have to stay up late again tonight!

  6. Hey Sis, give yourself some credit! The talent you have and the stuff you produce is brilliant. As you were "first in loin" I think you got my share of the family artist genes. How about trying some yoga postures to relax when you can't sleep? I find the best sleep I get is after I've done a yoga session. MMWAA!

  7. Thanks Sis, my favourite yoga posture is the lie and down and pretend your are dead one.
    It's quite easy for beginners to do and involves very little muscle pain.
    I call it "Dead dog looking at the moon with your eyes closed" position.

  8. Hey Karen.
    I went through same thing 2 yers ago ... remember when my thyroid gave in. Well i tried everything you can think of and more eventually my homeopath referred me to a personal trainer at gym who works me to a stand still. Girl it has changed my life!! The minute my head hits the pillow am out. Am also awake at 4 a.m every day to go to gym so by night i want nothing but my bed and am out soundly for atleast 7 hours!!! Hit the gym gal or start road running, you were enjoying it???

  9. Hi Black - I love to exercise, I walk 5 km every day plus I do 20 minutes twice a day on my stationary bike. I can't be bothered with the gym these days, too much time out of my life getting there and coming back. I gave up running due to a sore foot, can only walk these days.
    I need to post an update - I have had four successful nights with good sleep and no sleeping pills ! Yippeee!!! For the first time in ages I feel like a normal person during the day and not spaced out due to lack of sleep!
    You must have been so happy to sort your insomnia out - it has been truly horrible.