I mean it. I’ve tried. Sure, lots of things work. Tryptophan, MyoCalm (both natural), NyQuil (not so natural), and I imagine alcohol all work. My goal, however, is to get away from all sleep aids artificial and get myself back on an even keel on my own.
This means I have to regulate my hypothalamus. Sure. Piece of cake.
The truth is, I’m not sure where to start. The hypothalamus is a tiny but powerful organ that resides deep within the recesses of the brain, and it governs everything. If your body does something, you can bet it’s watching and nodding from behind the scenes. We take it for granted, bumbling through life completely unaware of its presence, but try living without one. Ha.
The hypothalamus can get screwed up, ramped up and wired, and then it fires off too easily. In fact, that all-too-common thyroid problem is often really an adrenal problem, which is actually really a hypothalamus problem. Much like Mexico City, all roads lead to the hypothalamus. Joy.
So what’s an insomniac to do? Well, I’ve tried counting sheep, but gave up on that at an early age once I lost count somewhere past 10,000. Writing and brainstorming only make things worse. For all the nervous energy they help dissipate (by getting the writing on paper–or the computer screen), they seem to stir up more nervous energy to take its place, from some unknown source.
I’ve tried all kinds of tricks and sleeping positions. Even my dependable, fail-safe secret weapons stopped working a few months ago and now I’m semi-defenseless. At least I know enough not to stay and stew in the bedroom in the dark.
I reckon at this point it’s going to come down to boring things long overdue for an overhaul, like, oh, DIET. I’m probably going to have to stop consuming so much sugar so late into the night. I don’t have a coffee addiction to overcome, so at least I’ve got that on my side. But that ice cream and chocolate syrup gets me every time and I imagine it’s not helping my situation, even if it is organic.
My demands for sleep yo-yo like an unmedicated manic depressive (i.e. bipolar for anyone under 35). One night I’ll be passing out on the sofa around 10.30p (like last night, blissfully), and the next night I’ll be up till 3:30am, which would’ve been longer if I hadn’t forced myself to go to bed. Hopefully that more-common-than-I’d-like scenario doesn’t play out tonight.
What’s on the agenda? I’m going to have to turn my life back around. I’ll have to make (permanent) changes to my diet, aided by (temporary) herbs, and (permanent but changing) exercise regimens. I can’t get around it. I’m not going to try. The laws of biochemistry, endocrinology, and neurochemistry are what they are. The human body is what it is. I am what I am. Nothing will change that. But with any luck, I can at least sleep on it. Comfortably, and consistently.