May 20, 2014

weaning myself from milk

For two years, I have depended on a half cup of hot milk (at a minimum) to help me get to sleep. This was my nightly ritual, my evening crutch, and I would practically have heart palpitations if I ran out because I knew I was in for a long night.

For several months, I've been wanting to wean myself away from this dependency. Not because it's so dangerous (geez, it's just milk), but because it's the kind of crutch that I know is largely psychosomatic. I believe this because, on rare occasions when I'm sick and too exhausted to care, I can actually fall asleep on my own. Well, I got my chance to test this theory recently when I was flattened by a cold that turned into a sinus infection.

For more than two weeks, I have been able to sleep without milk or any other sleep aid (with maybe one exception when I'd had too much caffeine that day). The first couple of days, I was so tired from being sick I could barely muster the energy to do anything. I had no appetite for food or beverages since I couldn't smell or taste anything. As I started to feel just slightly better, food still didn't matter. I started skipping the milk on purpose, and when I woke up in the night I told myself "You don't need milk -- just go back to sleep." Sometimes I wake up and don't realize that I've been sleeping, and I mistake it for insomnia. How goofy is that? Talk about old habits...

I have rather enjoyed not having any appetite. Let me tell you -- cooking for the family is the farthest thing on my mind when I don't give a hoot about food, so my guys have subsisted largely on frozen or delivered food. Poor things. I suppose they miss my appetite! I promise, I will cook again. As soon as I can get around to thinking about food.

I still have four more days of antibiotics, am still nasally even though I can breathe, and still tired. I finally got my taste buds back three days ago, but I'm holding back on food a lot and trying harder to listen to my hungry/full queues. Actually, the tiredness is probably more from working to xeriscape our front yard. Ugh.

I did pray for the Lord to remove my dependency on milk, didn't I? Is this His way of answering my prayer? Maybe. Not that He would make me sick, but He would certainly allow normal circumstances to bring about change in an organic way.

My sleepfullness and wakefullness are in a weird transition now. I'm exhausted in the morning from not having quite enough sleep, then I fight sleep driving home from work, then I decide whether to take a short nap (I rarely do). I also recognize the role of hormones in my sleep patterns (perimenopause? me?) and am trying to accept the unusual as the new normal. I'm hoping I don't take after my mother, God bless her, who has endured decades of horrible sleep. If that happens I may lose what's left of my mind, but I'll be sure and consult a sleep therapist first.

Just don't ask me to remove my morning crutch.