Anyone who suffers bouts of insomnia is all too familiar with the inner bedtime monologue. You know, the one that yaps incessantly from the time your head hits the pillow to the moment you decide to get up and watch QVC all night:
"Ahhhh, sheets feel good. Been waiting all day for this. I'm exhausted. Should nod off any minute now. Followed all the rules. Early morning workout. No caffeine after lunch. No computer after dinner. Except for that Facebook session and e-mails from work. What was my deadline on that project again? Omigod! What if it's tomorrow? Better get up and check. NO! Must sleep. Meeting in the morning. Gotta be sharp. Uh-oh. But what time? Never mind, just breathe. Inhale for four, hold for four, exhale for eight. Just like Dr. Oz said. One ... two ... God, I hate my stomach. Did I set the alarm? OK. Let's count sheep. One little sheep ... two little sheep ... Why sheep, anyway? Is it the fluffiness? Because they're not the quietest creatures ...
Twenty minutes later:
"OK, it's been at least 40 minutes. Should be asleep by now. I drank two cups of Sleepytime tea. Why isn't it happening? The big lug next to me is sleeping. What's up with that? Guy nods off in his chair after dinner for 1 1/2 hours and falls right back to sleep? Listen to him breathe ... better put in the earplugs. There. Now I can't hear anything. What if one of the kids calls from jail and I can't hear the phone? What if mom calls? She's fallen down and can't get up? Stop it and breathe. In for four, hold for four ... How much does a tummy tuck cost, I wonder? Three thousand? Four thousand? I can still hear him snoring. Worthless earplugs ..."
An hour and a half later:
"I should get up. Must be three in the morning. They say not to stay in the bed. But I'm so close! Just a few more minutes. Don't look at the clock. Clear the mind. Ohmmmm. I bet the Maharishi never had this problem. What IS that godforsaken clicking? Ceiling fan's out of balance. Drat. Lost an earplug. Wonder how the 401(k) is doing? Definitely need to do more crunches. What'd the stock market do today? Breathing in and holding, breathing out, slowly ... I'm relaxed, it's coming ... there's the promising pre-sleep twitch, and ... what's this? I've got to go to the bathroom? Damn that Sleepytime tea! Time for better living through chemistry. Wonder what's on QVC ..."
The next morning, the monologue continues on the doctor's office voice mail:
"Yeah, hi. I was just in for my physical. Or maybe it was February. Sorry, little foggy this morning. I'm calling for a sleep aid prescription. I'm having trouble in bed. Not THAT kind of trouble. Ha, ha! Oh, dear. Sorry. Something like Ambien but not as scary, maybe? I've heard some people drive in their sleep on that drug. I'm a bad enough driver in broad daylight. Ha! No, I'm seriously serious. How 'bout that pill with the butterflies flying around the commercial - Luna-something? Lunadoze? Lunarest? Looney Tunes? No, that would be me. Ha, ha! Seriously, I really need something. Nothing over the counter works - Tylenol PM, Sominex, tequila. Tequila, not good! Thanking you in advance. I gave you my name, right? My pharmacy is ..."
Thirteen hours later:
"Alrighty then! Lunesta ingested. Earplugs inserted. Room a perfect 72 degrees. Ceiling fan balanced and oiled. Bladder empty. All systems are go. Dreamland, here I come! I'm just going to lie here and breathe and wait. Wait for the pretty little butterflies ... come on, butterflies ... butterflies, take me away."
Twenty minutes later:
"OK, I should be three sheets to the wind by now, shouldn't I? Where are the blankety-blank butterflies already? Those pills were seven bucks a pop! I could score a hit of heroin for that much, if I knew where to find it. This is what happened to Michael Jackson, you know. It probably started like this - innocently waiting for the butterfly invasion. Next thing you know, he's hooked up to an IV ... Wait a minute. I think I see one. Yes! It's a butterfly! A pretty ... little ... fluttering ... butterfly. Hello, little ... butter... fly ... hel-lo-ooo ... good-byeeeee."
Note: Neither the columnist nor the management of this newspaper endorse Lunesta in any way. We have received no compensation from the makers of Lunesta for the unsolicited testimonial above. Free samples, however, will be accepted gratefully.
Cathy Hamilton is a 53-year-old empty nester, wife, mother and author, who blogs every day at BoomerGirl.com.