Never been much good at sleeping.

When I'm stressed, when there's too much light or noise in the room, when there's another person too nearby in the same room—I either can't go to sleep, or I wake up after not long enough.

Various sleep-inducing drugs help temporarily. NyQuil knocks me right out, but if I use it for more than one or two days in a row, it stops being effective. And even when it's effective, it often makes me sleep well for four hours and then suddenly be wide awake. Two capsules make me sleep more heavily for the same four hours, rather than making me sleep longer. A small quantity of alcohol has similar effects, and similarly stops being effective around the second or third night in a row.

A month or two back, I mentioned sleep problems to my manager at work; she said she'd heard good things about Valerian root. I'm not generally much for herbal remedies, but figured it couldn't hurt to try it. Got some, tried it, loved it. Knocks me out for upwards of 7 hours; if I wake up during that time, I remain drowsy enough to fall asleep again. And I was taking it only every 2nd or 3rd night, and didn't seem to be developing a tolerance. For a week or two, I slept reasonably well.

But the past few days, as I hover on the verge of being sick, it's stopped working. Waking up at 5:30, or 6:30, or 2:30 (I usually get up more like 8 or 8:30 these days), and lying awake for indeterminate periods. Too awake to get back to sleep, too resentful of being awake to be willing to get up and be productive. Hours wasted lying there wishing I was sleeping. Bleah.

It's been a week of sudden small emotional shocks—ominous-looking emails and phone messages (most of which have turned out not to be ominous after all, fortunately), people reacting more strongly than I expected to things, me being grumpy and surly in email. Stress at work, way behind on the magazine, putting in what feels like full weekends working on it and then looking up and wondering why I've gotten so little done.

Of course, partly probably due to onset of winter. I can tell it's winter here in California 'cause I had to turn my heater on for the first time since spring arrived. Only a night or two, then it got warmer again. But it's also getting dark earlier, of course; another reason I couldn't stand to live in Portland or Seattle. Dark at 5:30 pm is too early; earlier would be worse. The long daylight of the summer wouldn't make up for it, for me. I leave work at 7ish (as usual) and it feels like it's late at night.

I'd rather it get light later in the morning, though I know plenty of people are happy not to be going to work in the dark. But speaking entirely selfishly, I'd rather not wake up early and find full daylight coming through my window. Of course, the solution to that is to get a better window-covering; some day I'll do that.

Grumble, grumble. Glum Jed. Okay, time to go do some work.

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