I love sleep. I have always been very proud of my ability to get quality sleep - anytime, anywhere. I would hear people talk about not being able to sleep and I always thought "how awful, glad I don't have THAT problem". A couple years ago, there was a house fire across the street from us in the middle of the night. Our bedroom was full of smoke and the lights from the firetrucks lit up the room....so I am told by Trevor. I slept through the entire thing. He thought I might be dead because only a dead person could sleep through that. But I did.
I was at great sleep up until the middle of this year. When this happened:
That is when the days of great sleep became history.
In the past six months, we've had some periods of pretty good sleep and right now are in a period of really awful sleep. By pretty good, I mean, we would be 6 straight hours. By pretty awful, I mean we are lucky to get 4 straight hours of sleep.
I am really starting to feel the effects of this sleep deprivation. As my friend Karen says, "sleep deprivation is the worst kind of torture".
I talk with people at our store all the time who aren't getting enough sleep and their bodies show the effects. I feel like Asha is our little experiment, because I now see all those effects that I cautioned people about. When you don't get enough sleep, it becomes difficult to lose weight, you crave carbohydrates, your body does not recover as well and you are at a higher risk for injury. I have all of those things going on right now and I hate it.
I hate myself for feeling the way that I do. I have been pretty hard on myself. I'm not sleeping and every afternoon I crave a long list of crappy foods. I usually give in and end up eating an entire bag of trail mix (or something like that). I feel awful after I'm done, but then I do it again the next day!
We still workout 6 days a week. I battled some pretty bad foot and back pain a couple months ago and I KNOW it was because I was pushing my body too hard. I wasn't recovering from my workouts, I wasn't sleeping good, I wasn't eating well enough to support my workouts and I was sleeping on the floor with Asha.
I have finally decided to give myself a break. My body is producing so much stress hormone from my lack of sleep that feeling this way and pushing myself only makes it worse. This morning on my run, I decided that I would run because I liked how it makes me feel instead of pushing to run a certain pace and feeling like a failure because I can't.
Trevor and I take turns getting up at night with Asha, but really, neither of us gets a night off. We are both usually awake. We've discussed taking turns sleeping in the guest room, but separate beds just isn't something I want. I feel like we are in this together and that wouldn't feel that way. Plus, when Asha jumps up into our bed, I want her to always be able to lay between us and feel the safety of our love.
Sometimes, at 1 or 2 or 3 or 4 am, when Asha just won't lay back down, I get angry. I get angry at her, angry at the person who bred her, angry at the vets who haven't figured out her medicine yet, angry at the Universe because I just want to sleep. Sometimes I don't show Asha all the love I have for her when I make her go lay back down. Then I get into bed and feel badly about that. In the morning, when we get out of bed way earlier than I want to and we go downstairs, my anger always dissipates. I see this face: and nothing else matters.
Just like the other dogs, she is always SO happy to know that I am there with her. When I get home at night, she lays right down next to me and doesn't want to leave my side. She is happy. So very happy. Even in the middle of the night, when she isn't sleeping and I know she wants to be, she seems happy. When I make her lay back down, she'll lick my face. If we end up down on the couch after I let her out at 4:45, she'll lay her head on my lap and sigh.
This morning on my run, I was listening to my ipod and a song from the musical Rent was on - it said "525,600 minutes, how do you measure a year in the life - in daylight, in sunsets, in midnights and cups of coffee? measure in love" I thought about Asha and how we will measure a year - in sleepless nights, in damage to our house, trips to the vet, cost of medication? or will we measure it in love? I want to measure it in face licks, sighs of contentment, belly rubs and love.
Sometimes I wonder what would have happened to Asha if she didn't come live with us. I wonder if someone else would have loved her the way we do? There are so many dogs like her in dog heaven because they were the white ones. She is only alive because she was the furthest away from the man who drowned her brothers and sisters, his wife got to her before he did. We are working with team of vets to get this all figured out for all of us and so it has to get better.
I saw this a couple weeks ago and it really hit me.
Trevor and I have talked for years about starting a dog rescue. Asha has made us really move forward with that goal. Because of her, we've done a lot of research we would never have done, we've found all kinds of groups and opportunities that we would never have found. We see the things people are doing, big and small, and have finally said "what are we waiting for". Asha may having taken away my sleep (hopefully that is only temporary), but she has given me a focus and a desire to be involved in ways I never considered. She's also allowed me to open my eyes and see both the worst and best in the world. I want to do more, because every animal deserves to be loved the way ours are loved. No matter what challenges they face.
Okay, so now that I've learned all this...can I please just get a couple good nights of sleep in a row....like two year's worth?!!