The physical and emotional turmoil of the last several weeks are taking a toll on me. Having long had a problem sleeping, last night I woke at 1:00am, worked for an hour or so, watched a little television, and finally drifted back to sleep to rise at 6:00am, slightly behind my normal schedule but not disastrously so. Five or six hours of sleep all told.

61 comments… add one
  • Tim

    I’ve been a chronic insomniac, and tend to think that a lot of ‘herbal medicine’ is either a very expensive way to buy placebos or potentially harmful, but I’ve started swearing by herbal tea at night (Sleepytime Extra is great and available at most chain stores), and when I know I am going to have problems sleeping, I trust Source Naturals NightRest with Melatonin, which is available at Amazon or some herbal/supplement stores (at a much higher price than online).

    It has melatonin, which is very effective with me, but also a number of other things that may or may not help you sleep. I’ve found it works much better than most melatonin you can buy at a drug store. Even buying the same product from the same brand multiple times, I’ve found a lot of brands have variable quality – Source Naturals seems to be uniformly good.

    Good luck getting rest!

  • I can take melatonin for a day or two to re-stabilize my circadian rhythm but it leaves me with a tremendous drug hangover so it’s something I avoid doing other than on weekends I can afford to sacrifice. That’s a problem for me with almost any sort of remedy, prescription or over-the-counter.

    I’ve tried practically everything. 5-HTP. Valerian. Kava Kava was reasonably successful but it’s hard on the liver so I don’t use it.

    What helps me is general stress reduction, an important component of which is maintaining a regular, moderate schedule. I haven’t been able to do that for several weeks.

  • ...

    Five or six hours is a good night’s sleep these days.

    I always found the absolute best remedy to be lots of hard physical labor, but given your schedule and workout routines that seems an unlikely remedy for you now. (When I was younger hard physical labor meant ten hours or more on a construction site. Now it means four hours in the backyard.)

  • ...

    One thing that might help would be to get away from non-necessary mental work. I’ve found hard mental labor can leave one emotionally strung out and wired without the body being tired enough to shut down.

    So give up news and non-work related mental activity for a few days. Don’t think about things. Put up a “Back in ten days” sign on the blog, or however long you wish.

    Go listen to opera instead. If you read, read stuff that isn’t tied to the current world’s problems. Practice your cooking. (I realize with your background it might be too rote now, but whatever.) Spend more time with your pack.

    Just let the world go for a while. It’ll be here when you get back, and there’s not much you can do about it anyway.

  • I find the blog therapeutic for me. Not blogging might have been one of my stressors.

  • I second that, Ice.

  • I was a decent sleeper until having kids and, especially, until my wife passed. I’ve gotten so used to sleeping with one ear open, so to speak, that I seldom sleep through the night anymore even when they do. Melatonin, at least at recommended doses, does nothing for me. I haven’t tried the others.

  • How are the girls?

  • ...

    The blog might be therapeutic, but it might be more therapeutic to shut off news intake for a couple of weeks. Worrying problems is the thing to get away from briefly. It is your nature to think about such things, so a permanent break isn’t possible. But maybe a break.

    I can guarantee you that the government (pick one) will still be run by crooks and liars, that the Palestinians and Israelis will still be fighting, that Russia will still be scary to anyone with any sense, that China will still be practicing “unfair” trade policies, that the US government will still be running a frighteningly large deficit, that illegal immigration will be going on unabated, and so on and so forth, pretty much for any timeline you can fit within your lifetime.

  • ...

    And Schuler, it’s been clear you’ve been burned out on public affairs for over a year. You’ve gotten much more noticeably and publicly cynical (by your standards) since around the start of summer in 2013.

  • He’s grieving his favorite little girl.

  • He lost his mother not long ago.

    It’s rough, and it takes it out of you.

  • CStanley

    Less is sometimes better with Melatonin. It’s hard to even find low enough dosages, but you can get 1 mg sublinguals and fractionate them- aiming for about .3 mg as a starting point. The hangover effect is dose related, so then the only question is whether or not the low dose works for you.

    I have found L-Theanine good for stress (seems to improve sleep quality.) Might be worth a try, though it takes a couple of weeks so it’s not a solution for the short term sleeplessness.

  • I’m tellin’ ya. This getting old sucks.

  • By the way, the black cook’s name at Tiger Mart is Edna.

    Edna says, “We aren’t here to stay.”

  • Ann Julien

    I’ve been doing the same thing, all this week. I call it “split shift”. ug.

  • Oh, for goodness’ sake! I just noticed that your wife’s name is Janice.

    My retired CPA brother has been down in Natchez helping me out. He has taken up photography. He just took a portrait of another two Jani(s)ces — a black lesbian waitress at the Carriage House and me.

    Sho’ nuff a small world, ain’t it?

    jan, what’s your full name?

  • I’m not lesbian, but the Janice in Natchez and I see eye to eye on lots of things.

    We call ourselves “Ebony and Ivory.”

  • Now do you see why I’m insane?

  • Ms. Julien, have I told you directly how much I appreciated the interview you did with your mother? I think you did a wonderful job. I sort of knew her when you were done.

  • jan

    jan, what’s your full name?

    It’s “Jan.”

  • Cool enough.

  • jan

    All of the suggestions for sleep have been good ones — herbal as well as hard physical labor to overcome overactive excursions in the mind, that keep people awake.

    Nonetheless, sleep patterns can be adversely effected by the ghosts of mental maladies infusing the quiet darkness of night time sleep. It happens to us all, and sometimes I think is a way of forcing one to think about things they have avoided during the distractions of day light activities.

    For you Dave, it may a time where you are personally processing the grief over the loss of Tally. Plus, you are also having to readapt yourself to not getting up at night to tend her, which has probably gone on for some time.

  • Michael Reynolds

    What it takes for me to sleep through the night: 5 mg Ambien, Scotch, three hits of weed, melatonin, a CPAP and fresh air. No joke. Every damn night. I’ve never slept well in my life and it ain’t getting better with time.

  • I think you need a couple of sweet, warm, loving well-padded black cooks to enfold you a few times.

    I have another one, Ms. Annette, at the coffee shop in Natchez.

    Damn right, I’m not beyond running to a black mammy.

  • jan

    What it takes for me to sleep through the night: 5 mg Ambien, Scotch, three hits of weed, melatonin, a CPAP and fresh air. No joke. Every damn night. I’ve never slept well in my life and it ain’t getting better with time.

    Don’t you think that’s overdoing it a bit? Seriously!

  • Michael has an extremely active mind. It’s hard to tone down.

  • Dave has a great mind, too. He controls it through inhuman discipline.

  • michael reynolds


    I’m naturally nocturnal. Been a real problem for 17 years – not coincidentally since we had our first kid. Who, in an irritating bit of irony is now a night person who can’t sleep. I figure back in cave man times there was a use for people who naturally stayed alert at 4 AM to watch for leopards.

  • Michael, my husband was nocturnal. Have you ever read any Charlaine Harris vampire novel? I was his “day person”.

  • His mother was naturally nocturnal. His younger boy is naturally nocturnal. Hell, my mother was nocturnal.

  • michael reynolds


    I think the only vampires I’ve read are Bram Stoker’s, Ann Rice’s and Stephen King’s excellent Salem’s Lot. I read enough Twilight to be able to ridicule it. Once had a kid at a book event storm out of the room after I made a crack about Twilight. I thought it was sweet — I love a devoted fan, even when it involves turning vampires into tame, pseudo-sexual creatures who should all be named Corey. I have to like anyone who gets that passionate about a book.

  • Her stories are about vampires and goblins and fairies incorporated into real life. They run bars and stuff. In Shreveport. Sure, it’s on the bad side of town.

    The heroine of the only novel I’ve read has an ongoing relationship with a vampire. He has several businesses, but he can’t work in sunlight. She is his “day person.”


  • Own up. You, luv, are a vampire. Ray Wylie Hubbard, the brilliant musician and poet from Texas says, “We exist to take money from day people.”

  • Ray Wylie Hubbard:

  • Here’s Ray Wylie Hubbard performing:

  • Cheered me up, my friend.

  • Here’s another one:

  • That’s what I have today. In a dramatic performance, holding her hand to her brow, she says, “Tomorrow is another day.”

  • Mr. Dave, you are a proper man, and you want to be so much. It’s okay if you cry. It’s okay if you collapse. The people you love and who love love you won’t consider you broken. We are just human.

    Give yourself to your sisters, and your wife, who love you so much.

    We’ll take care of you. Trust us.

  • Mr. Schuler, I know this. If you don’t let your self be taken of by other people for a while, it will flat kill you. My heart rate is up at the max.

    Girls, I love him, too.

  • After my husband died, I lost weight down to 92 pounds. I’m 5′ 5″ . I looked like something out of Auschwitz.

  • Or he could be a snotwad and pushing my buttons. Smart men are like that. Bastards.

  • That’s what I can do.

  • I’m running around 113 pounds. I’m much better than I was 5 years ago.

  • Mr. Schuler is a right decent healer.

  • Everything you do is subject to criticism. That’s just my opinion.

    I keep trying to tell my former stepsons that and they just don’t listen. jan, you have that problem in your own son. I’d guess I was worse to rear.

  • You need Ray Wylie Hubbard’s concert album. Maybe. It’s all a matter of taste:

    Take or leave it.

  • I’m listening to this again tonight.

  • Ben Wolf

    I can sleep with regular mindfulness meditation; nothing else has ever worked. I think it has to do with attenuatong the symptoms of my PTSD, but I know people wirh more general anxiety disorders who benefit from the practice as well. A few weeks of practice and it’s the best stress relief one can find.

  • And let’s not forget:

  • How’s that?

  • Can you tell I’ve been listening to NPR’s “American Roots” radio show?

  • jan

    Ben, meditation is often how my son manages to get to sleep when he has a wakeful night, too.

  • Ben Wolf

    Assuming your son is still young, he’ll have an enormous advantage over others in focus and calm. I hope he sticks with it.

  • After much of a lifetime in the martial arts, meditation is one of the things that enables me to get any sleep at all.

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