Somewhere far back in time, I remember sleeping. OK, it’s not the sleeping I remember, but the waking up refreshed. I think I was about two months old. Maybe it just seems that way.

Turtles as a family tend to suffer from chronic insomnia. I didn’t succumb until my twenties. I bought a house. I moved out on my own. I took in a small zoo. I haven’t really slept since.

That wouldn’t be a problem except I need sleep. I’m cranky without it. I’m cranky with it, too, but it’s worse when I’m short. Sleepless nights have plagued me this year, one of the reasons I named 2011 My Worst Year Ever. I’m no night owl. I wake up around 4:30 AM no matter when I go to bed. Once I’m awake, I rarely fall back asleep, and this includes the annoying 2:30 AM wake up for whatever reason, from hairballs to passing trains to a sleeping ferret turning over in her hammock.

I look forward to the genetic deafness I’m promised in later years. I hope I’ll sleep better if I can’t hear a beetle hit the window in the dark. Maybe I’ll be more awake worrying that I’ll miss something important.

If you haven’t guessed, last night was sleepless. Mostly. I don’t quite remember the midnight to two time change, so maybe I got a couple of hours. Needless to say, I got up feeling a little like this:


I don’t want to feel like this today. I don’t want to feel like this any day, but some days are more annoying than others when it comes to being irritable.


You know what makes heroes great? Their ability to take a hit and keep rolling and wise-cracking and getting it done. Would we love Bruce Willis like we do if he whined about jet lag while foiling a bank heist?

I’m no hero. I just write about them in my books. Frankly, most of my heroes tend to be the whiny types, annoyed by lack of sleep and starvation and getting shot with crossbows. They do generally push on and finish the job, though. They’ve got that going for them.

This is hardly my most inspired post, but thinking about what to write today was one of the things keeping me awake last night, so you all get to suffer with me. You’re welcome.

I start a new job in one week. I hope I can get some sleep between now and then or my first day may look something like this:


Nobody wants that.


About Robynn Tolbert

Born in Kansas and born again at age six, Robynn has published two novels and started her third. Robynn, aka Ranunculus Turtle, lives in Kansas with a clowder of cats, a patient dog and a garden.

17 comments on “Sleepless

  1. I love the owl pics. Then again, I am a night owl. Waking up at 4:30 am on the few occasions I’ve had to do it nearly killed me :P. But I can relate to the sleeplessness thing. I’ve always had sleep issues, even as a kid. I’d wake up at 2 am and not be able to go back to sleep till 4. It can be really frustrating.

    Hang in there! Hope your new job is wonderful :).

  2. Hey, we have something in common…I’m starting a new job in a week too! Wait…two things in common…sleep problems.

    I give you a lot of credit for typing anything this morning, after having slept so little. I especially like the fact that your heroes whine about being shot with crossbow bolts. I think that would make even the well-rested cranky.

    Blessings on your new job!

  3. LOL! I really enjoyed the owl pics! What a hoot! 😉

    We have sleep issues in our family too. Mom has been known to wear soft earplugs to block noises she can’t otherwise ignore.

    My children have also had sleep issues since they were quite small.

    People at our house have tried multiple answers to the dilemma of needing sleep and not getting it: melatonin (in different strengths); 5-HTP; those blue gel-cap sleep-aids from the local pharmacy that aren’t addicting, but will knock you out completely for an entire night. UNLESS there’s a cat that lands on you and burbles and kneads you in painful ways for half the night. I understand that it is possible to be painfully aware and unable to move until the sleep aid starts to wear off–creating an overwhelming desire to throw said cat across the room!

    I haven’t yet experienced that phenomenon myself. And the cat in question (not one of mine) has become an outdoor cat. She really really loves her rabbits.

    I believe the best sleep solution is to install a no-kitty doorknob, securely close your bedroom door (animals on the outside), and think happy thoughts about God protecting and caring for you and for them, AND the beetles hitting the window–all night. Hairballs you can always clean up in the morning.

    Here’s to your new job! (and a good night’s sleep)

    • Thank you, Krysti, for your well-wishes.
      Most of the cats (especially the main hairball hwerfing one) sleep in the basement because they can’t behave themselves.
      And I often spend sleepless nights in prayer. I figure I’m up, God’s up, might as well use the time. 🙂

  4. My Dearest Turtle,

    My word! I wasn’t aware that so many people have sleep problems. I have had RLS for as long as I can remember and I have also had to wear the ear plugs, like your Mom. Like you, I can’t remember the last time I got a good restful nights sleep. Must be something in the food.Ya think?

  5. May I suggest exercising far past the point where it really, really hurts?

  6. My Dearest Kaleb,

    I’m 65 a block of walking really really hurts. LOL I have always been very active. Doctor told me that I get over tired. It’s my mind that gives me problems too. Won’t shut down!

    • I’m have insomnia compounded by a being a teenager and the late-night schedule it entails; I’ve found that strenuous exercise (Like running a few miles or biking several miles) helps me sleep.

      I was talking to sleepless persons in general.

  7. Ear plugs won’t help me…I have so many crickets chirping in my ears I can’t block them out anymore. BUT, the tempro pedic bed has helped a great deal….yes I know you have one my dear turtle…I also know you have tried it all….remember Grandma High’s remedy is hot milk, rice milk or whatever would work, and Ovaltine….works for me…love you my sweet girl…

  8. I really, really feel for you Robynn. I’ve just come out of a two year bout of bad insomnia. Between Sunday and Thursday nights I was looking at between 2 and 5 hours sleep max. Quite a few times I had zero sleep, or only a few minutes because once I was awake I was AWAKE (even if I was woken while drifting off). I think my coworkers thought the Zombie apocalypse was starting when they caught sight of my face in the morning. We live in farmland surrounded by mad farmers and our house is joined to a working factory, so it gets noisy any hour of the day or night.

    I tried all the usual things but nothing helped. I train hard most every day so exercise wasn’t the problem. I bought a book and it suggested a few things. The single most helpful thing I read was that astronauts can function effectively on 2 hours of sleep. They might be grumpy, but they can do their jobs. The reason that fact helped me was because my problem was really my attitude towards my sleep (or lack thereof). I would get anxious because I wasn’t sleeping and anxiety doesn’t help when you’re trying to nod off. I realized that I couldn’t force or will myself to sleep. I had to *let* myself *fall* asleep. The past few months I’ve been sleeping pretty much solidly for about 6 or 7 hours a night, even after a 2am bathroom break (which used to mean wake-up time for me). Sometimes I have a restless night, but they are rare these day.

    I think another cause was a general, vague feeling of worry about the future bought on by spending too much time reading the news and checking my finances (both pretty depressing). Psalm 23 helped me with that (especially “He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.”).

    I hope you can get this thing beat, Robynn. Insomnia is no fun.

    • Thanks, Paul. I’ve kept Psalm 23 close, and I’m memorizing Psalm 91, since I’m up anyway. Anxiety definitely plays a part in my sleeplessness. I’m trying not to worry about it.

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