I tried a new sleeping pill recently. While perusing the sleeping pill aisle at the grocery store, I realized almost every brand is actually the exact same formula. Unisom is different, but it doesn’t work well for me – or rather, it works too well.

This new one is called Alteril and markets itself as a natural, drug-free sleep aid. It has tryptophan, melatonin, and a handful of apothecary-sounding ingredients like skullcap herb extract and valerian root extract. You’re supposed to take two tablets an hour before bedtime.

So I did that on Thursday night. I was already really tired, but I usually have trouble falling asleep, so the extent to which I slept well due to the Alteril (rather than just being tired) is unclear. But I slept most of Friday. I’ve been fighting off a cold, and lost my battle on Friday; Jarom stayed home from work so I was able to rest.

Since we had lots of company over for June’s birthday cake on Saturday, I was up all Friday night cleaning and baking and trying to make the house somewhat presentable. Note to self: you are not 18 anymore. All-nighters are not an option.

When everyone had gone home after the party, I took two Alteril and went to bed. And slept beautifully for 15 hours straight.

I started thinking maybe a half dose would be better for me, so last night I just took one tablet.

Sure enough, an hour later I was extremely tired and ready to go to sleep. But I couldn’t fall asleep. I went in and out of that in-between stage, where you think you might be awake and only realize after a noise jolts you into consciousness that you’ve actually been dozing. This lasted about four hours.

I did finally fall into a deeper sleep, but then the kids started waking up (and waking each other up). And Ender wanted out. And then I couldn’t go back to sleep. I was officially awake from 5:30 this morning.

Maybe a one-and-three-quarters dose is the way to go…