I’ll sleep when I’m dead: an insomniac’s prayer.

I rarely write about this scintillating aspect of myself.

In fact, maybe I’ve never written about it.

I have a very…nuanced relationship with sleep.

It’s 4:48PDT as I write this. It’s quiet and dark. I love early mornings because the world is about as quiet and morose as it will get. Normal people are asleep right now. Even on weekdays, most people still have not awaken.

Me?

I’ve been up since about 3 or 3:15, I think. I don’t look at the clock when I wake up in the middle of the night because it will freak me out, and for an insomniac, freak out = no sleep.

Last night I fell asleep quickly, about 10:45. Four and half hours of sleep would just kill most people. I usually get 6 hours, tops, if I’m lucky. I woke up in the middle of the night, went to the bathroom, laid back down. I could not fall asleep nor did I feel particularly drowsy or tired. I assumed it was later, like maybe 4:30. I laid there, waiting for the alarm clock to go off at my customary 5:25 time (even though I’m awake before that about 90% of the time). Nothing, no sleep, no alarm.

I started feeling energetic and “untired.”

I finally glanced at the clock. 3:59. Fuck!
See, even though I’m not particulary tired, I still feel as if I should sleep, so it’s frustrating. It’s frustrating not being able to do something I feel I should do. Sleep is the great potion of health, isn’t it? Read all those health articles in the mainstream press and they will tell you that if you don’t sleep 8 hours, you will die, now, this minute, if you’re lucky.

I’ve always been a crappy sleeper. Every little sound wakes me up. My son and other people I know can sleep through anything in the world. I’m the opposite. I can’t sleep through anything. When it’s hot, I’m screwed. Firstly, the heat makes it hard for me to sleep, so I can either, a) turn the A/C on. I prefer to put it on timer so it will turn off in a couple of hours, but this means that as I lay in bed, trying to sleep, I will be subconsciously aware of the sound and gauging it as a measure of whether or not 2 hours have passed, which in and of itself, keeps me up, or at the very least, prevents me from drifting off to deep sleep. Also, many times, when the air conditioner’s constant hum abruptly ends, I will wake up. Option b) is to open my bedroom window, but it abuts the street and even though my neighborhood is generally quiet, I am so sensitive to sounds that every little meow or rustle will rouse me. I use earplugs but they don’t help.

The last time I slept a lot (for me, 8+ hours of uninterupted sleep) was in January, 2008, the last time I had influenza.

The most quirky thing I’ve noticed about me and sleep is that if I go to bed before midnight, I will feel rested in the morning, regardless of how much sleep I get (or don’t). Such as today. However, if I fall asleep after midnight, I will feel like utter shit in the morning, unless I’m able to “sleep in.”

Incidentally, “sleeping in” for me means getting up way too early, logging into the computer for a few minutes, then going back to bed and falling asleep for another hour or two. Furthermore, if I go to bed after 11:30pm, this constitutes a “freak out” because I know it is too late and I stress about falling asleep, which invariably means, I won’t, at least until after midnight, which means you-know-what. Back to square one.

On the plus side, getting up early allows me to make a large breakfast and eat at home before work, unlike those robots who crawl straight out of bed into their car. You know them…the people who eat a bagel or donut and coffee and call it “breakfast.” Hey, at least they slept a lot. During the composition of this post, I made myself 2 strips of bacon, 2 over easy eggs and 2 slices of cracked wheat sourdough toast. I’ll take that over a bagel any day.

Tell me…what is “healthier?”