Friday, June 8, 2012

Those Sleepless Nights

For a while I blamed Daylight Savings for my suddenly-out-of-whack sleep patterns. I would get up groggier than ever for work and declare to my co-workers: "Daylight savings is taking a serious toll on me; I've been exhausted and sleeping terribly all week and if this meeting wasn't being held over the phone, I'd probably kill you all in an insomnia-induced rage."

Or something to that effect.

Well, it's been almost three months and try as I might, I am having a hard time using that as an excuse anymore.

I haven't had this much trouble sleeping since college, and even then I wasn't hounded by terrifying dreams like I have been lately. Maybe it's my age? Am I more stressed than I originally thought? Am I dying?

Jury's out, but I do know that I've been over-worked and over-caffeinated; I've spent my last two weekends doing hard labor in my parent's house, doing prolonged projects at work, and eating the bare minimum of calories. But still... I find it hard to believe those things are the root of the problem.

My insomnia was easier to deal with in college—that is, after I learned how to push away all of the horrifying images and fears that plagued me the moment the lights were out. ("I'm so comfortable right now. Oh no, but someday I won't be this comfortable... I'll be lying on a gurney with a broken body and excruciating pain and I'll watch my life goals come to a bloody and paralyzed end!" and so on.) Eventually it wasn't my over-active imagination that kept me awake, but rather a body and brain that simply wouldn't turn off with the lights. There was stuff I wanted to do and write and watch and read. So I did, sometimes. Other times, I just thought about doing those things. Every night. It was kind of nice, actually.

I rarely had to be awake—much less be anywhere—before 10am, and if I did have class to attend, I could just phone it in and plan on figuring out what the hell that lecture was all about at a later date and time. I had no qualms and no guilt about drinking loads of coffee at 9pm for dessert, then stay up browsing the internet / watching infomercials / lying in the dark with my thoughts until 1, 3, 5 in the morning. I learned quickly that there was something soothing about being the only person in my apartment still awake; something magical about watching the clock strike 4 o'clock a.m. and deciding "Well, I guess I'm not going to sleep tonight," and then getting up, making another pot of coffee, and sitting warm and dreary-eyed as the sunlight slowly crept through the windows.

One time, I actually decided to go for a run to Campus Point on the opposite side of UC Santa Barbara at 5am after having not slept a wink, just to watch the sun come up. I walked half of it, but I still rewarded myself with a peanut butter-covered slice of toast.

I miss that.

Insomnia, now, is not like that. Now insomnia is cold and boring and void of all enchantment.

I sit at my laptop and visit the same dozen sites—including this here blog—as if anyone has updated in the last five minutes at midnight on a Tuesday. Twitter is quiet, Facebook is boring, there is no new news, no new recipe, no new DIY project to peak my interest.

I lie in bed with my phone playing Jewels Star until my eyes start to blur and I'm forced into a restless sleep.

Then I sleep horribly. I sleep as though I have post-traumatic stress disorder, except all I really have is a mind and body glutton for punishment. It does not care that I have a full-time job that requires I be alert and active from 8am - 5pm every weekday; it does not register that it's 3am and I've already been up for nearly 20 hours; and it does not respond to my humble pleas for just one night of rejuvenating sleep.

I'm in an insomnia-stupor as I write this. Can you tell?

This coming weekend I am taking matters into my own hands and rejuvenating my sleep-deprived soul. I'm going away where there is no computer, to be with friends where it is warm, beautiful, and relaxing; where no dieting exists and no one at work can contact me.

My friends (Cassie, Lindsay, Marisa) and I are going to a cabin in the woods where there is a hot tub, fire pit, and lake access. We're going to cook, color in coloring books, swim, and make cocktails. We're going to focus on ourselves and each other's company.

Most importantly, though: we're going to sleep in.


  1. I can't wait, my love. It's going to be awesome. Hope we both get to sleep soon! See you tomorrow!!

  2. I feel you, sugar. When you figure out the remedy, do share - although the cabin weekend with some wonderful friends seems like a great one. And you totally made me miss the crap out of Campus Point. One day soon, I'd love to go back to visit (preferably with YOU). Le sigh.

    I wish you soundness and sleep, my very, very sleepy peach.

  3. I get like that when I haven't exercised in awhile, or if I've been too sedentary... It sucks, definitely makes your body feel out of whack. Ugh, and we didn't know how easy we had it in college...

    I hope you get your sleep back. It sucks to be that drained all day, and then either a) not be able to pass out at night, or b) have strange dreams that make you even more restless.

  4. So... what you're saying is that you're a SLEEPY peach? Haha, couldn't resist. :-)