I have a lot of trouble sleeping.
I don't know if this fact alone qualifies me as an insomniac, because I'm not sure how severe my troubles are compared to others' troubles, and it isn't like I've ever been diagnosed... but it's a nightly battle and very literally my least favorite part of the day. I dread going to sleep so much that I find myself watching the clock, wincing as it gets later and later, knowing that my bedtime is looming. In some twisted way I actually sorta look forward to getting sick, because it gives me a very legitimate, socially acceptable excuse to take excessive amounts of PM cold medicine and knock myself out.
I KNOW, on some conscious level, that it's all in my head. Insomnia is a problem of the mind, not the body... so in theory if I could just get my brain to, I dunno, shut up for 15 minutes, I should be able to drift off into dreamland as easily as the next person. But as any overthinker will tell you, it's easier said than done... here’s my typical inner monologue when I settle in under the covers:
Okay, here we go, Susie. Time to sleep.
Deep breaths, ahhhhh. This is gonna be good. This is comfy. I got my pillow, covers up to my chin, my body is at the perfect temperature. There isn't too much light in here, it's dead quiet, these are perfect sleeping conditions. It'll be no problem at all falling asleep tonight. This is a sleeper's heaven, sleep paradise, a veritable kingdom of sleep. I'll be unconscious any minute.
The cable guy is supposed to be here from 8-10 tomorrow morning, I can't forget that. Should I set my alarm? Nah, I'll be up by then. Oh shoot, I don't have any cash! Are you supposed to tip the cable guy? I can never remember things like that. My parents were always really good about knowing who and when to tip. That reminds me, Mom’s carpal tunnel surgery is coming up. I wonder if I should get her flowers or something, or if she’d think that was cheesy. This isn’t considered major surgery, right? I can’t imagine there would be any complications…
WAIT A SECOND. These are not sleep-inducing thoughts, I'm still wide awake! I'm even more awake than I was when I laid down, because now I'm also a tiny bit stressed out. CUT IT OUT, BRAIN. Just relax. These are all things that can be worked out later, when you're vertical. Think calming thoughts.
I'm in a sprawling meadow, next to a beautiful cascading waterfall. Birds are chirping. But not in an annoying way, in like a peaceful meadow type of way. Haha! Remember in Failure to Launch, when Zooey Deschanel wants to kill the bird outside her window? Remember in Friends, when Phoebe breaks up with Gary BECAUSE he shoots the bird outside her window? There are a lot of birds outside of windows in pop culture, I guess. But no birds outside MY window, because this is a sleep kingdom. This is the cloud nine of sleep.
This position is starting to get a little uncomfortable. But if I move, then it's kinda like I'm tossing and turning, which gets the blood pumping and is definitely not good for sleeping. Okay, I'm gonna switch, but then I'm gonna be totally, 100%, fully committed to that position forever until I fall asleep. No more rolling around. Deal? Deal.
Okay great, yes, this is much more comfortable. This is perfect. There is no doubt in my mind that I will be in this position until morning. This is about as comfortable as it gets. This is a sleep kingdom, a sleep empire!
Should I have my eyes open or closed? You would assume closed, but if they’re not naturally closed then I'm physically holding them closed, which is like, effort. And exerting effort doesn't seem like the kind of thing you should do when you're trying to go to sleep. But then, having them open and staring at the ceiling doesn't seem very good either, especially when the smoke detector light is blinking. Is that just an indicator that it’s on and functional, or does that mean the battery is low? Naw, I think it chirps when the battery is low…
This is silly. People are able to sleep in way worse conditions than this. Soldiers can sleep in a bunker on a battlefield, children in Africa can sleep on wet concrete in dirty orphanages, hell somehow I'M able to sleep in a moving vehicle when Taylor listens to sports radio. But now, when I'm perfectly comfortable, and in a piece of furniture DESIGNED FOR SLEEP, I can't manage it? What the hell is wrong with me?!
AHA! I just started to drift off! I felt it! God DAMNIT, why did I have to notice it and wake myself up? Just do it again brain, you were so close, just try to relax… Am I pretty much starting over now, back to square one, back to the end of the line? Or is my progress cumulative? I’m so close to the doorway, all I need to do is step through…
Hey that kinda reminds me of that David Bowie song. “This is Major Tom to Ground Control, I’m stepping through the doo-oo-oo-oor… And I’m floating in a most a-pecuuuliar way-hay… and the stars look very different… tuh-DAYYY-AY-AY-AY!”
Uh-oh, this position is starting to get uncomfortable. But I promised myself I would be totally, 100%, fully committed to this position forever. Do I stay like this, committed? Or toss and turn?
DO OTHER PEOPLE GO THROUGH THIS, OR AM I SOME KIND OF PSYCHO?!
Welp, look at that. It’s 3am.