Lying in bed awake as the sun rises.I absolutely suck at sleeping. Co-workers and other forms of people often ask, “Why do you have so much trouble sleeping? What keeps you up?”

Oh well, you know….the cat sleeps on my head. My two cats leave me no space. The neighbor’s up all night stomping around. The neighbor’s away for the week and their fire alarm needs a new battery. The neighbor left their porch light on all night and it glares straight into the bedroom. Etc., etc., etc.

In bed with the cat sitting on my head, upstairs neighbors stomping around, and neighbor's porch light glaring into the window.

All of these are half-truths, but it’s mostly bullshit. The cats can be kicked out of the room (I would never do that though!), and I can move to get rid of the neighbors. These are minor and resolvable concerns compared to the things that actually keep me up.

Like any chronic insomniac, my problem is something that can’t be gotten rid of – a noisy, obnoxious brain that I am stuck with until brain transplants become a real thing.

Insomnia comes in waves. One night turns into two nights, which turns into three, and the cycle goes on.

Here is what insomnia is like, for any well-balanced members of society out there who wonder –

Night 1 is where you lay your head down and suddenly, it’s TIME TO GET MOTIVATED! Here’s a great idea for a novel. You’ll start working on it tomorrow. Oh! And you should totally start a blog! Maybe a blog about yourself – surely tons of people will be interested in reading that! You know, it’s been a while since you’ve gone anywhere fun. Why don’t you plan a weekend getaway to Oregon? Man, you know what deserves a re-read – the entire Harry Potter series. Starting tomorrow, you’ll start binge-reading it. Then work your way through re-reading every Neil Gaiman novel. You really need to get better at the violin, so you need to make a commitment to practice at least 6 hours a day – starting tomorrow, of course.

racing thoughts of insomnia

Tomorrow arrives and you do nothing.

Night 2 is where you spend the entire night worrying about not sleeping again, while also reassessing your entire life. It’s time to change your entire career and start over, and night time is apparently the opportune time to figure out details on how to go about doing that and decide on a new plan.

laying awake in bed because I'm worried I won't be able to fall asleep.

But a new plan never comes.

On the 3rd night of no sleep, you spend the night replaying every conversation you’ve ever had in your life, wondering if you said the right thing, remembering every time you’ve been criticized by anyone, and feeling guilty. You dwell on every little thing you did or said that day and feel ashamed by your supposed social awkwardness, even though the sane people you interacted with most likely never thought anything of it and have long forgotten any conversation you had with them (as you will soon discover the next day).

anxiety grave
Before you know it, you’ve been awake for a week and suddenly you’re clinically insane and have convinced yourself that your significant other is leaving you, all your friends are plotting against you, and you have a tumor.

When bedtime rolls around, rather than attempting sleep anymore, you’re up all night researching universities that offer degrees in interior design, trying to learn dutch, watching all the YouTube videos that exist on seasoning cast iron, and plotting a relocation to Nunavut.

google search history when you haven't slept

Close friends who are well aware of my struggles try to be helpful by kindly informing me that a lack of sleep knocks 15 years off your life. That you’ll get wrinkly. That you’re at a high risk of a heart attack, high blood pressure, and diabetes. That you’ll get fat. That smokers live longer than people who don’t get enough sleep.

Ok, I get it!! Guys, let me tell you something – As fascinating as all this information is, it DOES NOT help me sleep!

Aging faster when you don't sleep.

Eventually though, sleep always comes…unless you have fatal familial insomnia (don’t google that).


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