Everything always seems worse at night.
You know, those moments when you’re lying awake in bed, trying to fall asleep but remain focused on the fact that if you don’t get enough sleep that you’re going to be tired the next morning and if you’re tired the next morning you won’t be able to do your job well and if you can’t do your job well then you’re going to get fired and lose your car and lose your apartment and your cat will hate you and then everything will suck.
If you ask me, my brain is completely batshit crazy when I’m trying to fall asleep. The things I say, the things I think…all are really out there. Granted, sometimes, I get an amazing idea (then forget to write it down) or I remember something I’ve forgotten (and forget to write it down again), but for the most part, it’s gibberish.
When I’m really, REALLY tired, I also come off with some pretty amazing phrasings. Here’s a sampling of things I’ve said while half asleep:
- I have no patience for irony right now – and that’s not even the right word!
- *mumble* *mumble* *something about grapefruit* *mumble* *mumble*
- Everything is wrong. (Brent replies, “What’s wrong?) NOTHING. (then I, agitated, roll over and proceed to pass right out).
I become completely irrational when I’m tired. I know this about myself. I’ve always known this. When I’m tired or just waking up, I cannot make decisions for the life of me.
Yet, from time to time, I’ll decide that it’s the perfect time and mood for me to make a decision in. I blame the sleep-induced delirium and my own foolishness.
Take for instance a night I had recently. As I’m trying to get comfortable, attempting to calmly drift off to sleep, my mind fixates on a statement a coworker made hours before. I replay the memory over and over and over and over until I put myself into a state of panic (again, I’m totally irrational when I’m tired) and all of a sudden I feel upset over something that doesn’t even matter, that isn’t even a concern. Then it transitions into self loathing, guilt, fear, contemplation, and finally, 20 minutes wasted looking up things on my phone, hell bent on trying to find an answer to a question that I shouldn’t even be asking, before the tiniest voice in the back of my head says,
“You’re being ridiculous. You need to go back to sleep. You know you can’t think about things like this when you’re trying to fall asleep.”
Okay. You’re right, I thought. So I put the phone down, checked that my alarm was set, and closed my eyes.
But the nagging thought and negativity just kept nudging at me, tempting me to think about it when I know I shouldn’t. Can’t. Won’t. Jesus, is it 11:30 p.m. already?
The cat runs down the hall, little bell around her neck tinkling. Why do I feel like the bell is mocking me?
“OH LOOK AT ME, I’M A CHEERY SOUND THAT’S GOING TO MAKE YOU ALERT WHEN YOU SHOULD BE SLEEPING BECAUSE I’M A CAT BELL AND ALL CAT BELLS ARE ASSHATS.”
I roll over. I roll over again.
I begin counting backwards from 100, noting that I once told someone that I usually fall asleep once I get past 60 or so (which is true). I made it to 50 and started to worry about whether or not this person I told my counting thing to would think I was a liar and a jerk because I had reached 50, 49, 48, 47…
I scrunched up my face into the pillow.
If I don’t go to sleep now, I’m going to be dragging ass in the morning and I have things to do, calls to make, content to write.
Annie is playing with a toy mouse in the hallway.
I need an off button.
Then, I wake up to the sound of my alarm going off.
It’s 7:00 a.m. and I slept.
My crazypants brain can suck it.
As for what I was worrying about while trying to fall asleep? Totally not a concern. Feel 110% different about it. Moving on. Time to get up.
Moral of the story: Don’t try to think about important things (money, family, relationships, jobs, future goals) when you’re overtired or trying to go to sleep. You WILL drive yourself slowly batty while sacrificing your body’s well-being in the process.
In my effort to find balance, I’ve been taking at least a few minutes before I go to sleep to clear my head and just relax. I breathe deeply. I listen to a song that I like, or a I watch a video on YouTube that makes me smile. If that fails, I get out all of my crazy early on by writing down the things that stay on my mind. In desperate times, I take a melatonin.
The good news is that I’ve been doing much, much better on getting a full night’s sleep and actually, it’s been pretty restful. For awhile there, it was madness or insomnia.
The next step is to get myself on a more productive sleep schedule. Right now, I’m falling asleep later than I’d like, staying asleep, and waking up a little later than I’d like. I think I’d feel better and be more productive in my day if I went to bed earlier and got up earlier, but we’ll see what happens. Over the next few weeks, I’ll try adjusting my internal clock.
Sweet dreams, everyone.