So, it’s 5:49 a.m. in Jersey City, NJ. And I’m wide awake. Worried about this, worried about that, you know, the usual and very important shit. Money, relationships, my kids, the weather, football season, the fact that I’m way overdue for a manicure, whether or not people are reading my blog and digging my photography, the fact that people are worried about me because I’m not working a respectable job and that they have no idea how I’m going to pay my rent…don’t worry. I won’t become homeless, forced to resort to begging in front of Starbucks in downtown Jersey City with a cup and a sad, pathetic sign on my back. I won’t ask to sleep on your couch.
Anyway, I digress.
Yeah, those things (and others) wake me up in the middle of the night, usually around 3am. I’ve battled insomnia for years, and I have not been able to win the war. The only time I can sleep through the night is when I take a sleep aid. Believe me, I’ve tried them all. Tylenol, Advil, some prescription stuff that didn’t even work, natural remedies….
Soft music playing in the background? Doesn’t work.
Warm milk? Doesn’t work, and it’s not really advisable because I’m lactose intolerant.
Cool temperatures? Don’t work.
Warm temperatures? Don’t work.
Warm baths? Don’t work.
Hot showers? Don’t work.
Total darkness and silence? Doesn’t work.
I even went in for a sleep study, because my doctor thought maybe I was suffering from sleep apnea. That was fun. I spent a perfectly good evening shivering in a sterile, cold ass room, face, back, neck, arms and torso strapped to wires and sensors, feeling very anxious. See, black women have a thing about being tied up. It’s a subconscious anxiety that has nothing at all to do with slavery. Not. At. All.
The tech ordered me to get undressed, and that I would be expected to shut the lights off around 10pm. Well, for me, things are just getting started on or after 10:30, so I was feeling a heightened sense of anxiety. No phone, no Twitter, no Facebook, no texting? I had to actually go to sleep? F*ck.
As I recall, I didn’t get a restful sleep that night. At the time I was going through it with my allergies, and so the coughing fits began on time, around 1am. I would cough, and cough, and cough, and to try to manage I would take cough drops. So I have wires and sensors attached to my face, and they’re tangled up and I can’t move. I’m cold. I’m unable to sleep. And I have four or five cough drops in my mouth. Fabulous.
If I was lucky, I got maybe 4 or 5 hours of sleep. Well, after a night of sleep shenanigans, I was awakened at 5:45 am by Nurse Hatchet. I had to pee something fierce, but I had to sit on my hands while she disattached all of the wires and sensors from my face, neck, chest and back. It was longest 15 minutes of my life. And that pee was the longest and most blissful of my 37 years. Ahhhhh….
Anyway, after going through that torturous night, I found out that I *didn’t* have sleep apnea. FML.
So I’m just a chronic insomniac/loser. And it’s now 6am. Maybe I’ll go watch the sunrise.
Have you battled insomnia? What wakes you up at night? What makes you so anxious that it’s hard for you to get a good night’s sleep? Tell me about it.
- Insomnia – All Information (umm.edu)
- Not Sleeping Sucks: Could Cherry Juice Help Insomnia? (blisstree.com)
- Study finds an increased risk of death in men with insomnia and a short sleep duration (scienceblog.com)