Wake Up, Boo

I am, it seems, a late stage insomniac. My problem isn’t that I can’t fall asleep in the first place — that’s not been a consistent problem for me since I was a kid, and I’d lie in my bed and try to recite the opening crawl fromĀ Star Wars in my head as a mantra — but that, recently, I find myself waking up in the middle of the night continually.

It’s not that I wake up in a panic, as if from a nightmare. (Or, for that matter, remembering my dreams at all.) It’s more that, suddenly, gently, I’m awake and I know immediately that it’s too early to be comfortably awake. I know, even before I turn over to check the time, that it’s too early and I need to go back to sleep. And that knowledge, I suspect, is the trap.

I get in my head at that moment. I start being all-too-aware that I “should” be asleep, and that knowledge makes me low-level anxious, nervous that I’m going to be tired when it’s time to actually get up, and that in turn makes it harder for me to get back to sleep, which makes me more anxious and nervous, which makes it harder to go back to sleep, which makes me — sleep.

That’s the thing. I really don’t have trouble going to sleep. Even when I wake up in the middle of the night, unless something is wrong — and choose your own definition of what wrong might be in this scenario; for me, it’s traditionally something minor and easily fixed — I am normally awake for a few minutes at the most, and then I’m asleep again. It just happens.

And then, I’m awake again, and it’s maybe an hour or so later, and I go through the whole thing again; getting in my head, and then falling asleep again. And then, an hour or so later again, I wake up for a third time.

For some reason, it always stops after the third time. That’s usually somewhere around 3 or 4 in the morning, and when I fall back to sleep, I stay there until 6:15 or so. I don’t know why these times repeat so consistently, but they do. It’s not intentional, but itĀ is recurring, for the last few weeks.

Perhaps this is just what September feels like, now.

No Sleep ‘Til

Ah, insomnia.

As I type this, it’s 6:30am, and I’ve been awake since 4. I didn’t wake up of my own accord; Ernie is sick and requires eye drops every 4 hours, so at 4am, it was time… but then I couldn’t get back to sleep. You know that feeling, when you’re lying in bed and your brain just tells you that you’re definitely awake no matter how tired you feel? That was me. When I was younger, falling asleep was no problem; I could be up until 4am at a club or working on something or in some deep, awkward romantic tryst and as soon as I’d get to bed, I’d be asleep. Now, though, I lie there all too often, all too awake.

I remember, when I was a kid, the tricks I’d try to play on myself to induce sleep. I’d try to remember the opening scroll from Star Wars – I used to be able to do that in its entirety, worryingly – or count from 100 backwards, imagining each number was a lower rung on a ladder towards sleeping. Neither work anymore, sadly; the noise in my brain overpowers it all. And so, I lie here hours before the sunrise, cuddling a sick dog and reading Marvel Comics: The Untold Story on my Kindle, wishing that I could close my eyes and open them hours later.

Roll Up, It’s An Invitation

So, I’m sick – Well, getting better now, but the weekend (and especially Sunday) was lost to me essentially feeling sorry for myself and coughing miserably and more than a little pathetically. What was particularly weird, though, was that Saturday into Sunday, I couldn’t sleep because I felt so lousy, but I also couldn’t stop myself getting entirely lost in nostalgia for the entire night, remembering people and places that I hadn’t thought about in years, if not decades; people I’d known in high school, stores that I used to go to in Glasgow and Aberdeen, ex-girlfriends and college friends and everything like that. It was one of those times where you’re not asleep, but you’re also not awake enough to be in full control of where your brain takes you, so you end up a passenger in your own thoughts. It was oddly pleasant, to be honest; none of the memories were especially bad, but neither were they of the “I was so young and alive and had so much hair back then…!” variety, so it was just this nice trip down memory lane, really. If only all insomniac nights were like that.