Can’t Sleep, Sleep Will Eat Me



I has it.

Well — erm, I did have it. Last night. And now I feel like a scarecrow with his stuffing-guts removed. A hollow, tattered burlap sack of a dude.

It doesn’t happen to me often, not anymore. Used to happen with some frequency, all the way back to elementary school. (I blame many of my current anxieties on school. Dang, I hated school.) But last night? Here she comes: the sleep-stealing succubus, nesting on my chest and vacuuming my breath into her lungs.

It started off so innocuously. A little Dexter at 9pm. Go up to bed, watch Mad Men from bed. Start to get a little sleepy around 10, but push through because — hey! Awesome show. And on commercial breaks, flip back to TBS, watch the Phillies not so much knock the Reds out of their own park with a home run but quietly steal bases from that team’s field of self-confidence until they are a withered unit, a poor version of the team that just beat their asses. (Seriously, look at the uniforms. The Reds wish they were the Phillies.)

But therein lies the problem.

By the time Mad Men ended and I caught the last 15 minutes of the Phillies game, the time mysteriously (maybe not so mysteriously) became 11:15, and then? Then I wasn’t the least bit tired. I was excited. Great episode of TV. Great game! Head’s-a-buzzing! Got a new novel idea! Hey, aren’t we traveling at the end of the week? Let’s think about that! Let’s think about everything. Anything in the world that demands thought, I can handle it. Large Hadron Collider? America, the Impoverished? Lyme Disease? (Did I mention I suffered a nasty tickbite over the weekend?) Fuck it. Let’s think about all of it right now.

And so: insomnia.

Insomnia of course feeds on itself: a self-replicating machine. Insomnia causes you to think about insomnia which raises your heart rate and blood pressure and general state of inexplicable panic, which of course only boosts the mercury in your own personal insomniac thermometer. Can’t sleep, sleep will eat me.

Doesn’t make sense, but there it is.

What I’m saying is, this is why you’ll get no awesome post this morning. I was writing up a post about how writers are, by necessity, sort of fucked-up people, and then — irony! — insomnia.

I finally got to sleep around, I dunno, 2 or 3 (only to wake up at quarter till 6), and I’m not entirely sure how I did it. I just know I managed to calm down enough and elicit a thorough “well, fuck it,” attitude toward the whole insomnia thing, going with the notion that, “Hey, if I don’t sleep tonight, then tomorrow will be amusing for everybody! Who needs sleep? Eff sleep right in the ay! ZZZzzzz.”

It does beg the question, though: what do you do about insomnia?

Do you suffer from it? (Hell, who doesn’t from time to time, right?)

Any tips and tricks on how to put your brain and thrumming heart to bed?

Anybody have any awesome “waking sleep” moments with that crazy legal hallucinogen known as “Ambien?” Man, you hear some goofy-ass stories of people whacked-out on that stuff. Good times.