On Sleeping

Sleep. I love to sleep. I have been sleeping my whole life and yet I just do not understand sleep. We do not have a very good relationship, lately. Sleep comes upon me at the most inopportune times, and then sometimes not all when I need it the most.

Why can I fall asleep so easily in the most uncomfortable position in my chair in the living room and sleep there very well all night long, but only to awaken with a throbbing headache due to the tangled contortion my neck has managed to get into during the best sleep of the day?

Why can I fall asleep on my desk after school and sleep there very well for hours until once again, my neck alerts me that it wasn’t the best choice of places for getting some Zzzzs?

Why can I fall asleep sitting in a lawn chair while lawn mowers are buzzing loudly in the yards surrounding mine (again sitting straight up)?

Why can I fall asleep in the pool, risking death by drowning should my tube flip over?

Why can I fall asleep in the bath tub until awakened by the imminent threat of frostbitten toes, fingers, and buttocks due to the loss of heated water in an ice cold tub?

Why can I fall asleep in a car, on a bus, on a train, plane, boat or skateboard, sometimes almost instantly upon motion?

Why can I fall asleep standing up while attempting to sell a copy machine to a Baptist minister (true story).

I can fall asleep while sitting behind the wheel of my car at a stop sign if the traffic is more than three or four cars deep. Ok, two cars. Only to be awakened by the blaring horns of the impatient, intolerant jerks behind me who probably slept very well the night before.

Why can I fall asleep (sitting straight up) at my computer working on things I love to do, but when I turn it off and attempt to lie down, sleep escapes me?

I can fall asleep in or on any vehicle driving on Highway 80 in Middle Georgia. I swear there are sleep sirens beckoning weary travelers to their deaths through those parts.

I have actually fallen asleep riding a motorcycle on Highway 80 in Middle Georgia, Highway 19 on the west coast of Florida, and surprisingly along the Interstate in Utah. The desire to just put my helmeted head right down on the gas tank has been so overwhelming, that I have actually had to pull over just to get some blood flowing to the noggin before the noggin gets flowing, if you know what I mean.

I could probably fall asleep on the proverbial fence post.

I have fallen asleep TEACHING (but quickly awakened due to the fear that my students would set fire to my classroom). Once in a hypnotic trance, I heard a student ask another, “Is she asleep?” To which I responded quickly regaining alertness, “No Jim-Bob, I’m praying for you.”

It’s maddening. I lie down in the warmth and security of my bed and suddenly, I’m wide awake. I stare down the stray spot of paint that my home’s previous owner carelessly left, not inches, but feet away from the wall. I watch the ceiling fan go around and around wondering if any of the dust will spin off and hit me while sleeping, which could result in midnight horror if mistaken for something on the attack. That gets me to surveying my room in the guilty wonder of how it really needs a good cleaning.

I’ve tried the Tylenol Night meds. They don’t work. I go to sleep, and sleep hard for three hours only to awaken and lie there, once again contemplating the ceiling fan. The best remedy I have found is just a little shot of Baileys Irish Crème right before bedtime. I fear becoming an alcoholic, but wow, is it a great little somniferous tonic! The problem is I’m usually in bed by the time I remember that might help. I’m too lazy to get back out of bed additionally fearing that the movement will keep me awake even longer. Plus, I figure by the time it works I should already be asleep. Usually my thinking is erroneous.

For most of my life I could go to sleep with no problem. Then came the times that I could go to sleep, but not stay asleep. Now, I fear I am at the stage where I cannot get to sleep, and if I do, cannot stay asleep. Oh my.

For now, I will think of it as a good sign, and quote author Avery Sawyer (Notes to Self), “I think insomnia is a sign that a person is interesting.”

Yes, that’s the ticket! I’m not sleep deprived! I’m interesting!


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