Day 3: What it feels like to be a terrible sleeper

I can’t sleep.

Well, that’s not totally true. I can, sometimes, sleep. But not well, and not easily.

Last night I experienced a particularly frustrating bout of sleeplessness. I was exhausted after dinner/wine/watching The Jerk on TV, and got ready for bed around 9pm. I talked to my boo on the phone a little bit, read a little bit on my phone, and then realized it was 11pm — might as well stay up for SNL, right?

I stayed up, watched all of a very subpar SNL (except OMG this cacophony of impersonations by the master Jay Pharaoh), and then decided at 1am that I needed to settle down more, so I read a bit on my phone.

Last night was probably the most clearly I’ve understood that addiction to technology is absolutely real. It’s not just like I can’t set down my phone/iPad/TV remote/whatever. It’s that I was being mentally stimulated by exhaustively reading every New York Magazine interview and Vulture episode recap I could find in my Facebook feed, then checking in on apps I hadn’t used in a while (why can’t I be better at this Pinterest?), and then scroll through pictures I’d taken recently. Looking at my bright phone screen (even though it was totally dimmed, as I was in bed at 1am), my circadian rhythm was getting confused, and my mind was fully active. I fell asleep after I put on a Spotify “Sleep to Dream” playlist around 2:50am.

Today, I feel like total crap. My some miracle, I don’t feel cranky — but my muscles ache and I SWEAR I’m getting overheated because I didn’t properly rest. My eyes are puffy and, since it’s Sunday and I am refusing to wear makeup, I slightly resemble a lizard in the eye department. Plus, yesterday I got a deep tissue massage (thanks honey!), and for anyone who is an occasional/regular massage consumer, you KNOW you need water and sleep to get rid of those toxins. Instead, the congestion I woke up to on Friday is turning into a full-blown cold, and I’m afraid I’m going to fall asleep while watching Whiskey Tango Foxtrot tonight, therefore disrespecting my life’s hero, Tina Fey. (If you know me basically at all, you know how serious of a grievance this would be.)

Dear lord, why did I do this to myself? I know what it takes to get me to sleep. I drink enough water, go for a run, maybe don’t eat dessert literally 10 minutes before I get ready for bed. I know what it takes. Yet I totally ignored it. I’ve done this a thousand times. I’ve gone months without changing my sleep-prep habits.

Sleep is something I actively disrespected in college. I would sleep for 5 hours after a night out, wake up and make it to an 8am class, be moderately pleasant at least, and do it all again the next day. How did I do that? Now, I swear I run a fever on days that I don’t sleep enough, and being tired one day makes me somehow too under-pressure to have a good night’s sleep the next night that I worry about getting sleep! It’s a horrible chain reaction, and I’m so exhausted just thinking about it.

A lot of my blog posts have to do with my struggle with anxiety, and this one’s no different: two of my triggers for panic/anxiety are being tired and feeling overheated. This is the vicious cycle (have we thought of a less-cliche phrase to replace that yet?), the domino effect (same question pls), the catch-22 (OMG SOMEONE WRITE A BOOK TO REPLACE THIS). Tonight I must break it: I must exercise, drink water, avoid eating a delicious homemade brownie with ice cream too late (BUT DEAR LORD I AM EATING IT AT SOME POINT!) and get to bed on time — not too early, because then I fall into the trap I experienced last night.

Man. I love sleep. It took me a while, but sleep and I really fell in love. Sleeping poorly must be what it feels like to lose your soulmate. Maybe sleep is my soulmate (sorry hon). Sleep definitely saves my life every day. Sleep, you’re my hero.

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