What To Do When You Can’t Sleep At Night


jessie essex
jessie essex

Start by tossing and turning. Rearrange your pillows twelve times. Try laying on your left side, then right, then back to left, then on your belly, then vampire style, then back to the left. Kick the blankets to the edge of the bed and then discover you’re freezing so pull them back up to your chin and burrow. Stare at the clock. Wonder how it became 2:15 AM so quickly and why you’re not even tired. Mentally retrace your steps. Did you have coffee later than you should’ve? Would you still be in this position if you’d gone with your inner old-person gut and asked for decaf? Is the coffee really to blame at all? Is espresso responsible or is it just you? Get in your head. Wonder if anyone else is as awake as you are right at this second. Wish you had someone to talk to even though you would have zero idea what to even say to someone when you’re in an insomniac state and are feeling lonely. Deflect. Find lavender essential oils somewhere in your apartment and try to go homeopathic with it. You can get to sleep. You know you can. Breathe in deeply. Close your eyes. Exhale slowly. Curse yourself when you’re still sitting there, breathing like you’re in labor but are no closer to actually being able to drift away. Wander to the fridge. Bask in its weird light for a second. Repeat that Charlotte’s Web quote you’ve never forgotten over and over. “When your stomach is empty but your mind is full, it’s very hard to sleep.” Wonder if your mind has just been too full for 20-some odd years and that’s why you’re always awake. Reach for a wine bottle. Only take a sip. Put it back and immediately brush your teeth because you don’t want to be that person. Scroll through Instagram on your phone. Compare yourself to the girls in face masks with dewy skin and no dark circles. Internalize your insecurities about your appearance and blame that pulsating anxiety for why you’re still awake. Set three alarms because you know you’ll sleep through at least the first. Wish you were different. Wish this was different. Wish everything was different. Remember the times when sleep was easy. When going to bed was your favorite part of every day. When snuggling up in bed wasn’t a chore. Wasn’t something else you failed at. Laugh at yourself for being such a masochist that you consider your inability to sleep a failure. Still wish you could talk to someone. Even just to say, “I’m tired of being tired.” Curl back into bed, around that twelfth pillow, under those blankets, and turn on your computer. You might as well face it; the only company you have is the glow of a MacBook. And that’s just the way it’s going to be until everyone else wakes up. Swear to yourself that tomorrow, you’ll try to go to bed early. Know that it’s probably another lie. Swear it anyway. TC mark



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