Friday, April 18, 2008

How Long Does It Take You to Fall Asleep?

I have trouble falling asleep. I always have.

Some of it has been born out of just stubbornness. My uncle says that, when I was a baby, just as I was about to nod off, I would punch myself to keep myself awake. When I was a little bit older, I would play with the dolls and stuffed animals that I was allowed to sleep with, making up complicated stories that we would all act out every night, just to keep myself up. I got yelled at quite a bit for that. Back then though, I really thought that being grown up meant being able to stay up as late as one wanted and, since I wanted to be grown up, I wanted to stay up as late as I wanted.

Then again, I've always believed myself to be a night owl. I don't really enjoy the morning time. While it might be a wonderful time to get practical things done, like cleaning house or doing yard work, mornings have never seemed like a good time to get creative things done. All the really interesting things, like parties, plays, movies, love affairs, usually happen at night.

When I'm in a down turn in my depression, my "night-owl-y-ness" seems to be even more extreme. I am up all night. Nothing that I do to try to put myself to sleep works. (Oh, and sleeping pills? Forget it. Those stupid commercials tell people to allow 6-8 hours before they plan on being active. For me, it is more like 26-28 hours before I can plan on being active.) This means that I don't get anything done during the day, especially not going to school or looking for and/or keeping work, which then makes the depression even worse. That is where I am right now. This is why I've fucked up two job opportunities in the last month. It's gotten so bad that, if I end up getting a job that starts either too early or too late for my mom to get me up when she gets up, I've talked poor TyRoy into being my "drill sgt" to get me up and to work (at least until I can do it myself).

And, as if sleeping matters weren't bad enough, I have to deal with the fact that I can never go to sleep anywhere near the time that I lay down, which is especially apparent when I am sleeping with someone else. I can tell you exactly how my bed partners act as they fall asleep, the way their head gets really heavy, or how they twitch around a bunch, or how they crack the knuckles of their thumbs. I know this because I lay there, in the dark, wondering how long it is going to take for me to fall asleep, wondering if I should just get up and do something else until I'm more tired and ready for sleep, wishing I had someone to talk to about all the crazy stuff that goes on in my head as I lay in the dark unable to sleep. And it seems to take me forever to get to sleep because, the longer I am awake, the more upset and tense I get because I am not asleep yet.

I also have to wonder if it is a phenomenon solely relegated to male/female couples, with the men always being able to fall asleep as soon as their head hits the pillow while their female partners lay awake in bed. I can't think of any women, straight or lesbian, that I have heard complain about not being able to fall asleep while their bed partner has no problem. Maybe it is just that most people, whether male or female, can fall asleep rather easily, while I'm the weird outlier.

I just know that it is annoying as hell to know that you need to go to sleep, that you want to go to sleep, but you can't fall asleep for reasons you don't know, while your bed partner sleeps soundly next to you. Grrrrr.......


Joan said...

My bro can't sleep either. Wait . . . if he does, you can't get him up.

I seriously believe his body is somehow adjusted to a 36 hour schedule vs. the normal 24 hour routine. He flip flops from being a night owl to being a morning person.

As a side note, he doesn't take naps. This goes back to the first thought: you can't wake him up . . . he sleeps that hard.

Ava said...

OMG! That is exactly my problem!!!!!!!!!!! I wonder if we have some weird sleep condition.... Well, let him know that he's not the only one.