Posted by: GeekHiker | August 4, 2009

Insomniac (Or: Can’t Sleep, Clowns Will Eat Me*)

(Fans of Dingo, read this post!) (*Simpsons reference for da geeks. 🙂 )

I can’t decide which is worse: the fact that I’m having trouble getting to sleep lately, or the fact that there’s no damn good reason why.  Well, no apparent reason, at least.

I’m writing this on my lunch hour at work, currently trying to muddle my way through the day on less than two hours of sleep from the night before.  I rarely resort to coffee as a stimulant, but I’ll be dammed if I’m not downing an iced mocha right now.

I’m rather hoping that last night was the worst of it, and that tonight I’ll sleep like a bloody rock the moment my head hits the pillow.

It’s been like this for the last few days: I’ll hit the hay at 11:00 or so and be wide awake, without a hint of tiredness.  Doesn’t seem to matter how much or how little I’ve done during the day, come bedtime I’m just. Not. Tired.

Last night I fruitlessly counted sheep jumping over a fence until the sheep, giving me an evil look, started screaming “damn it, man, we’re sick of jumping over this frakking fence! Bloody hell!”

The sheep soon contacted their union representative about the unfair working conditions and, eventually, voted to go on strike.  I ended up with sheep everywhere, holding picket signs demanding that I sleep and marching back and forth chanting “hey hey, ho ho, the too-tall fence has got to go!” over and over.

Yes, this was pretty much it. Artwork courtesy of the oh-so-amazing Dingo!

And I was still awake.

The irony of these late nights?  I could easily sleep in til 8 or 9 the next morning, if I didn’t have to come in to work.

Usually I’m out by 12:00 or 12:30 or 1:00, but not last night.  No, last night my body decided it was still in college, staying up all night to write a term paper and able to slam a cup of coffee and still make a 7:00 am class.

Stumbling groggily out of bed this morning, my body was reminded that it is most decidedly not in college any more, and that even a caffeine IV drip wouldn’t make any difference.

The annoying part of it is that I can’t determine any good reason why.  It doesn’t seem to be environmental, i.e. being too hot or too cold or too dark or too bright or too quiet or too noisy or anything like that.  Nothing I did seemed to make any difference in that regard, either.  Turning fans off and on, adding or taking away a blanket, turning on the white-noise CD of rain falling (usually my go-to for sleeplessness); none of it made a damn bit of difference.

Nor do I have any particular stresses going on at the moment.  Well, nothing out of the ordinary from the day-to-day shit that we all have to deal with, and certainly nothing new.

Heck, I would have to say I was pretty relaxed when I went to bed last night.  I’d had a long conversation with The Best Friend which ranged from when-are-we-gonna-hang-out-again travel ideas (by which I really mean we were saying “dude, we really gotta go drinking again”) to deep discussions about male-female interactions (as we queried that classic question: “why do women do that whole ‘well, if you don’t know why I’m mad, I’m not going to tell you’ thing?” and heading off into various rantings tangents from there) to the weirdness of being contacted by people on FaceBook ten years after the fact (people who, all that time ago, I didn’t think even liked me all that much).

The remainder of the evening was spent reading.  Not exactly a high-stress activity.

Ah, but what if, on the other hand, I do have some sort of stress right now, and I’m in denial about it?  Nothing comes to mind at the moment, but who can say how the brain works, you know?

Of course, I could spent a lot of time trying to ponder all the various aspects of my life as it stands right now to try to figure out if there is some unknown stressor going on that I’m unaware of or actively repressing.  That would, naturally, require a lot of thinking and, dare I say it, over-thinking to the point where one’s head might simply explode from it all.

So much thinking that well, hell, I’d probably end up, you know, losing sleep over it.



  1. Sometimes you just need to reset your internal clock. Take a melatonin for a night or two and see if it helps.

  2. I, too, have a weird sleep schedule. I’m always napping because I can’t sleep at night. It’s a bad cycle of napping because I’m exhausted and then being too wide awake to sleep at night. I’d like to go to bed but because of the naps, I have a bunch of work to do that keeps me up all night. Maybe if you cut out the naps at work you’ll be able to sleep.

  3. Dingo is a genius; I adore her. In fact, I found your blog through her.

    As for the sleeplessness, well, wish I had good advice; having experienced bouts of insomnia at different times myself, though, sometimes there just IS no reason.

  4. I’d cut the daily caffeine intake and see if that helps. Having said that, I’ve found the cause is most often psychological, even if I haven’t figured out what it is, or even noticed it’s there.

    Things that have worked for me in the past include chamomile, warm milk, and soothing music. If all else fails, I give up and do something else like read something fluffy and fun. Figure I might as well do something I enjoy if I can’t sleep, and that helps with stress relief too. Good luck. 🙂

  5. Yep, stressing about not sleeping is a leading cause of insomnia. Other that cutting out the naps and caffeine, I got nothing.

    Curious about Facebook. Lately I’ve been friended by people I knew 28 years ago. People I didn’t particularly like but seemed to like me.

  6. This is why I booze it up until I pass out every night. Just kidding. Sort of.

    They make liquid melatonin – it’s natural and supposedly works. Maybe give it a try?

  7. You’re on Facebook and you didn’t tell me?!

    Not nice, GH, not nice at all…LOL 😉

  8. I’m actually a bit of a an enthusiast about insomnia, going through it on a regular basis. 🙂

    Just try to relax and focus on the sounds of your breath when you try to sleep, as if you are the ocean, start with deep breaths to loosen you up and then allow it to become more shallow until you drift…away…to…sleep…

    Waking up alert and ready to go in the middle of the night is usually an early alert to depression. I wouldn’t dwell on it, but you may find in your tired state during the day the things that may be bothering you. Have you ever noticed that things are more irksome when you’re tired?

    If you can’t go back to sleep after an hour, get up and walk around. Read this comment on your blog that I’ve written and maybe you’ll find yourself getting sleeeeepier. 🙂 Or watch a Jane Austen movie. that helps me. What REALLY does the trick though is Sabrina with Harrison Ford. I’m out before the opening credits, Julia Ormond’s voice is just that soothing…

  9. warm milk
    good book
    hike more
    ta da

  10. Yeah! I agree w/ ECT! How can we find u?
    I think sheeps are cool!

  11. aw, that sucks GH! Sorry to hear about it. I hhhAATE when I have to slug through work exhausted, paying the high price of a shitty night’s sleep. ugh.

    Sometimes it can be something you ate. Like, they say nothing w/caffeine after like 2 or 3pm? Chocolate has caffeine. Sometimes MSG in Chinese food will do it too. I’m sure you had no problems getting to bed any subsequent nights…!

  12. Hey Aloha, I am back!!! Hmmm, I find that listening to audio books or podcasts helps me fall asleep. If that still doesn’t work, read an exceptionally borrrring book and within seconds you will drift off to slumberland! 🙂

  13. Starry-Eyed Barefoot Bride – Heh, I’m thinking a weekend of sleep might be better!

    Dingo – If only I had time to nap…

    Kori – I suppose this has been one of those times, eh?

    Woc – But that’s the thing, I don’t have a daily caffeine intake, and rarely drink coffee. Guess I’ll have to find something “fluffy and fun”

    Homer-Dog – Somedoay someone’s gonna write a book on the weirdness of FB and make a mint…

    Mel Heth – I know you’re not kidding. 😉

    ECT – LOL, how else can I keep my secret identity?

    MissMcCracken – Funny thing, once I’m actually asleep, I generally stay that way. Unless I have to get up to go to the restroom, but I don’t think that’s a sign of depression. But a Jane Austin movie? I’m already yawning. 😉

    Cmacc – Sounds like a plan.

    DesertLamb – Gotta love Dingo’s work!

    Spleeness – If only it were just ONE night’s bad sleep…

    K – Welcome back! Got any boring book suggestions?

  14. I agree with u on dingos work & u frogot to answer my question. :-/

  15. i have sleep issues for a good 15 years now, so i hear ya. it is frustrating. i’ve tried all the natural stuff and it doesn’t work. if it gets real bad i resort to an over-the-counter pill. the other thing that works is sheer physical exhaustion.

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