There’s nothing worse than getting into bed, all ready to fall fast asleep, and then lying awake. For hours. And hours. Because of the way life works, it’s never on a day when you can sleep in and push snooze a few extra times.
Nope, it’s always the night before the biggest day of your entire life. As someone who’s experienced this way too many times, I know how it goes.
You always end up going through the same seven stages.
Stage 1: You try to fall asleep
This is the innocent stage. The stage before you know what lies ahead. The stage when you still think eight solid hours of sleep is possible. Sure, you’re still awake, but you could fall asleep any second. In fact, maybe you’re asleep right now. OK, no, but again, any second you’ll be in dreamland.
Stage 2: You try to talk yourself into it
This is the stage where you try to sweet talk your brain to shutting itself off. “C’mon,” you say to it, “you know you’re tired! You worked out today! And you skipped that second cup of coffee, so just go to sleep. Don’t think about it, just do it.” But, alas, your body turned into a rebellious teenager the second you laid down and it’s just rolling its eyes at you. Sleep, as if!
Stage 3: You take a time-out on trying to sleep
This is the stage when you try to pretend like you don’t even need sleep. If your brain isn’t ready to shut down for the night, maybe it’s a sign that you’re not that tired. You pick up your phone, you look through Facebook, you even answer an email. What is sleep, but something you used to need up until tonight?
Stage 4: You start to panic about how late it is
This is the stage where you make the mistake of checking the time. Maybe it’s only been a few minutes, you tell yourself as you sneak a glance. Nope! It’s 2 a.m. You’ve never wanted to fall asleep more in your entire life. Yet, the realization that it’s 2 a.m. has your heart racing faster than ever. In fact, you might even have a heart attack. Honestly though, a heart attack might be preferable to spending any more time staring at the ceiling.
Stage 5: You start to confuse yourself with a mathematician
This is the stage where you start doing rapid calculations. If you fall asleep right now, you can still get three hours. And three hours is good! OK, but you’re not asleep yet. If you fall asleep in the next 20 minutes, you’ll get two and a half hours and that’s decent. People can function on that, right? Suddenly, you’re working coffee into the equation. If you get two hours of sleep and then drink two cups of coffee every hour at work, you’ll be fine. Nay, you’ll be better than fine, you’ll be flying.
Stage 6: You accept that you’re never going to fall asleep
This is the stage when you just give up and give in to the facts: You’re not getting any sleep tonight. In fact, you might never get sleep again. You will be awake for the rest of your life. You will never be allowed to operate heavy machinery because you will always be drowsy. Maybe that’s not the worst thing. Heavy machinery sounds dangerous anyways.
Stage 7: You wake up to the sound of an alarm
This is the stage when you realize that at some point you fell asleep. But when? Recently, because you feel horrible. Possibly as recently as five minutes ago. You feel like a boulder hit you and that getting out of bed will surely kill you. Has anyone ever died from getting out of bed? You don’t know, but you take the risk and start moving. Just kidding. You press snooze over and over and over.
More on sleep issues
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