I Think I Have a Sleep Allergy

My brain is apparently allergic to sleep.

I would kill for a solid eight hours of slumber. I’ve mentioned my night terrors, but I also have jacked up sleep patterns and go through bouts of insomnia. Insomnia is awful when you’re lying there staring into the darkness and your brain is just sparking constantly like a nighttime summer meadow full of lightning bugs. My brother had it worse than I do and he had a physical job, which I would have thought would have made him fall asleep easier, but it didn’t. He used to drink at night to try and find the land of slumber, but when he gave up drinking, he had to resort to various prescribed sleeping pills that didn’t really work. He even went through an expensive sleep study that confirmed he had sleep issues (Well, duh, he already knew that) but didn’t solve them.

But occasional bouts of insomnia are only part of the problem. I used to sleep through the night and get a solid 8 hours  — or more! — of sleep. Not anymore. Now, I’m lucky if I sleep six straight.

The older I get, the worse it gets

My dad used to complain about not sleeping, but I kind of dismissed it because he was retired and could sleep whenever he wanted to. Now I kind of feel guilty about that attitude because, apparently, I’m turning into him. In fact, some recessive farmer gene appears to have kicked in as well and now I wake at the crack of dawn, regardless of what time I went to bed (last night, I went to bed at 1 a.m. and woke up at 5:30 a.m.). When my dad was in the Air Force, he never needed an alarm clock and it is starting to make sense.

monkey taking a nap on a branch.
Just 15 minutes, I swear.

My sleep patterns have gotten worse since I’ve been unemployed. (I went through this before during the Year of Sean and touched on it in this post). Now I have to plan my days around naps. I usually start to feel like I’ve been drugged around 10 to 11 a.m. and have to crash. Then, anywhere between 2 to 4 p.m. is nap number two. Geezus, I sound like an old man. This could be problematic when I finally return to an office environment. I need to research companies with liberal napping policies. Oh, to be working during the Dot Com Era when some companies actually provided nap rooms.

A new annoyance

Anyway, now my dream factory, which has made sleep somewhat problematic in the past, is back in action and churning out content. Nothing heart-rending or terrifying. No, it’s much more benign, though possibly more annoying. I keep dreaming that someone rings my doorbell. It’s so real that it wakes me up. Groggily I climb out of bed to go see who is there. It just happened again, which is why I’m up writing this stupid blog post because I couldn’t fall back to sleep. This time I didn’t make it all the way to the front door because the Houseguest is sleeping on the couch (I’m getting new floors put into her bedroom) and I realized she would have woken up. (She just told me “Not necessarily.”)


So basically, my stupid brain is playing a game of dingdong ditch with me. Awesome.

Anyway, now the sun is up and I’m feeling a little tired. Might be time for an early nap.


So, do you have any sleep-related issues? If so, share them in the comments.

Photo by Edoardo Tommasini from Pexels

Image by Nathan Copley from Pixabay

19 thoughts on “I Think I Have a Sleep Allergy

  1. I get the doorbell dream too, sometimes. What a fucking annoying prank the brain can play.

    Sleep can be frustrating. And it’s tough trying to get through the day on a half-charged brain. They say that as we get older, we need less sleep. Must be true, because lately I’ve been trying to operate on about four to five hours per day. But I just think of medical interns. Those poor bastards have to stay awake for something like 48 hours at a time. So I figure if they can function like that, then I can handle a four-hour’s night sleep.


    1. Sean D. Layton

      I don’t know if medical interns can function efficiently on so little sleep. Might contribute to the 100,000 deaths caused by medical mistakes every year!

      I read about an interesting hypothesis that older people sleeping less and waking up in the night could have helped early humans survive better. It meant that when the group was most vulnerable to animal attack, someone was usually awake enhancing the group’s survival.


  2. Sleep is a dirty whore. Every night I go to bed at 9 pm like some orthopedic shoe wearing, velour tracksuit owning, bingo playing geriatric. By 10:30 I’m out of bed – for the 1st of at least 4 times. I’ll get up again at midnight, 2 am, 3 am and 4 or 5 before finally deciding I’m done toying with the idea of sleep.

    I’ve tried all different sleep aids. Over the counter, natural, and what I’m currently popping like Pez – prescribed drugs. Nothing has been able to knock me out for a night. I must have a mighty tolerance.

    Basically, I’m an angry bitch all the time for lack of sleep. The only upside is that I have some really fucked up dreams in the time that I am asleep courtesy of the sleep meds. I mean, really fucking trippy. Good luck to you in your endeavors at corning the sleep monster.


    1. Sean D. Layton

      Oh, man, I feel your pain. I used to pop Tylenol PM and it would usually (not always) knock me out for a bit. But it never felt restful — I don’t know if I was entering the necessary REM state. And the next morning, I’d feel groggy like someone had roofied me.


      1. I use to do the same with Benadryl. Take 2-3 and wake up hungover. I’d have to spend a little bit remembering how to walk. That was always fun. Coincidentally, my current Rx is an antihistamine. I wish it made me feel roofied. I just wake up angry.


  3. Had problems with sleep all my life, but I stubbornly refuse to take anything. I get up, I read and I drink camomile tea. Oddly it is the nights after a sleepless one and a tired, tired day that are the worst. If I am too tired to focus on reading I just sit downstairs, but I always get out of bed. Being in bed seems to double the frustration of not being able to sleep. Definitely cyclical with me, definitely related to worry. Sadly, I don’t nap (although I would love to). Eventually it catches up with me and I crash into a very deep sleep, but, like yourself, I still wake up at my normal time. Only advice I can give – don’t lay in bed.


  4. inkbiotic

    Total sympathy for you here. My sleep is a mess, from night terrors to fevers to constant waking. I’d got used to waking at four since I found it was a good time to write, but then that stopped. At about six in the evening I get suddenly so exhausted that I can’t keep my eyes open and have to nap, which is a ridiculous time to do that.

    Don’t discount that it might be a stress thing due to looking for work that will naturally vanish when life is settled and you’re back to a routine.

    Don’t let the bed bugs bite.


    1. Sean D. Layton

      Thanks! Sorry to hear you suffer from poor sleep patterns as well. I had a few times in the past where I took a nap in the evening. One time, I was dead to the world and woke up thinking I’d slept through to 8 the next morning and got up thinking I had to get ready for work. But luckily it was only 8pm.


  5. Both Nate and I have trouble sleeping–Alex does too, and the cat catches on and wants to be fed and played with, so it’s a three-ring circus at night around here. I’ve never dreamed that the doorbell was ringing, but once or twice in my life, I’ve been woken up by a voice that calls my name, which is kind of creepy.


    1. Sean D. Layton

      Yikes, I think I’d rather have the annoying doorbell than some creepy voice calling my name. I had a few more doorbell dreams after I posted this, but it’s tailed off, at least for now!


  6. Shaily Agrawal

    I would suggest you check Shavasan. It is a part of Indian Yoga. A proper Shavasan leaves you refreshed after an hour even if you don’t fall asleep. It is form of meditation while lying down. Sometimes you get an out of body experience too, like your flying… 🙂 That saves on flight tickets 😜


    1. Sean D. Layton

      I really should look into that. I remember trying meditation many, many years ago (just spontaneously on my own) and achieved an almost out-of-body experience — now imagine if I’d been doing it correctly?


      1. Shaily Agrawal

        I believe you were. Try this one though. Helps in sleep deprived state. I used it when I went through a 100 day Insomnia bout. Helped me work my shifts without problems.


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