Hello Darkness, My Old Friend


Blink, blink; I’m wide awake at 3:30 a.m. Fourth day in a row. I’m tired of this nonsense (forgive any weak puns; I’m blaming exhaustion and all that).

Why am I awake at this ungodly hour? Actually, my body doesn’t need any reasons to torture me with lack of sleep, though this time, I suspect it’s because we just started a new summer work schedule — Monday through Thursday, 10-hour days, Fridays off. It’s not a bad schedule since I’m still working from home (and Friday off is excellent), though it might be a bit rough if I were sitting in a cubicle at the district office for 10 hours. Being chained to a desk in a cubicle seems to distort the flow of time, and if your day starts dragging, a 10-hour day seems to stretch out to a 20-hour day. I hear orbiting a black hole has a similar distortive effect.

Anyway, I now start an hour earlier. As some of you who follow me might recall — I have some sleep issues, whether insomnia or the occasional terrifying dream that results in a trip to the hospital. The slightest deviation to my regular schedule can derail me — which it has presently — whether it’s staying up too late watching YouTube, playing video games, or having an overactive brain. I could have chosen to start roughly the same time I start most of the year, which was 8 a.m., but I didn’t relish the thought of getting off work at 6:30 p.m. Bad tactical move on my part? We’ll see if things even out.

The thing is, I was already having sleep issues the week before the new schedule; I was starting to flag around noon, so sometimes I’d take a nap during my half-hour lunch break. Then, after wrapping up my workday, I’d immediately take a 15-minute nap, dutifully setting an alarm in my phone. Unfortunately, those fifteen-minute naps sometimes exceeded two to three hours and screwed me up getting to sleep at night, so I was getting maybe four or five hours of sleep. This paved the way for more sleep madness when the new schedule started. All week I’ve had the opposite problem — I’ve been falling asleep early, lucky to make it to 9 p.m. before zonking out, and waking at 3:30 a.m. I’ve been fortunate to somewhat maintain my new walking schedule because being tired at weird times has disrupted my day. A couple of days ago, I was sitting on the couch staring zombie-like at the TV while the Houseguest was nattering* away. (*The Houseguest would like to go on record that she doesn’t natter.) I was busy focusing on trying to keep my eyelids open and wasn’t really paying attention to the conversation as I started drifting and dreaming. In my dreamlike state, I heard her ask a question — it might have been the dream her, I don’t know, but I suddenly blurted out an answer in real life that I don’t think made much sense, and I got an odd look in return.

Even worse is nodding off while working and dreaming and clicking my mouse in real life in response to something happening in the dream work environment. Potential disaster there.


Went out to dinner with some buddies. Was about 10 minutes late because I suddenly felt tired right before I was supposed to leave and tried to grab a 20-minute nap, but got maybe 7 minutes of sleep. I got home around eight and was tired and laid down to catch a quick catnap — an hour-and-a-half later, I dragged myself up to put out food and water for the birds in preparation for the morning. Thought about going to bed but wanted to have a bit more of a Friday night. Read a bit of news, had a Coke Zero and two Reese’s Peanut Butter cups, played some video games, and did some hobby-related stuff. Now, it’s somehow 2:32 a.m. on Saturday morning, and I’ve got my second wind. (Maybe I shouldn’t be sipping on this Coke Zero?) Unfortunately, I’m driving over to Rosalinda’s in the morning (My Mexican Mom) for an 8 a.m. appointment to get a haircut in her garage (she likes to cut hair early to avoid the heat). Hmmm, wonder what time I’ll actually fall asleep now? Better set the alarm on my phone and my bedside alarm clock to be safe.

Oh, and I booked a flight to the UK for later this summer — even if my sleep routine goes back to normal by then, it won’t matter. The jetlag from that trip is guaranteed to really screw my sleep up. In 2016, it took me a whole week to stop starting my day at 2 a.m. and falling asleep in the late afternoon.

All right, I guess I should go lie down and stare at the ceiling for a while and count sheep.


8 thoughts on “Hello Darkness, My Old Friend

  1. Coke before bed is a bad idea, Sean. Herbal teas may be better. Also exercise (I’m glad you are keeping up the walking routine). I don’t often have trouble sleeping, but I it happens sometimes and it is hell.

    Liked by 2 people

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