I’ve been having trouble sleeping a lot lately. Most nights, I don’t really have a good excuse for not being able to sleep. There’s always the old reliable “noisy neighbors”, but the dudes upstairs are pretty decent folks who tend to keep it to a dull roar after 10. And the 1 or 2 times I’ve been compelled to ask them to keep it down, they’ve politely obliged (Truth be told, I was just really trying to watch reruns of How I Met Your Mother).
Tonight, however, I can “thankfully” narrow down my current state to either of two things: the lone cup of coffee I had earlier in the evening (Seriously, why do I always do this, thinking it will have a different effect?), or the thoughts that refuse to stop racing around in my head.
The logical (read: not logical) side of my mind tells me that being awake is something like an egg timer. You run through as much crap from the day as you can–what you did, what you need to do, what you should do–before the timer runs out of ticks. And when the bell dings, you fall asleep, whether you’ve mentally reached some semblance of closure or not. Well that’s how sleep works for me, at least. As I see it, the coffee just keeps winding that damn egg timer, piling tocks upon ticks, until all of these seemingly innocuous streams of thought intertwine, congeal, cut from one another, and circle back onto themselves. Plainly, one thought leads to eight others, lead to six more, lead to one, leads to twenty-seven… you get it.
And while I do a good enough job deluding myself into blaming the coffee for duping me out of a good night’s sleep, forcing my mind to race wildly with senseless thoughts, there’s a deeper truth that I seem to refuse to accept (though oddly am quite willing to divulge on a semi-public forum (“semi-public”, since I only average 7 views every few days (I need to stop it with all of these asides. It’s too many parentheses to keep track of. Footnotes would be easier, but I’m too lazy.))): There’s a very good chance that I’m still awake at 1:45am on a school night because my thoughts are racing, and not because of the coffee. And there’s a very good chance that my thoughts are racing because my subconscious deems them important things that need to be addressed, and keeps bringing them back to the surface to remind me–like some sort of horribly annoying alarm clock with the most sinister of snooze buttons.
It’s the same damn thing every morning. Our alarms go off at the same time every morning. We hit the snooze button every morning. We know exactly how long that snooze is. We know that snooze won’t really make a difference other than softening the blow of being awake and dealing with real life. And yet, we have no qualms slapping that damn button if it means we can delay reality as long as possible. Because that 10, 20, 30 minutes between dreaming and reality–where we’re asleep enough to be rested, yet awake enough to enjoy the restfulness–is one of the few places in time and space where we have full and complete control over our lives.
I need to wake up so I can get to sleep.