The Sandman’s never around when you need him
I have a sleeping problem. And unlike Leslie Nielsen’s drinking problem in ‘Airplane,’ it’s no laughing matter. On second thought, this is the humor column, so it better be.
Have you ever been so beyond tired that when you reach your bathroom mirror, you don’t remember whether you’re just getting up or going to bed? All your brain processes is ‘mirror + disheveled, groggy look’ and automatically thinks it must be time for class.
No? Well, congrats. You’re normal. Unfortunately, for the rest of us, this is just another badge on our Sleep Scout merit sashes. (It goes right next to the one for the dozing-off head bob, 20 times in the front row of a class without your teacher catching you.) We exhaust ourselves by staying up too late and waking up early for classes. Ah, the classic college student dilemma.
Poor personal choices can also aid insomnia. Perhaps it’s not the best idea to drink a liter of Mountain Dew at 11 p.m., followed by a mini ‘Mystery Science Theater 3000′ marathon via the Netflix streaming queue on your Xbox 360.
These decisions lead to a crippling desire to curl up and hibernate whenever you get free time. Enwrapped in a cocoon of blankets, hopefully a metamorphosis will turn me into a creature that functions during normal hours. (My vague belief this might also turn me into a real-life Mothra is also a factor.)
When I’ve found myself staring up at my ceiling a little too long, I tried sedating myself. Over-the-counter sleep aids have been as effective at knocking me out as Gabby Jay was in Super Punch-Out. I’ve also tried herbal supplements, all to no avail.
Ambien, a prescription sedative, seems like the next logical step, but I’m a bit nervous about diving down that particular rabbit hole. I fear I’ll miss its warm window of sleep and fall into the hallucinogenic high people who push through sleep experience, instead. Tripping out just feels like too much work when I’m that tired.
Ambien consumption also allegedly had a big role in Tiger Wood’s Bimbo Tour ’09, when the pro-golfer decided to take a little joy ride in his SUV early in the morning. If any of you were under a rock this past summer, he crashed his car while he was still on his own property. This makes me a bit skittish. Right now, the only thing I want to share in common with Tiger Woods is how we both haven’t won a PGA Tour this year.
Still, I think I’ll give this stuff a try. With any luck, I’ll be sawing logs in no time. Speaking of which, how did sawing logs ever become a metaphor for deep sleep? Have you ever been around actual logs being sawed? It’s loud, hard work, often done by burley guys reminiscent of the Brawny Man. Personally, I don’t trust any buff men in flannel since I was accidentally tricked into attending that hipster bodybuilding competition. You’ve never experienced horror until you’ve seen one of those guys fold his one-speed bike in two in a fit of vegan roid rage because he just heard the new Wavves album is going to be delayed. Perhaps that image, forever burned into the back of my retinas, is what’s keeping me awake all these restless nights.
If all other options are exhausted, there will be only one place to turn in the hope of a good night’s sleep — the nightcap. And no, binge-drinking freshman, urbandictionary.com and Jethro Tull (damn you and your one-footed rock flute ways): I don’t mean that type of nightcap. I literally mean the hat Ebenezer Scrooge always dons when he’s off to his lofty canopy bed. Thanks to a generation of lazy high school and college girls around the country going, ‘Eff it,’ and deciding sweatpants and an oversized T-shirt constitute daily school attire. The nightcap is the last true bastion of sleeping fashion. There’s something so wonderfully whimsical about the dunce cap’s floppy cousin. It has to be the solution to my sleeping woes.
Until then, I’ll be counting more sheep than all of the Old Testament shepherds ever herded.
Seth Sommerfeld is graduate student in the Goldring Arts Journalism program and is the humor columnist. He writes good. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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