I’ve never been a good sleeper.
Even as a child, I don’t recall ever feeling well rested in the morning, and when people talk about “waking up,” I hardly know what they mean. I’m rarely asleep long enough to “wake.” I’m lucky to drift in half-sleep long enough to have part of a disturbing dream before jolting back to consciousness.
Needless to say, I live life in a pretty groggy state. You know how you feel at the end of a really hard day, or after crying for hours? How your eyes feel so heavy, it’s a battle to keep them open? That’s how I feel all the time. Only I know if I let my eyes close, my brain will instantly kick into high gear, preventing me from falling asleep.
I’m like one of those dolls—you know the kind. When you lay the doll down, the eyes close, and when you stand it up, they open. Only for me, it’s more like: Stand up, eyes want to close; lie down, eyes pop open.
It’s not an easy way to live.
I’ve been through all the medical tests—sleep studies, drug trials, behavioral and environmental modifications. Nothing has ever worked.
All the doctors can tell me is that, for some unknown reason, I get over 3 times less deep sleep per night than the average person. Most of the time, if I fall asleep at all, I get stuck in REM sleep and wake up for good before I ever reach the deep-sleep stage.
That’s why I’m tired all the time.
In my whole life, I remember only one night—one blissful, never-to-be-repeated night—of good, uninterrupted, restful sleep.
It was at a crummy motel halfway through a road trip from Pennsylvania to Texas, somewhere in the backwoods of Tennessee. I’d been up (like usual) since before dawn, but maybe all the driving I had done—for hours, through pounding rain, over the winding and hilly roads of Tennessee—was what made the difference.
I slept. And it was phenomenal.
That was 8 years ago and I still think about the night—so perfect (despite the smelly motel room with its moldy shower)—just about every day.
I can’t help but envy all you “normal” people who get at least a few hours of real sleep most, if not all, nights. Gotta say it: I kind of hate you!
My biggest regret is that I can’t drive over treacherous, mountainous roads every day. I might actually turn into an ordinary person, sleeping soundly every night.
I wonder if there are any job openings to become one of those ice-road truckers? That sort of thing might just do the trick.