“To sleep, perchance to dream”… hold on Hamlet, you wacky Prince of Denmark, if you could fall asleep why can’t I? I had mother issues also but not as serious as yours. My Mom wanted to know what I was wearing, where I was going, with whom, and most importantly was he rich, and single. She was also obsessed with the “facial mask” as an important skin tightening beauty routine. She had a point about the mask. You had the Bubonic Plague which I am certain kept you up some nights but I have all the iterations of the Covid virus which makes me afraid to go to sleep as well as wake up.
Truthfully I haven’t had a good night’s sleep since July 14th my senior year of high school. I distinctly remember overnights at my friend Barbara’s house where we woke up at noon. Granted I was 17 but I had stress then also. Was my blue Villager sweater back from the cleaners? Did Roger like me or Joby? I could never figure out my Algebra homework because did x equal y or not? On a more serious note, did my parents notice the car smelled from cigarettes? Tragedy struck when I wasn’t invited to the Senior Prom but bought a dress. I also developed a freakishly large zit on my cheek that was so embarrassing I almost forgot to apply to college. Those were real sleep busters but regardless I dozed away. Even when I discovered Roger liked Joby, I slept through the night.
Now my night stand is like a pharmacy. I could be on the Home Shopping Network hawking sleep aids from my bed. “Call now and I will send you Benadryl, CBD oil, THC, Nyquil, ear plugs, Lorazepam, Advil PM, Sleep-ezzz, and ½ of an Ambien all for a ridiculously low price. And if you’re the first to order the Nyquil I will throw in at no extra cost my special recipe for a Nyquil smoothie! It’s delicious and will keep you asleep for three days.” Naturally I don’t take all those “aids” at once; it’s a mix and match situation. The stockpile brings me comfort but not sleep.
I’ve come to realize I’m not the only one who tosses and turns all night as sleep articles bombard me on a daily basis. It seems no one in the country is sleeping! Sleep hygiene is all the rage. The advice is endless: go to bed at the same time every night, make sure your bedroom is quiet, dark and a cool temperature, no computer, smart phone, or TV in sight, no large meals, alcohol, or caffeine before bed, and be certain you exercise hours before you plan to sleep. Whew, that list tires me out, but doesn’t help me fall asleep. I have tried counting everything from counting Sheep to Golden Retriever puppies. I got a puppy but no rest.
None of my friends are sleeping either. A big source of conversation these days is “did you sleep last night?” The consistent answer is “no.” We exchange advice and commiserate but nothing changes.
“I’m exhausted” is the usual refrain.
Is it the 24/7 scary breaking news that is keeping me up? Has the “Twilight Zone” become real life? I would check under my bed and in my closet for aliens or predators after every episode. Now I check my temperature and oxygen level instead. Did I just sneeze? Does my throat hurt? Do I have a cold or Covid? Not the best bedtime activity.
I recently read I can have a celebrity tell me a bedtime story on one of the dozens of sleep apps. It’s quite an industry. Like my Mother who read me a fairy tale every night, Matthew McConaughey can bring me sweet dreams. No to Matthew but yes, to James Earl Jones. His voice is so melodious I don’t care if he read me “Green Eggs and Ham.” This October on “Breathe,” “Cinderella” helped a record amount of people nod off. Ixnay to Cinderella as it made me believe I was going to grow up and marry a Prince, which didn’t happen so it would just piss me off and keep me up. “Hatch” has in its library “The Velveteen Rabbit” and “Peter Pan” which are nostalgically appealing. LeBron James is “King of the Sleeping City,” albeit I’d prefer Steph Curry.
I know the sleep “experts” say no electronic devices should be anywhere in sight at bedtime but Rachel, Ross, Monica, Joey, Chandler and Phoebe from “Friends” help me nod off every night regardless. They are the magic elixir in my nighttime routine – in combination with a little help from my bedside pharmacy. They also all had Mother issues like poor Hamlet, but a lot funnier and similar to mine.
Monica, Rachel, Joey, Ross, Chandler, Phoebe and I wish you a whole night’s sleep.