Tossing and Turning
hen I was younger, I was afraid of falling asleep. I was a rather weird child. To this day I’m still not sure what scared me so much about it, but I think I was afraid of waking up alone.
My mother blamed the caffeine I drank, and the sleep therapist she dragged me to couldn’t find anything wrong with me or my irregular sleeping pattern. But for some odd reason I could never fall asleep peacefully.
It’s not as if I didn’t want to go to sleep. I was always dead tired but somehow wide-awake. Sometimes even now I struggle to sleep. No, it’s not because of my phone or any other electronic, it’s simply something I can’t explain.
Sleep is a rather mysterious thing, or at least what I’ve researched and looked up. It’s a rather fascinating subject, especially with all the weird and wacky things our brains can conjure up.
Still, nothing could explain my sleeping problem. My mother forbid me from drinking caffeinated beverages and my therapist couldn’t explain it, but still I didn’t sleep.
I remember when I was younger, staying up past 9 p.m. was scary, and then, once 10 p.m. hit, my parents went to bed. I wasn’t afraid of the dark or anything like that, but I was still scared.
I used to trek down the stairs to shake my mother awake, claiming I couldn’t sleep but without a reason why. She didn’t like being woken up, so sooner or later I stopped altogether.
An empty house is too quiet for me, although I claim now that I’ll be living alone for most of my life. I didn’t enjoy being alone, and that’s usually around the time I would wander into my sister’s room.
She was even less pleased with me waking her up, but I wanted her to tell me a story. Something to make me tired, something to distract me.
She kicked me out of the room. I’d run across the hall to my own.
I knew I had to sleep. That’s what my mom and dad had told me. I knew I had school the next day, and I knew it wouldn’t be a good day by the time I would fall asleep at midnight. An 8-year-old going to bed at midnight is never good.
This cycle continued for about a year, maybe even more. But somewhere along the way my dad gave me this great idea. He told me to read a book.
Maybe it was a joke or maybe it was just a passing comment, because, honestly, the man doesn’t read much himself. But for some reason it stuck.
So when I couldn’t sleep I would get out of bed, turn on my lamp, get my book, and then flip over my clock by my bedside. I knew looking at the time and how late it was would only make me anxious.
Surprisingly, after an hour of reading, I had fallen asleep. I’m not sure if it’s just relaxing to me, or if I just needed the distraction. Whatever it was helped immensely.
Now it’s something I do almost daily. It’s not as if I need to read before bed anymore, it’s that I want to.
So if it’s past twelve at night and I’m still up, it’s probably because my head is in a book.