The Insomnia Chronicles

I couldn’t sleep at all last night
Just a-thinkin’ ’bout you
Baby, things weren’t right
‘Cause I was
Tossin’ and turnin’, turnin’ and tossin’
Tossin’ and turnin’, tossin’ and turnin’ all night
I kicked the blankets on the floor
Turned my pillow upside down (Sung by Bobby Lewis)

Don’t you love it when your body says NO to sleep and YES to insomnia? I hate sleepless nights. Sleepless nights causes me to become very moody and very unmotivated to do anything including showing up for work. It’s whatever time in the morning and you’re having one of the worst nights sleep possible and the alarm goes off. If you’re like me, I throw the alarm clock out of the window and go back to sleep. I try to! When that fails, you may as well get up. Getting yourself out of bed is a challenge. You entire body is in no mode to physically get up and you have to drag yourself out of bed.

cant get up

Imagine sleeping the wrong way and you’re leg(s) or arm(s) go numb and you can’t get up. That’s me everyday getting out of bed. I have to grab onto something and get up. Taking the first steps to the bathroom are challenging. The bathroom isn’t very far away, just the next room over, but I’ve been so sleep deprived that I’ve stumbled and fallen. Cue the old commercial “Help, I’m falling and I can’t get up.” Been there. One time, I had worked until midnight and had to be at work by 7:30am (You read that right!) and I fell in the bathroom. My body and brain were on “sleep mode” not “awake mode”. Long story short, I slipped and almost hit my head on my tub. OUCH. Sucks, right?

What I don’t like is driving to and from work when I’m very sleepy. In the mornings and evenings, I may as well just sleep in my store and then go home. Don’t sleep and drive. I’ve almost fallen asleep at the wheel before. I wouldn’t recommend trying this. But what really needs to be done is to do some major repairs. Establishing better routines for work, sleep and play are crucial.

Obviously, if you work weird unset schedules, of course, your body isn’t going to be happy with you. Working early one day and then working late the next day always kill me. Your circadian rhythm goes cuckoo when you don’t stay on track. Imagine a train derailing because it falls off the rails. That’s me. Working a regular set schedule shouldn’t be that hard, right? Wrong. If you’re in retail and a manager, things happen. Sometimes you can’t control your schedule because one manager may need a shift covered or something else happens. This has always happened at work. In sixteen years as an employee and a manager, I’ve never had a consistent set schedule from Monday to Friday. Work can start on a Tuesday and have a day off on a Monday and a Thursday, but I work all and every weekend. Every single weekend. I work. Sucks, right? I did pick my field didn’t I?

When my work schedule looks like the “Daily Juggle”, so goes my eating and sleep habits. Working a simple and normal 9-5pm is great. It’s not too early and it’s not too late. I can go to sleep at a regular time and come home and make dinner and relax. But NO! Working a morning shift like 4-12pm is brutal. I don’t like going to bed at 8pm and getting up at 3am for my shift. Can you even eat breakfast at this hour of the day? Me, NO! My stomach is on “not hungry mode” until 7-8am. My brain is still on “sleep mode” until 8am. Getting off work at 12pm aka lunchtime is weird. You’re tired after work and then eat lunch. Then what? Sleep. Yes! Then you get up and it’s dinnertime and time to go to bed again. And repeat. Nope. I refuse to take that schedule. The same goes with nights. I don’t like working 3-11pm every night. So your workday starts when most people are ending theirs and you have to fight traffic in order to make it to work. Then slug some caffeine in your body to make it through the shift. Most doctors will tell you to stop the consumption of caffeine after 2-4pm. Great! Don’t drink caffeine when you need it because you work the night shift. How am I suppose to stay awake and focused at work with out my caffeine?

When you take a break for lunch, it usually will be after 7pm or depending on which employee came in first. If you’re the first to arrive, then you go to break first and so on. I usually have to wait for at least 3 employees to take a lunch before I do. Sometimes, I won’t eat until 7-8pm. From a doctor’s point, this is where you should stop eating. Your biggest meals should be during the day, not at 7 in the evening. Suddenly, your butt starts growing like a Kardashian and you’re full at night. When you’re shift does end at 11:30pm, you’re tired but you’re still awake. When I get home, I will change into my pajamas and start getting ready for bed. I’m not one of the lucky ones that can fall asleep as you hit the pillow. I wish. Sometimes when you hit the pillow, your mind starts to race. Mine does. Depending on what kind of day that I have, it always will be on my mind when I try to sleep. If a customer whines and starts arguing like a child because of something minor, that affects my sleep. Yes! People can hurt other people’s sleep schedule. Trust me, if I had a dollar for all of the times that I’ve encountered stupid customers that have kept me awake at night; I would be one of the richest people on the planet. Probably up there with the 1%.

But there are tried and true methods that are available and hope isn’t completely lost. It does help to do the following: limit your caffeine intake (GRRR), stop drinking caffeine after 4pm, stay away from sugar when you’re sleepy (easier said than done!), eat more healthier, take a break (DUH!), avoid taking naps longer than 30 minutes (this can make you even more drowsy), no driving, and go to sleep at a regular time. I have to chuckle at all of the tips because they’re true, but aren’t the easiest things to do. Hmm, how do I avoid taking a nap for longer than 30 minutes if I’m very sleepy and can’t consume too much caffeine? That’s tough. It’s like you need a 5 hour energy drink, but you can’t because it will make you crash later in the day.

My attempts at a sleep log is quite hilarious. Let’s see: “Monday. I woke up at 7am and took a nap around 1pm because I couldn’t keep my eyes open anymore and then got a couple of hours of sleep. Then got sick in the afternoon and felt worse with little sleep and no energy. Boy, life is just great”. I wake up, I do my errands, I relax and eat lunch. Then comes the afternoon sleepiness and an upset stomach. Today was fantastic! Oh, and this was on a day off! Isn’t it great when it’s your day off and you’re trying to get things at home done when your stomach decides to have other plans. This always happens to me.



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