What to do when you can’t sleep

Start by laying there for a little bit too long. Then start tossing and turning. Rearrange your pillows a million times even though you know you only like them in a certain way. Try laying on your back. And then your left. Then right. Then belly. But then your boobs start to hurt because they feel squished. So back to your back. Kick your blankets off in frustration but then realise you are absolutely freezing and drag them back up again. Burrow beneath them. Stare at the time on your phone. Wonder how on earth it became 2 AM so quickly and why you don’t even feel tired at all. Mentally retrace your steps. Did you have a nap today? Did you drink tea or coffee too close to what should have been bedtime? Would coffee really be to blame at all? Is espresso responsible or is it just you? Get in your head. Wonder if anyone else is as awake as you are right this second. Wish you had someone to talk to even though you would have zero idea what to even say to someone when you’re in an insomniac state and are feeling lonely. Deflect.Try some weird breathing techniques from that one time you went to yoga. You can get to sleep. You know you can. Breathe in deeply. Close your eyes. Exhale slowly. Curse yourself because you’re still laying there breathing as if you’re in labour, 10cm and ready to push. But you are no closer to actually being able to bloody sleep. Wonder if your mind is just too full of your overthinking and that’s why you’re always so awake. Scroll through Instagram on your phone. (Your phone which is probably the reason you’re still awake). Compare yourself to the girls with perfect skin and no dark circles. Wonder how she gets to sleep. Internalise your insecurities about your appearance and blame that pulsating anxiety for why you’re still awake. Set ten alarms and accept now that you will sleep through the first three and still not get up after the last one has been snoozed 6 times. Wish you were different. Wish this was different. Wish everything was different. Remember the times when sleep was so easy. When going to be was your favourite part of the day. When you didn’t dread the thought of having to go where overthinking and anxiety would happen. When snuggling up in bed wasn’t a chore. Wasn’t something else you failed at. Laugh as yourself for being so stupid as to see your inability to sleep a failure. Still wish you could talk to someone. Even just to moan and message saying “I’m tired of being tired”. But no one is awake. Curl back in to bed, under those fluffy blankets and turn on your laptop. You might as well face it; the only company you have is Meredith Grey and her new dramatic medical problem of the day. And that’s just the way it’s going to be until everyone else wakes up. Swear to yourself that tomorrow, you’ll try to go to bed early. Know that it’s probably another lie. Swear it anyway.


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