Sleep can be an elusive mistress. She doesn’t mean to be cruel and, when you can catch her, she’s pretty great to hang around, provided you can convince her to stay.
However, my whole life has been one giant swipe left at the hand of this siren of sleep. This promise of sweet surrender.
I am always and forever on the quest of slaying my dragon with a pill, an herb, a tea, a yoga pose and a whiny whimper, “I just want to sleep!”
Since I was a child, I’ve had the hardest time sleeping and an even more mountainous task of waking up on time. At night, the rest of the house would be quiet, aside for some Venetian blind-lifting snores from my dad. Yet, I was up reading or lip syncing to the local radio’s Hot Nine at Nine.
Night-Time-is-the-Right-Time Kim was so inconsiderate to Next-Morning Kim.
I would hear the alarm clock and my mom yelling that I was going to be late for school, but I would fall back asleep and dream that, dressed in my school uniform, I was sitting at the kitchen table. By the time I heard my mom’s voice again, my sleep-muffled mouth would tell her, “I’m eating oatmeal,” when I was still indeed, the Queen of Pillow Village.
After sleeping through five alarm clocks, a coffeemaker and a pissed-off roommate in college, countless medical tests and assurances from my family doctor that I was too young to be so tired, a former supervisor at my first job as a grownup suggested I get a sleep study.
After more tests and two sleep studies, with multiple probes stuck to my limbs and scalp while medical professionals watched me sleep via a camera in the room, we figured it out.
Turns out, my sleepy time schedule is so backward, the head of the sleep center at Johns Hopkins University in Maryland said he sees only one person like me a year. Ten percent of the world’s population are night owls, so my great-great-great-great caveman granddaddy must’ve been the one to sit around and watch the campfire while the rest of the unibrowed grunters slept. (I also inherited his unibrow).
With a graveyard shift and some carefully placed wax strips, problem solved, right?
But that minx of a mistress would still step away when I needed her most.
In this series, we aim to figure out life’s grandest mystery: Why the f-ck can’t I sleep and how do I make myself just go to bed?
Desperate times have often called for desperate measures, but we’ll take a look at some alternative (legal) methods of inducing Zs, so be sure to grab a Metro or go to metro.us each week for the next installment.
Follow Kimberly M. Aquilina on Twitter @KimESTAqui.
Article originally published on Feb. 7 at 8:59 a.m.