Do weird things happen to you when you take NyQuil? Because they keep on happening to me and I am so over it. Last night, my boyfriend and I were watching the Ken Burns documentary on the Dust Bowl, helpfully titled “The Dust Bowl” (be glad you were not an Oklahoma farmer in the ’30s), when a cough crept up in my throat. Maybe it was sympathy coughing? There was a lot of coughing in the Dust Bowl documentary. I took some NyQuil to quell the cough, and like clockwork, woke up four hours later at 3 a.m., with wild, stressy, NyQuil-infused insomnia. Thoughts you have when you’re in your conscious, rational, waking life––stuff like “we are all going to die someday”––take on a distorted, desperate, urgent quality at night. We are all going to die someday and I will probably die tomorrow and oh my God who will water the plants?
And that’s just the tip of it. Here are some of the crazier thoughts I had last night, while on a Nyquil insomnia bender…
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This story begins in a basement waiting room in Brooklyn. My boyfriend and I stare at our phones on a dirty looking love seat across from the reception desk. There’s no service, and cellphone games give me headaches, so I pick up an issue of Parenting magazine, even though I am not a parent and — thank god — this isn’t that kind of doctor’s visit. I’m not thirsty, but I drink a lot of water from the water cooler to occupy myself. It takes almost an hour before my name is called. The nurse is friendly, but she mumbles and I keep having to ask her to repeat herself. I am relieved when she asks me how much I weigh rather than making me step on the scale, but the anxiety rises again when she measures my blood pressure. The machine squeezes my arm and then releases it in slow puffs — panic, panic, panic.
Actually, this story begins on Christmas night. And the night before. And the night after. And all of the nights that I went to bed too early. This story begins with me apologizing. This story begins with my mother’s worried face. It begins with an unquenchable, inexplicable desire for sleep, which actually begins nine years ago when I was in 12th grade and became addicted to going to bed. Because that’s what this is really about. That’s the reason I am waiting in a cold doctor’s office, picking nervously at my nail polish, listening to the paper crinkle each time I move, and wanting very badly to pee.
I’m tired. I’m tired all the time. Keep reading »
Advice columns bring out the worst in journalism outlets, I have found, and Nerve.com is no exception. Today, the website asked readers to play “advice columnist” and dish out advice to a woman who had written asking what to do about her boyfriend who raped her while she was sleeping. She had taken a sleeping pill while drunk, after coming home alone, and was so deeply asleep she didn’t even hear her boyfriend come home that night. But when she woke up in the morning, she realized he had raped her during the night. “Did we have sex last night?” she asked him. “Well, one of us did,” the boyfriend said, laughing. The woman then wrote in to Nerve.com saying she no longer trusts him and asks for advice on what to do.
And Nerve, for some reason, chose to title this post, “Please Advice: My Boyfriend Had Sex With Me While I Was Asleep.” Uh, come again? “Had sex” wit hher? FACT: a person who is asleep — not to mention drunk and on a sleeping pill — cannot consent to sex. Her boyfriend didn’t “have sex” with her. Her boyfriend raped her. Keep reading »
Ever rolled over in the morning to snuggle your dude and got jabbed in the belly button? Thought so. That’s because all men experience “noctural penile tumescence,” AKA morning wood. As the folks as ASAP Science explain above, morning wood has to do with REM sleep, a neurotransmitter called norepinephrine, and even the dude’s bladder. I used to think men just awoke horny because I’m so damn sexy! Sadly, the cold, hard truth is less flattering. (Did you see what I did there?) [Towel Road]
Snoozing on your stomach may increase dreams about sex, says a new study. Hong Kong researchers surveyed 670 students, collecting data about sleep postures and dream content and found that stomach sleepers reported more erotic dreams than anyone else. They also described more feelings of “persecution,” “being tied up,” and “being locked up,” reports the Daily Mail. The reason for such reveries? Researchers think it might have something to do with the brain getting less oxygen, which results in the sensation of feeling constricted. Read more…
A few nights ago, I watched a giant spider slowly creep across my bedroom wall, leering at me with eight beady eyes. I held my breath as its hairy legs traversed framed pictures, approaching me with increasing speed until it finally leapt off the wall and landed in my hair. I screamed and madly raked my hands through my hair, trying to get it off me. When it wouldn’t budge, I ran across the room in a panic, trying anything to untangle it from my hair, but suddenly there were more of them: little spiders streaming onto my forehead and lowering down into my eyes.
I woke up on the floor of my closet, hyperventilating, with a nasty scrape on my arm from where I had bumped into my dresser. This was the worst nightmare I’ve had lately, but it definitely wasn’t the only one. In fact, I haven’t gotten much sleep at all the past couple weeks… Keep reading »
If lack of sunlight or too much stress or “Downton Abbey” is interrupting your beauty sleep — I know I’ve been sleep deprived lately — 21 Drop’s Sleep aromatherapy roller ball may help you get the eight hours you need. A soothing blend of sandalwood, ylang ylang and vetiver essential oils work to quiet your cacophonous mind and help you surrender to your pillow. Just dab on your wrists, temples and under your nose before bed drift off to dreamland. Um, can I have some right now, please?
Last night I did something I’ve never done before: I slept naked, alone, in my bed.
I usually sleep with my window open — there’s a screen, of course — so gusts of wind can circulate in my room. Last night, though, there was not a single gust of wind. It might have been 75 degrees outside at midnight and maybe 80 degrees in my stupid bedroom that doesn’t have air conditioning. I flipped and flopped and wondered how my pillows could possibly feel so warm. At last, I decided the only thing left to do would be to take my pajamas off — my “pajamas” being a summery romper that weighs, at most, three ounces.
Let me be clear about something: I never sleep naked, even if I’m sleeping alongside a dude and even if we just had sex. It feels so … bare to me. I have to wear underwear and pajamas — top and bottom preferably, unless it’s summer and I’m wearing something lighter — or else I can’t fall asleep.
As you can imagine, this has not been such a popular opinion with dudes. Keep reading »
According to some new research in Switzerland, we should ditch our mattresses and start sleeping in hammocks. Besides making us feel like we are on vacation in the tropics, the gentle rocking motion of the hammock,was found to inspire quicker, deeper, more high-quality sleep in adults. The motion increased “sleep spindles,” a certain kind of brain activity which has been linked to better memory and brain plasticity. No need to get all technical, I am so into installing a hammock in my bedroom, although I may be scared of falling out of it in the middle of the night. Maybe I’ll just cover my floor with a layer of fake sand. [NPR] Keep reading »
Researchers have discovered that a very small percentage of the population (between 1 and 3 percent) only need between four and six hours of sleep a night to function like rock stars:
“Natural ‘short sleepers,’ as they’re officially known, are night owls and early birds simultaneously. They typically turn in well after midnight, then get up just a few hours later and barrel through the day without needing to take naps or load up on caffeine. They are also energetic, outgoing, optimistic and ambitious.
I am seething with jealousy. Those extra hours to get more stuff done would change my life. While I’m not a big sleeper, if I don’t get at least seven hours, I’m a useless waste of space prone to crying fits. Just to recap … these superior humans only sleep a few hours a night, drink NO coffee, are always productive AND in a good mood. Is that even possible? If you are one of these rare unicorns, please alert me. I need to know your secrets. [WSJ] Keep reading »