The Insomniac Club: For the few, the proud, the sleepy

Seriously Though

It’s 2:00 a.m. and I’m still awake. I’m so tired that I can’t stop yawning, and with each yawn, tears form—yet, sleep won’t come. The digital alarm clock teases me, its glow saying, “If you fall asleep now you’ll get four hours of sleep.” I try again and after tossing and turning for 30 minutes I decide to read for a while. Unable to focus, I turn on the TV. I begin to fall asleep with the TV humming in the background, so I turn it off and seconds later my eyes spring open. I force them close again, but to no avail, I am awake again dealing with yawn-induced tears. insomniacclub

I sigh in frustration, give up for what may be the rest of the night and turn on my laptop to see if any of my fellow insomniacs are up. Not surprisingly, they are. With more than 30% of Americans suffering from insomnia, finding others awake at 3:00 a.m. is not a challenge; the Insomniac Club is always open.

The insomniac club’s motto is misery loves company. We love to hate on people who say things like “I can sleep anywhere” and/or “I fall asleep the minute my head hits the pillow.” Though we complain about our lack of sleep, we also wear it as a badge of honor, claiming our high levels of creativity and intelligence as deterrents to reaching REM (Rapid Eye Movement), the deepest level of sleep.

But it’s not a badge of honor. The benefits of more time awake to get more done aside, chronic insomnia is dangerous to our health.

Short-term negative effects of insomnia:

  • The physical alertness is decreased, affecting function.
  • Memory becomes impaired.
  • Thinking skills tend to slow down the processing of information so reaction is more often delayed.
  • Ability to concentrate or focus on tasks at hand.
  • Impairment of the immune system contributing to the risk of developing more chronic illnesses.

Long-term negative effects of insomnia:

  • Increased blood pressure, heart failure or heart attack. Further, sleeplessness can also increase the risk of stroke.
  • Depression and other problems involving their psychological and emotional aspects.
  • Sleeplessness can increase hunger in individuals. This can lead to weight gain which can also cause sleeping disorders in turn.

Sleep Tips:

  • Make your room colder since your body needs to cool down to fall asleep. Avoid hot baths prior to bed time.
  • Exercise intensely during the day so that you reach physical exhaustion by bedtime.
  • Don’t watch TV or browse online at least 30 minutes before bed, it is a mental stimuli.
  • Create a bedtime ritual that will tell—after some practice— your body that it is time for bed.
  • Block out all but white noise (a noise produced by a stimulus containing all of the audible frequencies of vibration).
  • Keep pen and paper by your bed to jot down thoughts and move them from your mind.

If these tips don’t help you give up your membership in the Insomniac Club, see your doctor.

For more information visit:

American Sleep Association

Sleep and Stress

*Originally published at Being Latino Online Magazine


Co-dependence: An insomniac’s song


I don’t have very clear memories of my childhood. Most of them are so wrapped up in stories I’ve heard over and over again, that the line between the story and memory is completely blurred.

The only exception to this is the memory of being awake at night, listening to the sound of the coquis. While not necessarily clear, the story of me, the coquis, and my lifelong companion, insomnia, are solely mine.

But a child keeping guard on nights that are set to the sound of the coquis, is as tender as the story gets. The real story is one of Shakespearean proportions: Love, hate, and betrayal at its finest (or is that at its worst?). Believing that the constant companion brings out her best–“I don’t need sleep, without it I can do more than most”–as her mind runs circles around any other in those twilight hours; she is lulled into comfort, completely unaware that slowly it is wearing her down.

She grows dependent. He is her comfort, her way of life.

But occasionally he disappears. A day here, a week there and she sees a life of rest. But in times of stress she becomes weak and calls him back knowing all the while that she must let go, she must let go…

Where a sleepless night can lead…

Picture This

I couldn’t sleep Friday night. This is, of course, not a new thing for me. Sometimes I can manage a few hours, sometimes sleep doesn’t come at all. To those who sleep easily, I’m sure this will sound strange, but I prefer the not sleeping at all. I find that I am anxious to be out of bed and doing when I don’t sleep, while when I do sleep a few hours I just want to stay in bed and get back to that restful state.

Not having slept, I got out of bed at around 7:30 a.m. made myself a cup of coffee and spent some time writing. The restlessness of a night of tossing and turning was still there, so I got dressed and went for a walk in the park and ended up by the boathouse, where the still-rising sun was reflecting off the lagoon.

I decided to zig-zag through and as I was strolling through I ran into my ‘friend’ from the library. We chatted for a minute, again about language (he speaks Japanese). He promised to share his mal address with me next time we saw each other so we could make plans for coffee and I continued my walk. Our chance meeting, sadly, confirmed his homeless status.I continued around the lagoon and caught two ducks almost creating the shape of a heart, just a few feet away.

I stopped on the other side of the lagoon and sat on a bench just to breathe some much needed fresh air after two weeks indoors with the flu.

The combination of sunshine, nature, and crisp morning air calmed my mind and rejuvenated me. I continued my stroll when I noticed something flying in the air, and a black lab run and jump into the water after it. Having just in the last year gained a new respect for what dogs can add to a person’s life, I smiled as I walked toward its direction. When I reached where he and his owner were, I turned to look at the owner and smiled. He was CUTE and smiling at me shyly. For a minute, my heart fluttered a bit, then it did this weird thing—the thing a tape does in a walkman when the batteries are dying—and then it just stopped. It went back to hide—made me want to go hide—still not ready to allow anyone near it. Maybe soon, hopefully soon..

writers block

Writer’s Block: The battle for my mind


Like my dreams, forgotten once the sun rises, my mind writes paragraphs of beautiful prose that vanish as I attempt to put them on paper.

For with its jealous nature my mind seeks sole possession of the depth of my thoughts.

And just as I lay each morning fruitlessly trying to recall dreams as their memories fade; I sit paper in hand, willing my mind to release the words that flowed in beautiful harmony just moments before.

The very same words that could free me from the torment of a million thoughts trying to lay claim to the forefront of my mind.

So I demand control, prepare for battle, fully aware the struggle is futile and I am powerless against it.

For with its flagrant power it distracts me with one thought and another screaming for attention from places unseen.

And soon I am lost, paralyzed, resentful, conceding defeat.

3 a.m.


I have fallen for the middle of the night. Is it love, is it lust?  I’m unsure.  His hold on me is strong and I am unable to resist his dark, brooding and mysterious ways.

The light of the moon casts a shadow upon us as we lie deep in thought, listening to the sound of the coquis as they sing in harmony.

Together we plan for the future and make sense of the past.  He is my secret: both my sanity and my chaos.

Sometimes sleep appears—a jealous lover ready to fight for me—but he has failed me and I have lost faith in him so I push him away and return to lie in the arms that give me comfort.

Inevitably dawn sneaks up behind us so quietly, shining a bright light upon us as if to tell us “you’ve been caught” and I turn to my love for comfort and realize he is gone and I am once again alone.