My Sleep Struggles Are Grim and Nasty


Every morning when I wake up my bed looks like I’ve been wrestling an octopus on it. An octopus that’s very, very good at wrestling, mind you. Like it’s the Hulk Hogan of WWE octopus cage matches.

I don’t know why my sleep is so often uneasy. I wake up every few hours and, no matter how late I get to bed, I pop irrevocably wide-eyed around six or seven in the morning. And, while I sleep, I toss and turn like a confused rotary lathe in a blender.

It doesn’t matter how well I make my bed; when I awaken my blankets are scattered all over my room. Same with my pillows. Even my form-fitted bed-sheet, tucked in all four corners, is usually about half-way up the mattress. What the hell am I doing during the night?

It used to be worse, actually. I used to sleep-walk. I haven’t had any episodes lately, thank God. Last thing my room-mate needs is me walking into his room at 4:32 AM muttering, “Leo, the blueberry muffins need our help. Tony Danza died for our sins. Luggage. Aquaman.” Yeah, I sleep-talk too, and I know what I say when I sleep is complete and utter nonsense (much like when I’m awake). I tape-recorded myself sleeping awhile back and, listening to the audio in morning, I just shook my head sadly and erased it. I sounded like a dictionary with ADHD.

I’ve had some strange mornings waking up to whatever I’ve done during the night. A few years back, one bright and cheery dawn, when I awoke one of my pillows was missing. I was alarmed; I’d heard too many times of dreams about eating giant marshmallows. Looking around my room proved no solution to the errant pillow.

Y’know where it was? In the bathtub. That’s right. For some bizarre reason during the night, my dream-brain must have reached the logical conclusion that one of my pillows would be more comfortable in the bathroom. Not only was it in the tub, the pillow was propped up like it was laying down for a nice relaxing imaginary soak. When I pulled aside the shower curtain it seemed the pillow was saying to me, “Do you MIND? I’m trying to BATHE HERE.”

I slept over at my friend Dave’s place once and he told me in the morning, “Dan, you were wandering around the hallway last night saying, ‘Dave! The doors are closing. The doors are closing! THE DOORS…. ARE CLOSING!!!‘ ”. Dave looked very unsettled over breakfast.

My somnolent thrashings probably have to do with the very strange dreams I experience at night. They usually start off normally, but then devolve into twisted vistas of deep strangeness. Normal people count sheep to fall asleep; I count sheep and, after I fall asleep, those sheep turn into giant slices of Swiss cheese, with eyes where the holes should be, and they’re singing “Dancing Queen” by ABBA.

There’s this phenomenon called “lucid dreaming” where your conscious brain remains awake while you sleep and you can live in your dreams like they’re real life. Well, to that I say, No Thank You. I have enough trouble dealing with the memories of my strange dreams in the mornings, last thing I need is to live them out in technicolor while my body is sleep-paralyzed and I can only scream in silent terror. I prefer real life and how it causes me to scream out loud in terror every single day, thank you very much.

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