Insomnia means, at its most simple terms, an inability to sleep at night. Insomnia exists as a medical condition, graded into various types, but those are technicalities we will not go into at this moment.
This article is about the lived reality of those of us who simply cannot get themselves to fall asleep at night, and the things – the struggles, the pleasures, and the truths about sleepless nights, only we are aware of.
1. The Dark Circles
Ever since I discovered makeup, my constant companion, and only makeup essential has been one item and one item only – the concealer. This is because all the sleepless nights leave us with some seriously spectacular dark circles under our eyes – enough to rival any Twilight vampire or an owl for that matter. If you are fretting over the humongous dark shadows under your eyes, worry not. The picture is not entirely as dark as your under eyes, as dark circles are supposedly in vogue- among French women and Marc Jacob models. So whether you are too lazy to go through the elaborate rituals of concealing the marks of midnight stamped upon your face, or a man who is too careful in towing gendered lines to put on makeup, there is ultimately hope. More hope of your dark circles being socially acceptable than you getting a good night’s sleep anytime soon, at any rate.
2. People think we can “just get over it.”
DRINK MILK.” “JUST LIE DOWN AND CLOSE YOUR EYES.” We have probably tried all the home remedies for our sleepless state that have been put forward from the times of our grandmothers and great-grandmothers. And frustratingly enough, they probably have not worked. So excuse us if we roll our eyes at hearing the same tips regurgitated at us over and over again. It’s not that easy. And it’s not pretty.
3.The productivity paradox
Remember when the night belonged to the domain of overzealous students? Even now, you will have classmates, who are seeing you online at 4 in the morning, will assume that you are hard at work. Productivity is not something our insomnia goes hand in hand with. Too often, we go through our days tired, and as for the sudden burst of energy that hits us when we hit the sack, it is just enough to keep us awake but not enough to see us through real, sustained work. Even those of us who have never woken up a second before they absolutely must have to in the recent past will tell ourselves we will go to bed early and wake up in time to meet our deadlines, but we never get round to, seeing how we insomniac, spent the nights tossing and turning in bed.
4. The lure of the night
Even though insomnia is a real inconvenience, there is a certain beauty to the night that not many insomniacs can deny- the pitch black alley outside your window- or dotted with streetlights, the quietness, the perfect sense of peace. There may not be stars twinkling at you from the sky because the atmosphere in your city is simply too polluted- but the night does, indeed, have enough beauty to those you look for it.
5. Sunrises From The Other Side
If the night has a remarkable amount of beauty to offer, its beauty can only be rivaled by that of sunrises. But what is better than waking up to a reddening eastern sky? Staying up late enough to see the sun peak out from between the hills, over the sea, or as in most of our cases, rise over the roof of the opposite apartments. Sunrises, when basked in after a sleepless night, are a lovely sight, perfect for infusing you with a healthy dose of despair at having gone through another night without a wink of sleep – or alternately, a rather accomplished feeling.
6. Early morning engagements are the bane of your existence
After your night-long vigil and a rather agonized watch over the dawning day, you might briefly pass out on your bed. This is rather a relief, but what is brutal is being woken up very shortly afterward. Having a train or a flight to catch at 4 AM or 5 AM are no cause of worry for you because you can stay up until that hour with no significant effort. But 7 AM and 8 AM engagements are the cause of high anxiety and emotional tumult for you. What if sleep strikes you out of the blue an hour before you are due to be at your venue?
7. The urge of midnight (and post midnight) snacking
The nights are not without their share of temptation. Every insomniac knows the struggle of being struck by hunger pangs out of the blue, or succumbing to their temptation for the last bit of chocolate in the fridge, at two in the morning. Every strict diet and resolution to lose weight will ultimately fall through in our nightly sojourns to the refrigerator or the kitchen, as the wee hours make even the blandest of biscuits and the driest of bread irresistible.
19 years young and a fierce feminist.