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Confessions of an Insomniac

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It’s 2:23 am. I have a thousand things to do. And I can’t sleep. I spent a lot of time staring at the ceiling fan in my room, where the light that peeks in from my blinds casts a shadow that looks like an owl taking flight. My eyes are dry and itchy from staring at the fan so long. I feel lonely. And I don’t know why, but I feel scared. My house is 29 years old, so it creaks at night, and the tree outside my window claws at the house as if to say it is sick of being in front of it. Or maybe it’s scared and lonely, like me. My dad left for work already, and I wonder if he locked the door. He probably did; he always locks the door.

I've dealt with insomnia since I was twelve. My doctor recommended I go on sleeping medication because it’s so bad, but my mom and I were not comfortable doing it. With good reason, too; we found out two years ago that a few of my relatives are having fertility issues because of sleeping medications. My pediatrician said that I would have sleep problems like my dad because of a serotonin and melatonin imbalance in my brain. Serotonin generally calms you down and melatonin generally makes you sleepy. The imbalance makes us really smart, but also gives us other problems like depression. If they are imbalanced perfectly, like mine, the brain can’t slow down like it should. My brain just keeps working until it’s all burned out, even if I am too tired to walk to the bathroom. So I have to just wait for my brain. It’s not always this bad. I usually try to do a lot of stuff during the day so that my brain is really tired by nightfall, so I fall asleep in about half an hour. But then I wake up often.

My insomnia is terrible in the summer because our house is too warm for me to sleep. In the winter, I usually sit in my room without a sweater or blanket until I get really, really cold. Then I curl up in a blanket so that as I slowly warm up, I fall asleep. I almost never wake up fully in the winter. I almost never sleep fully in the summer. I get headaches a lot, too. Thankfully, I can usually get to sleep around 3:00, and my mom lets me sleep if I had a bad night. I let her know that by flipping my phone upside-down, so when she comes into my room, she can see it. I can sometimes hear her come in, but I usually go back to sleep really quickly. I sometimes feel bad about sleeping so long during the day because then she does all the work herself. But I guess its okay. I'll be sure to do everything when I am awake.



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