Tick tock tick tock tick tock. The bedside clock kept ticking, oblivious of how of an ominous sound it was. She wondered what time it was. Lying on her back staring into pitch black darkness, resisting the temptation to reach out and check the time. She knew it was late; late enough for it to be past midnight but not early enough to be considered morning.
Everything in her being was telling her to grab her phone and get on instagram. She knew exactly where the phone was under her pillow. All she had to do was stretch her arm under the pillow and there it would be.
But getting on her phone would bring on a downward spiral to that place she knew she should avoid. It would start with watching a few instagram stories, then she would be on the explore page and soon enough she would be watching reel after reel, and then it would be another night of no sleep and regret in the morning.
A part of her thought to take her laptop from under the bed and do some work. Now that she couldn’t sleep, she might as well get some work done, right? Be productive? Her mind wandered to pending work that she had not finished. Definitely not in the mood to respond to emails. Maybe she could try to catch up on some school assignments? Perhaps. She had a brief moment of internal conflict because she had vowed to never carry work to bed. But why did she always her laptop always under her bed after hours?
The clock kept ticking. Was it her imagination or did it sound louder than before?
She kept her eyes closed. Something she had read some time back said slowing down your breath could dupe you into sleeping again. It wouldn’t hurt to try. If she remembered correctly it recommended taking a deep breath in, holding for 5 counts and then breathing out slowly. One was to repeat the process and count down from 5 to 4 to 3 to 1. Something about oxygenating the brain and ideally by the last count you should begin to feel sleepy. After three attempts, she gave up. It was not working.
Maybe she should just let herself sleep. What if she tricked her mind into believing that she really was very very sleepy? She imagined herself super tired. She tried to feel the weight on her toes, and up her legs to her lower back, all the way up her chest then to her face till the tips of her hair. She was trying to convince her brain that the exhaustion she was feeling was enough for the body to shut down and eventually get some sleep. Sigh. That did not work either.
Her anxiety levels were beginning to rise and that would not be helpful. Anxiety and sleep didn’t work together and definitely not in her favour. High levels of anxiety actually fuelled her insomnia. Those two must conspire during the day to make her night time a nightmare. She thought.
Lying there on her back, her bed started to feel a bit warmer than usual. Maybe it was her mind playing tricks on her. Whatever the case, it was starting to get uncomfortable. Her bed felt too warm. She pushed away the covers and the slightly cold air that ran over her body was a welcome relief.
She hugged herself. Not a tight hug. Almost like cradling herself. Nothing serious on her mind. Her fingertips grazed across her skin feeling the tiny goosebumps that were beginning to form. She slept naked. Pyjamas just came to live in her closet and were worn during the day. Especially now with working from home, she spent her days in pyjamas. In bed, she preferred to sleep stark naked. If it was cold, she would wear a pair of socks and on extremely cold days she would add on a vest.
Tonight, she hadn’t worn socks. Her fingers moved from her arms to her belly to the tops of her thighs. She had half a mind to masturbate. That always got her to sleep, eventually. Should she, shouldn’t she? To be honest she was not in the mood for sex, not even solo sex. Her mind wandered a bit. Trying to conjure up her usual fantasies. Meh! Not tonight.
Her bladder joined the conspiracy. Now she needed to go to the bathroom. If she ignored the feeling, would it go away? What if she peed right there? She was all alone in the room and she could always clean up in the morning? No? Scrap that. Who wants to deal with pee first thing in the morning. She got up and made her way to the bathroom, eyes closed, as if opening her eyes would be accepting that she was truly done with sleep.
The floor was really cold, those socks would have really come in handy right about now. With the lights off, she did her business and trudged back to bed.
Maybe she should go get some warm milk. Wasn’t it rumoured to put people back to sleep? But who was going to walk all the way to the kitchen, open the fridge, pour the milk in a glass and heat it up? Too much work and zero guaranteed results.
Back to lying on her back, back to no sleep. She couldn’t resist the temptation anymore. She caved in and checked the time. It was only a quarter past 1am. Dammit!
The TV remote was on the bedcover where she left it when she dozed off to sleep. Even without the lights on she knew exactly where it was.To watch TV or not to watch TV, that was the question. The last show she had watched before going to bed was a blur. She remembered pressing play and nothing past the first couple of minutes. Should she try and watch it again? Would it lull her to the land of slumber?
The little time she had spent in the bathroom was enough to cool down the sheets. Her bed was no longer warm. It would take some time for her body to warm it up. She pulled the covers all the way up to her chin. A little frustrated by the lack of sleep, she wondered if trying was an attempt in futility. She had to keep trying. Otherwise she would have a tiresome day ahead of her. Not getting enough rest always had her cranky and irritable and not the best company. Plus, it always came with a dull headache.
She had to give it one last try.