I once read that it takes the average person approximately seven minutes to fall asleep when going to bed.

I envy them.

My entire life, I have not been able to fall asleep in less than an hour. My mind rattles on endlessly while I lie in bed, and I probably never "fall asleep" per se - I just pass out.

Most people seem to have this gift of clearing their mind of thoughts. I am not able to do such a thing. To keep my head clear would take an enormous amount of effort on my part, and that effort would keep me awake longer than if I just yield to sleep when it decides to come. Unfortunately, I have to deal with an hour (sometimes longer!) of staring at the clock, the ceiling, the wall, changing positions, flipping the pillow, rolling the pillow, etc.

It seems that ever since I moved to Atlanta, I haven't been sleeping well. I don't feel rested when I wake up, nor do I ever sleep soundly. I wake up constantly during the night, and find myself fighting to stay asleep. It sucks.

A lot of people would say "Quit your bitching and take a Unisom or something." I am one of those who believes that medication for every little thing is stupid, and that diseases created for convenience are pointless. I do eventually fall asleep, it just takes a long time. I don't need a pill to get me there.

I'm sure a doctor would be thrilled to diagnose me with some sort of sleep disorder and prescribe some weird medication for me to take. That's a bunch of crap. I just want to be able to fall asleep in seven minutes. Other people do it without medication, so why should I have to pop pills to do it?

It takes the majority of people between 10 and 15 minutes to fall asleep. Taking longer than that, especially if it takes you over and hour to fall asleep is a form of insomnia. It's not as dramatic as the staying up for nights on end insomnia, but it is one of many sleep disorders.


My advice to you is not to take fancy drugs or go see some doctor (although if the problem persists for years, seeing a doctor may be a good idea.) Instead, you should get up if you lie in bed for longer than 20 minutes, and simply cannot fall asleep. Staying in bed while your mind is rushing through so many thoughts forces your body and brain to associate your bed with activities other than sleep. This is something you do not want to do, especially since you already have difficulties sleeping. Remember, sleep is something your body requires physically and mentally, so just relax and don't force it upon yourself.

 

Why does it take so long to get to sleep? Do you sleep to escape the dangers of life on this planet? Are you one of the people who stares at the ceiling, mind whirling with random, disconnected thoughts? Does the night seem to wrap around you as the bedcovers close in on you? Were you alone when you contemplated the things that are, that were and all the things that could be? What notes of which music shatter the sounds of your silence? Is it music that encourages your dream lover to dance with you? What about dancing makes her so touchable? Are your hands holding the partner of your dancing dreams? Does she smile when you twirl her around the floor? Will your eyes follow her footsteps? Do you lie awake at night wondering if the love she professes is real? What if it is nothing more than a physical attraction? How will you know that what you feel is real? What are the names of the emotions compressing your chest? Does she know how your palms sweat at this time of night? Have you shared that side of yourself with her? Your hands are reaching aren’t they? You’re searching for answers, for release from the brightness of the day, only in the dark do you feel safe to explore.

Darkness reveals. Do you want to reach your hand into the darkness and feel what reaches back? Will it be soft and welcoming? Does your imagination torment you with the idea that she might walk away, never to be seen from or heard of again? What about the things you’ve said in the past? Did you mean to be that kind of a person or did different words die on your lost faded lips? Will you remember your dreams when you wake? Do dreams of her brighten the mundane of your day? Have you ever considered that she might be just as insecure as you are? Why did you ever doubt that she loved you? Has she ever tried to change you? Or did she let you be who you are and you changed because you wanted to be a better person when you woke? Are you lying in bed waiting for someone to lift the sheets, caress the skin that lies waiting and slide into the coolness on the other side of the bed? Will the coolness yield to a fire that warms so much more than the tips of your fingers? Why is your hand hesitant when she lies waiting? When your mortal flesh touches a marbled goddess, when red hot blood screams through the blue of your veins, as you lose touch with consciousness and reality, when your body separates from your soul, when the two of you are lost in a swirling vortex of light, heat and night, then you’ll know. Never again will you have to ask: "Why does it take so long to get to sleep?"

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