Anyone who has ever spent a night tossing and turning while staring at the ceiling knows that chronic insomnia is a serious drag. But it might comfort the insomniacs among us to know that it's a pretty common drag: a poll conducted by the National Sleep Foundation found that 57 percent of women and 51 percent of men experience insomnia at least several nights a week. So we're all miserable, but at least we're all miserable together! That's gotta count for something, right? But though the majority of Americans seem to be spending their nights tossing and turning, everyone experiences insomnia differently: some of us can't get to sleep because of anxiety or depression issues, while others can't sleep due to physical ailments; some of us can crash early the next evening and catch up on sleep, but some can never quite make up that lost shut-eye time, and are left feeling perpetually exhausted. Some of us even have something called Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome, which means that our internal clocks are out of sync with society's typical schedule (like, for example, showing up for a workday that starts at 9 a.m.). But while different things keep each of us up all night, almost all insomniacs share some experiences in common — from a terror of catching a middle-of-the-night glimpse of their clock, to an astounding ability to throw back venti lattes. These 10 struggles should sound familiar to anyone who's spent at least a day or two this month accidentally watching the sun rise.
1. Clocks Are Your Enemy
You roll over and check the time approximately every five minutes on a sleepless night, so you can calculate how many hours of sleep you'd get if you fell asleep at that exact moment ... and the number slowly but surely dwindles as the night wears on. Clocks are your enemy. Especially those bright, digital ones. They're always mocking you!
2. You Think You Might Be A Genius — Until The Sun Rises
You gotta do something while you're lying there for hours, right? Since you can't sleep anyway, you get out of bed, turn on your lights, and jot down your brilliant thoughts. At 4 a.m., you have been known to come up with some ideas that seem genius at the time. Fast forward to waking up later, after three hours of sleep, and realizing you were more delirious than you thought last night. "Invention idea: a fishing rod that's also an air conditioner"? What does that even mean?
3. You Sometimes Give Up On Sleep
An insomniac's life is spent in pursuit of sleep, as if it were rare wild game or the princess from Super Mario Bros. But there comes a time when even the most hopeful insomniac sees that it is time to throw in the towel. When you realize your alarm will go off in approximately 45 minutes, you also realize that falling asleep now would only make it excruciating to wake up when that damn alarm buzzes. So you surrender and accept that sleep is just not gonna happen. Which, predictably, makes you a lot of fun to deal with at work the next day.
4. You Know That, Some Nights, Sleep Is Not Your Destiny
On certain nights, you just get this feeling that sleep is sure to evade you. So why torture yourself all night? You commit to filling the early morning hours with activities, instead of just lying in bed, feeling increasingly desperate. You may end up reading an entire YA novel, cleaning your apartment, color-coding your wardrobe... anything to avoid the struggle of staring at the ceiling all night (or the wall, depending on which side you lie on).
5. You Are Confused By Morning People
How are they so chipper at 8 a.m.? And they've already been to the gym? And they made a breakfast smoothie in their NutriBullet? This is plain insanity. You don't understand their crazy talk and you won't respond to it.
6. You Cringe When A Friend Suggests You "Crash On Their Couch"
It's hard enough to fall asleep in your enormous, carefully arranged bed. How in the world does anyone expect you to fall asleep on a couch? There's not even room to toss and turn on a couch! It's a place for butts, not an entire sleepless human being. And just forget about camping — if the universe had wanted you to sleep outside, surrounded by wild animals and plants, it would have made you, you know, able to sleep in the first place.
7. Your Bed Is Most Comfortable When Your Alarm Goes Off
You can't comfortably stay in one position for more than ten seconds when you're trying to fall asleep. But when your alarm goes off in the a.m., your bed has suddenly has turned into the coziest, most magical place in the world. You've finally bonded with your sheets, pillows, and comforter, and now you're being brutally torn apart from them. Why is this? Is there an Unsolved Mysteries episode about this?
8. You've Built Up An Astounding Caffeine Tolerance
You can easily down three ventis throughout the day without breaking into the shakes or otherwise tweaking out, the way all your friends and coworkers do. In fact, on occasion, your caffeine tolerance has caused you to question whether caffeine is even an upper at all. Then you try to go through a day without coffee...and then apologize profusely to your latte for ever doubting its powers.
9. Your Closest Relationship Is With Your Barista
You hit up your favorite Starbucks location multiple times a day (to get those life-sustaining ventis, of course). You're on a first name basis with the baristas and they have your drink order memorized. Because they genuinely feel badly for how much money you need to spend on coffee to get through the day, they've been known to slip you some lattes on the house. God bless those sweet, angelic baristas! You and your bank account are eternally grateful.
10. You Are Obsessed With Your Bed
As you sip your coffee and will your eyes to stay open during the day, all you can think about is your bed. It's just so big and cozy and perfect! You crave your comforter, your pillows, your stuffed animals (okay, maybe that last one is just me). Nothing could ever be more wonderful in all the world!
But, alas, when it's bedtime, you find yourself staring at the ceiling for hours yet again...until it is once more time for getting up, drinking lattes and dreaming of your bed. There's a certain "Circle of Life" quality to it that you could really appreciate...you know, if you weren't so tired.