Insomnia provokes goofy middle of the night escapades

I usually sleep well, burrowing into my bed at about 9:30 at night and awakening before the alarm at around 5 a.m. But occasionally I have a sleepless night like last week when I awoke at two in the morning.

I went to the bathroom. Twice. I took a Tylenol. I sighed. I tossed and turned.

In fact, I tossed and turned so much that our Nest thermostat, which is mounted diagonally on the wall across from me kept lighting up as it does when detecting major motion. It only stays lit for a few seconds but unfortunately, since it is across from Patrick it beamed its beacon directly into his lazy eye.

After an hour of frustration and sensing Patrick was somewhat disturbed, I took the advice of the experts who encourage getting up and doing a relaxing activity. They say even if you don’t sleep, at least you’ll be doing something besides sobbing and repeating this desperate mantra, “I must go to sleep. I must go to sleep.”

So I roused the Nest again scurrying past it on the way to the living room where I settled onto the couch, which is one of my most relaxing activities

I stared at a digital clock to distract myself from the ache in my right hip, wrist, and shoulder undaunted by the Tylenol.

The ache reminded me of the tumble I took last weekend on the ice, using my right arm to cushion the blow to my hip. I berated myself for not resisting the bookstore window display.

Who could blame me for being drawn to these alluring titles? Farts Heard Around the world: a Spotter’s Guide, Farts in the Wild, and Jurassic Farts.

If my bones weren’t so strong I could have been in the embarrassing situation of explaining to an orthopedic surgeon how I overlooked an icy sidewalk to explore books about farts.

This made me laugh so hard I farted.

Laughing made me grateful I was home snuggled on the couch with a dull ache instead of lying in a hospital bed with an incision.

Gratitude made me hungry.

My mind shuffled through the options I knew were in the refrigerator. I felt slightly queasy so I discounted leftover chicken cacciatore and settled on a piece of toast.

I should have known sleep deprivation and operation of small appliances was a disastrous combination but that’s the thing about delirium. When you have it, you don’t know it.

I felt competent when I retrieved the toaster from the lazy Susan, plugged it in and wacked a loaf of frozen bread on the sideboard to separate a single slice. I maneuvered the slice into a slot and pressed the lever to begin toasting my bland feast.

What I failed to notice was the control knob determining how dark I wanted my toast. Then I entered a floaty time warp jolted from my reverie by the shrill sound of the fire alarm.

I screamed, “Holy *^%#! The house is on fire!” and running at a breakneck speed I smacked into Patrick.

“We have to get out! The house is on fire!”

He rolled his eyes. Even his lazy one. And pointed to the kitchen counter where black smoke billowed from the toaster.

“Oops!” I said with a nervous giggle.

Patrick silently walked to the toaster and pulled the plug. He was kind enough to refrain from flipping the toaster into the trash, but I got the message.

The chicken cacciatore was delicious. Even cold. Because by now I was awake enough to realize the microwave was off-limits.

How do you cope when you are faced with a few hours of insomnia? What is your favorite risk-free snack? Have you ever had someone roll a lazy eye at you?


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68 thoughts on “Insomnia provokes goofy middle of the night escapades

  1. When I turned pro with the insomnia, I had to learn to do things like make toast competently in the middle of the night. One can’t be having the fire brigade called out on a nightly basis for toast fires – that would just be embarrassing! (Though there was a dryer in my college dorm laundry room that kept catching fire, and the nightly visits by the firemen were pretty popular, if I’m honest. Many people suspected that the out of order sign wasn’t just mysteriously going missing right before people felt the need to dry their clothes in the only broken dryer in the early hours of the morning every day. Some people even suspected that that many girls didn’t actually sleep in full make up and push up bras every night under normal circumstances. I actually had insomnia long before that period in my life, incidentally – it wasn’t trained into me by having to leave my dorm in the middle of every night because many of the girls, and a few of the boys, liked firemen. I think that may have something to do with the fact that I don’t like men in uniforms, however…)

    • I’m impressed by your ability to use high risk appliances in the night, i.e. toasters. If you liked men in uniform you might revert to the antics of your college friends. But with your insomnia issues and middle of the night competencies you really should consider a night job that requires high level skills, like cooking in an all night diner or fire fighting. God knows there is a need for this with people like me in the world.

  2. During my 6+ month bout of insomnia, we went through more cereal than in the previous 6 months combined. I’d go to the kitchen, pour cereal from the box into a plastic cup and eat it while wondering back to my bed and while sitting up in bed before drifting off again. Needless to say, there was a trail from the kitchen counter to the side of my bed… and dry cereal stuck to the bottom of you foot after a sleepless night is less than desirable. The upside is — I never tried to cook anything! Thanks for putting a good spin on a frustrating event!

    • Hahaha! I’m picturing the cereal trail and thinking about how loud the crunching would be in those quiet hours of the night. I’m not a big cereal fan but I could go for some crackers. Maybe I’ll assemble a little cheese tray to go with my crackers. If you are awake those extra hours, might as well live it up! As long as I’m not operating any kitchen appliances I think I’ll be good to go.

      • Ha! For the record, I rarely eat cereal. But, Froot Loops by the light of the moon is a different story!! If only those middle of the night calories didn’t stick…. what a nightmare that was!

  3. When I had trouble with insomnia, I’d get up to write, but that only woke me up more. I started to take Melatonin, which helped, but gave me weird dreams. On the bright side, though, I’d turn those weird dreams into cool stories…The Circle of Insomnia.

    • I was awake at 4:30 this morning, Carol, so we are on the same downward spiral. My problem seemed to get started when I had a cough that wouldn’t quit this winter and I can’t break out of the cycle. Ughhhh! I’ll have to try medication. I mean meditation. LOL.

  4. This is only funny because I just woke up last night (at 3 am). There will be times it never happens..but on those days that it does—ugh!!
    As for the snacking—no way would I even think to make toast! And have to use machinery?? Ha ha! I’d be grabbing the peanut butter and spoon!! LOL

    • I’ll have to add peanut butter to my list of ‘safe snacks’ for middle of the night hunger attacks. Any electric appliances are definitely off limits for me! I slept in this morning. Didn’t wake up until 4:30a.m!

  5. LOL. I have night terrors when I’m not on my medication. It’s been a couple of years – but thank your lucky stars that you aren’t trying to Karate Chop your partner in your sleep lol!! – funny story 🙂

  6. I don’t normally wake up in the middle of the night, but I do sometimes have problems going to sleep. My husband on the other hand, can drop off to sleep in 30 seconds. This week has been a week of still being awake at 1:30 and 2. Unfortunately, that throws my mornings off, which throws my writing off. Arrgh. I have found though, that a heating pad on my back tends to make me sleepy.

    • I have a heated mattress pad. I wonder if I turned that on if it would help me. My problem is that I fall asleep but awaken after a few hours and then, well, you know what mischief I can get into!

  7. Well, so glad I am not alone in being a nocturnal annoyance to my husband. This made me laugh so much because it describes me and I suspect, millions of other people around the world. My husband gets into bed and simply goes to sleep – like straight away.

    Could be the very physical work he does for 8 hours every day and the fact that he is able to switch off his brain in a way I cannot. I used to get up and go downstairs to paint but since we had an intruder alarm system fitted, it isn’t so easy. At night, the whole downstairs is alarmed.

    Switching it off is silent but switching it back on results in a series of beeps, one of which is quite loud and lasts for 20 seconds before giving the final ‘alarm set’ bing-bong noise. So I either wander around upstairs where I am not allowed to have paint or lay in bed and read while fidgeting which maybe more annoying to my husband than the alarm reset noise.

    Really enjoyed this post and its parallel with my life and clearly, so many others!

    • I think I’d go crazy if I was confined to my room on these restless nights, Gilly. You are a better wife than I am as I’d probably have that alarm system beeping off and on all night! In my defense, that would be much better than burning the house down. We are kindred spirits. Love having you stop by and leave a comment.

      • Yes I think we are! I love reading your stuff and the only reason I am so sporadic with it is because I don’t do anything regularly. I envy people who walk through life doing things in order. I am one of those (and you may be the same) people who starts at a and then goes to f, z, b, g etc. Makes life really hard at times but I never get bored!

  8. Good thing I just swallowed my gulp of coffee when I got to the fart books! Just so funny! My dogs looked at me with their lazy eyes and bodies when I laughed out loud…then went back to their naps. I’ve lost a few hours’ sleep lately, too. I blame allergies. May need Nyquill tonight so I don’t drip all over my pillow 😉

    • Glad you didn’t lose your coffee, Terri. It is especially distressing to lose it through one’s nose. I also hope you didn’t disturb your dogs too much. They get such little rest as it is. I hope I get back on track with my sleeping. I had a rough week and so did Patrick. 😉

  9. I had a fight with insomnia this week, too. But I love your story so much better than mine! Laughing at yourself in the middle of the night because of a funny-fart-related fall made me laugh out loud sitting on my couch and reading about it. Thank you for such a delightful post.

    • I can tell you ‘get’ me Angela! I had to laugh at the situation myself in spite of the distress. Thanks for sharing a laugh with me this afternoon. I appreciate you stopping by and leaving a comment.

  10. My dad and I were both insomniacs, so we’d get up in the middle of the night and make eggs and hashed browns and laugh at the televangelists that were the only thing on tv at that hour. I also read the entire dictionary, and Don Quixote (in Spanish, which I don’t speak AT ALL). I HATE insomnia. Now I pop a pill and knock myself out.

    • What fun times you and your Dad had in the night! The worst part about it for me is the loneliness. I can’t imagine the mischief I could get into if I had another night wanderer to keep me company. If your pill ever fails you could consider getting a night job. 😉

  11. As far as I’m concerned, sleep is highly overrated. As I’ve racked up the birthdays, I sleep less and less — and get more and more done. (Reading, binge-streaming, drinking of wine, etc.) I figure I can sleep when I’m dead. In the meantime, I’m embracing the lack thereof.

    • I don’t recommend it. The burning down the house part, I mean. Reading is usually low risk. Unless you finish up the book Marley and Me at about 10 pm the night before you start a new job and cry for the rest of the night resulting in impossibly red, swollen eyes. Yes, I’m have to admit. That happened to me.

  12. I end up tossing and turning… Even the dim ligh tof my Kindle Paperwhite is too much for Hubby and if IW as to get up he’d want to know why, after 15 years, I was suddenly leaving the bed!

    • I’m lucky that Patrick is mostly oblivious to my night time shenanigans. Other than the beam of the thermostat light and the fire alarm, that is. I don’t know what I’d do if I couldn’t read my kindle or wander about., Ritu. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

  13. Crumbs Molly; I resemble this post! Often I just get up, have a camomile tea and distract from lying there getting cross. Occasionally I’ve just stayed up and played beat the jet lag hoping that the following night I will be too tired to wake up. I find I go through cycles too. Solid sleep that leads to more and more waking up over the next ew weeks until exhaustion hits full sleep and on it goes. Its frustrating, but I don’t actually need much sleep now… probably habituated and become a mental zombie ! It’s not much fun though is it 🙁

    • I think I should start a FaceBook group that only allows posts and comments in the middle of the night, Gary. Can you think of what fun we could have and what crazy comments might ensue? While it is happening it is definitely not fun, but writing about it was a blast. Thanks for stopping by today and leaving a comment.

  14. I play it safe when I can’t sleep. I lounge on the couch and read. Your escapades have convinced me that I shouldn’t change how I deal with insomnia 😉

  15. Good morning Molly! I can’t say I ever have insomnia, but I am a chronic early riser. Today, up at 4:45. My favorite activity when I can’t sleep is blogging. Of course that doesn’t help me get back to sleep, but it keeps my blog going. Have a great weekend!

    • I am also an early riser and do my best writing in the hours while others are getting some much needed REM sleep. If I tried to write during one of my sleepless nights I think I’d probably switch from humor to horror. Come to think of it, that might be worth trying. That genre seems to work well for Stephen King, after all. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment, Phil.

  16. Oh I so relate! And so can my husband! I remember my mother being up all night making dolls, crafts, etc. I am up all night doing things that are much less constructive – shopping, eating, etc. I am now the proud owner of the Travelocity gnome that seemed very enticing at 2am. Maybe I’ll keep to the kitchen – I’ll keep putting on weight but it seems overall cheaper than my typical alternatives. Great post – shared on my FB.

    • Hahaha! Sounds like your mother should have gotten a job on the night shift, Sheri, with her productivity. I haven’t done any shopping yet, but from your experience I can now say I’ve been forewarned of the hazards. There are many dangers lurking when people try to do ‘normal’ things without any sleep, so I’m with you. Eating is the safest activity, without using any appliances of course. Thanks so much for commenting and sharing the post.

    • That is a great comparison, Dorothy. Now I’m picturing a rotisserie chicken racing past the Nest thermostat down the hall to the couch. And it’s making me laugh! And you know what happens after that……

  17. I always wake at least twice during the night. Usually it’s because I am too hot, too cold, or need to pay a visit to the bathroom, but I’m an early bird and enjoy getting up early and making the most of the day. I tend to be able to get back to sleep quickly, but I do agree if that I can’t sleep then one needs to get up and do something else instead of worrying about getting to sleep. Counting sheep has never worked for me and, thank goodness, I’ve not thought I was burning the house down…yet.

  18. Oh, Molly. You had me laughing out loud. I can so relate to the middle-of-the-night awakening. Eating in the wee hours is verboten with my acid reflux, so I tend to stay in bed and get on my iPhone if I can’t get back to sleep within 30 minutes or so. I’ll surf Facebook and occasionally view a cat video that has me laughing so hard I shake the bed (and maybe toot a little, too). Thankfully, Hubs sleeps through it. A middle-of-the-night support group just might be in order!

    • Glad your husband is a heavy sleeper, Roxanne, with all the rocking and rolling you are doing in the night. Might want to crack the window just a little though, after you start laughing at the cat videos. You know, just to keep the air nice and fresh. 🙂

  19. Oh, you know you’re in big trouble when he rolls even his lazy eye at you! Hilarious highjinks! I may have just emitted a little something myself, picturing all this!

  20. Oh you make me laugh Molly!!! Thank you!! I’m an insomniac (sounds a bit weird doesn’t) but I’ve given up to it now. I actually like being awake while my husband is snoring away in sleepful bliss. What do I do? I read blogs like yours! Have a good nights sleep tonight xxx

    • So glad I was able to give you something to do and laugh at in the night, Sue. Maybe I’ll start an insomnia series and make sure all posts are scheduled at 2 a.m. While I’m up I’ll start writing in the night and that could be the beginning of some horror stories!

  21. Hahaha! Just loved this and can so relate! I try to be quiet when I can’t sleep so as not to wake hubby and try so hard that I end up bumping into walls, swearing, using my phone as a light to try to plug in a heating pad and dropping it under the bed trying to find outlet, swearing, slamming bathroom cupboard doors by mistake searching for Advil, swearing, and the list goes on. Weird thing is hub never knows I’m awake! Hears nothing. Keep up the awesome blogs..just love them!

    • You made me laugh with your antics in the night. I’ve done all of those things too and the only thing I would add is dropping my glasses on the floor, searching for them on my hands and knees, trying to avoid the awful crunch of broken glass and the ensuing gash transforming the bedroom into a crime scene. Glad you husband is a sound sleeper! Thanks so much for your comment.

  22. Being a person who doesn’t sleep well myself, I just loved this recent post about insomnia. Never gave it a thought that it might be a cute and funny story to write about in a blog. You have a great sense of humor and great story-telling ways to make the little things that tend to bother us in life comical in nature thus doing two things (1) making light of the subject so it doesn’t drive us mad and (2) sharing our escapades with others in such a way that by the time we are done reading the post – everyone is smiling. Kudos to you – thanks for sharing.

    • I notice you were awake bright and early to comment on this post, Irwin, so I do sense a kindred spirit. Perhaps I should have scheduled this for 2 a.m. and then we could have gathered up the readers to form a support group. You’re right, it really isn’t funny when you are in the midst of one of these nights, but one of the things I love about humor writing is all the material real life serves up to for essays. Thanks for chiming in.

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