The 10 Stages Of Insomnia
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Health and Wellness

The 10 Stages Of Insomnia

A Night in the Life of a Chronic Worrier

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The 10 Stages Of Insomnia
Athena Medical Clinic

A general outline of the 10 stages of sleep deprivation brought to you by an expert on the topic.

11:30 p.m. - Stage 1: The thought that starts it all

Ah, bedtime. The days' work is done, the lights are finally off, and you are snuggled comfortably in between layers of billowing blankets and fluffy pillows. All is peaceful in the world, and you can feel yourself slowly drifting off into the beginning of what promises to be a deep, rejuvenating slumber... But wait-- did you remember to lock the window?

Thirty seconds and two double-checks later you climb back into bed, secure in the knowledge that your upper-story dorm room is definitely safe from potential intruders with access to abnormally tall ladders. Part of you wonders at your own paranoia, but you distinctly remember your third-grade teacher's story about what happened the one time she left a third-story window open back in the '70s... 70... that reminds you, you didn't do so well on last week's calculus quiz. You should really study more for the next one... Crap. What time is it?

12:30 a.m. - Stage 2: Calculations and expectations

12:30... You should really get some sleep. You have an 8 a.m. Chemistry lecture tomorrow, and you would really like to grab a quick breakfast in the dining hall before class. You hope they have bacon tomorrow. There was no bacon in the dining hall last Thursday morning, and it totally put you in a bad mood... you decide once and for all never to become a vegetarian. Stop thinking about bacon. Focus. You need to time your morning just right: 30 minutes for breakfast (factoring in an extra 10 for predicted a.m. sluggishness), and another 40 to shower and pack up...that puts you at an approximate 7 a.m. wakeup. That's a less-than-desirable amount of sleep... How many hours of REM sleep can you fit into that period...?

1:00 a.m. - Stage 3: The panic begins

No. No, no, no.

1:15 a.m. - Stage 4: The panic deepens

Why can't you sleep? Is the stress of not being able to fall asleep stressing you out so much that you are unable to fall asleep due to an excess of stress? That's a stressful thought.

1:30 a.m. - Stage 5: Initiation of self-reflection

What are you doing with your life?

1:31 a.m. - Stage 6: Self-reflection turns dark

Oh my god. You don't know what you are doing with your life.

*Cue terrifying thoughts of your future life as a homeless theology/history/philosophy/etc major. Nobody will hire you. You live in a cardboard box in central South Dakota with your pet squirrel, Mitch. You are pretty sure that Mitch has rabies. You don't mind-- you need the company.*

2:00 a.m. - Stage 7: Feeble attempts to fall asleep

You manage to pull yourself out of your downward-spiral long enough to rationally consider ways of falling asleep. For the next 45 minutes (give or take an hour), you engage in the following series of activities: counting sheep, staring at the wall, reading and re-reading the label on your dorm-room mini fridge, listening to music, honing your yoga skills, eating a second dinner by candle-light, writing the opening chapters of a promising novel, plotting revenge on your enemies, and practicing deep-breathing techniques.

2:45 a.m.- Stage 8: Delusions

Does the clock always tick this loudly? You could have sworn it didn't tick like this last night. HOW CAN ANYONE EXPECT TO FALL ASLEEP IN THE PRESENCE OF THIS INCESSANT TICKING NOISE?

The ticks are definitely getting louder...the tocks, too, actually. TICK-TOCK, TICK-TOCK. Clearly, someone has been messing with your clock. Who would do such a thing? Probably Jane, from Chemistry class... she always gives you dirty looks. Jane is totally out to get you.

3:15 a.m.- Stage 9: Complete Loss of Coherency

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*Note: at this point, approximately 50% of test subjects enter Stage 9b: "uncontrollable, silent ugly-crying"

4:15 a.m.- Stage 10: Acceptance

That's it. You have officially come to peace with the fact that you will never, in a million trillion years, ever fall asleep again. It's just not in the cards for you at this point. Actually, maybe this is the best thing to ever happen to you. You are a particular brand of superhuman without the need to sleep. Sleep is an affliction of the lesser, a flaw of the weakling. If Darwin was alive today, he would praise you as a prime example of adaptive evolution. You never want to fall asleep again!

Zzzzz

Zzzzz

Zzzzz

7:00 a.m.- Wakeup Time

Crap. Time for coffee.

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