It’s 1:30 am. My boyfriend is so deep asleep next to me I’m not even sure he’s breathing anymore. He is, thankfully. I’m awake. I knew I fell asleep too easily. I stare into the darkness, into the direction I think the ceiling is, willing myself back to sleep. I try all my tricks including counting to 10 in Japanese. Odd I know. But sometimes it works to get my brain to shut off.

Not tonight. Apparently all I needed was four hours of sleep because my brain is off and running. Hurting like hell, because why not wake up with a headache when you can’t fall back asleep.

I try for what seems like an hour to lull myself back to sleep. But my head just keeps pounding worse. I finally give up, rummaging around in the dark for my sweats. I head down to the couch, grabbing a glass of water on the way. I hate drinking water at night because my taste buds seem to turn off and it tastes disgusting. But I do it anyway because I figure my headaches from dehydration. Oh, the joy of living in Colorado, the land of little humidity.

First I play some Plants vs Zombies. Normally I don’t do video games, but sometimes doing something completely mindless can make me sleepy again. Not tonight, unfortunately.

I try reading, one of my favorite past times, because if nothing else I can enjoy my time up.

3 am and I finally give into the obvious. I’m not falling asleep again tonight. I sigh, because my brain and body have been doing this too much lately. I know I’ll finally crash around 6, 6:30 for an hour or two, then wake up completely messed up for the rest of the day. Headaches. Aching joints. It’s almost like having the flu except its just my body’s messed up response to a messed up sleep schedule.

I grab a can of Pepsi just because I don’t want to use the microwave to heat up my chai in case I wake up my boyfriend. I know once he wakes up he’ll be up for good too, and at least one of use should be getting some rest tonight. Hopefully I can ward off the 6 am crash with enough caffeine and just stay up all day.

I decide to do stuff (quietly) to get ready for my day. I do my exercises down in the basement. I check my camera gear to make sure it’s charged and I have everything I need (sleep or no I am still going for my hike!) Then I decide to use the time to write this post.

It seems like this has been my sleep schedule my entire life. Either I sleep for only a few hours and wake up, my brain going “Hey we slept! Get up! Get up! That’s enough”, or I sleep for ten hours and basically have to be blasted out of bed or I would sleep more. Sometimes I really do wonder if I’m not somehow half cat like my boyfriend contends. Either I’m sleeping all the time or I’m up in the middle of the night with the ‘zoomies’ wanting to get stuff done. That and I love napping in sunbeams (insert laughter here).

There’s also the nights where my brain refuses to let me sleep in the first place. Where my anxiety latches on to some mundane thing that has happened or will happen or may happen or isn’t even a possibility but hey lets worry and fret over it anyway.

I don’t like taking sleeping pills. I used to take antidepressants prescribed by my doctor, but those gave me really horrible dreams and I’d wake up in panic attacks. I take CBD oil, which helps keep me stay asleep sometimes but not always. I do melatonin and other vitamins that are supposed to help. And they do, sometimes.

But sometimes is not all the time. And I end up with nights like this.

Yet I have to admit that it is kind of nice. Being up in the middle of the night. The world is completely silent, except for the humidifier. If it wasn’t so cold I’d go for a walk. I used to do that all the time, walking at night. Even in the biggest city, there’s a silence to the nighttime. A stillness that speaks to the writer, the artist in my soul. Maybe I’ll go photograph the sunrise this morning.

They say that the early morning hours are the creative hours, and I can see why. No distractions. No phones. No TV blaring in the background. No traffic or trains blowing their horns or planes rumbling overhead. No garbage truck banging and squeaking as it passes. No noisy neighbors with their little yappy dogs that never shut up. No one bugging me or begging me to do a survey or buy this thing or that thing or anything. Just peace and quiet. Stillness.

I hate these nights when I can’t sleep because I know I’ll eventually hit my wall and it will turn into a bad day. But I can enjoy this time in the peace and stillness that it gives me.