There are few things in life I cherish as much as sleeping.
No matter how dismal things get, I find solace in the knowledge that at the end of the long day, I will lay my weary head down on a soft pillow and fall asleep. I love to leave it all behind, let the tensions melt away. It’s life’s ultimate Oh yeah? Well, screw you! I’m checking out for 7 to 8 hours.
So here’s the thing about sleeping — I’ve forgotten how to do it.
The falling asleep is the easy part. I’ll close my eyes and immediately drift off, skipping down the dreamy yellow brick road into bizarro-world. It’s a magical place where I can ride tigers made of rainbows or swim in a giant ice cream sundae with Brad Pitt and Abraham Lincoln.
But once I pass into the first REM stage, things start to go a little haywire. My mind suddenly decides to abandon Brad just as he’s about to spoon-feed Honest Abe some hot fudge. Next thing I know, I’m brutally jolted back into real life alertness with zero warning.
Going straight from vivid dreaming to reality with no transition is traumatizing. I wake up. heart pounding and think Aw damn! I’m back here?! Well, at least I got a good solid night’s rest! Time to face the goddamned day! Then I turn over to look at the clock:
I had only been sleeping 45 minutes.
Between this constant waking all night long and the fact my husband tends to snore like a chainsaw, it’s no wonder I sometimes hallucinate.
Yes, I’ve been known to hallucinate while in that strange twilight stage between dreaming and reality. I used to sleepwalk as a child. More than a few times my mom would find me at 2 am pouring dog food into the dishwasher or peeing into the clothes hamper. Thankfully, I’ve outgrown my sleepwalking.
Now I just hallucinate mutant spiders.
A few months ago at 3:15 am, I awoke to find a hairy black tarantula the size of a dinner plate on the wall. Another night at 12:35 am, I opened my eyes to see a dozen tiny glowing red spiders were descending from our ceiling straight onto my head. After a few terrifying seconds feeling paralyzed, things start to fade away as I begin to fully wake up.
According to the Internet, this is called hypnopompic hallucinations. The other type, hypnogogic, happens when one is falling asleep and is considered to be a common phenomena. Figures I’d get the rarer, more hairy-spidery type.
Thankfully, I only have them occasionally because I don’t tend to react in a reserved way to these nighttime spider sightings. Like the one I had most recently:
“Ahhhhh!!! AHHHHH!” I screamed, sitting bolt upright in our bed.
“What? OH MY GOD! WHAT?” my husband sat up and yelled, looking all over the dark room.
“AHHHH!!” I screamed again, frantically pointing at the spiders on the wall. I grabbed my husband by the shoulders and violently shook him. “KILL IT! KILL IT! KILL IT!!” I yelled. I started whacking him in the face with my pillow. “DIE! DIE! DIE!”
It’s only when I’m about to squash a tarantula on his head with my baton trophy that it dawns on me:
1. I was only dreaming.
2. There really are no spiders
3. This will be grounds for divorce one day.
Do you sleep soundly? Have you ever had insomnia or sleep paralysis or a sleep disorder? No? Well, then. I hate you.
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