What You Can Do When You Can’t Sleep and Don’t Have Access to Ambien

1. Stay up all night, remembering embarrassing things you’ve done in your life, starting with today and going back to elementary school and eventually the womb.

2. Resent your husband, who sleeps the sleep of the just. Seriously, if he could just grind his teeth like a normal person…

3. Acquire a firearm, one of the ones that have a barrel you can spin. Don’t put anything into the barrel, bullet-wise. Just sit on the edge of the bed spinning it, and reciting Private Pyle’s speech from Full Metal Jacket: “Seven-six-two millimeter. Full … metal … jacket.”

4. Read all the books in the house. Realize you have read them all before at least once.

5. Inspect your pores. Remember that you cannot actually shrink the size of the pore, but merely minimize its appearance. Wonder how one goes about doing that for real, actually. I generally go with clumping on a whole pile of concealer, but that can’t really be our best option, can it? We live in the future. We ought to be able to minimize a pore.

6. Do a little writing. This was always very productive during my worst bouts of insomnia. I did actually get writing done, which is always nice. Of course, when I looked at it later, most of it looked like I had taken mushrooms prior to hunkering down at the old keyboard.

7. And speaking of drugs, do not ever call someone if you are up late and need to hear another human voice, even if you know that person will also be up. The very first thing they will ask you, after hearing your strung-out greeting, will be: “Are you on cocaine?” They will then explain that it is 3 AM. As if you did not know this already.

8. If it is 3 AM, the good news is that you have no job here whatsoever. Your only goal, once it gets to be 3 AM, is to live through 3 AM. Don’t even try to fall back asleep. Just try not to rewrite the plot of your life in a less disastrous way. Now would be a bad time to consider one;s checkbook, for example, or former lovers.

9. Eat something. This is, of course, why we’re fat. Eat something anyway. All that not-sleeping has made you ravenous.

10. Think about asking for Ambien the next time you’re in the doctor’s office.

Published by Jen Hubley Luckwaldt

I'm a freelance writer and editor.

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