When I was a kid, I liked comic books. A lot. So much that I was absolutely convinced when I reached adolescence my mutant powers would manifest and I would become a superhero of legend. With the expected harem of adoring women, of course. Because that’s the endgame in the mind of a pre-pubescent boy.
My teen years came and went without much fanfare. I got taller. My fingers got freakishly long. I mysteriously sprouted a chin. And that’s about it. No wings. No radioactive spiders. No alien encounters. Just plain old me. On several occasions I spent hours trying to move things with my mind because I figured practice makes perfect; start with feathers and someday it’d be something of consequence. Like a harem of adoring women.
I’m not exactly sure when I resigned myself to the reality that the extent of my genetic abnormalities were protuberant knuckles and an occasional stray red hair. But as soon as I did, I discovered my true abilities that had gotten over-looked in the haze of hormones and peer pressure: sleep.
My whole life people have been baffled by two things I can do — sleep anywhere and sleep through anything. I’ve been doing it since I was a kid and my mom wondered if I was going to spontaneously slip into a catatonic state and never wake up again. If there’s been one constant in my 23 years of existence, it’s the uncanny skill to catch some Z’s at a moment’s notice. I inherited this from my dad, who can work for like 24 hours straight, catch a light cat nap, then be good to go for another 24. I’m not that advanced yet, presumably because my snoring can’t wake the dead yet.
But there’s one thing I can’t do — I can’t make myself sleep through the night. When my body decides to be awake, then I’ll inevitably be awake for awhile. It’s like a phone battery; once its been filled it stops charging. Which isn’t generally a problem unless I’m trying to reset my internal clock to something resembling normalcy (like right now). Much like an embattled athlete before the big game, I find myself resorting to “alternative” ways to “enhancing” my performance.
That long, convoluted introduction was a failed attempt to bore myself back to sleep. So now you get to read about four other methods I’ve discovered.
1. Cabana Bowl
Here’s a new word for your vocabulary: “itis”. Pronounced eye-tiss, as in meningitis or “he did it to spite us”. The itis is the super-sleepy feeling you get after eating way too much or a particularly heavy meal that makes you want to curl up on the couch and spoon the warmth emanating from your midsection. The itis-fueled slumber is so good there are entire holidays dedicated to it.
Bears love it so much they spend an entire fourth of the year doing nothing but partaking in the most impressive itis sleep known to the universe. The itis is so powerful it transforms caterpillars into butterflies. Scientifically-speaking, all the blood that rushes away from your brain and limbs to your stomach is what causes it. My theory is the rest of your body is desperately trying to become a stomach so it can get in on the delicious.
Now that you’re up to speed, I’m proud to present the $3 Cabana Bowl, the highway straight to itis-ville. If the average human stomach is the size of a fist, this thing is like getting hit with a 3-punch combo by a Mexican with hands of precious metals.
It’s unmatched ability to be dirt-cheap and still delicious is rivaled only by the fact that Taco Cabana’s are open 24/7. That’s a box full of itis available at a moment’s notice, perfect for when you’re wide-awake at 4 in the morning for no reason at all.
Like most good things, too much of it will literally kill you. Soaking yourself in a fast food induced-coma is about as healthy for you as telling Danny Trejo his mustache sucks. There’s another member of the animal kingdom that gets stuck laying down after a meal — it’s a friggin’ beached whale. Unlike them, people will inexplicably continue to feed you to death. Much like them, you won’t realize you’re dead until it’s too late.
The itis is like a pet lion. Treat it well and it will cuddle you with unmatched majesty. Abuse it and get eaten by a lion.
As advertised, Nyquil will put your lights out whether you like it or not. Resisting the lullaby of the sleep syrup is pretty much impossible unless you’re in the pokey, in which case you’ll just bleed to death.
It takes a while to get into your system, you’ll be counting sheep in seconds. And then you’ll be passed out so hard you’ll want to swear you’re wasted but you can’t because you’re fast asleep.
Because of its consistency (both performance and texture), I think of Nyquil as the Blob. Once it’s after you, there’s no point in resisting. You might think you’ve gotten away from it, but then it drips out of the ceiling, filling your every pore with its goopy terror until you can’t move and all there’s left to do is surrender to sweet, sweet death.
Except, you know. Sleep-wise.
If I haven’t already made it clear enough, Nyquil essentially puts your body in park then steals the gear shift for a few hours. Which can be kind of a big deal if a semi-truck comes barreling down your street. House on fire? Earthquake? Rabid raccoons? Normally an adrenaline rush should snap you out of it long enough to sprint to the nearest motel and finish up that dream about Elizabeth Hurley. Nyquil, however, will tell your fight or flight functions to simmer down, because much like the bums who chug the stuff down, it has no sense of boundaries or appropriate timing.
Additionally, if you aren’t actually sick, Nyquil is only good for about 3 hours of forced sleep. Then not only will you wake up feeling like you haven’t slept at all, you’ll be trapped in a weird slightly hallucinatory half-sleep for the rest of the day. Which utterly defeats the purpose of wanting to get back to sleep in the first place.
3. Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones
I discovered the effects this “movie” had on my sleep life by accident. Despite abysmal reviews and universal critical panning, the promise of seeing Master Yoda in full action was too good to resist.
I couldn’t tell you exactly how far into it I got before I dozed off. I woke up about halfway through the credits. So I tried again the next day. I’m fairly certain I got about 10 minutes further in before it was nap time all over again. Four times I tried to get through it and four times I was only able to inch ever-so-slightly past the previous benchmark. It’s literally the only film I’ve ever had to really apply myself to watch as if it were some kind of intergalactic marathon. Finally I said screw it and just fast-forwarded to the end. Wasn’t worth the trouble, to be honest.
If the itis operates by drawing blood away from the brain, Episode II takes the opposite approach by pushing it out in an attempt to make you stop torturing yourself. People say a boring job is worse than a bad one. That applies here. If an idle mind is the devil’s workshop, Attack of the Clones is the hideous, soul-consuming coffee table that came out of it.
Lucky for you, sleepyhead, your grey matter going all seppuku means back to bed with you.
It might not work. Given any possibility, your brain will find another way to occupy itself rather than shutting down. Whether it’s choosing to admire Natalie Portman’s pixie-cuteness or compiling a numbered blog post of Hayden Christensen’s worst-delivered lines of dialogue ever captured on celluloid (coming soon to a blog near you), it’ll exhaust its options before calling it quits.
And then later that day when your boss chews you out for snoozing in between phone calls, your excuse will be, “I stayed up all night watching Star Wars.” Then he’ll smile and be like, “Which one? A New Hope? Return of the Jedi? Revenge of the Sith?” And you’ll sheepishly mutter under your breath, “Uhtuccuhduhcluhnz.” And he’ll say, “Excuse me?” And you’ll say, “Uhtuckuhvtuhclunz.” And he’ll go, “Speak up, Smith.” And you’ll hang your head and sigh and shamefully admit, “Attack of the Clones.” Then he’ll let out the loudest most hearty laugh you’ve ever heard from him, slap his knee and chuckle, “Good one, Smith!” And you’ll let out a forced half-laugh followed immediately by an awkward silence. And he’ll know you’re serious.
And then you’ll be fired.
4. Self-Induced Concussion
I haven’t actually tried this one yet, but I hear it works wonders. Especially if you A) have a neckbeard, B) frequently use tanning beds, or C) wish people would stopping trying to impose their limits on you by defining you with corporation-funded labels.
A product of blunt force trauma to the brain, many highly successful individuals have enjoyed multiple concussions, such as Troy Aikman or Jackie Chan. However, they don’t attribute their fame to the “injury” because then everybody would want one.
Concussions are incredibly convenient. All you have to do is find the nearest heavy, rounded object and drop it on your head. Bowling balls, musical instruments, furniture — it’s all game. Feeling too sluggish to get up but still need sleep? Stop beating your head against the wall and really beat your head against the wall.
None. Enjoy the longest, deepest sleep of your life.