Dreading my involuntary insomnia…

There are some things I dread in my life that make it quite uncomfortable. Sleep is one of the vital things I should be having in plenty but I admit that I’m not that kind of easy sleeper but rather a rough sleeper! Would anyone like this kind of life? I guess none. Here’s my story…

How did it start? Well, it’s something to do with my boyhood life when school work had a bearing effect on my sleeping time. The regular homework forced me to cut short my daily sleeping portion of the night and ending up sleeping fewer hours than the duration recommended by health experts which is a minimum of eight hours.

Several years ago while in primary school, it was a daily norm for academic instructors to give us homework which was a compulsory school assignment to do at home. Since where I lived was a long distance from school, it took me several hours to reach home on foot and by that time, it was almost dark. It wasn’t before I carried out some house chores that I finally settled down for my homework. Sometimes I started working on it after the family supper which was strictly at 10:00 pm and sometimes took longer than expected.

Each of the five teachers would assign me a homework package which made my workload more than enough and failure to do any of the assignments would lead to severe punishments at school. I tell you it was so stressing, I lost the appetite to eat and I grew thinner with each passing day and later this became the norm in my life – sleeping late.

So I would always be the last to sleep and the higher the academic level I achieved, the more homework I was assigned and this gradually reduced my entire sleeping ration. It came to happen that I never slept before midnight, then 1:00 am, and after I joined high school, it became worse as I was forced to sleep beyond 2:00 am at my tender age by then.

Gradually, this nightly activity became so weaved in me that even when I had no homework assignments to write, I would find myself deprived of sleep meaning that I had to force myself to slumber! It kind of became chronic and to me, nighttime was no different from daytime. Some family members and the subsequent roommates at the university hostel were questioning my nocturnal lifestyle thinking that I might be some sort of alien or a witch but as I kept explaining to them, sure, they concurred – some I met were also sleep deprived for the same reasons.

Am now a grown-up and I still find it hard to sleep, it doesn’t matter if I had a short nap during the day or if am exhausted from the day’s pursuits, the norm is always the same – sleep loss! It wasn’t my desire to be this nocturnal b’se am someone who loves to sleep and I hate to be the nightly owl who keeps vigil to terrify others in the wee hours of the night.

One day I posed a question to the doctor and he told me that there’s no proven cure for sleep deprivation but he gave me a few tips including avoiding drinking coffee at night, practicing some physical exercises, adjusting my thoughts (as in thinking positively), eating lightly, and turning off all lights before sleep. I tried everything including foregoing nightly movies but then it seemed like I’ll forever be in this undesirable state of insomnia.

My obsession with smart gadgets has worsened my sleeping condition…

The fact that am a tech gadget guru even made my matters worse! When I get to bed, I grab my smartphone to either play games (Subway Surfers, EA Racing, FIFA 17, etc), chat with others (some whose time zones are in daylight), read online news or historical facts (am a great historian, lol), or just watching some movies on YouTube. Being a smartphone addict has become a necessary evil in this critical time of need.

I don’t want to sound like someone who never sleeps at all, I actually do sleep but this short sleep comes very late. It became a norm for me to sleep between 3:00 – 4:00 am but with a lot of relentless struggles! Sometimes sleep doesn’t happen until 5:00 am and when I notice some streaks of the daybreak light, I lose all the interest to sleep, so I just get out of bed with frustration and start planning for the day!

You’d assume that if I sleep late then I’d wake up late, nah! On average, my short sleep just lasts for a few hours – two to be precise and without serious dreaming. So what’s wrong with me? Initially, I’d blame my sleep deprivation on the loads of homework around my neck but now there aren’t anymore intriguing home assignments to keep me busy or awake but still, I find it hard to sleep. This is a chronic problem I inherited from my childhood and it’s never pleasant at all. Who’d like to spend almost the whole night just staring at the ceiling, tossing and turning about in bed, or trying to pretend to do something almost inexistent? 

Sometimes I never want to get to bed b’se all I know is that I will be entering a battleground for a war with my brain to get me to sleep. This became so much absorbed in me that I try as much as possible to make myself busy so that I can forget all about sleeping but since I live alone, there’s nothing to keep me busy at night, so I have no other option except becoming a loyal slave to sleep deprivation.

It is my wish that academic planners do take a deeper research into the effects of take-home assignments on sleep deprivation and address the link between the two variables. This will be significant in addressing the congenital impacts of school load work on the overall students’ lives b’se such hidden impacts like mine can be so devastating. Maybe they should reduce the amount of homework given, or where necessary give these assignments only on weekends? Can it be any better? Well, your guess is as good as mine!

Thanks for reading…

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