UNITED STATES—Anyone who knows me understands that I have the most difficult time sleeping at night. I cannot recall the last time I had quality sleep that was uninterrupted. For me, it is not difficult to fall asleep, my problem is staying asleep. I am pretty good at understanding my sleep cycle. It was something I truly picked up on during college. Around 12 a.m. to 1 a.m. is the absolute latest I can stay up on a single night. If I push myself to stay awake after 1 a.m. I might as well chuck it up to getting any sleep that night.

Why? My body is now wired and I will be up for the next 2 to 3 hours. If lucky, as I have seen this occur in recent years I might be able to fall asleep around 4 a.m. before I’m up in 2 maybe 3 hours preparing for work and the day. I have some rules when it comes to sleeping that people might find weird or hard to explain in words. I have to sleep with a fan on. It has nothing to do with staying cool during the night, it is the sound of a ceiling fan or floor fan that soothes me and helps me sleep at night. There is something about silence when sleeping that I just am not a fan of.

At the same time that might be a reason why I get a bit chilly at night and I’m grabbing for the comforter or blanket to keep myself warm; therefore interrupting my sleep in the process. Not that smart dude, now that I think about it. The next thing is I cannot have a TV on or have those little lights i.e. the cable box, the telephone, the TV light. Those small dotted lights can be an absolute pain that makes it near impossible for me to sleep because even if they’re minor I can still spot them, and that makes it hard for me to relax.

The cellphone I have it nowhere close in proximity. I used to sleep with the device right next to me, but I stopped that some time ago to prevent myself from having that desire to want to check emails or messages before going to bed. For those not in the know, once you start checking messages or emails it’s a domino effect that continues for hours. Guess what, when you should be sleeping you’re not.

The last thing that I know people are going to chuckle or say, “What” involves me having to sleep in the opposite direction of where my bedroom door is facing. I always sleep towards my bedroom window. I cannot sleep facing towards my bedroom door or with an open door. The notion of someone watching me while I’m sleeping or just watching me period is the creepiest and scariest thing in the world. Don’t ask, don’t ask, I cannot explain it, but it helps me sleep people.

Another thing, that light that can sometimes seep underneath your door, I cannot have that either, it will literally force me to get out of the bed and turn off the light if it is on. Let’s say I have all these taken care of my eyes are closed and I feel like I’m sleeping, then 2 to 3 hours in my hopes of getting at least 6 to 7 hours of sleep, I randomly wake up. I toss and turn a bit, I try closing my eyes back, but I cannot go to sleep. It frustrates me to the core.

Questions I get, did you eat a hefty meal before sleep? Nope. What about caffeine? Don’t drink soda/pop or coffee, and if I have tea its decaf. Any troublesome incidents during the day? Not much that I can think about. So what keeps me up at night I have no clue. It could be the fact that I actually suffer from insomnia and I have trouble not really falling asleep, it is STAYING ASLEEP. If anything, if I burn myself out with work, trust me if I’m tired my body will crash, but that is rare. If that does happen it is the result of me pushing myself to my absolute limit for the day!

I think the longest I’ve ever slept is 12 hours in a single day. That is predicated with me literally working a 16-18 hour work day and running on absolute empty America. Not good for the body or the psyche if I’m being honest. So I do have to figure out what the problem is because if your body is not well rested you do not function at your absolute best. That means you’re groggy or struggling to keep your eyes open and your body active when all you want to do is sleep. Perhaps the biggest issue for me our dreams. I seem to sleep best when I just have NON-REM SLEEP, no dream, just pure sleep. We’ll tackle that issue in next week’s column.

Written By Jason Jones