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I’m wide awake in my bed and I can hear the distant ticking of the clock situated a few feet above the nightlight in my hallway.
I think about what fresh hell awaits me at work and then my mind drifts to fly fishing in Missoula, Montana. I don’t even particularly like fly fishing, but I watched A River Runs Through It some six or seven days ago and the memory of that phenomenal movie is still in the back of my brain.
The urge to check and see how much time I have left to sleep before I need to get in the shower is overwhelming. It’s an itch that I need to scratch even though I know if I do scratch it the scab will come off and I’ll have opened a whole can of worms for myself.
After what feels like an eternity I finally give in and press the home button on my iPhone. It’s 5:15 a.m. and I’ve only got about thirty minutes before my alarm will sound. I groan, curse the Gods for not birthing me into an elite family on the east coast and try to get back to sleep.
As of last year, it’s become increasingly difficult for me to truly stay asleep throughout the course of an entire night. I chalk it up to old age and garden variety anxiety, and in my time as a pseudo insomniac, I’ve learned one universal truth: whatever you do, do not look at what time it is.
I’ve seen countless memes, tweets, and Facebook statuses about how awesome it is to roll over, check your phone, and see that you have another two hours to sleep before you wake up and drag your sorry ass to work. This is not the move, my friends.
I know that in the moment it seems like a good idea. Some peace of mind about how much time you have left to get some shut-eye is, in theory, a comforting tactic. But do you know what happens when that tactic backfires on you and you see that you only have fifteen minutes of sleep left before you need to get up? Anxiety. Anxiety is what happens.
You’ll roll around for the next fourteen minutes, and on the fifteenth when your obnoxious alarm goes off you’ll grumble, moan, and then hit snooze for nine more minutes which will inevitably leave you late for work.
Or conversely, let’s say you’re coming back from a quick piss in the bathroom. In the middle of the night when no one knows I’m awake, I’ll sit down to pee. This allows me to leave the light off in the bathroom and I’d just be straight up lying to you if I said that I don’t enjoy the hell out of a good sit-down piss. Call me a nancy boy. Call me whatever you’d like, actually. It’s comfortable and we all know it.
So here’s what happens when you come back from that delightful pee break and just take a quick glance at your iPhone. First things first: the light from the phone blinds the living hell out of you, and then you’re going to see that your friend sent you a funny meme on Instagram.
Next thing you know, you’re wide awake and bushy tailed, knee deep in the explore page and looking for a suitable meme to send back to your friend.
Even if you did have three or fours of sleep left before you had to get up, you’re going to spend at least thirty minutes absentmindedly scrolling. You’re better off not knowing. Ignorance, in the case of sleep and the time on the clock, is bliss.
Much like staying out after midnight, the only thing that will come of you checking the time in the middle of the night is trouble with a capital T.
Just don’t do it, okay? Leave that phone on the bedside table where it belongs and shut your eyes. All you’re doing by checking the clock is adding to the misery of the next day. .
Image via Youtube