WOLF: An Interview With an Insomniac

Caleb Beck

  1. C: How long have you had difficulty sleeping? Do you feel your sleep schedule has gotten worse since starting school?

    M: I started having trouble sleeping in high school. I became really interested in movies around this point, and I think the artificial light late at night contributed to my lack of sleep. I actually think college life has made it worse since I scheduled only afternoon classes and can stay up really late.


    C: Would you say people overstate insomnia’s negative qualities? Can you be a functional insomniac?

    M: I think insomnia really affects quality of life. At one point when it got pretty bad I wouldn’t be able to sleep at all until at least sunrise, and I would sleep most of the day. It was depressing not seeing the sun for almost a week, and I felt lethargic while awake. The few times my sleep schedule was healthy, I felt much more energetic and functional.


    C: Do you feel like New Orleans fosters difficulty sleeping or is living here just another variable that doesn’t help you sleep?

    M: I have had trouble sleeping at night in every city I’ve lived in. Though the culture here does cater to late nights. It doesn’t help that several other people are always willing to stay up with you.


    C: Do you think sleep aids like melatonin are helpful in dealing with insomnia?

    M: When I went to the Philippines, I was on the right sleep schedule because of jet-lag. About a week later, my body started to correct itself, falling asleep later and later. To try to stop it, I began to use melatonin to fall asleep, which worked for a while. However, my body started building a resistance to it, and I started having to take more pills, which I eventually just gave up on and settled for falling asleep around four to five again.


    C: do you feel like your rhythm of sleep solved itself when you studied abroad in Japan this past semester?

    M: Actually, as I found out pretty early into my stay in Tokyo, the sun rises from 4-4:30 a.m. So needless to say I saw morning light maybe more often than not. Also, trains in Tokyo don’t run between 12:30 a.m. and 5:30 a.m., so if you miss the last train you’re pretty much committed to staying out til daybreak. It was fun until it wasn’t.


    C: Do you panic when you can’t sleep or is it a pattern you just adjust to with time and effort?

    M: After an hour or two I’m like, “Oh wow, I can’t sleep, well I guess it’s time to turn Netflix on again.” So that’s about it. I don’t panic because I’m used to it.


    C: Do you find yourself powernapping through the day like many students?

    M: I take many naps to make up for the sleep I miss during the night. Unfortunately, these naps usually take place during daytime, which means missing sunlight hours. I’ve started to believe that happiness levels depend at least a little bit on how much daylight you participate in.


    C: Do you find yourself powernapping through the day like many students?

    M: Exercise. I’m a hypocrite in saying this, but the occasional day that I go out for a jog I find I can sleep more easily at night. Also, eating well and on schedule helps you sleep. Or at least I think it does…I’ve never tried it.