Sleepless in Gator Country: When Unruly Sheep Take Turns Shooting the Breeze and Cutting in Line

It’s 2:37 in the morning. You know this because, well, you’re awake and you’ve only looked at the clock about four times in the last two minutes. You’ve changed positions roughly six times, fluffed your pillow, flipped it over, and then gave it a good one-two punch to the sides for good measure.

It looks a little something like this at first…

To make matters worse, everyone, including your cat, is snoring. You know this because you can hear them, well, because you’re awake. As you have to get up in three or four hours, it’s too late to take any heavenly sleep drugs. If only you would’ve known you’d be wide awake at 2:30 am, you could’ve warded off that pesky insomnia with a little modern medicine. Dang it.

This was me last night. This insomnia was particularly painful because I had to be up at 5:00 am. Have you ever watched two and a half hours click by on a digital clock? Pain.ful.


I, of course, tried the good ol’ standby of counting sheep. Sadly, I’m a failure at this. It’s ridiculous. Those sheep, my sheep, are completely unruly. How is that even possible? Picture a grassy field. Then picture a cluster of big oak trees. Somewhere in front of the oak trees, there are two wooden fence segments. (The rest of the fence is suspiciously absent.) Theoretically, a person, or a sheep, could walk right around either side of the fence. And, *sigh*, that’s just what many of them do. Walk right around the dang fence they’re supposed to jump over. Then there are a few eating grass, milling around completely oblivious to their cue. Finally, there are some over-eager sheep who want to jump over the fence as fast as possible, causing me to lose count after about seven. “Hey, can you slow down?!”  No. They stubbornly refuse. And I have a front row seat for their disobedience. I give up and watch them take a detour, eat grass, or race for some imaginary finish line for a bit. And then I start the count all over again. (I’m not even kidding.)

Something sort of like this…more grass chewing, more wandering…

This, needless to say, is ineffective in trying to fall back asleep. When you find yourself having conversations with four-legged animals in your brain, frustration and embarrassment make it difficult for sleep to take over. After realizing I stink at counting sheep, I tried numerous other traditional tactics, none of which seemed to work. I moved on to new, untested sleep-inducing waters. For example, I tried opening my eyes creating animals and palm trees and things from the shadows in the room. (*Note to Self:  Do Not hang your dress for work up by the closet.  It *will* look like a person standing there watching you…creepy…) As these were also ineffective for the task at hand, I figured I would make you a list of some not-so-good ideas, a list of what not to do when you’re trying to fall back asleep.

When trying to fall asleep, I would suggest avoiding the following:

5.  Think about going for a run.   While it’s great to partake in physical activity outdoors, going for a run when only you, the bats, and the scary people are out of doors is not a good idea. It’s dark outside, and it’s kind of creepy, and by the way this night has been going already, something terrible would probably happen when you’re half way from home, far, far away from anyone awake enough to help you. Thinking about what scary things might happen is exhausting…buuuttt not quite exhausting enough to seal the sweet sleep deal.

Maybe this is what some of my over-zealous sheep see that I don’t…

4.  Plan a vacation.  Or six of them. Or, if you’re like me, fifteen of them. I traveled the world about four times last night and stopped off at all my favorite places like Andros (where the fishing is good) and visited new favorite places like Bora Bora (with a name like that, how can it not be a fantastic place to visit?). Then I remembered my passport expires later this month. And then I started to think about waiting in line at the post office to renew it…and while that certainly isn’t stimulating, it doesn’t seem to induce sleep.

Oh, yes please. I’m pretty sure this is what my heaven looks like.

3.  Curl your hair.  I have a sweet little burn on my thigh from sitting cross-legged on the floor curling my hair, not taking into account that while no, I’m not sleeping, I am, in fact, sleepy, which apparently impairs my sense of judgment. Take it from me, after being burned by a curling iron, you’re wide awake. *sigh*

Sure. This is a little something like how it looked right before I burned myself.

2.  Plan your day.  While this may seem like a productive use of your time, once you realize just how much you have to do that day, the urge to actually just get out of bed and get started is hard to fight…Hence the curled hair and the burned thigh. Save yourself some anxiety and physical pain and plan your day when you’re brushing your teeth. Much safer.

I wonder which color of this planned day represents killing time until the alarm goes off.

1.  Match-make your siblings and your friends.  While playing cupid can be fun, having your sister date your college next-door-neighbor who had an affinity for pot, video games, and anyone named Stacy, is simply not quite as good of an idea in the daylight as it is during an insomnia-induced haze.  Danny, you know I love you, and we know you’re a Gator (and not bad to look at), but on your wedding day, I don’t want to be fighting off images of you playing Madden in your boxer shorts, Doritos, donuts, and Bud Light on your coffee table, the same table you got from the dumpster behind our apartment.

Oh, Danny. You know we love you.

Tonight, I will be sure to avoid all of these things. Although, knowing me and my disobedient sheep, I’ll have envisioned a herd of cows pummeling over any attempted rapists on their way to Tahiti to marry off their mother for the fifth time. To you, I wish you a comfortable bed, a full eight hours before you’re required to do anything productive, and sweet, sweet dreams. Me? I’ll probably go look at my empty freezer for the fourth time on the hunt for something sweet for dessert…or breakfast…depending on how the rest of the night looks.


**Photos courtesy of,,,, and

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