Nyquil is the Antichrist

All I want is a good night’s rest.  Really, it does wonders.  You wake up revitalized, you have more energy for the day, and a greater ability to throw on that positive attitude.  You’re nicer.  At least, that’s what I have heard.

I have only experienced this phenomenon on a few occasions, typically one or two times per year.  It’s like I am an entirely different person on those days.   I stare at everyone I encounter that day, willing them to telepathically intercept and answer the burning question running through my head, “Do YOU feel like this today?  Do you ALWAYS feel like this?”   I really can’t imagine.  It is similar to the feeling I had the first day I got glasses.  First of all, I remember coming home after I failed the eye test at school in 3rd grade.  I was livid.  The ladies who ran the tests had no empathy.  They didn’t tell me it was okay, or warn me as we went along that I was getting answers wrong.  They just circled “failed” on a little slip of paper and handed it to me.  Gasp.  What?  I failed the eye test?  What the hell?  Those people didn’t even have any business testing my eyes!   But, those bitches were right.  A few months later when my frames came in, I slid them on and looked around.  I couldn’t believe my eyes.  There were individual leaves on the trees (I couldn’t stop looking at trees, for weeks).  Light posts and headlights just look like…lights.  There were no gigantic starbursts extending feet from the illumination.   I was astonished.  I remember thinking, “People actually see like this?”  I experience that same overwhelming feeling of amazement when I arise rested.

I have yet to figure out what it is that results in the rare, unimaginably blissful, slumber.  Is it a particular exercise I did?  Or a particular food that I ate?  Or one I didn’t eat?  Was it great sex?  Or a stretch of celibacy?  Was it the glass of wine I had?  Or the two glasses?  Well, no, two glasses has been tested pretty rigorously, that’s certainly not the magic key.  (Dirty Secret:  I do keep testing it though.  For the sake of science.  Larger n = more accurate data).  Any-hoo, I have yet to find a pattern.

Nyquil is a favorite sleep aid of many.  Even my husband, who doesn’t like to take two naproxen after breaking his nose (he’s done this four times) or pulling a muscle at soccer (he does this weekly), feels that Nyquil is worth taking, if he isn’t feeling well and needs some good rest.

So far, I have found no other nighttime horror to be worse than Nyquil.  Not even the itchy twitchies of restless legs.  When I first ingest the abominable, green liquid, I feel like my normal self.  The terror begins about ½ hour after I fall asleep.  Here’s how it goes:

PING!  Eyes wide open.  Heart racing.  I feel … energetic.  Like I could clean my entire house.  Except, I am simultaneously exhausted.  Like I could collapse if I tried to get up.  I feel slightly dizzy.  I fall back asleep for 20 minutes.  PING!  Eyeballs back open.  Now I feel like parts of my body are awake.  Electrical impulses are traveling throughout my body, but they aren’t very coordinated.  It’s like the impulses that are supposed to fire together, are firing at different times.  Time passes, and somehow, I become both more awake and more exhausted at the same time.   The clock ticks…ticks…ticks…ticks…and I attempt to sleep.  I keep moving around the bed until my head is where my feet go and my feet are under my pillow.  I then roll back around.  My sheets get pulled out and are wrapped around my leg.  I get up, thinking that will help.  But, unlike with restless legs, it doesn’t help.  (And, it annoys my cat, who is trying to cuddle at my feet.  I know I have disappointed him, by moving, and that makes me cry.  Exhaustion makes me emotionally fragile)  I hardly have the energy to stand, but I am way too wired to sleep.  I go to the bathroom.  I look in the mirror.  A phantom stares back at me.  I yell out loud, “UGGHHHHHHH”.  My voice sounds muffled, unusual.  My head is cloudy, my ears are stuffed with cotton.  I lay back down and twist and turn and moan.  Finally, I fall asleep.  Ten minutes later my alarm clock goes off.  My eyes do NOT go “PING”, instead it is more of a “CREEEEAK”, like a very old, heavy door being forced open.  I cry again.  I continue to walk zombie-like throughout the day.   I cannot think or contribute to anything productive.  I am incredibly groggy.  I am NOT NICE.  The bags under my eyes are so large, they would not be able to be checked, if I were to fly Northwest.  It’s ugly.

The first few times this happened, I chalked it up to me just having a particularly bad night.  I thought maybe I was stressed, or ate Mexican food (a gluttonous consumption of nachos?) at too late an hour.  However, after this continued I finally researched the side effects of Nyquil.  Apparently I am not alone, and about 5% of us lucky ones have a paradoxical reaction to medications like this.  Basically, the medications have the opposite effect that they should.  Awesome.  Needless to say, I now steer clear of this medication at all costs.  If I were condemned to hell, I think I would be either be driving, while lost, .in a rainstorm, or be forced to take Nyquil before bed every night.  After the Nyquil catastrophes, I’m pretty leery of trying the other sleep aids out there.

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