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Either Go to Bed, Or Eat Everything in the House

Illustration for article titled Either Go to Bed, Or Eat Everything in the House

I want birthday cake. Maybe a big dish of ice cream. Nachos with lots of jalapenos would be good right about now, too.

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My eyes are closed as I type this because it’s midday and I’m fading, fast. I swore I’d never pull another all-nighter, but a client’s grant application was due, and it’s for $1 million, and not matter what curveballs life has thrown at me this week, I was under obligation, and contract, to finish the doggone thing.

The worst part is that I did it for much less than I should have, but I’ve written more checks in the past two weeks than I have in the past four months, and needed the money.

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That’s not such a bad thing. My client gets a break; I get to pay some bills. However, I was completely blocked, and could not write a word for hours. (I did, however, beat my fastest time in Solitaire. After, like, 35 games.)

When I’m blocked, I can’t produce.  When I can’t produce, I get stressed. When I get stressed, I can’t sleep. When I can’t sleep, I swear all I think about is food, food, food. Which is why, at 2 a.m., and again at 4 a.m., I went down to raid the ’fridge. Fortunately, there wasn’t a whole lot in there that could do some serious damage. I made coffee at 2 – with a big hit of Hershey’s syrup – and had some Yoplait at 4.

I wasn’t trying to be obedient; my mission was sugar. But there wasn’t so much as a popsicle in there. And if there had been, say, a half-gallon of ice cream, it would have been less than a quart by morning.

Now, we’ve all heard that when you don’t get enough sleep, you gain weight. I don’t care what science says: One’s propensity to gain weight while sleep-deprived is directly proportional to the amount of ice cream in one’s freezer in the middle of the night.

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I’ve been up since 6 a.m. Wednesday. It’s now almost 4 p.m., so that’s  . . . 34 hours. Well, 33 hours and 50 minutes. I was able to close my eyes for about 10 minutes around noon, but the songbirds outside seemed especially loud. And they made me think of chicken.

Scientists will say that’s the ghrelin speaking. That’s a hormone that, along with leptin, controls feelings of hunger and fullness. Clearly my hormones are right now out of control, because I want to dive face-first into a bowl of shrimp fried rice. When you don’t get enough sleep, leptin levels go down, and that has to do with feeling satisfied after eating. Sleeplessness also causes ghrelin levels to go up, and that stimulates the appetite.

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As I said, I had no intention of ever again pulling an all-nighter. It’s what I ended up doing, and now I am freakin’ ravenous. This is not a good feeling for a recovering bulimic to have.

After I post this, I think I might close my eyes for a bit, but turning in early is out of the question. Too many season finales on tonight: Flash Forward, Fringe, Grey’s Anatomy, The Mentalist. So, I’ll turn in around 11 p.m.

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And try to forget about the Betty Crocker peanut butter cookie mix in the pantry.

Last night I dreamed I ate a 10-pound marshmallow, and when I woke up the pillow was gone.  ~  Tommy Cooper

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Leslie J. Ansley is an award-winning journalist and entrepreneur who blogs daily for TheRoot. She lives in Raleigh, NC.

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