How I Fried my ZZZ’s

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I like to eat as much as the next guy and will generally take in a little more than I should. But every so often when occasion calls for it, I’ll go into all out, full bore, gluttonous gourmand-mode. 

To put it in the vernacular: I’ll make a pig of myself. Nothing to be proud of, just saying it happens. 

As a young man, engorging in a whopper sized meal late at night didn’t hurt my sleep at all. In fact, it kind of helped. There was something deeply relaxing in spreading out on the mattress and then rooting about to find the optimal position for my bloated belly. It often resulted in deep restful sleep. But it doesn’t work that way anymore and I remember exactly when I first noticed the change. 

The Fries That Changed My Life

My wife and I met some friends for an evening get-together at my favorite burger joint. The fries were thick, hot, salty, greasy, and incredibly tasty, so there was no way I could stop at just one order. We chatted with our friends for a good hour until the joint started to close, and I kept the fries rolling the entire time. 

As we were shutting things down and I was devouring the last few fries, I noticed the cook eyeing me. Clearly entertained at my fry hounding antics, with a conspiratorial wink he said,

“I still have some in the fryer; do you want to take them off my hands?”

Oh joy, oh bliss, “Yes!”, I replied. And with that, I received my prize: a paper bag, big enough to conceal a half gallon milk carton, loaded to the top with delicious, hot fries, straight from the fryer. 

“No way I can eat all that,” I thought, “but I’ll nibble away during the car ride home… maybe my wife will want a few.” (She didn’t take any.)

It seemed like a reasonable plan, but by the time we got home, the bag was empty. I knew I had overdone it, my belly felt ready to blow, but those fries really tasted great. I got ready for bed and then hit the sack, unaware of the bedtime woes to follow.

I nodded off pretty darn quick, which was usual for me when crashing on an overly full stomach, but the slumbering didn’t last long. Within an hour I was wide awake, battling one of the worst cases of indigestion I had ever experienced. For the rest of the night, I tossed and turned, fighting through intense bouts of bloat, queasiness, upset stomach and gastric eructation… I felt like Mount Vesuvius on the verge of an eruption. 

How long will this last? Am I going to hurl? Wait, it’s feeling better! Oh no, it’s raging back! 

And all through the night it never fully let up; not until daylight began to fall. By morning, I hated those fries, they had ruined my night. More than that, I hated my shameful lack of self-control. I had put away enough fries to take down a Clydesdale, I should have known it wouldn’t end well. 

Late at night? Keep it light!

But it was worse than just one lost, lousy night, I had crossed a personal Rubicon. Something inside me had changed. Maybe it was due to age, but never again would I enjoy a blissful night of sleep after a nighttime, face-stuffing session.

Going forward, I’ve had to pay attention to what I’m eating late at night, and how much of it I’m eating. If I don’t and I overdo, I will pay and my sleep will suffer. If there’s even a hint of late-night overindulgence, I hit the sack with a bottle of antacids well within my reach, just in case.