No Patron Saint of Slumber

It’s 4:44 a.m. and I’ve been up since 1:37.

I’m away from home. I’m in a hotel. I’m on the ground floor.

And sometimes, I sleep walk.

Maybe, it was the Ghanian Coffins writing exercise or the mussels I had for dinner or the article I read from the Atlantic about toxoplasma gondii, the scourge of cat lovers. But I can’t sleep. I’m away for the weekend and my kid is watching my cats and that damn virus could be anywhere

I’ve tried everything for sleep.

I looked at weird old advertisements on google, making note of a few such as this one about a people fattening tonic. I thought McDonalds and juice boxes could do that in a trice.


I started a table to organize ways to encourage one’s creative muse, arranging them by their costs in time and money.

I washed a couple of shirts in my sink.

I read old newspapers from Chronicling America and laughed at the articles about women. Thank you Whitney Olson for the hours of wholesome nighttime fun this resource has so often given me. It was “History Gone Wild” for about an hour here.

I even sent a friend request to someone on Facebook. Unfortunately, she’s staying in the room upstairs and five minutes later, I swear I heard her footsteps. I may have hit her with a mushroom cloud of viral worry. Soon, I may infect the whole hotel.

After hours, I sank into a puddle of Catholicism.

The good news, is there’s always a blog, a bulletin board, or some strange forum and I found one for Catholic Insomniacs. Apparently there are many of them out there worrying late into the night, doing their part for our national guilt.

Scrolling through the advice, sidestepping the recommendations for rosaries (too Song of Bernadette) and self-flagellation (too Da Vinci Code) I knew what I was looking for: the Patron Saint of Slumber. My plan was simple. I’d beg this woman (has to be a woman right?) to give me total and immediate rest. She’d hit me with some special dohicky thing symbolic of her high station and I’d get on with the night.

Ready to go sideways, my plan was not.

Turns out, there is NO patron saint of slumber.

I searched and searched, furthering the obsessive stimulus plan now well underway within my quarters. Was I awake because my room is haunted? This kind of “what if” thinking was NOT helping.

Someone called cseebald, no doubt a kingpin or authority on the saints of sleep, offered this handy reference list cross referenced by mental/physical disorders:

  • Saint Blais, Patron Saint for Throat, and for OSA (sleep apnea).
  • Saint Dymphna for sleepwalking and non-OSA sleep disorders.
  • Saint Joseph for good sleep.
  • Saint Vitus for oversleeping.
  • Saints John, James, and Peter for wakefulness and attentiveness (overcome sleepiness at inappropriate times).
  • Archangel Raphael to ward off nightmares/terrors.

I did a quick mental calculation and figured I’d have a double Dymphna with extra shots of Saints Joseph and Vitus followed by an Archangel Gabriel chaser. Hmmm. This sounded like a coffee drink.

Turns out, there’s a saint for that, Saint Droggo, who was–until he developed a terrible and disfiguring disease–reputed to bilocate, an efficiency which made him the patron saint of coffee.

I think a new prayer is in order.


4 Replies to “No Patron Saint of Slumber”

  1. Alas, I saw a PBS documentary that talked about how we can’t sleep in a new place very well. Instinctually, we know we are in a new place so we can’t fully sleep because we’re not totally sure it’s safe. It’s a throwback from our pre-historic days. Oddly, I sleep a little better now that I know this. I think because I don’t have that – Oh God, I need sleep, why aren’t I sleeping – thought.

  2. I’m just laughing and laughing and laughing! Hit me with that specialty drink, too! Then I might be able to go to bed and fall asleep earlier than midnight or 1 a.m. I’ve heard tell–not because I have ANY personal experience with this, mind you –that Bible-reading at night can put you right out.

    My favorite line: “doing their part for our national guilt.” LOL!

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